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FOLK: The Tallest Man on Earth - Shallow Grave: Kristian Matsson, better known as The Tallest Man On Earth, is a poet. His poetry is performed both through his masterful guitar playing as well as through his lyrics. If So Far was a sunny day in the park, then Shallow Grave, Matsson’s first full album released in 2008, is a drive across America at dusk. Try not to swoon as the Scandinavian artist sings to in a voice that can only be compared to Dylan for its uniqueness. Nature, in all of its beauty and darkness and power, is at the heart of every song on the album. It is truly the story of a man who cannot separate the physical world from the emotions that he feels. The album starts with “I Won’t Be Found,” in which he describes the need to escape into nature alone, building a fortress of the natural world around him. In one of the more popular songs from the album, “The Gardener,” Matsson creates both a dark landscape of a garden and an uncomfortably lovely portrait of the murderer who uses it to cover up bodies: “And now the death with grow my jasmine/ I find it soothing I’m afraid.” The titular songfeatures quietly chirping birds as a second instrument, giving deeper meaning to the guitar and his voice. Like a painting, the meaning is hidden but up to you to find. There is not wrong answer to any interpretation. But it is undeniably powerful and beautiful. He did aTiny Desk Concert of some of these songs and watching him play live is awe inspiring. LIANA   

RIYL: Folk Music

Recommended Tracks: "I Won't Be Found" (1), "The Gardener" (6), "The Blizzard's Never Seen the Desert Sands" (7) 

A Sunny Day In Glasgow - Planning Weed Like It's Acid/Life Is Loss: Shoegazing dream poppers A Sunny Day In Glasgow just released their 5th album after almost ten years of making music. The dual EP boasts a decidedly hipster title, Planning Weed Like it’s Acid / Life Is Loss. I have little doubt in my mind that Ben Daniels, the mastermind behind A Sunny Day In Glasgow, drinks some serious craft beer. Though it may be hipster, the record really does contain some catchy dream rock/pop. There are, however, many vibes to be explored on the EP. The opening track, “Jet Black, Starlit,” is soaked in fuzz which makes it feel more shoegazey than other tracks. On the other hand, “Jewelry Duty” is a slightly 80s influenced female rock ballad. Lastly, the final track “I Can’t Live Without Your Love” features random electric breakdowns that actually end up working really nicely. The group is talented on their instruments, but with song names like “I Can’t Live Without Your Love,” they’re sure to strike some listeners as too sappy. If you like sentimental indie music at all, you are going to love this album. CHRISTIAN

RIYL: Electric Youth, Bully, A Place To Bury Strangers

Recommended Tracks: "Jewelry Duty" (5), "Recognizing Patterns"(7), "I Can’t Live Without Your Love" (9)
FCC: Clean

Le1f - Riot BoiAlong with Mykki Blanco, Le1f has been at the forefront of the queer rap movement since the release of his Dark York mixtape in 2012. While Le1f is a rapper, his music shares little sonically with hip-hop, opting for production from Balam Acab (“Rage”), Sophie (“Koi”), and Lunice with Evian Christ (“Umami/Water”). For the first half of the album, Le1f’s experimentation pays off well, especially on “Rage” and “Swirl”, which features an especially energized Junglepussy. The second half of the album is by no means bad, but post-“Umami/Water,” some of the spark is lost with many of the tracks failing to standout by comparison to the first half. The only exception is the Dev Hynes produced album closer, “Change,” which is so subdued it like a counterpoint to “Rage”. There is a reason that Le1f has been able to keep his hype over the past three years, and Riot Boi delivers on the promise of his early mixtapes. KEN

RIYL: Mykki Blanco, Shamir, Cakes Da Killa, Junglepussy

Recommended Tracks: “Rage” (2), “Grace, Alek or Naomi” (3), “Swirl” (4), “Koi” (5), “Umami/Water” (6), “Change” (12)


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