Steve McQueen, the 1985 crown jewel of the Prefab Sprout catalog, is an ‘80s pop album—and it sounds like it thanks to the synth work of “She Blinded Me With Science” eccentric Thomas Dolby. But what makes it timeless is the impassioned songwriting of Paddy McAloon, who belts his misty-eyed poetry as if every word could shift the fabric of the universe; he’s nearly a peer of Prince and Kate Bush as far as writing songs that stick in the head before revealing their cerebral pleasures over time.
Singeli is a Tanzanian genre of electronic dance music that makes most stateside rave music look tame. Nineteen-year-old DJ Travella is one of its most creative young guns, and his debut album, Mr Mixondo, plays like a Mario game on ecstasy, feeding sugar-sweet melodies and little yips of Auto-Tuned vocals into an industrial grinder, its tempos rocketing past 200 BPM. It’s out on Nyege Nyege Tapes, a label whose back catalog is a portal into some of Africa’s strangest, most exciting music.
Vylet Pony has been releasing queer fantasias on furry themes for nearly a decade, starting with dubstep and blossoming somewhat inevitably into hyperpop. Even at an hour of pop-punk guitars, Auto-Tune, and elaborate mythology, her new album, can opener’s notebook: fish whisperer, is modest compared to some earlier releases (the 40-track Super Pony World: Fairytails, for instance), but it’s a great entry point for anyone looking to throw themselves headfirst into the vortex of her catalog.
If you’re going to jam out on one chord for 40 minutes, you could choose a worse one than the gorgeous minor piano chord that forms the backbone of Australian avant-gardist Lisa Lerkenfeldt’s 2020 tape-loop composition, A Liquor of Daisies. That chord surfaces every few seconds as lapping water and lonesome train whistles perfume the background, a meeting of solid, liquid and gas. It’s definitely the kind of thing you have to be in the mood to listen to. But if you are, it hits like nothing else.