billy woods, half of Armand Hammer, dropped his 13th studio album, Maps. This is his second album with producer Kenny Segal following their critically acclaimed 2019 album, Hiding Places. The duo keep building on their early 2010s underground, experimental hip-hop sound – giving vulnerable, eerie, and tense vibes throughout.
The sounds and emotions of Maps remind the listener of the self-reflection and wisdom you get while traveling. Maps leans into the honest – and sometimes frustrating – feeling of travel as well. woods and Segal brought in more featured artists this time around – including indie hip-hop heavies like Quelle Chris and Aesop Rock. And teamwork makes the dream work: the eighth track, “Year Zero,” has some of the hardest bars we have heard all year with Danny Brown bringing his heavy hitter sound of the underground hip-hop.
This post would be better had Sam or Sean written it. Their knowledge of electronic music is vast and I only dabble in the genre. However, I am really digging Soichi Terada’s Asakusa Light so here we are.
For those who don’t know (like I didn’t), Soichi Terada is a Japanese electronic music composer who’s been making music since 1989. His latest album Asakusa Light is jam-packed with groove and pulsating beats throughout, it’s a real head-bobber. Please check out “Double Spire” and “Takusambient” (below) and let his music speak for itself as it is way better than the writing in this post.
Asakusa Light is out now via Rush Hour and is available on vinyl and digitally through Terada’s Bandcamp page. Enjoy.
Nathan Womack is one half of the fabulous Paces Lift & Ben Bounce project, as well as the guy behind the Wax Thématique label. He also just released his debut single Past But The Dream. Taken from samples found while crate digging in Bangkok, Thailand and Guangzhou, China, Nathan has constructed two killer tracks full of funk, soul and groove. You can check out both tracks below, I highly suggest that you do.
Past But The Dream is available now on vinyl via Wax Thématique’s website and digitally via their Bandcamp page. Enjoy.
I’m not really sure how to accurately describe Courtesy’s sound, but it’s somewhere in the realm of: wonky, electronic pop with some heavy-ass beats and grooves for days. Their most recent album, Check The Milk has the wonk dialed back just a bit (versus their last album Slow Bruise), but there is still plenty of it with the heaviness and grooves cranked up to 11. CTM is one hell of a record – like seriously good – and I can’t recommend it enough.
Check out the album opener “Shell Sock” (below) for a taste. It’s so good and a great example of what to expect from the rest of the album. I just snagged the LP from them and I can’t wait for it to arrive so I can blast it throughout the house.
Check The Milk is out now via Seasick Records and is available digitally and on wax from their Bandcamp page. You want this record. You need this record. Enjoy.
Eastern Rain, the newest EP from Nathan Womack (who is also one half of 3hive favorite Paces Lift & Ben Bounce), is inspired from Womack’s many years traveling and living in Asia and collecting music while there. Eastern Rain is 4 tracks of music sampled, recorded and produced in Kunming, Yunnan, China. It features hand-pan drummers, local Guqin instrument players as well as additional synths and beats from (another 3hive fave) RUMTUM.
Eastern Rain is a relaxing trip abroad even though it only lasts for 14 minutes. The best part of this trip however, is you can take it over and over again any time you’d like. Eastern Rain is available now via Nathan’s Bandcamp and Wax Thématique. Enjoy.
Sean Byrne (as LAZY SALON) has just added another standout album to his already stacked catalog of LZ releases. Lazy Salon (his new self-titled release) is 34 minutes of chilled out, sweeping instrumentals, layered over the top smoking hot drum beats. These 8 tracks are the Calgon for the soul, especially during these COVID-19 times. He calls them “cosmic instrumentals” which pretty much nails it.
Give “Wild Travels” (below) a spin, it’s a great example of the entire album’s goodness. Lazy Salon is available now on Bandcamp. I highly recommend it.
Khruangbin Con Todo El Mundo (Dead Oceans) Durand Jones & the Indications self-titled (Dead Oceans)
Bodega Endless Scroll (What’s Your Rupture?)
Jean Grae & Quelle Chris Everything’s Fine (Mello Music Group)
Janelle Monae Dirty Computer (Bad Boy)
Altin Gun On (Bongo Joe)
Smokescreens Used to Yesterday (Slumberland)
Idles Joy As an Act of Resistance (Partisan)
Low Double Negative (Sub Pop)
Cut Chemist Die Cut (A Stable Sound)
I encourage you to enjoy these on vinyl (link will go here as soon as I get off my butt and update the online store).
And because 2018 offered so much more music than can fit neatly in a Top 10 list, here are my 23 favorite songs of the past year…
LAZY SALON is back with Boot Magna, his newest release of tasty, hypnotic beats. Boot Magna is split into 2 sides, side one is more uptempo and dance-friendly while side two takes things back a bit with a more chilled-out vibe. Boot Magna is made up of a combination of remixes, new tracks and previously unreleased tracks. LAZY SALON is damn good at what he does and Boot Magna is no exception. You can snag Boot Magna now via LAZY SALON’s Bandcamp page – I highly recommend that you do.