The yam is the power that b.

Is Kendrick Lamar talking about the new Death Grips album? Who knows. What I do know is that we have the fantastic double album The Powers That B in studio A this week. Supposedly this is Death Grips’ final album, but that seems to be up in the air at this point. Regardless, this thing is wild. The first half is sporadic, electronic hip-hop, while the second half is essentially a hardcore punk album. It’s really intense, and really good.
In addition to that, we have a really noisy live album courtesy of Destruction Unit, and a collection of wonderful, Billy Joel-esque piano ballads from singer-songwriter Tobias Jesso Jr.


**= push *= recommend

ARTIST                                         ALBUM                                             DESCRIPTION                                    LABEL

Death Grips* The Powers That B Experimental hip-hop trio- very abrasive and hypermasculine. HUGE noise rock/punk/hardcore influence. First disc largely electronic based with disorienting glitchy production. Second disc is guitar-based- LOUD. CYBERPUNK. AMAZING. ALL FCC UNCLEAN. Harvest
Destruction Unit* Live in San Fransisco Noisey, messy, chaotic. Vox are pretty low throughout but overall it’s really good. Switches from fast, aggressive punk songs to hazy reverb-soaked psych jams. These dudes like to jam live, so a few songs are much longer than studio versions, which is dope. This is great. RIYL: Jay Reatard, noise. Try: 2,3. Castle Face Records
Heems* Eat Pray Thug Actually pretty dope. Sweet production with both humorous and deep lyrics. A little tough for on air, FCC out the wazoo. Try 5,6,1. Megaforce
Tobias Jesso Jr.* Goon Soft rock piano driven music. Soft spoken ballads. This dude is like a modern day Billy Joel, which is a good thing. Very nice production. Play 3,6,10,11. True Records
Wand* Golem Noisy garage rock with tons of reverb etc. thrown on it. Awesome riffs and psychedelic textures. Very, very cool. Play 2,3,5,6,7,8. RIYL: Ty Segall, Meatbodies, Thee Oh Sees. FCC clean. In The Red Records
Chastity Belt* Time To Go Home Seattle-based rock band with a great wit and songwriting strength. Loaded with “jaded melancholia”. Real catchy guitar melodies and laid back vocals. Lovely, cool tunes. Definitely “college”. RIYL: Colleen Green, Tacocat, Speedy Ortiz. FCC #4. Hardly Art
Young Buffalo* House Fun, upbeat indie rock borrowing from Vampire Weekend and Surfer Blood among other indie acts. Catchy riffs and choruses to make a good range of songs. Very accessible album. Rec: 2,6,9,10. Votiv
Jack Ladder and the Dreamlanders* Playmates Well crafted new wave/synth pop that oscillates between bright surfaces and darker depths. Very tastefully done if not exactly original. FFO: early Talk Talk, Nick Cave, Roxy Music. FCC clean. Fat Possum
Nic Hessler* Soft Connections Guitar-based power pop with an 80s/90s influence. Reminds me of R.E.M but the vox sound just like the guy from Wild Nothing. Upbeat love songs w/ the occasional breakup ballad. Very poppy and catchy. RIYL: Wild Nothing, R.E.M. Try 1,4,6,10. Captured Tracks
San Cisco* Gracetown Really accessible indie rock. RIYL Vampire Weekend, Tops, Tennis. Island City
Houndstooth* No New From Home Fuzzy indie rock that sounds like it’s wrapped in a blanket, not a lot of dynamics, everything’s pleasently midtempo. Play 1,3,7. RIYL: Posse, Real Estate, Luna, Yo La Tengo. No Quarter
Choir Vandals Collecion Dude has a cool voice but the instrumentals are really boring and derivative. 4 and 10 are Title Fight rips. Pretty “safe” alt rock, lots of reverb. Not a lot of melodic variation in the vocals either, his cadence is the same in almost every song. FCC 5-14. Try 2. RIYL: Title Fight 6131
Go Wolf Running Short, poppy EP. Synth pop triangles, female backing vocals. Upbeat, but the shortness gives no depth to the EP. Ooh La La
Vision Fortune Country Music Slow and melodic, changing and basic beats. Dischordant guitars and synths do little to brighten up this album. A new listener may confuse for something avant-garde. ATP
Lilly Hiatt Royal Blue Country Zoey Deschanel playing some good ol Dixie Chicks style country rock with a heavier emphasis on the country. Could swear the first 4 songs were basically the same. Slower songs work better. Normaltown
Via Taniaa Via Tania and the Tomorrow Music Orchestra Early Adele/Amy Winehouse vocals over elegant and subdued orchestral music. Very low-tempo, softly layered arrangements over every song. Repetitive towards the middle of album. Narooma Records
Family and Friends Love You Mean It Standard folk rock, great isntrumentation. Try 2,4,5. RIYL: Oh Hellos, Head and the Heart. Self-released
Bearhug So Gone Cool guitar work. Reminiscent of Sonic Youth/Dino Jr. Vocals are distorted at times, even when the guitars are clean. 2 and 5 are cool but the other ones drag on a bit and are very same-sounding. Dude mumbles his lyrics. RIYL: Sonic Youth. Try 2,5. Universal
Is Tropical Black Anything Pt. 2 Electro-pop, chill. Hypnotic- for track 1 it’s the drums, track 2 it’s the vocals. Try 1. RIYL: Chromatics Axis Mundi
Bad Veins The Mess Remade No FCC violations. Really good. Unique sounding. Irishy? Cool instrumentation. Try 1 and 3. Dynamie Music
Prinze George Prinze George FCC clean. Mostly female vocals. Great sound. Listen to 2,3,1. Sounds Expensive
Frogbelly and Symphony Blue Bright Ow Sleep Weird, dramatic, almost theatrical rock. All over the place, jazzy, psychedelic. FCC 3. Try, 3,7,10. Labelship
Robert Reid Sky Blue Sea Calm, folky, soft, slow love ballads. Acoustic and electric guitars (3) with stripped down piano (8,9,10). Starts strong, ends repetitive. FCC clean. Self-released
Champs Vamala Soft pop, warbly male vox. Melody-driven tunes, focus on piano, guitar, vocals. Lovely songwriting, a nice variety in these tracks. Some upbeat, some folky, all very radio friendly. FCC clean. Try 1,2,4,7,8,9. Pias
Sarah Bethe Nelson Fast-Moving Clouds Dusty, slightly psychedelic pop/rock with breathy female vox. Try 5,8,6,10. FCC clean. RIYL: Mazzy Star, Red House Painters. Burger Records
In Tall Buildings Driver The album has some lush rhythms and is on the softer side. Some issues with production, as I wish the music would be more pronounced, more powerful/emotional. There is a simple almost melancholic vibe to the songs but also a flatness. Try 4. Western Vinyl
Diamond Rugs Cosmetics Easy listening, punk/soft rock/alt style. Interesting lyrics, heavy use of drums and guitars. FCC 5. Try 2,3,10. RIYL Smashing Pumpkins. Sycamore Records
Cave of Swords Sicile Homogeneous electronica. Good for background noise. Relaxed and unalarming sound. RIYL (but not as cool as) Phantogram. Boxing Clever
Low Gut Connie Hi Honey 50s and 60s inspired rock n roll music. Track 11 sounds like a Chicago B-side. Track 8 has an FCC violation, so use the radio edit when needed. Play 2,3,8/13, 11 Contender Records

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