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Arca - XenArca – Xen

Arca is a very of the moment producer (some of Yeezus and one of my favorite albums of the year FKA twigs’ LP1), and Xen is very of the moment experimental electronics.  The album is hard hitting, glitchy, full of space, and in many ways harsh.  It’s also safe to say it is where a lot of experimental electronic music will be going in the next year or two.  This is an album to listen to on headphones when you don’t have anything else going on and can wallow in the oddness.

Deerhoof - La Isla Bonita

Deerhoof – La Isla Bonita

Experimental indie pop band Deerhoof has been around for 20 years and continues to explore different sonic palates.  Starting as a noise pop band before moving to quieter indie pop and exploring everything from electronics to instrument switching to Japanese vocals (primary lead singer Satomi Matsuzaki is a native of Japan), Deerhoof is one of those bands that is more influential than popular.  La Isla Bonita is an excellent distillation of their sound while appearing more on the less experimental end of the spectrum.  It’s also just a really fun listen.

We Are the Willows - Picture (Portrait)We Are the Willows – Picture (Portrait)

As We Are the Willows, Peter Miller makes lovely singer/songwriter style folk.  For this album he drew lyrical inspiration from a few hundred letters written by his grandfather to his grandmother during World War II.  Backed by an excellent band, including a string section, the songs on Picture (Portrait) are written in the first person.  This decision brings an immediacy to what could otherwise be an overly syrupy conceit.  (It also makes Miller his own grandpa…yes that’s a terrible joke about a really sweet idea/album.)  Listening to Miller, as his grandfather, ask his beloved not to worry about him because he’s “got God and coffee grounds” and assuring her he intends to marry her is truly a special experience.  It brings a good deal of happiness, because we know he was successful, but there is also an undercurrent of sadness for all the soldiers who wrote similar words but were unable to follow through with them.

An author and editor at MiG, Craig lives in Minnesota with his wife and son and is an attorney in his real life. Once upon a time Craig played the trumpet and spent four years in the Hawkeye Marching Band and pep band. These days Craig finds himself most often listening to experimental rock, hip hop, and post punk, but you can see everything he's listening to at: Craig is not ashamed to admit the first concert he ever attended was New Kids on the Block.
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