What to Listen to This Week

Long before Lil Nas X, mischievous gay men were using electronics and puckish humor to celebrate and skewer the Wild West.

SOMETHING OLD

Long before Lil Nas X, mischievous gay men were using electronics and puckish humor to simultaneously celebrate and skewer America’s Wild West mythos. Longtime personal and professional partners Matmos’ 1999 album The West achieves a genuine saloon dustiness even as it flaunts its electronics. Though the flashes of steel guitar are no surprise given its title, it’s just as delightful as a grandiose name for an only sort of epic album that tickles the funny bone as much as the brain.

SOMETHING NEW

Lavender Country just put out their first album since the ‘70s. Patrick Haggerty has spent decades in Seattle as a social justice activist and frontman for the archetypal traditionalist gay country band. Any time anyone suggests to a queerdo that country belongs to the Toby Keiths and Morgan Wallens of the world, Haggerty will be there, just like Tom Joad. Blackberry Rose is more jocular and less heartbreaking than the band’s 1973 debut, but hey—maybe that’s a sign of progress.

SOMETHING LOCAL

After the personal turmoil chronicled on this year’s I’ll Look for You in Others, Patricia Wolf offers a first taste of her more “playful” new album for Balmat. See-Through drops May 13, and its debut single “Springtime in Croatia” is the most complete fusion yet of her synth work and her ability to obtain the crispest field recordings imaginable. Though it first appeared on a 2021 comp from Seattle label Secondnature, Wolf’s insistence that See-Through is its “spiritual home” is promising.

SOMETHING ASKEW

May Philip Jeck’s memory be a blessing; the British turntablist, who skewed old vinyl records into melancholic memory collages long before anyone had ever heard of vaporwave, died this week at the age of 69. Though Vinyl Coda is the work he’ll be most remembered for, his releases on the Touch label are uniformly great—not least of all 2002′s ingenious Stoke, which corrals more sounds previously unheard to human ears than just about any other record in history, and the gothic-ambient sweep of 2004′s 7.