Daniel’s 25 Favorite Albums of 2017

Eric Renner Brown from Entertainment Weekly, whom I follow on Twitter, noticed it at about the same time I did: there haven’t been a lot of truly great albums this year, but there have been more good ones than usual. None of these albums are ones I’m unlikely to turn to in the future. Often I get past six or seven on a year-end list and wonder what these albums I’m putting on there even are. I named Vashti Bunyan’s Heartleap my sixth favorite album of 2014, I think, and I haven’t listened to it since at least then. But this is the first year since I started making lists where I plausibly could have made a top 50 and not regretted any of my decisions. In fact, I’m sad about having to limit my picks to 25, and I pine for all the great albums that missed the cut.

I’m not sure what Brown’s reasoning for this would be, and to be fair I can’t pinpoint any real sociological phenomena behind this, but my year-end list would look a lot more paltry if not for all the great ambient albums that came out this year. I wanted to split my list into two. I was even tempted to make “all the great ambient music this year” my number one album but found the lines between ambient and non-ambient too vague to make a clear distinction. Is Varg’s Nordic Flora ambient? What about Shinichi Atobe’s Chain Reaction holdover From The Heart, It’s A Start, Work of Art? Wikipedia even classifies St. Vincent’s Masseduction as “ambient rock.”

I lean towards music that’s unobtrusive. It’s a bias that affects all my writing. I listen to a lot of music, but only a small percentage of the time am I really engaging with it. I fall asleep to an ambient album most nights, and on a commute or a walk I tend to just throw on something I like and zone out to it. So as far as new releases go I tend to get most excited about the things I can throw into the general color of my day. I have a higher tolerance for a mediocre ambient album than a mediocre opus. More good-to-great ambient albums in a year means more music from this year I’m likely to carry with me into the future. A lot of the albums I consider my favorites aren’t ones I’d consider to be particularly “good” or that would rank that high on a year-end list.

But my favorite album, the album from a year I choke up just thinking about, is rarely a measly ambient album but an album I can choose to put on when I want to be stirred to the depths of my soul—and, typically, one with a banger or two I can throw on when I want to have fun. For me, last year, that was Jeffery. Young Thug’s best tape is one of the most beguiling hip hop records I’ve heard, psychedelic in its commitment to nonsensical sound, but also emotionally hefty (his monologue on “Webbie” might be stoned rambling, but it’s poignant stoned rambling) and has plenty of songs that light up a party (“Wyclef Jean,” “Pick Up the Phone,” you name it).

My pick for this year’s album didn’t come as naturally as a lot of my past favorites. For a long time, I deliberated on number two before realizing number one would be the one I listened to far, far more often (it’s more up my alley, anyway). But compared to Jeffery, Reality Show, Beyoncé, Amygdala, Clear Moon, Kaputt, and New Amerykah, Pt. 2:—to go backwards through my top albums for each year this decade—it seems a bit slight. I chose it as album of the year as much because it’s a great album—which it is, no doubt about it—as for the fact that it really does seem like the album of the year. It signifies a rising star, it paints a great picture of what pop music in 2017 was like, it’s all but inescapable in music-nerd circles, it brought people together.


1. SZA – Ctrl

Ctrl was ubiquitous this year, and that’s one of the best things about it. Rarely does an album actually improve through being incessantly blasted. When it came out I resisted listening because I’d heard her Z EP three years back and wasn’t impressed (it’s better in retrospect, though she’s certainly made profound leaps as an artist since then). Then I heard it back-to-front in a pho restaurant, of all places, and was pleasantly surprised. Then I sat down and gave it a listen. Good album, I thought. It bounced around in the low teens of my year-end list for a while.

Then it started to make itself known. I think my attachment to “Normal Girl” marked a definitive sea change—especially the way she sings “mama,” savoring the sweetness of the word in a way that seems just a little perverse. Then I realized what a great line “Let me tell you a secret/I’ve been secretly banging your homeboy” is. (It’s the first part of the line that makes it great—so unnecessary, so petty, so purely pop.) “Normal Girl” and “Supermodel” started to see a lot of listening traffic. I started combing it for similarly great moments. Slowly, surely, it revealed itself.

Ctrl is sneaky. Musically, it seems a little conservative at first. Then you notice things: the folky harmonium buried deep in “Drew Barrymore,” for instance. The same goes for the writing: even though she’s comically blunt, as on the infamous homeboy line, she likes clever turns of phrase worthy of chin-scratching songwriters like Serge Gainsbourg (the “nobody/no body” pun on “Garden” is killer). Perhaps her closest forebear is Jazmine Sullivan, who topped my 2015 list and has a similarly wry sense of humor that works best in stream-of-consciousness songwriting.

