Danger Mouse, "Chase Me" (30th Century). Danger Mouse is in tough-AF hiphop banger shocka! mode. Wielding the clout you'd expect from a popular major-label producer, the artist also known as Brian Burton enlists Run the Jewels and Big Boi to donate alpha-male flows to a rugged funk scenario that's more Company Flow than Gnarls Barkley... or even Broken fucking Bells. Seriously, Danger Mouse has melded that late-'90s, streetwise, Rawkus Records aesthetic to his big-budget sensibilities, and the result is a bruised-white-knuckled rush.
The Jesus and Mary Chain, "Always Sad" (Warner Bros.). Damage and Joy is a sweet, sweet comeback album by these Scottish noise-rock agitators turned traditionalists. "Always Sad" is pure comfort-food nostalgia for long-time JAMC loyalists: a sneering, barbed-wire kiss of a tune, with a lovely vocal turn by Bernadette Denning and a melody that makes you want to punch the sky from your lofty perch on Cloud 9. Few do uplifting melancholy better than the brothers Reid—even in 2017. (JAMC play Showbox Sodo next Tues, May 23.)
Heliocentrics, "Oh Brother" (Soundway). Perhaps England's preeminent psychedelic-funk-library-music unit (and, btw, one of my favorite bands in the world), Heliocentrics have nary a dud in their extensive catalog, and their 2009 collab with Ethiopian legend Mulatu Astatke remains one of the greatest international fusions to date. Heliocentrics return with yet another rewarding variation on their polyglot, rhythmically limber themes. A track off their A World of Masks LP (out June 9), "Oh Brother" comes off like a long-lost Ethio-jazz classic interpreted by Rip Rig + Panic, enhanced greatly by Slovakian singer Barbora Patkova channeling Neneh Cherry from that group's sophisticated sassiness. The groove's a tricky twist on Lalo Schifrin's "Mission: Impossible Theme," and the guitars ooze liquid wah-wah magic and emit cranky chimes. Can't wait for the LP...
Kikagaku Moyo, "Trilobites" (Guruguru Brain). A standout from the new Stone Garden album by Japan's Kikagaku Moyo, this track exemplifies their expertly controlled chaos within a psych-rock framework, their superb balance of trance-inducing rhythms and freaky six-string calligraphy. KM are one of today's most interesting artists in the burgeoning global psych movement, and I highly recommend you catch their gig tonight at Sunset Tavern.
Archivist, "Octopus" (Transfusions). A prominent member of Seattle's secondnature collective, Archivist (aka Alex Markey) has been steadily rising through the city's ranks as one of the most accomplished minimal-techno producers, and his new Chutes and Ladders EP on Medical's subsidiary label Transfusions auspiciously augments his portfolio. I could've put any of the four tracks in this space and be confident that it would make your mind and body exponentially happier, but I've chosen "Octopus" for its stealthy manner of inducing dread. The gently chugging rhythm somehow contains much menace in its DNA and the deftly modulated, serrated synth motifs hint at Throbbing Gristle and Wolf Eyes damage. In these horrid times, you deserve the strangest route to escapism possible. "Octopus"—and all of Chutes and Ladders, for that matter—let's you get real, real gone, very efficiently.
Noteworthy May 19 album releases: The Mountain Goats, Goths (Merge); JLIN, Black Origami (Planet Mu); Jane Weaver, Modern Kosmology (Fire); Wavves, You're Welcome (Ghost Ramp); Do Make Say Think, Stubborn Persistent Illusions (Constellation); Aldous Harding, Party (4AD); Nick Hakim, Green Twins (ATO); !!!, Shake the Shudder (Warp); Coldcut/On-U Soundsystem, Outside the Echo Chamber (Ahead of Our Time); Woods, Love Is Love (Woodsist); She-Devils, She-Devils (Secretly Canadian); Man Forever, Play What They Want (Thrill Jockey).