David Bowie – Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)

Style: Glam Rock, Art Pop, Funk Rock

Vibe: Sleek, Eccentric, Energetic, Anxious, Grandiose, Urban, Dystopian, Theatric, Playful, Passionate, Futuristic, Manic, Sleazy, Surreal

Musical Qualities: Groovy, Polished, Dense, Catchy, Riffs, Anthemic, Rhythmic

Todd Rundgren – A Wizard, a True Star

Style: Neo-Psychedelia, Prog-Pop, Psychedelic Soul, Art Rock

Vibe: Triumphant, Colorful, Longing, Utopian, Eccentric, Futuristic, Joyful, Love, Manic, Playful, Psychedelic, Surreal, Uplifting,

Musical Qualities: Suite, Eclectic, Melodic, Dense Arrangements, Studio-as-an-Instrument

Holger Czukay – Movies

Style: Collage Pop, Progressive Pop, Art Rock, Krautrock

Vibe: Playful, Surreal, Party, Colorful, Futuristic, Eccentric, Sunny, Groovy, Warm

Musical Qualities: Sampling, Dub, Sound Collage, Rhythmic, Melodic

Jamire Williams – But Only After You Have Suffered

Style: Future Jazz, Organic Beat Music, Jazz Rap, Collage Pop

Vibe: Triumphant, Spiritual, Quilted, Poetic, Communal, Conscious, Christian

Musical Qualities: Sound Collage, Vignettes, Sampling, Beats, Rapping, Spoken Word, Rhythmic, Polished, Loops

Spellling – The Turning Wheel

Style: Progressive Pop, Baroque Pop

Vibe: Epic, Surreal, Haunting, Ethereal, Passionate, Dramatic, Dreamy, Romantic (LP1), Triumphant, Fantasy, Uplifting (LP1), Grandiose, Theatric, Brooding (LP2), Spacey (LP2)

Musical Qualities: Dense, Orchestral, Progressive, Polyphonic, Polished, Melodic, Rhythmic

Ben Lamar Gay – Open Arms to Open Us

Style: Creative Music, Future Jazz, Organic Beat Music, Pan-Americana, Art Pop

Vibe: Romantic, Sci-Fi, Determined, Triumphant, Colorful, Eclectic, Communal, Futuristic, Groovy, Rootsy, Spiritual, Warm

Musical Qualities: Thematic, Polyphonic, Percussive, Polyrythmic, Percussive, Improvisation, Electro-Acoustic, Progressive

Lightman Jarvis Ecstatic Band – Banned

Style: Free Pop, Bedroom Psych, Progressive Soul

Vibe: Spontaneous, Woozy, Imaginative, Brooding, Surreal, Loose, Eclectic, Raw, Playful, Fuzzy, Psychedelic, Colorful

Musical Qualities: Post-Production, Progressive, Vocal Harmonies, Manipulated Vocals, Studio Improvisation, Distorted

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – Skeleton Tree

On this mournful offering, Cave’s poetic reflections on loss, longing, and loneliness slowly float down a river of gloomy synth drones, somber strings, and sparse piano. While not exactly uplifting, the album has a sense of peace and beauty that continues up through the repeating final refrain, “and it’s alright now”.

Björk – Medulla

Style: Art Pop, Experimental Electronic, Trip-Hop

Vibe: Somatic, Primal, Sensual, Passionate, Winter, Ancestral, Complex, Imaginative, Surreal, Heartfelt

Musical Qualities: A’Cappella, Choral Vocals, Experimental Vocals (Throat Singing, Beat Boxing, Manipulated Vocal Production), Studio-as-an-Instrument

Loma – Loma

Style: Art Pop, Ambient Pop

Influences: Chamber-Folk, Trip-Hop, Slowcore, Post-Rock

Vibe: Existential, Introspective, Brooding, Gossamer, Dreamy, Melancholy, Reflective, Moody, Eclectic

Musical Qualities: Lush, Atmospheric, Studio-as-an-Instrument, Lyrical

L’Rain – Fatigue

Style: Free Pop, Progressive R&B, Psychedelic Soul, Art Pop, Gospel-Influenced

Vibe: Woozy, Ethereal, Cryptic, Impressionistic, Heartfelt, Imaginative, Dramatic, Dreamy, Eclectic

Musical Attributes: Progressive, Lush, Vocal Manipulation, Sampling, Vignettes, Studio-as-an-Instrument, Groovy, Collage

Wendy Eisenberg – Auto

Style: Progressive-Pop, Avant-Songwriter, Jazz-Rock, Math-Pop

Vibe: Whispery, Angular, Intimate, Heartfelt, Cerebral, Reflective, Love / Breakup, Restrained, Introspective, Contemplative, Anxious, Loner

