1. Open Mike Eagle - “Ziggy Starfish (Anxiety Raps)” - A Special Episode EP - I discovered this one from one of Spotify’s personalized Discover Playlists and it is still my favorite find from there. Open Mike Eagle does a great job of combining vulnerability with comedy. One of my favorite lines is, “Woke up thinking I’m Batman, and every town is Gotham, I log onto my twitter page, and start bending over like Gollum.”
2. Seth Bogart - “Flurt (Feat. Chela) ”- Seth Bogart - Seth Bogart is better known as the frontman for the queer punk band Hunx and His Punx. A delightful combo of cheesy 80’s synthpop, disco, and garage rock. This is just the type of album I’ve been looking for this summer: fun, silly, but still made with a lot of heart.
3. Shabazz Palaces - “Swerve… the reeping of all that is worthwhile (Noir not withstanding)”- Black Up - Ishmael Butler was a member of legendary hip-hop group Digable Planets in the 90’s and finally reemerged a few years ago under the moniker Palaceer Lazaro in Shabazz Palaces. This song has an irresistible beat in the body of the track and a transcendent, futuristic drum circle outro.
4. Daniel Bachman - “Happy One Step”- Jesus, I’m a Sinner - Although I was raised in the suburbs and have never spent any significant amount of time in the country, I still have a special place in my heart for country music. Even though this isn’t typical of Bachman’s style (his AMAZING guitar playing takes the background here). It represents why I love country music, a time machine into a bygone era.
5. Jorge Ben Jor - “Forca Bruta” - Forca Bruta - I don’t think I’ve ever heard music more full of joy and life than the music Jorge Ben Jor makes. If this album can make a wallflower like myself dance, you know it’s gotta be freakin’ groovy!
6. Vince Staples - “Summertime” - Summertime ‘06 - Vince Staples was on the cusp of turning 22 when this album came out last year. This song makes me so excited for what he could do in the future. I love the glitchy synths and the despondency in Vince’s voice. I really love this couplet about Vince’s experience growing up black in America, “My teacher told me we was slaves, my mama told me we was kings.”
7. Vatican Shadow - “Enter Paradise” - Remember Your Black Day - One of Dominick Fernrow’s many projects, Vatican Shadow focuses on oppressive industrial techno that deals with politics and terrorism without offering any opinions on the matter (which I find really fascinating). This sounds like the soundtrack to a gladiator fight in a post-apocalyptic arena.
8. Coil - “A Cold Cell” - Backwards- A beautiful track by the experimental electronic legends Coil. There are couple different versions of this track, but this is my favorite. The haunting synths and John Balance’s pained vocals make for an insanely sad and great song.
9. Harvey Milk - “The Anvil Will Fall” - My Love Is Higher Than Your Assessment of What My Love Could Be - Harvey Milk (named after the famed gay politician) is one of the weirdest metal bands out there and this song is an example of them executing that weirdness to its full potential. Sludgy doom, folk balladry, and a reimagining of “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” all rolled into one awesome track.
10. Altar of Plagues - “Reflection Pulse Remains ”- Teethed Glory and Injury - Before this album Altar of Plagues fit pretty comfortably into the atmospheric black metal/post-metal genre (admittedly, they did the sound very well). They decided to alter their sound drastically for Teethed Glory and Injury and the result is stunning. A weird cocktail of black metal, industrial, doom, post-rock, and UK based electronic music. This grew on me steadily over the past couple years and is now one of my favorite metal records.
Ryan Gilchrist is a circuit builder, boxer, and assembler at EarthQuaker Devices. He has an Associate of Applied Science in Recording Arts Technology from Cuyahoga Community College. Ryan enjoys puppies, ice cream, and crying while listening to Kanye West. He records music as Cosmic Joke