Spotlight: VA - Rework: Philip Glass Remixed [Kora / Ernest Jenning / Orange Mountain]
The idea for Rework was rooted in a conversation Glass had with newfound collaborator Beck. If two revolutionary musicians from different eras joining forces isn't setting the stage already for what a monumental task was at hand, then add even more impressive boundary-pushers to the bill and you'll get an idea. A pioneer of minimalism, Glass' massive repertoire of original works lend themselves well to new interpretations. Joining Beck on the remixes is an impressive international group of contemporaries who are themselves testing music limits, just like Glass did a in a generation past. The bill includes ex-Battles member Tyondai Braxton, Brazilian electronic artist Amon Tobin, Japanese experimentalist Cornelius, Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson, Dan Deacon, Nosaj Thing and Memory Tapes, just to name a few. While there are many overlaps with these artists, each still crafts Glass' originals into something entirely unique, marrying it with their own styles so that there are ambient cuts, multi-movement mashups and even several IDM and house-influenced tracks. Rework joins the plethora of other events and milestones that mark Glass' 75th birthday in 2012 and is definitely worth a listen, if only for the sheer breadth of collaboration.
Bat for Lashes - The Haunted Man [EMI]
Probably one of the more anticipated releases this year, Natasha Khan doesn't disappoint and puts out another versatile, infectious mix. And while The Haunted Man may be slightly more straight-cut than Khan's previous two full-lengths, it still exhibits what Khan does best: a haunting delivery against an eclectic backdrop.
Black Moth Super Rainbow - Cobra Juicy [Rad Cult]
Released on their own label, Cobra Juicy is the result of a Kickstarter project that was enthusiastically funded for more than 200% its original goal. Tobacco and company release another spacey album that's even dreamier and creepier this time around.
Gary Clark Jr. - Blak and Blu [Warner Bros.]
Gary Clark Jr.'s major label debut could very possibly be the pinnacle of his career, hot on the heels of several jaw-dropping live performances at festivals. Clark Jr.'s soulful blues rock expands into jazzy, psychedelic and even R&B-inspired cuts for a range of heavy guitar riffs alongside mellow ballads.
GRMLN - Explore [Carpark]
UC Santa Cruz student Yoodoo Park isn't even 20 yet and is already doing wonders with simple instruments. His debut Explore EP consists of seven tracks of beachy bedroom rock, some more punched up than others, a perfect followup to his eye-catching self-released Bandcamp tracks from 2011.
Kendrick Lamar - good kid, m.A.A.d. city [Interscope]
One of the most anticipated albums of the year, hell, one of the best albums of the year, comes out this week; Kendrick Lamar's good kid, m.A.A.d. city. On his first "real" album, Kendrick Lamar, recently honored with the Lyricist of the Year Award, battles his demons with gut-wrenching honesty. Heavy as most of the material on gkmc is, his nimble rhymes, technical prowess and the strength of the production on this album keep listeners engaged and entertained.
...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead - Lost Songs [Superball]
Andy Burrows - Company [self-released]
Cemeteries - The Wilderness [Lefse]
Diamond Rings - Free Dimensional [Astralwerks]
Further Seems Forever - Penny Black [Rise]
Goodtime Boys - What's Left To Let Go [Bridge Nine]
InDreama - InDreama [Team Love]
Jherek Bischoff - Scores: Composed Instrumentals [Leaf]
Jonny Greenwood - The Master OST [Nonesuch]
Main Attrakionz - Bossalinis & Fooliyones [Young One]
of Montreal - Daughter of Cloud [Polyvinyl]
Paul Banks - Banks [Matador]
Rah Rah - The Poet's Dead [Hidden Pony]
San Cisco - Awkward [Fat Possum]
Solid Gold - Eat Your Young [Totally Gross National Product]
Talk Normal - Sunshine [Joyful Noise]
The D.O.T. - And That [The Beats]
Titus Andronicus - Local Business [XL]
U.S. Girls - GEM [Fat Cat]
Yellow Ostrich - Ghost [Barsuk]