Musical Qualities: Odd Time Signatures, Jazz-Influenced, Technical, Dynamic, Lyrical

Robert Wyatt – Old Rottenhat

Style: Experimental Singer-Songwriter, Art Pop, Canterbury Scene, Jazz-Rock

Vibe: Political (Anti-Capitalist, Anti-Imperialist), Satirical, Conscious, Melancholy, Hypnotic

Musical Attributes/Instrumentation: Sparse, Studio-as-an-Instrument, Layered Vocals, Digital Keyboards, Drum Machines, Percussion, Synthesizers, Piano

Loma – Don’t Shy Away

Style: Art Pop, Trip-Hop, Ambient Pop

Vibe: Existential, Brooding, Cathartic, Exploratory, Futuristic, Heartfelt, Introspective, Sentimental

Musical Attributes: Atmospheric, Loops, Polished, Lush, Progressive, Headphone Album, Lyrical

Yves Tumor – Heaven to a Tortured Mind

Style: Art Rock, Trip-Hop, Neo-Psychedelia, Hypnagogic Pop

Vibe: Nocturnal, Romantic, Dramatic, Eclectic, Energetic, Imaginative, Love, Sexual, Surreal, Woozy, Elegant

Musical Attributes: Polished, Progressive, Catchy, Dense, Rhythmic, Lush

Jamila Woods – Heavn

Style: Soul, Art Pop

Vibe: Confident, Heartfelt, Introspective, Colorful, Triumphant, Uplifting, Urban, Loner

Lyrical Themes: Conscious, Poetic, Political, Personal, Black Pride, Love, Feminist

Musical Attributes: Groovy, Lush, Headphone Album, Polished, Catchy, Technical

Julia Holter – Have You in My Wilderness

Style: Chamber Pop, Art Pop
Vibe: Lush, Ethereal, Imaginative, Sensual, Storytelling, Surreal, Intricate, Airy, Dreamy
Instrumentation: Vocals, Keyboards (Piano, Harpsichord, etc), Upright Bass, Strings, Drums, Saxophone

Stereolab – Cobra and Phases Group Play Voltage in the Milky Night

Style: Progressive Pop, Space Age Pop

Influences: Kosmische Musik, Bossa Nova, French Pop, Lounge

Vibe: Spacey, Lush, Retro-Futuristic, Catchy, Groovy, Motorik, Nocturnal, Uplifting

Musical Attributes: Melodic, Headphone Album, Odd Time Signatures, Studio-as-an-Instrument, Progressive, Lyrical

Lyrics: Philosophical, Political, Communist, Bi-Lingual (English and French)

Instrumentation: Synthesizers, Vibraphone, Drums, Electric Bass, Electric Guitar, Vocals, Brass, Strings, Keys (Organ, Clavinet, Harpsichord, Wurlitzer)

The Books – The Way Out

The Books’ music is simultaneously funny, innovative, catchy and enlightening. They use found sound and spoken word mixed with innovative recording techniques and acoustic instruments to create beautiful sound-collages that somehow create unity between all these disparate sources, as if they were all meant to be together. Everything these guys do, solo or together, is absolute genius.

Deradoorian – The Expanding Flower Planet

Recommended for those who know that “psychedelic” is not a sound, but a spirit of creativity and exploration within the mind. Those who know Deradoorian for her work with Dirty Projectors will appreciate the complex arrangements and production, albeit in a much more mysterious context. Fans of Bjork, Black Moth Super Rainbow, Flaming Lips, Portishead, or Can will also find a lot to love.

Poliça – United Crushers

The brooding, atmospheric synth-pop of Poliça’s third LP finds Channy Leaneagh’s passionate vocals once again supported by prominent bass grooves, driving dual drummers, and occasional string and horn arrangements, all mapped into intricate, quantized webs of programmed beats and synthesizers by co-leader/producer Ryan Olsen. Lyrically, the album centers around themes of isolation, fading love, and as well as more political topics such as police violence.

For fans of Portishead, The Knife

Dead Recipe – Day of Mangoes [Review]

“Day of Mangoes” is overstimulation at it’s finest. Just imagine floating down a river through an unexplored tropical paradise where every corner brings a new array of colorful sounds. Warm synths gliding over clunking piano give way to chorus-drenched highlife guitars strumming over thick synth basslines. Manipulated vocal samples emerge from nowhere and then disappear into radio static just as quickly…RIYL: Animal Collective, King Sunny Ade, & Madlib