Ctrl got mostly four-star ratings when it came out, then placed inordinately high when the year-end lists rolled around. That’s a testament to the way it grows on you (a similar phenomenon occurred last year with Kanye’s Life of Pablo, of which I am no defender) as much as to how much it really seemed like the album of the year. Damn. aside, this might be the only truly popular album from this year everyone can agree on. SZA fandom is rabid in a way reserved for stars like Beyoncé. She could be that big, and what’s scary is she could do it on her own terms.

Top Dawg Entertainment hosts Kendrick Lamar, probably the most auteurish figure active on the charts and certainly among the most ambitious. SZA is looking to rival his success: not even Section.80 was talked about as much as Ctrl. I can see her taking a similar trajectory, following it up with bigger, better albums so ambitious and undeniable (artistically and chart-wise) as to pump some life back into the limp corpse of artist development. Ctrl feels so definitive it feels churlish to think too far ahead into SZA’s future, but the thought of what she’ll do next is chilling.

2. Richard Dawson – Peasant

Peasant is one of the great modern indie-folk epics, dropping us without defenses into a post-Roman Britain—the kingdom of Bryneich, specifically—where the nights are long and life is short. This might be the most compelling portrait of medieval unpleasantness since the Child ballads, and the characters are no more important to the picture than the cold, the wind, the rain, the spectre of early death—and, crucially, the smell. This might be the most olfactory album ever made, setting the scene as it does among “a dice of houses cast in clay and sheep-dung.”

Dawson delights almost sadistically in the awfulness of his medieval setting. Musical reference points are less apt than filmic ones: Polanski’s 1971 Macbeth, with its cruel bear-baiting scene, or Alexei German’s arduous, shit-drenched Hard to be a God. But he doesn’t take the low road and use the hostile environment as a metaphor for the evils of man. He writes about rain and sleet and blood and shit because that’s what medieval Britain was made of, and the lack of romance lets him humanize characters that could be clichés in the hands of a lesser songwriter.

A soldier complains “I am tired, I am afraid” as he marches to meet an unknown enemy. A beggar sells his last pair of shoes to buy a chicken for his wife to enjoy in her final moments. A couple makes a Faustian deal to save their child, awaiting a grave payment down the road. A weaver walks us through the drudgery of his urine-soaked job. A masseuse finds himself way over his head in his quest to find a mythical stone. A mistreated prostitute dreams of packing her bags and escaping her lot in life. Dawson loves these people. He roots for them, and so do we.

Dawson presents himself as a working-class songwriter, retaining his thick Newcastle accent, and there’s no doubt where his sympathies lie. There’s the album title, for one, and then the songs, each of which corresponds to its protagonist’s occupation (“Ogre,” “Soldier,” “Weaver,” “Prostitute,” and so on). Look elsewhere for noble intrigue behind castle walls. Peasant works just fine as a medieval fantasia, but at the end of the day, it’s an album about ordinary, weary people making their way through life, looking for a ray of hope in a world that offers them none.

Full review

3. Mike Cooper – Raft

The best album of the seventy-four-year-old British journeyman’s longtime experimental phase says out loud something the recent new age revival only implies: it’s nice to listen to music that transports us to a far-off corner of the globe, but couldn’t we do without the racism, the armchair ethnography, the infantilizing reductions of rich cultures to a few hokey instruments and cheesy myths? Cooper sells his music as “exotica,” and indeed we can hear traces of Southeast Asian and South Pacific music in his evocation of a voyage at sea. But he smartly scrambles the cues.

Raft’s great accomplishment is unmooring these sounds from internalized colonial associations. We don’t think of postcard post-war Polynesian paradises as we lose ourselves in Cooper’s compositions. We think of the spray of surf, the sting of sand kicked up by wind, the buzz of bugs, the scrape of reeds against skin. It’s no coincidence he named the album after the flimsiest of seafaring craft. This isn’t an album about the idea of the beach but the beach as a wild, elemental thing perched precariously at the edge of the world’s last unexplored wilderness.

