Uniform - No Trending
“Crystal World”

It took a couple of years for Uniform’s new LP, No Trending, to finally make its way into the world, but it was worth the wait. The 11-track record energizes the muddy attack of the band’s live shows by allowing each sonic layer some room to breathe without diluting the all-encompassing dread for which the group is known. Much like their performances, the record seems designed to be felt as much as heard, and nowhere on the LP is this more apparent than on “Crystal World.” It’s difficult to describe how satisfying the pulverizing whine of the guitars are throughout this track, but they work in tandem with Bobby Michaud’s frenetic drumming to create a haunting and oppressive atmosphere. – RR

Victor Mariachi - Weapons of Our Ancestors
Victor Mariachi
“With a Vengenace” [ft. Blaze]

For all the righteous anger and vitriol Victor Mariachi exhibits on “With a Vengeance,” there’s never a moment when he allows his emotions to overshadow his message. What opens as a terse “public announcement” quickly transitions into a scathing indictment of political corruption, racial inequality, and cultural theft. It’s a track that’s as rugged as it is cerebral, one that allows for moments of violent confrontation while also speaking to the empowerment of black and brown communities. – AS

WAKE - Manifesto
“Wake the Youth”

“Wake the Youth” is another fiery and outspoken cut from an outfit that has long sought to blend their art with radical activism. Rappers Keith William and Obeah deliver a pair of stinging verses that emerge like raised fists from the gut-rumbling funk and noise experimentalism that comprises the song’s taut backdrop. “Levitate through the lunacy / Coup d’etat when the shooters speak / Loop the shot through the doom machine / Wake the youth to the foolery,” William spits on the track’s opening bars, setting a defiant tone that goes on to attack everything from crass materialism to political and economic elites who seek to silence and subdue the poor and working class. – GC

Whores. - BASH 17
“Flag Day”

Released in anticipation of Amphetamine Reptile’s BASH 17, “Flag Day” finds Whores. stirring up a hornet’s nest of pulverizing noise rock dissonance and bad intentions. There was a time where I was nervous that the trio’s abrasive assault would fall into repetition and self-imitation, but the band deftly skirted those concerns by speeding up the tempos and somehow growing meaner and more caustic. In exchange they’ve sacrificed some of their melodic undertones, but for a group that trades this deeply in gut-rumbling tension and bruising riffs, that’s an exchange easily worth making. – GC

Wiley from Atlanta - Teen Spirit
Wiley from Atlanta
“Paper Planes”

Produced by Juno Adonis, “Paper Planes” continues to mine the ambient, pastel-coated hip-hop Wiley from Atlanta has explored in the past, only the beats are more fixed and direct. The effervescent rhythms remain, but they’re encased in classic East Coast boom bap—not exactly what you’d expect from the self-proclaimed “next big thing from the souf.” There’s no denying the track’s hypnotic glaze, though, with a low organ hum providing the ideal runway for his head-in-the-clouds poetics and easy-glide croon. “I almost lost myself in June / Left my cigarettes at home / Got my baby back in my room / Now the summer ain’t as long,” Wiley sings on the opening verse, his voice sounding relaxed and assured. It’s yet another lovely midtempo cut from the young artist, evoking the laid-back chill and translucent glow of summertime romance. – GC

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