Aver & Cappo
Something From Nothing
Village Live Records
Aver's stunning 'Die Berlin Dateien' 2017 set was the first thing to hip me to exactly how awesome Village Live records are, so I'm cock-a-hoop to hear he's back with a new full-length (the soon-dropping 'Dressed For CCTV'), from which this is the first drop. Cappo on the verbals ensures sharpness and intrigue throughout, and I just love the untrammelled, zero-fucks-given hooligan freedom of this: rampaging beats, lunging bass and dread-filled loops combining to create a track as heavy and head-wrecking as prime Strange U. Superb, and can't wait for the album.
'Beats, Bits & Bobs EP'
'Labels' is the funky-as-a-mosquito's-tweeter lead off single — a compelling journey through D's history with rap labels, with awesome cuts and loops throughout — but go straight for the full EP, a vibrant, vivid collection of new ideas from the Whirlwind. 'Reap The Whirlwind' is a heavy-as-fuck, fuzzed-up battle-rap monster that recalls Son Of Sam, 'Radioactive Bass' plunges deep into some delicious '80s electro-funk textures, while 'Run Fast (Remix)' sees D join forces with Phil Most Chill to rip a hyperkinetic hole in your head, aided by frantic production from Miracle and lightning-fast cuts from Mr Fantastic. A whole caboodle of fun.
'Galahad In Goosedown'
I love the looseness of Milo's new album, 'Budding Ornothologists Are Weary Of Tired Analogies' (even if I resent, and as you can see, RESIST its insistence on lower case), so any single would merely be a snapshot of an album so horizontally nonchalant it's practically comatose. 'Goosedown' is as good an intro as any: strung-out, spacey jazz beats underpinning stream-of-consciousness cuteness that's typically Milo-esque. Welcome back, you whacked-out wonder.
'Gold & Green'
No Label/Self Released
The prolificness that the internet and streaming have opened up for independent artists is a dual-edged sword. On the one hand, artists like, say, Tha God Fahim, deluge you with so much new music it's difficult negotiating how much of it is worth your interrogation. On the other hand, if the artist is someone as uniquely brilliant as Bisk, I have absolutely no problem with him pretty much releasing an album every other week (he's already given us SIX this year). 'Gold & Green' is his latest single, and like pretty much everything he's done this year, it's an utterly compelling snapshot of a broken soul almost expiring in his own unheralded genius. Get all six of the albums 'cause they're fucking amazing, and get 'Gold & Green' right now. Bisk is life.
'Hugh Hefner '
Anyone smart enough to have availed themselves of Maf's 'Alcoholic Soul' in 2017 (and this year's 'Paint' and 'Zoo' albums) should be slavering at the news his new album 'Ginger' is out now, containing this superb single. There's something about the way Maf puts his grooves together, the poise and space of them, his clear grounding in dub, that puts him right up there for me with Kuartz, Aver, Remulak and Calvin Valentine as one of thee best creators of instrumental hip-hop out there. 'Hugh Hefner' is a hilarious romp held together with fab samples and a joyous sense of fun. Essential.
Open Mike Eagle
'Relatable (Peak OME)'
Love this, and the stunning EP/LP it comes from (the just-dropped 'What I Do When I Try To Relax' on OME's own new Auto Reverse imprint). The EP signals a slight softening of OME's sound — here we find luscious synths, a great trumpet solo and thick-sawed electronics, but it works beautifully. Lyrically, he's still utterly, incisively brilliant — this track is a fantastic list of his pliability for the current 'market', that really reveals just how much smarter than such chicanery he is. Funny, sharp, brilliant hip-hop.
DJ Muggs & Roc Marciano
'Shit I'm On'
Soul Assassins Records/Kobalt Music
A late breaking summery drop of stoned bliss from Muggs & Marc's 'KAOS' set. I've been reading a lot of people saying that Muggs (and other underground producers like Darringer) are getting samey at the moment — genuinely couldn't care less. I love the MONOMANIA of their work, and if anything, 'Shit I'm On' proves that, though known for doomy menace, Muggs can also lace together something as radiantly beautiful as a Pete Rock or Adrian Younge production. Get your windows down and cruise this round your town.
I know, I'd forgotten too. At a time when my creaky old brain has to try and think of the best albums of the year, FB's fantastic '22 Karma' NEARLY passed me by. Luckily, it's being put out in a 'Deluxe' version, and although normally resistant to that kind of repackaging, I'm a sucker for this, 'cause the extra tracks, of which 'Standard' is one, are sensational. Rag'N'Bone Man contributes a stunning cameo, as does Bangzy, and the haunted dancehall vibe is just gorgeous — check out the Faze Miyake remix 'n' all. Essential for any FB fan, and if you don't know, get to know immediately.
Homeboy Sandman & Edan
'The Gut '
Stones Throw Records
'Humble Pi' is seriously the funniest, psychest, most addictive US hip-hop I've heard this year, this side of the Madison Washington, Pan Amsterdam and Quelle Chris albums. Just utterly fantastic, and this new single is something of a highlight, not just 'cause of the way Edan fucks with the hook vocal until it burns itself into your cortex, but 'cause of the way Sandman's verses give in to Edan's vocals and swirl back and forth in the heady concoction he's cooked up underneath, all 8-bit maelstroms and krautrock funk. Utterly stunning.