Cooper comes across as an educated man filled with righteous anger towards the ravages of colonialism. Perhaps he, a well-off British man with ample time for leisure, isn’t the best person to make an ambient record reclaiming Hawaiian sounds in this way. But it’s rare to find an album that spins an escapist world while making a statement. If you want to be taken to tikiland, this music will do nothing for you; it’s harsher and more brittle than anything else that’s ever been sold as exotica, and in terms of pure sound it’s more akin to the laptop noise of Pita or Fennesz.

All ambient records want to take us to another place in some way or another, but Raft refuses to make the journey easy. It tests us, mentally and physically, and by the time it’s over, you should feel as rejuvenated as if you’ve just been for a long swim. Some will find it arduous. Others will find it a refreshing an answer to questions they didn’t even know they had about ambient music.

Full review

4. Young Thug – Beautiful Thugger Girls

I spent too long and foolish a time measuring Young Thug’s career by its trajectory to some goal. He’s been promising an album for years, supposedly called HiTunes, but rap fans should know better than to expect that to ever happen—not to mention that “albums” by mixtape-bred rappers such as Thugger tend to be compromised dilutions of their stars’ art. If you measure Thugger’s career by what he’s already given us, it’s one of the most impressive in rap, and Beautiful Thugger Girls isn’t an endpoint but, like everything he’s released, a delightful diversion.

He’s billed this as his “singing album,” but his voice skirts (and skrrrts) the borders of singing or rapping with such fluidity that the label is pointless. What this is is an benevolent, heartwarming domestic-bliss album—perhaps with his fiancé Jerrika Karlae, though he also brags on one song about having “50 shades of bitches.” Absent is the macho possessiveness conspicuous in R&B, where the singer seems ready to throw a glass or take you off his phone plan if you don’t give him good head. Thug will buy you a dog and babysit it. We want to be seduced by this guy.

Musically, Beautiful Thugger Girls pulls some pleasant surprises, though hardly the sea-change a lot of listeners seem to anticipate. The country influences have been a major talking point, and indeed he throws himself into the sublime opening track “Family Don’t Matter” with a literal yeehaw. But he’s no more a CMA-eating, truck-driving country boy here than Sly Stone when he pushed a yodel out of his coke-caked throat on “Space Cowboy.” Young Thug doesn’t terraform genres to his whim. He just tries them on for size, like a kid trying on a cowboy hat in the mirror.

And he’s still just about the best vocalist in pop, as much an heir to word-melting rappers like Ol’ Dirty, E-40 or his frenemy Lil Wayne as funk impressionists like Prince, George Clinton, or the aforementioned Stone. He’s still unintelligible about a third of the time, but making sense is overrated anyway; what makes Thug so inspirational is that so little about him makes sense. “I don’t want people to just be like, ‘I know,’” he famously said to rap mogul Lyor Cohen. We know.

Full review

5. Charli XCX – Pop 2

Here is an album for the pop world that should be rather than the one that exists. Free to indulge her wildest whims through the format of the retail mixtape, Charli XCX imagines a pop universe where the guests aren’t just Ed Sheeran and Future shoehorned into a perfectly good pop song but surprises like a rapper from Estonia or a drag queen from Brazil with a voice like burnt sugar. Where pop can still be weird and tactile, an outlet where the most out-there ideas of both star and producer can bounce within the box of having a hit. It sees pop as a challenge.

XCX will probably be forever best-known for “Boom Clap” and for co-writing Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” and Icona Pop’s “I Love It.” She seems to be in no hurry to make another hit, but she’s lavished as much love on what could be an ephemeral side project as on any Song of the Summer contender. The hooks stick, even as the music under them burbles discontentedly. It feels less like a prank than an act of confidence that she underlines the hook of “Tears” with a bloodcurdling scream from Caroline Polachek, as if to prove she’s written an unsinkable chorus.

There’s a kinship in these tracks to modern pop’s most fertile and avant-garde era: the early 2000s, when producers like the Neptunes, Timbaland and Bloodshy & Avant dared themselves to reach into the unknown and come back with pop-radio gold. That what was once mainstream now works best in the hipsterverse only seems to encourage her rather than holding her back, and some of the sounds here are so wild they couldn’t have worked on the charts at any time, save perhaps for early computer novelty singles like “Popcorn” or the Doctor Who theme song.

The beats are by A.G. Cook of the infamous PC Music, and though I initially found it creepy that Charli plays into the label’s aesthetic of 2D feminine appropriation, she’s at least embracing her music’s status as pop rather than shirking from it as so many pop stars do (see Sheeran, who still thinks he’s a poor subway busker). Even the title suggests a second coming of the entire genre, and though it won’t shake up the industry that much, it at least lets us imagine one that’s a little better. In an age governed by the Spotify gods, Pop 2 is refreshing for its blasphemy.

