Jerusalem in My Heart, Mo7it al-Mo7it [experimental/world music?, Constellation]
This album mixes my love of Middle Eastern culture with my love of weird experimental ambient shit. I listened to it a lot to get me pumped about doing my homework for Minorities in the Middle East. Its made by a guy from Montreal, but it can still be best described as Arabic experimental music. Traditional Middle Eastern sounds meet a more Western fascination with space and noise. I've never really heard anything like it. I don't know enough about weird ass music to say smart things about it. Good album.
Iceage, You're Nothing [punk/post-punk, Escho]
This was I think the first great album of 2013 that I listened to. Denmark is alongside Sweden with their very unique sounding brand of regional punk and hardcore. This album is particular is a great mix of occasional melody with vocals drowned out by full-out instrumental aggression. Combination throwback and new school punk. Indie/alternative/post-punk sensibilities thrown in there too. “In Haze” is one of the catchiest tracks.
M.I.A., Matangi [hip hop/worldbeat, Interscope]
Pitchfork wasn't super into this album. Fuck Pitchfork. MIA is an immortal worldbeat hip hop goddess. YALA.
Mohammad, Som Sakrifis [experimental/drone, PAN]
I listened to this a lot when reading Scorch Atlas. These guys are Greek I think, or at least this album is inspired by traditional Greek music (sorta). There might be a cello in here. Possibly a contrabass. I don't actually know. I really like drone music for some reason, but I don't really know what makes it good or bad. I think this is good, but probs just because a person who reviews stuff told me it was good. Who knows.
My Bloody Valentine, MBV [alternative/shoegaze, self-released]
Last semester my roommate Perry had this on vinyl and always listened to it. A weird amount of nostalgia attached to this album. I think My Bloody Valentine is one of my favorite bands that I haven't realized is one of my favorite bands. The whole shoegazey genre just gets me so fucking bad. “Who Sees You” reminds me of the concept of college.
Omar Souleyman, Wenu Wenu [Arabic pop, Ribbon]
I plowed through this album every time I would chip away at a term paper about Algeria (Souleyman is Syrian but I didn't let that dampen my inspiration). A lot of dumb pretentious hipsters who make shitty ~conceptual~ indie-world music cite Souleyman as an influence (guy's been active since like 1994), but those people are racist and I hate them. This album is very poppy and dancey, and I guess it could be described as electro-dabke (a genre of Levantine wedding song). Kinda discoey, too.
Pity Sex, Feast of Love [indie/alternative, Run for Cover]
I think everyone I know who makes a point of listening to music was at one point obsessed with this album. It was often spinning on Derrick's kinda shitty turntable we have in the living room (sorry Derrick). Brings up all sorts of happy and sad feelings. Quintessential college rock. “Keep” and “Hollow Body” are the songs that CUT DEEP.
The Range, Nonfiction [electronic, Donky Pitch]
I guess this might be house music but it seems more peaceful. All these songs are very pretty. Sorta transcendent. The songs have breakbeats, drums, basses, and other neat stuff. I like the album art, too. “Everything But” sorta sounds like a reimagined chillwave song.
Tree, Sunday School II: When Church Lets Out [hip hop/trap, self-released]
Been really into trap music the last month or two (#turnup). Tree describes his music as “soul trap” (which is also a thing from Skyrim according to Google). All of the samples off of this mixtape are pretty soulful. Obviously soul samples are absolutely nothing new in rap music, but in trap music I can't really think of a precedent. It ends up being pretty enjoyable. “The King” is hands-down my fav track just cause the Elvis sample is so damn hypnotic.
Sigur Ros, Kveikur [ambient/sorta post-rock, XL]
I'm a sucker for anything by Sigur Ros. Years of listening to them makes Jonsi's cooing falsetto feel like home. A familiar sense of melting. I remember when I was at a New York Model UN conference my pseudo-reggae weed-rap loving hotel roommate bonded with some Australians who were going to hit up a Sigur Ros concert that night. He had no idea who Sigur Ros was. When I showed him one of their songs he was very upset and confused. Later that night we all got wicked drunk and ran from hotel security and I made out with a Russian girl named Nadya. Me and her Korean roomie took selfies.