Miles Raymer, Reader music critic
Badfinger, No Dice (Apple):
If all you know of Badfinger is “No Matter What” and “Without You,” you’re missing out. The high point in a tragically underappreciated career, this 1970 disc finds them pulling together power pop, psych rock, blue-eyed soul, funky country twang, and pretty much everything else that was good about this era in rock music, and turning it into a what could have been the White Album’s slimmer sequel.
Chllngr, Haven (Green Owl): Nothing takes the edge off of a hot and humid summer’s day like icy, minimalist don’t-call-it-dubstep. Copenhagen producer Steven Jess Borth II borrows Burial’s grayscale moodiness and haunting sonic palette and infuses a hot shot of posthuman g-funk.
Ssion, Bent (self-released): The latest from Cody Critchloe and his band of pervy troublemakers is based in the poppy, house-infused club music of the late 80s that birthed “Like a Prayer” and dressed up with enough sonic references to industrial music and modern electro to keep it from being simply a nostalgia piece. Meaning Critchloe’s the gay Kansas City art punk that Lady Gaga only wishes she was.
John Yingling, videographer and blogger (hotmetaldobermans.blogspot.com)
Lechuguillas live at Mortville, June 17: I’ve seen few bands over the years that can get an entire shitty basement full of jaded kids jumping around like this band. Ear-piercing noise so effortlessly looping into manic drumming. Frighteningly talented, but sloppy enough live to appease lovers of drunken debauchery. Screaming that would make Rick Froberg raise an eyebrow. They’re moving to Austin soon, so catch them live while you can.
Close Hits, Hang on Me: The Chicago band’s first release, a five-song tape released on Ian Wisneski’s Maximum Pelt Records. It’s a short, party-friendly outing, full of soul. It makes me want to get a girlfriend, and then break up with her.
Piss Piss Piss Moan Moan Moan: Alejandro Morales and Nicole Miller make up this two-piece noise band. Do not mistake this for your normal droning noise act. Swirling theremin from Miller squeals out over synth samplings from each, and when it really heats up, that’s when Morales jumps on drums and sends everyone into a musical oblivion. Catch it live.
Rotten Milk, member of Cave and solo artist
Boney M, Boonoonoonoos: This is the third album by the medley-heavy 70s Eurodisco “supergroup” to totally enchant and inexplicably captivate me this year. “We Kill the World (Don’t Kill the World)” is a funny proto-“We Are the World.” It doesn’t really matter what Boney M sings about, all that matters is how smooth they sound doing it.
Yolanda Be Cool, “Pa Parla Americano”: Built around a sample of famous midcentury Italian crooner Renato Carosone, this song’s highly infectious synth-beep hook was in turn ripped off by LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem.” The most ubiquitous sound of this summer, you have heard some version or remix of this bumping out of cars and Pilsen apartments dozens of times by now, whether you are aware of it or not.
Domino Sound Record Shack and Mississippi Records Mix Tapes: The staff at these two small sister stores—in New Orleans and Portland respectively—consistently produce the most diverse, well-researched, and just downright killer mix tapes imaginable. We’re talking old cumbia, 70s African pop-rock, obscure 30s blues, and everything in between. Both stores only sell vinyl and tapes, neither sells over the Internet, both are worth the trip.