6. Gas – Narkopop

The initial run of four records and two EPs Wolfgang Voigt made as Gas in the late ‘90s seemed enough. With his hands busy with so many projects, it seemed churlish to ask for more. Narkopop isn’t as viscerally inspired as his earlier Gas albums; it exists more due to fan interest (a recent Box set compiles his best early records) than any burst of creative energy. But Voigt’s still peerless as far as sound design and the ability to evoke the awe of being lost in the forest. Voigt might be older, but the Königsforst that’s his lifeblood and inspiration still stands strong.

The sound design’s richer this time around, the bass heavier. The signature Gas kick drum seems to bubble up from under the earth than float in midair. The string samples do most of the talking this time around. This is the least psychedelic of his albums, the one most akin to how primal and terrifying the woods really can be rather than what they can say about the universe and the way things connect. These seem like flaws at first, but there’s not much use comparing Narkopop to his earlier work. It’s either a curious outlier or a new chapter in a legendary project.

Full review

7. Varg – Nordic Flora Pt. 3: Gore-Tex City

“Trains embody the fact of travel, the sense of moving through time and space and day and night.” This quote from Roger Ebert comes to mind while listening to Nordic Flora Pt. 3: Gore-Tex City, whose expansive world is largely glimpsed through trains. Many tracks are named for Stockholm transit lines, and the gentle chug of the beats, choked in white noise, easily brings to mind the ambient sounds of riding the railway. But the distant chords and chatter of vocal samples tell a different story—of the world that stretches past the train windows and into infinity.

Varg, the hirsute young Swede with an unexpected OVO Sound connection, is a frustratingly prolific producer with an unending list of projects and monikers. But this is no BandCamp trifle. Slot Gore-Tex City alongside Luomo’s similarly named Vocalcity and Burial’s classic Untrue in the canon of electronic albums that seem to be more than albums but glimpses into parallel worlds. Filling nearly the entire space of a CD as it does, Gore-Tex City can feel interminable. But that’s a strength, not a weakness—this album feels like it could go on forever if it wanted to.

8. Actress – AZD

No album this year delivered like AZD did. Disappointed by the beat-free obliqueness of 2014’s Ghettoville? Miss the spiky, irregular sounds of classics like Splaszh, R.I.P. and the underrated Hazyville? This is an Actress album in the classic sense, its fearsomely realized intention to be—an Actress album. He missed a great opportunity to self-title it. If it’s an admission of failure after Ghettoville flopped, at least he’s realizing where his strengths lie. It’s not his best album—it’s too heavy on the noise towards the end—but it’s definitive, and the best to play for a newbie.

Twisted, expressionist shapes leer out of thick digital mist. Lengthy, ominous ambient interludes slow the action down to a crawl. Vaguely Eastern melodies ooze out of snaky, winding synths. Academic references abound, but the sounds he make are stupid, lizard-brained Looney Tunes ones that sound spectacular in an altered state. When I listen to Actress, I’m reminded of Donald Sutherland’s English teacher from Animal House: he’ll wax high-minded about Milton, but at the end of the day he’d rather smoke a joint and talk about the universes in our fingertips.

Full review

9. Laurel Halo – Dust

Laurel Halo is one of the decade’s most exciting techno musicians, and she’s working at the peak of her powers on her third offering Dust. This is a record giddy with invention; something’s always bubbling, hissing, clanging, or banging, and Halo is never content to kill time with loops. it’s heady stuff, and it might not be immediately pleasurable, but it has so much to offer even those who find it frustrating might go back again to catch all the little details they missed the first time around. Halo’s generous in the amount of elbow grease she puts in to keep us on our toes.

Halo’s expressed frustration at being typecast as a vocalist due to being a woman, and while her last album Chance of Rain spoke largely through the slam of fingers against bank pads, Dust jettisons these concerns. This is pop music in the way Prince’s B-sides are: as much “songs” as coiling abstractions. Halo can still come across as a bit stiff and academic—and yes, one of these songs is an adaptation of a Brazilian poem I can’t made heads or tails of, for one—but this music is so joyous that that shouldn’t be a distraction.

