Jade Hairpins' Harmony Avenue exudes the free-spirited exuberance of a side project, jam-packed with ideas and vivid tone colors, and aimed for both the melodic and harmonic sweet tooth.
Ocean Bridges is proof that genre crossovers can sound organic, and that the term "crossover" doesn't have to come loaded with gimmicky connotations. Maybe we're headed for a world in which genres are so fluid that the term is dropped altogether from the cultural lexicon.
Stezo died in his sleep on 29 April at age 51, leaving behind a legacy begging to be properly commemorated. His 1989 album Crazy Noise has been buried in the annals of hip-hop history, an underappreciated dollar-bin find that serves both as a time capsule for hip-hop's late 1980s golden era and a lesson in keeping it real.
Stephen Malkmus' Traditional Techniques melds folk-rock flavoring with junk-food surrealism delivered through his characteristic brand of irony.
On Disco Volador, the Orielles offer a thrift shop of sounds and gratify those who like their indie rock danceable.
Squarepusher's Be Up a Hello asserts that what some would consider an outmoded sound palette can still be mined for fresh ideas, that IDM in its golden-age variety has yet to reach its zenith.
The best stories in Chuck Klosterman's Raised in Captivity are the ones that most closely resemble his thinly-veiled essays.
Chris Schwartz's memoir on founding Ruffhouse Records attempts to be many things but doesn't fully deliver on any of them, making for a conventionally-structured memoir that often reads as slapdash and dry.
In Go Ahead in the Rain, Hanif Abdurraqib blends his talents as both culture critic and personal essayist for a meditation on perhaps the most influential hip-hop group from the genre's sample-laden boom-bap era, A Tribe Called Quest.
Eula Biss's essay collection remains compelling not only for its elegant prose that melds politics and personal essay but because its subject matter may be even more relevant today.