Author Archives: djsacramento

Defrag – “GlassShip” (Single) [Hymen]

It’s difficult to judge an artist’s whole body of work off of one single, so I’m not entirely sure that Defrag’s “development as a composer has violently touched every genre” as the promo blurb insists, but this particular single touches down somewhere between goth rock and ambient, with a soupçon of vaporwave thrown in for […]

MATT BERRY – “BEATMAKER” FEAT. EMMA NOBLE (single) [SELF-RELEASED]

Brand-new at the beginning of the year, this soul-funk cover of a 1970 Doris song cruises along in a sweet, cocktail-drinking, canapé-eating groove that’s never heard of a pandemic. Flies a little close to the original and lacks the big organ n’ horns solo, but sometimes all you need is a modern throwback that’s horrifically […]

JESSICA AMELIA (OBVIOUS TELLS) [SELF-RELEASED, LOCAL]

Burlington-based singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jessica Amelia’s new 11-track album is delightfully quirky and still punk af*. It’s heartfelt, somewhat atonal DIY with unusual toy instruments and, if I’m not mistaken, actual wood-working tools, along with Amelia’s own unmistakeable voice. The songs all largely deal with issues of queerness, harassment and spaces — some safe, […]

THE ZAMBONIS – LIVE ON THE ICE (SERIOUSLY) [SELF-RELEASED]

What a fabulous day for novelty hockey records! And I say that solely because my beloved San Jose Sharks beat New Jersey last night, so all is well in the world. Also, there’s a new Zambonis record. So all is… okay in that world. I know! I really wanted it to be awesome too. But […]

CHRISTINA VANTZOU & LIEVEN MARTENS – SERRISME [EDIÇŌES CN]

A delightful seven-song album of sound poems. The first song is possibly light applause, or heavy rainfall, or possibly uncooked peas in a funnel; only close, repeated listening can say for sure. The second, ambient car noise with occasional dogs and rushing. The third, seven minutes of cold knitting noises. Number four walks us back […]

PAN DAIJING – “JADE” [SELF-RELEASED]

Murmured, experimental spoken word. Lots of gritty distortion, lots of squealing brake disc noises. One track sounds like a theremin involved in a road traffic accident. One track is covered in bees. Challenging and mildly disturbing, in a way that’s hard to pin down. FCC: Clean GMR Artist: No Play: 2, 4, 7 RIYL: Aaron […]

PROFESSOR ELEMENTAL – NEMESIS! [SELF-RELEASED]

Well, well, well. If it isn’t the erstwhile hero of early 2010s chap hop, Professor Elemental. He’s back, and this new album catapults us right back to the world of time-traveling, trouser-exploding, tea-drinking, knee-worshipping whimsy. In the vein of earlier albums like “The Indifference Engine”, “Father of Invention”, and “School of Whimsy”, this one tells […]

This is the kit – off off oddities [rough trade]

*swoons* Oh, okay, an actual review? Fine. A subset of extras and alternate versions from last year’s “Off Off On”. Very classic This Is The Kit: Kate Stables’ lambent alto floats atop softly layered harmonies. Nothing is super-fast, or super-urgent; it’s all very easy and gentle. Like listening to a feather bed. The first song […]

GINNY GI – SONGS TO DROWN SAILORS TO [SELF-RELEASED]

Remember when we all went temporarily batsh*t for exactly one sea shanty some dude made a Tik Tok about? Well, spoiler alert: some people have never gotten over their love for singing about the ocean. Also? Goth mermaids. So, you put that all together with a (me-)hearty dash of mythology and homicide, and you get […]

AARON DILLOWAY & LUCRETIA DALT – “DEMANDS OF ORDINARY DEVOTION” (SINGLE) [HANSON]

An exquisitely unlistenable new piece from two of the modern masters of thought-provoking, incomprehensible noises. A little bit broken garage door, combined with haunted piano and your entire family on acid. FCC: Best of luck to them. RIYL: NIN, Trent Reznor, the noise a filing cabinet makes when thrown down four flights of stairs

LAUREN O’CONNELL – “THE KILLING MOON” (SINGLE) [S/R]

Yes, that Killing Moon. A very good Echo & the Bunnymen cover that goes slower and more emo than the original, with gloriously syrupy results. O’Connell’s voice remains the best instrument at her disposal, but this arrangement well does it justice, with layers of synth and guitars and whatever the plunking thing in the corner […]

Victoria Rawlins – “Drama”(Single) [s/r]

Summer’s the perfect time for music that heavily evokes the Miami Vice / Michael Mann / neonwave scene. Relaxed and eerie, it’s a little disconcerting that the vocals wait a full two minutes before coming in and are truly difficult to understand, but we appreciate the vibe nonetheless. Available here. FCC: Clean  RIYL: Jan Hammer, […]

various artists – 1980-something: an 80s cover comp for no more dysphoria [heavenly creature]