Full review

10. Baths – Romaplasm

Will Wiesenfeld might be as well-known an online presence as a musician, filling Gay Twitter with horny screeds about whatever anime character he wants to fuck on a given day. Romaplasm, his third album under the consistently rewarding Baths moniker is essentially his Twitter feed set to music: an intensely carnal album set amid a sort of Legend of Zelda fantasy world, with video-game blips to match. It opens with Wiesenfeld climbing aboard an airship to surrender to wherever its kindly old captain wants to take him, on the map or in the bedroom.

If you’ve followed Wiesenfeld for long enough, this is par for the course. But this is no novelty music, and Wiesenfeld blows up the scale of his emotions to match the grandeur of the backdrop. “Abscond” may be about a midnight escape on horseback, but what are they escaping from? A possible clue: “You’re the ire of your father but the other half of me.” “Broadback” may be set amid a disastrous castle siege, but when Wiesenfeld screams “I don’t want you to die” as the song races to a close, all the sword and sorcery suddenly seems small.

11. King Krule – The Ooz

Archy Marshall’s always been more world-builder than singer-songwriter, and The Ooz is his most expansive work yet: a sprawling morass of sound that extends its diseased tendrils in all directions. It tests the loyalty of casual listeners at well over an hour, but longtime fans will recognize it as the culmination of a career that so far largely manifested itself in low-stakes tapes and EPs. It feels like The One—what critics mean when they say an artist has potential.

Full review

12. Yves Tumor – Experiencing the Deposit of Faith

Yves Tumor’s self-released sketch dump is a treat for the imagination. In his hands, two or three well-placed sounds illustrate an entire world. A horn blows solemnly as fireworks burst. A guitar squeaks out a sad melody as football fans cheer. They’re oddly unmoored from reality and seem to take place in another dimension, perhaps the distant future. It’s a singularly uncanny experience, and a promising next step in the career of one of music’s great modern collagists.

Full review

13. DJ Python – Dulce Compañia

Brian Piñeyro’s full-length debut as DJ Python is built on a stylistic fusion so ballsy and simple it’s a wonder no one’s done it yet: the insistent chords of reggaeton ensconced in the liquid chords of classic deep house. Dulce Compañia be commendable enough for pulling it off, but Piñeyro isn’t content to sit back and smirk at what he’s created. This is an immensely pleasurable dance record, the kind you can swim in for a while and emerge feeling rejuvenated.

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14. Demi Lovato – Tell Me You Love Me

Demi Lovato might never again have the clout she had in her Disney-starlet days, but rather than chase trends, she’s made an album that plays to her strengths: her tough-as-nails voice and her ability to sell a song. Tell Me You Love Me might not be particularly batshit behind the boards, but it’s good in an old-fashioned way: solid songs sung by a solid singer, adding up to 43 lean minutes that leave you wanting more. “Sorry Not Sorry,” its single, is a blessing to radio.

Full review

15. Earthen Sea – An Act of Love

As Huerco S. did last year, Jacob Long has made an exemplary ambient album by stitching together all the parts he liked from other ambient albums, mostly turn-of-the-‘00s Mille Plateaux and Chain Reaction offerings. But ambient music isn’t about originality but the physical sensation it provides, no matter who’s making it. And An Act of Love is deep, rich, foggy, and plushy—music for staring down foggy streets and watching streetlights fade into nothingness.

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16. Shinichi Atobe – From The Heart, It’s A Start, Work Of Art

The reissue campaign for the elusive Japanese producer continues with his leanest and most accessible work. I found this record underwhelming initially but soon found myself with “Regret” stuck in my head often—not something you can say often about a dub techno track. “Regret” and “Republic” are the two mammoth bangers that take up half the record’s runtime. The “First Plates” are sublime dub sketches. And “Test of Machines” one and two sound like exactly that.

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17. Ariel Pink – Dedicated to Bobby Jameson

When I first heard “Another Weekend,” I feared indie rock’s weirdest and funniest star was going “normal.” Hardly so. Though this is Pink’s most stripped-down offering since he quit the lo-fi hijinks with Before Today in 2010, it’s still heavy on the spiky atmospherics and artfully puerile anti-humor—how many other indie darlings are still writing songs called “Santa’s In The Closet” or “Revenge of the Iceman?” As usual, his best pop songs blindside us amid all the weirdness.

Full review

18. Ricardo Villalobos – Empirical House

The minimal master’s lushest, most ornate album is a testament to his skill at spinning psychedelic landscapes out of spartan sounds. As soon as the vibraphone on “Widodo” snakes into view, we’re in his world, and the record unfurls from there—seemingly to infinity, though at an hour it’s lean by the producer’s infamously excessive standards. Though Villalobos’s music can be frustrating, Empirical House is hard not to love, and a great first listen for neophytes.

