Horse Lords – Hidden Cities

Featuring quite peculiar synth work, funky bass and drum lines, alternative guitar melody loops and slick sax playing, the functional centre of Horse Lords’ sound rotates on a steady axis of African, Western and Eastern concepts, conveying musical ideas and cadences that are, quite frankly, perfect to read something to. However, no matter how quietly you listen to their new album, Hidden Cities, at some point or another, you’re going to look up and marvel. Containing a handful of longer pieces separated by either busy or relaxed interludes, Hidden Cities is certainly one of their best works to date and sends them further out of the depths of Baltimore and into the eerie misshapen land of prog rock.

- Fin Worrall

Kairon; IRSE! – Ujubasajuba

Finland’s Kairon; IRSE! dropped their sophomore album here this past fall, and I’m incredibly happy this thing didn’t end up slipping by me while we still have some time left in 2014.

The thick, blissful, and syrupy sounds of shoegaze are what you’ll find all over this record. Obscured vocals hiding behind layer upon layer of blaring guitars, but the band also isn’t afraid to embark upon a progressively building post-rock jam in the vain of Silver Mt. Zion Orchestra or Do Make Say Think. An unlikely fusion of genres that sounds really great in this instance.

Wilting Sun – Self-Titled

Some strange and relaxing drone and experimental music on this new Wilting Sun album here. While Wilting Sun is careful not to step into anything too accessible, there’s quite a bit of variety on the six tracks here. Some tracks, like the intro here, deliver a mind-numbing drone, but manage to maintain an unsettling atmosphere pregnant with tension. Other moments sound like they’re pulled straight out of the Tim Hecker or Boards of Canada playbook, combining beautifully haunting melodies with soul-crushing noise and fuzz . As the name implies, the music of Wilting Sun is apocalyptic, desolate, and an ideal soundtrack for the end times.

Beyond Creation – Earthborn Evolution

I’m no technical death metal fiend, but I’ve been warming up to the new Beyond Creation album lately, and I’m really liking what I’m hearing. These guys dropped a debut album in 2011, but Season of Mist reissuing the record in 2013 gave the band some serious momentum.

It’s not hard to figure out why a label like SoM would salivate at the prospect of working with a band like this. The playing maybe be flashy, but the writing being executed here incredibly catchy and tasteful. Not only that, but the band’s incorporation of fretless bass leads to a sound unlike any relevant technical death metal act out there today.

It’s great to hear bass playing such a pivotal role in a genre where it’s typically tacked on in the background. Plus, the fretless’ fluid, smooth tone brings finesse to a metal style that is typically a little too rigid for my ears.

I could go on, but I’d rather save something for the review, ya know? Stream Beyond Creation’s sophomore album via the widget above, and enjoy!

Clark – “The Grit In The Pearl”

English electronic music producer Christopher Clark just released his latest full-length on Warp Records this month. It’s self-titled. Of the songs I’ve heard thus far, I’m finding it much more experimental and intriguing than his last album, Iradelphic, and “The Grit In The Pearl” is moment that must be highlighted.

The bouncy, overlapping synth leads are complimented with a driving kick drum that really brings clarity and order to the track as it continues to build this amorphous wall of reverb-slathered tones. It’s focused, but incredibly explorative as well–especially with that noisy drone in the song’s second half.

The Bug – “Mi Lost” ft. Miss Red

If there’s a way to hold attention, it’s to hint at a payoff that never arrives. The Bug’s trap-dub influenced beat swells quite a few times throughout the, but the song dissolves into a formless chorus before any kind of release is ever achieved. Miss Red’s vocals are a prime example of the childish delivery that has become omnipresent in British electronic music. They are passable at best and verge on grating at points. Nevertheless, The Bug’s masterful manipulation of tension alone makes the song worth a listen.

Check out a review of the latest Bug album right here.

- Garrett Cottingham

Black Rain – Dark Pool

A tense and frightening fusion of electronic music and dark ambient coming together here on this Black Rain album, which recently dropped via Blackest Ever Black. Give it a listen via the embed above, and enjoy!

From what I understand, physical copies are currently sold out, but you can still grab mp3s on Bandcamp.

Sterilizer – Self-Titled

Ready yourself for some of the most crushing, distorted industrial metal you’ll hear this year! It comes from a one-man project by the name of Sterilizer, and this new self-titled album has some fantastically visceral riffs and drum beats all over it–even the instrumental tracks stay pretty engaging despite the lack of a lead vocal.

Hellish, rigid, and merciless: This is industrial distilled to its core elements, and then executing them immaculately.

Jessica Pratt – “Back, Baby”

With a voice like Janis Joplin minus the cigarettes and guitar playing like an angel with problems, Jessica Pratt seems to be a rising contender in the folk rock world. Pratt’s original and peculiar approach is simple, but allows her to enter a completely different category to modern folk rockers: a strummed or plucked guitar, and vocals that hold such unfamiliar nuances that their beauty really lies in the heart of the listener. “Back, Baby” is a single from her upcoming album titled On Your Own Love Again, which is being released on January the 27th.

Although the track is similar to her previous work, there seems to have been some emotional progression. Reminiscent of a pregnant Joan Baez at Woodstock, Pratt tells a tale of a lover from the past, a man she wishes she could revisit, but understands the consequences could be dire. As she “sometimes prays for the rain,” I pray her new album lives up to the standard that this single has set.

- Fin Worrall

Lee Bannon – Main/Flex EP

After the success of his Alternate/Endings full-length earlier this year, I think it’s safe to say music fans and critics alike have accepted Lee Bannon‘s sudden transition into the world of drum ‘n’ bass.

The West Coast producer is now backing that move up with a new EP titled Main/Flex, which features a surprising and varied guest list: Hak of Ratking, Deejay Earl, and Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante. Not only that, but Lee’s typically atmospheric production feels even more vast at some points–I mean, the track “RMF-2″ is pretty much an ambient cut.

Give a listen to this EP via the embed above, and pick it up on iTunes here.