Miles Davis – Miles Smiles

miles-davis-miles-smiles

Wow. Just wow. This is Miles Davis at that stratospheric peak he seems to ride every few albums, the ones with mountains of praise written about them over the decades. For some reason it’s far less revered than the likes of Kind of Blue, Bitches Brew, and On The Corner, but it’s just as important to his development as an artist and just as incredible of a listen for jazz fans today.

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Chuck Johnson – Balsams

Chuck Johnson’s latest album Balsams was the first music I heard after my son was born. In its own low-key way, it was the perfect introduction to the world for a newborn baby. This is some of the most sumptuous, warmly crafted, undeniably human ambient music I’ve heard in years.

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Jefre Cantu-Ledesma – On The Echoing Green

Jefre Cantu-Ledesma is one of the most creative guitarists alive, perhaps the preeminent abstract painter when it comes to using the instrument as a brush.

His music transcends basic understanding of what guitar music can be, transporting listeners to realms buffeted by noise and gauzy atmospherics, spaces where traditional notions of the instrument are blasted away like a sandstorm. His latest album, On The Echoing Green, aims that sense of free-form exploration in a refreshingly melodic direction. It’s a change that results in his best work yet.

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Boards of Canada – Seeya Later

Boards of Canada are one of the most unique groups in modern music. Even a casual fan could spot their sound in a matter of seconds. Since their first album, they’ve called Warp Records home, but they’ve never been comfortable in any of the genres that legendary label is known for.

Weaving between neon-drenched hip-hop and menacing techno throb, they’ve charted a singular sound that is utterly approachable from any angle. It’s weird electronic music that your mom, your little brother, anyone can instantly nod along to. With that in mind, I present their best early track, Seeya Later, with a beguiling fan-made video:

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Twin Peaks Is Really Back // Chromatics – Shadow

I can’t believe it, but it’s real. Twin Peaks is really, actually, totally back.

This is one of the weirdest moments in my art life, witnessing the full resurrection of a long-dead favorite narrative. It’s something I honestly never expected to happen, and was never sure I actually would welcome. I’m so thankful to be wrong.

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Yume Park [mixtape]

Take a little journey into the digital forests of ancient Japanese video games and half-remembered dreams. This is Yume Park.

This mixtape takes a hard swerve into exotic space, bouncing rhythm, and funky groove. It’s a get-up-and-go sound for getting lost in the woods, resolute meandering after dark, a gateway into the balmy nights of summertime.

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Vince Staples – Big Fish

Vince Staples has been on a nautical kick for a while now, so it’s appropriate that his upcoming full-length album is called Big Fish Theory. Following the Life Aquatic world tour, the logical next step simply had to be Vince rapping on a sinking sailboat.

Thus, the setting for his new single, Big Fish. As with his prior videos, it’s a worth slice of visual art. The song is a low-key banger, too:

 

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