19. Kesha – Rainbow

Kesha’s best album reclaims her sound in her own image. Though it goes hard on the signifiers of authenticity—rootsy country ballads, vintage classic-rock raveups—it not only feels earned but makes her past work look pale and silly. This is whom she seems meant to be. Don’t worry, the sleazy sing-rapping has hardly disappeared; she can still talk dirty with the best of them. But she’s capable of so much else, and the already-iconic high note on “Praying” isn’t even half of it.

20. Celer – In The Air, In The Wind, Upon Us

Exploring the Celer catalog means wading through a lot of dross, but In The Air, In The Wind, Upon Us—named for its three titanic tracks—is one of Will Long’s best offerings under the name. The operative word is “celestial;” these tracks drift for well past half an hour, but they seem to fill the room with light as they go by. You know how in cartoons you can just sink into a solid cloud and it’s the comfiest thing ever? In The Air, In The Wind, Upon Us is kind of like that.

21. I-LP-O In Dub – Capital Dub, Vol. 1

Ilpo Vaisanen, late of Pan Sonic, comes close to the extreme of how icy and polar electronic music can get with his intriguing I-LP-O In Dub project. You’d be generous to call anything on Capital Dub, Vol. 1 a melody; mostly this is all just dub-treated drums and ripples of digital wind. But the sounds themselves are kind of soothing (save for the all-out noise freakout of “Grace of Collapsing Unhealthy System”), and it’s a nice place to be for a while even if you need a jacket. 

Full review

22. Migos – Culture

Following the disappointment of Yung Rich Nation, Culture seemed primed as an attempt to stop chasing trends and just make a good rap record. But as the culture cycled back around to Migos, Culture became a definitive hit—14 songs built from delicious polyrhythms, with the unlikely trio of stars waxing ecstatic about their come-up. “Bad and Boujee” became the hit because Donald Glover shouted it out, but any song here feels like it could’ve been just as big.

Full review

23. Lorde – Melodrama

Melodrama is a sharp account of adolescent partyland—the kind of record listeners might find quoting to describe their own lives— but it’s not content to coast on being relatable. This is an opus that embraces its status as both an auteur record and a pure pop one. Two-part songs pay tribute to Loveless and Hounds of Love. Tequila shots are described about as poetically as they possibly can. It’s perhaps a bit too eager to show off, but at least it errs on the side of grandeur.

24. Elysia Crampton – Spots y Escupitajo

The most poignant futurist in American music breaks free from the album format with her new “sample pack:” eight “spots” and six longer cuts that pay affectionate tribute to Bolivian huayño and bombastic Latin radio, zipping by in a punkish 24 minutes slowed down by the gorgeous piano track “Spittle.” There’s no sci-fi backstory as on her other records, but it speaks for itself both as a personal document and one of the year’s most bizarre album-listening experiences.

25. Various Artists – The Bob’s Burgers Motion Picture Soundtrack

Finally, the definitive compendium of TV’s most music-drunk animated sitcom. Loren Bouchard’s songs spin a parallel world where the pop industry is a lot worse (a woman can gasp about her vagina over two notes and still have a hit in this universe) and his characters can rival it by bursting into songs. The empathy Bouchard has for his characters shines in the end-credits remixes, where Linda Belcher’s silly songs about diarrhea become rock anthems for the ages.

Full review


Bibio: Phantom Brickworks (review)
Bonobo – Migration (review)
Daniel Caesar – Freudian 
Future – HNDRXX (review)
Gorillaz – Humanz (review)
Karen Gwyer – Rembo (review)
Iglooghost – Neo Wax Bloom
inc. no world – Living EP (review)
Ariel Kalma – Eternalia
Laraaji – Bring On The Sun (review)
Lil Pump – Lil Pump (review)
Lil Wop – Wopavelli 3
Mac DeMarco – This Old Dog (review)
Matthewdavid’s Mindflight – Ophiuchus (review)
John Maus – Screen Memories
Jonny Nash – Eden
Perfume Genius – No Shape
Real Estate – In Mind
Ryuichi Sakamoto – Async (review)
St. Vincent – Masseduction
SW. – The Album
T-Pain/Lil Wayne – T-Wayne (review)
Tyler, The Creator – Flower Boy
Warmth – Home
Hype Williams – Rainbow Edition (review)