Mmm. Covers. You know they’re either going to be spot-on or ultimately forgettable, and who even is going to make that determination? That’s right: you will. You, the listener. Great idea, amazing cause, and quite a few enjoyable covers. Plus: lots of vaporwave! Even better, all the proceeds from the album go to the nonprofit […]

The Cog Is Dead – Incognito: Cog Covers, vol. 1 (s/r)

Y’all. First off, I– Black Hat. Black suit. My shady clothes.Mustache twirled tight beneath my noseCreepin’ I lurk in the shadowsCause I’m a criminal. Boo! Hiss!At me when I’m aroundthat miss I’ll take without a soundmy lair is hidden undergroundMy scheme? The pinnacle! –love covers, but only when they diverge significantly from the original enough […]

Peggy Lee – Decca Rarities (UMG)

If you know Peggy Lee, you know what you’re getting, even if these are rarities: super soft, crooning light jazz from the 1950s, heavy on the harp glissandos. Think Perry Como and you’re halfway there. As a bonus, this collection avoids all nine (9) of Lee’s songs that have appeared on the Billboard Hot 100 […]

PALOMA FAITH – INFINITE [SONY UK]

Okay look: Paloma Faith is all about pop. Alllll about it. And this album’s no exception. This trite bubblegum pop aspires to be something a little deeper and nearly succeeds, except when it doesn’t. The lyrics are very basic (“We got the love, we got each other, we’ll survive”), the arrangements straightforward and boppable. But […]

Ani diFranco – Do or Die (single), [Righteous Babe Records]

Does what it says on the tin. This feels like a very welcome throwback Ani sound with soft jazz, like Not So Soft meets Knuckle Down. The lyrics all pertain to what’s happening right now in the United States, and I think we can all agree that we need Ani to keep releasing songs until […]

Graham Nash – Vote (single) [Blue Castle Records]

Gentle and insistent, much like you have to be when you convince your family to head to the polls this year and do the right thing. While he originally wrote this tune back when all the American people had to contend with was Richard Nixon, legendary American folk songster Nash only released this understated and […]

Professor Elemental – Professor Elemental and His Amazing Friends, Part 2 [Tea Sea]

An introspective, Brexit-free and darker Elemental offering, filled with thoughts about touring and growing as an artist, and with a strong theme of THE INTERNET IS TERRIBLE. Liked and Shared! Remixes of some well-tread favorites (and frankly “You Remind Me of the Hustle” needed an update, just possibly not… this one) cuddle up to a […]

Julia Nunes – UGHWOW [Rude Butler]

Holy lo-fi bedroom pop, Batman, a new Julia Nunes album! Musically mature while the lyrics are an internal monologue of feelings distilled down to a basic core. Lots of the non-traditional instruments Nunes is famous for (toy xylaphone, ukelele, kazoo) woven into the backgrounds. Very early twenties (she said, from twenty years on) and earnestly […]

Adam and Cuth — “Actual Cake” [SELF-RELEASED]

Delicious low-tempo, relaxed and groovy hip-hop. Rich with samples and clever wordplay, each song paints a picture of contentment, or at least only mild disgruntlement, mainly aimed at Brexit.     Label: self-released FCC: 4, 6, 7, 9, 11 Start with: 1, 3, 5, 14 RIYL: Moon Dials, Frankie Stew, Teej, Edward Scissortongue, Ty

L.A. Girlfriend – “Is Freedom” [SINGLE] [SELF-RELEASED]

Straightforward 80s-style summer synth about luuuuuuuuv. Simplistic lyrics and a rainbow of chords over an artificial bassline with all the taste and none of the calories of the real thing. Bop along or drive with the windows down. Label: self-released FCC: Clean RIYL: Pat Benatar, Lush, Voz Propia

She Past Away – Disko Anksiyete [Metropolis]

Riding the current 80s vaporwave zeitgeist, She Past Away’s dark electronica would be perfect for late-night studying or for making overcast afternoons feel like a missing episode of La Femme Nikita. Driving synth beats meet lengthy, judgmental Casio chords and a depressed baritone. Also: laser noises! Plus, the whole album’s in Turkish. Label: Metropolis Records […]

Various Artists – Say Yes! A Tribute to Elliott Smith (American Laundromat)

A collection of rock so soft it’s one amp away from folk, these covers of Elliott Smith tunes are down-tempo and slightly dreamy, with some solid standouts. Track 5, Juliana Hatfield’s “Needle in the Hay” is musically complicated and hummable and has Juliana Hatfield in it. Track 9, “Waltz #1” by Escondido, is the best thing I’ve heard […]

OIM: Vol II (OIM Records)

A whole lot of sighing soft rock in one place. Track 3 is like The Brazilian Girls doing meditation. Track 4 has likely appeared in one of David Lynch’s dreams. Track 5 will appeal to people having a mid-life crisis. Track 6 escaped from a late ’90s young persons angst movie. Track 10 wishes it […]