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December 2021 Singles 1

1. “Triptrap” – Big Space. This guitar/electric bass/drums trio fuses funk, post-rock, and jazz in a vibrant, exploratory piece. It’s the best type of improv, where the lead guitarist just seems to be playing whatever comes into his mind, and the back-line knows where it will likely go anyway. An excellent performance. Highly recommended.

2. “Afterlife” – Frances Luke Accord. There’s nothing that FLA does that I don’t love. This delicate, sun-dappled folk-pop piece on a nylon-string guitar is the epitome of warm sounds. The vocals only contribute to the feel. And there’s whistling! Highly recommended.

3. “Rock, Flag, & Eagle” – Consider the Source. A wild fusion of disparate ideas into a unique and distinctive whole: there’s flamenco, prog, folk, indie rock, and other bits throughout. Highly adventurous music.

4. “Kizanka (feat. Kazuki Arai)” – Takahiro Izumikawa. Izumikawa’s lo-fi hip-hop takes a very spacey, proggy turn. Unexpected and interesting!

5. “The Road” – David M. Stowell. Spacey prog with an undercurrent of hope that draws me in. So much prog reads as unemotional noodling to me, but this has heart.

6. “Parenthesis” – cecilia::eyes. Shoegaze is usually too abrasive for me, but this cloudy haze of guitar and vocals feels more like dream-pop than shoegaze proper. Wherever you want to put it, it’s a lush, laidback cushion of sound.

7. “Island Hopping” – Monster Rally. Tropical-inflected lo-fi hip-hop that will appeal to fans of Space Age Bachelor Pad and Clams Casino.

8. “Chapel” – Andy Aquarius. The image is evocative: garbed in chainmail headgear (a la Beowulf) and equipped with harp, Aquarius seems like a time traveler from the Middle Ages. The elegant, floating piece here combines fluttering harp patterns with female melismatics and Aquarius’ relaxed voice. It’s a compelling piece.

9. “Live @ Ääniä Festival Äänekoski Finland 2021 44​:​22 – Instrumental Trip​-​Hop Journey” – Juhani Saksikäsi. A headbob-inducing longform set of grimy, punchy trip-hop. Certain moments verge of industrial (metal clanks, water drips, and motorik beats abound), but the overall vibe is one of adventure instead of grim industry.

10. “Tina’s Song (Don’t Believe)” – Matthew Solberg. A fleet indie-folk tune about regrets, spoken from a person who’s clearly still working through things in their life. The lyrics are interesting and poignant.