Last updated on October 4, 2021
1 “Timbuktu” – Stables. If you listen closely, you can hear the ghost of Simon and Garfunkel clapping along.
2. “Hospital Job” – INWARDS. Fans of Dan Deacon will recognize the slightly batty stack of major key synths, ghostly vocal samples, looming paranoia, and beats. INWARDS’ approach is more, uh, inward-looking than Deacon’s technicolor hallucinations, but the same basic concepts apply. The 360 video that goes with it amps the intensity of the discomfort up to 11, while still being enjoyable. An impressive trick!
3. “Believer” by Kodiak Arcade. Not everything I love comes up on this blog. For instance: I am a very big Avicii fan, so much to the point that I curate a playlist entirely of songs that follow Avicii’s very specific song formula: acoustic verse, acoustic/electronic chorus with indelible hook, EDM drop that reiterates or expands on that hook, repeat. Kodiak Arcade’s “Believer” does something similar to this! It starts off with an acoustic chorus with a perfect hook, then brings a lovely acoustic verse, reiterates the chorus, then goes for a wavy/psychedelic/electronic drop. It’s like a tropical version of an Avicii jam. This is not about to become an EDM blog, don’t worry, but “Believer” is the apex of a certain type of EDM song, the sorts of artistically-inclined pop that this blog spent many years covering, and solid instrumental composition that excites me these days. Get it, Kodiak Arcade.
4. “Sex Tape” – Hippo Campus. Is this from the ’90s? The ’00s? The ’10s? Is this vaporwave? hyperpop? I have no idea. I don’t care. It’s awesome.
5. “Charlie Chimi” – Charlie Chimi. This is a wacky alt-latinx electro cut that came to be because it was a jingle for a sandwich shop run by musicians who ended up being better at jingles than sandwiches. (I still want to try the sandwiches.) The video is truly bonkers in the best way possible.
6. “Sept.” – Violetera. Do you love breathtaking landscapes taken by drones? Do you love pensive, minor-key, guitar-heavy post-rock? Apply within.
7. “Smell Smoke” – Dylan Gilbert. Gilbert is an architect when it comes to instrumental work; his pieces are constructed out of lots of different pieces, all calculated for maximum effect. This one has bits of techno, industrial, vaporwave synth, and found sound, all added up to sound like fear and yearning. I’m not always into music that’s supposed to make you think more than make you hear, but if it makes me think and feel, I’m cool with it. This does both.
8. “I’m Not a Dancer” – Steven Thorn. I love the concept of making a dance song about not dancing. Thorn’s high-pitched yelp matches the ’80s-heavy electro-pop backdrop in a perfect way.
9. “Elizabeth” – Jake Aaron. I love the peaceful nature of Aaron’s acoustic guitar compositions; they seem to flow effortlessly out of the frets in a gentle stream. This one carries on his streak of high-quality releases.