“Letting Go,” by Duster—You might recognize Duster for existing briefly in the late ’90s before evaporating from music, only collaborating to push out the occasional lo-fi album. The group would eventually reconvene to produce music in the name of a contemporary shoegaze revival, inspiring the next generation of melancholy garage-based music artists—for example, Snail Mail.
“Only Shallow,” by My Bloody Valentine—Typically seen as the progenitors of the typical shoegaze dissonance, My Bloody Valentine disrupted the late ’80s by redefining noise as it relates to pop music. As a result, “Only Shallow” stands as a testament to the power of loud, droning guitars that compound the song’s intensity throughout its four-minute runtime.
“Sudno,” by Molchat Doma—Many consider Molchat Doma to fill a weird niche of “YouTube-core,” as their music awkwardly shows up in everyone’s recommended videos. Despite this, the Belarusian post-punk trio owes a majority of its success to a solid and revolutionary tonality that reflects upon its unique origins.
“Panique,” by Juniore—Juniore, point blank, produces some of the most incredible music to emerge from France. The group takes notes from the new-wave dance genre as well as traditional French folk-culture while embracing a DIY approach. “Panique”’ highlights this odd fusion in the best ways with an ironically dark and twangy surf guitar backed by tinny and lo-fi production.
“Beetlebum,” by A.G. Cook—Legendary producer and Charli XCX collaborator A.G. Cook made ripples recently with his seven disc album, highlighting the newest sounds to come out of the “PC music” scene. Frankly, it may be as important to the cultural canon as Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works 85-92.
“Venezuela Riddim,” by Hak Bakar—Hak Bakar made “Venezuela Riddim” for intimate and friend-filled feel-good settings, composing the music almost as a toast or celebration to the experience of the community itself.
“Pull Up,” by Blanco—Blanco proves the adaptability of the UK underground scene to take new drill sounds and make them its own. Fans of American drill will unarguably recognize similarities in all facets, save for lyrical content and slang.
“Lockdown (feat. JID, Noname & Jay Rock) – Remix,” by Anderson .Paak—Anderson .Paak star-studs his already-topical single with some of the biggest names in the rap game to draw attention to the injustices of our country. Unsurprisingly, it’s important that people listen to it as soon as possible.
“AUATC,” by Bon Iver—This track is admittedly a new favorite; iconic artist Justin Vernon takes notes from American folk and, in some ways, flips the entire fundamentalism found within on its head, incorporating both electronic and traditional musical elements to compose a new anthem for the average American blue collar.
“Hot Sugar,” by Glass Animals—I’ll be the first to say now that this album was awful, but “Hot Sugar” was a welcome return for Glass Animals, emulating distinctive, earlier sounds from their debut project Zaba without having to appeal to their Coachella audience that knows them for unconventional pop-electronica.
“Oh Shit!!!,” by Injury Reserve—Injury Reserve has always been a personal favorite in that they, like all of their dedicated fans, are complete music nerds that make the most outlandish references and jokes. After the passing of key member and lyrical powerhouse Jordan “Stepa J.” Groggs, I can’t help but return to their 2016 breakout album Floss, with “Oh Shit!!!” playing a major role in establishing what a listener should expect from the Arizona rap trio: abrasiveness, counter-culture symbology and general small-town delinquency.
“church,” by boylife—boylife is a difficult artist to define, but his recent single “church” has been aptly nailed as a sort of “industrial gospel.” Naturally, this means complicated noise sections compounding with church choirs and unconventional progression.
“Cakey Cakey,” by Lil Ugly Mane—Travis “Lil Ugly Mane” Miller has always been a name in the dankest and darkest portions of Bandcamp, single-handedly manipulating the Memphis rap sound and establishing himself as one of the best to ever touch it, bringing inspiration from his time as a black metal musician to the growing hip-hop scene.