In What We Heard we highlight a few choice quotes from our writers regarding albums that stood out from this month, and provide you with a playlist of this month’s best songs (featured in the “Favorite Tracks” section of each review).
“Yung Gud and Yung Sherman (…) pushed their melancholic Arctic soundscapes into something much more ambient, all-encompassing, and haunting. Minimalism doesn’t quite do it justice, and STRANGER regularly tiptoes around having ambient and art pop as its most identifiable sonic references, especially towards the end; Lean demonstrates a commendably chameleonic ability to make use of an instrumental backbone many rappers wouldn’t, and couldn’t possibly, be capable of touching . . . STRANGER is daring in its refusal to even entertain notions of traditional genre identification. STRANGER is innovative in its production and further melding of cloud rap and alternative R&B. STRANGER is occasionally alienating and enraging in its unwillingness to meet you even close to halfway.” — Thomas Seraydarian on Yung Lean’s complex and vibrant cloud rap odyssey STRANGER.
“(Mavis Staples is) no stranger to an era of turmoil, after all, her family band, The Staples Singers’, imprint on the civil rights movement was nothing short of remarkable. IF ALL I WAS WAS BLACK is her assuring us that now’s the moment to build before anything truly falls apart. And if it does, there’s always the chance to rebuild.” — Nick Funess on Mavis Staples’ Jeff Tweedy produced solo album IF ALL I WAS WAS BLACK
“ . . . The Body does what The Body does best, creating walls of noise that would clear the floor of all but the most hardened scenesters (or the posers with the most to prove, I guess), while Full of Hell, interestingly, throws much of their usual death/grind approach out the window . . . There is no staircase leading up out of the darkness on this mountain. There is no guardrail. It is a perilous, punishing climb into a blinding, burning light.” — Joseph Simpson on The Body and Full of Hell’s punishing and atmospheric collaboration ASCENDING A MOUNTAIN OF HEAVY LIGHT