Sneaks is virtually a one-woman ESG.
Sneaks is virtually a one-woman ESG. Merge Records

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Sneaks, “Future” (Merge). Sneaks (Eva Moolchan) is like a one-woman ESG. Her streamlined songs are bass- and drum-heavy and infectious, albeit more conventionally song-oriented and less declamatory than NYC's finest post-punk-funk outfit. If this prospect doesn't make you squeal with joy, then you deserve all the grimness this world can throw at you. "Future" comes from Sneaks' 2017 minimalist-pop charmer, It's a Myth, and its nonchalant, loopy funk and sotto voce singing convey an understated ebullience that sound like an American counterpart to Althea & Donna's "Uptown Top Ranking." Love at first hear.

LCD Soundsystem, "tonite" (Columbia). I like LCD Soundsystem when they're in casual, off-the-cuff mode. "tonite" sounds like a first-take cut on which James Murphy and company amble through a very repetitive, low-key electro-funk jam with a bulbous af bass synth, half-assed bleeps, splashy 909 hits, and Murphy's "Losing My Edge"-like observations. "Oh sure, it's ruling the airwaves/What remains of the airwaves/And we're frankly thankful for the market psychology you're hipping us to/But all the hipsters sing the same thing/There's only [Vocoder voice] tonight tonight tonight." Throughout the song, the singer sounds like he's having an internal monologue about a chronic midlife crisis. (The video lends more credence to the idea that Murphy is a better-looking Doppelgänger to the just-sacked political pustule known as Steve Bannon.)

Car Seat Headrest, “War Is Coming (If You Want It)” (Matador) Here's a one-off song by Car Seat Headrest to tide you over till Seattle transplant Will Toledo's next major statement comes to fruition. "War Is Coming (If You Want It)" bears brilliant quiet-to-loud dynamics, nifty backward guitar accents, and a chorus that explodes like the titular subject. In his glumly passionate voice, Toledo belts, "Now is the time to cast Darwin aside/Stop spinning lines that justify the lure of suicide/And reach out your hands/And save someone's life/Because war is coming/If you want it." Sounds like an exemplary anthem for the ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ age.

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, "To Follow and Lead" (Western Vinyl). Call me crazy—I've been called worse—but this song by Orcas Island native Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith is what a radio hit in 2017 should sound like. Warped synth trills, synthetic bamboo percussion droplets, and heavily treated vocals that make Laurie Anderson's sound like Joan Baez's coalesce into a feathery, uplifting hymn of vaguely SE Asian, New Age ritualism. Put it in heavy rotation and chill the hell out. "To Follow and Lead" appears on Smith's The Kid, out October 6.

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Gel-Sol, "The Magician's Sojourn" (Verses). Gel-Sol (Seattle electronic musician Andy Reichel) is best known for his far-out, Plunderphonic-oriented ambient music and his audio-visual monthly night Monster Planet. But with his new album, Horse Head Bookends (out September 19), Reichel is incorporating real drums and heading deeper into the sort of expansive prog-rock realms he champions at the PROG! DJ night he co-hosts at Hazlewood Bar. "The Magician's Sojourn" lushly soars into the sweet intersection where mellow Italian prog (Sensations' Fix or Osanna, say) meets suspenseful, incidentally funky, European library music circa 1971. There's not much like this happening in Seattle right now, so treasure it. As a bonus, the packaging for the ltd.-ed. vinyl version of Horse Head Bookends is ornate and fabulous.

Noteworthy August 18 album releases: A$AP Ferg, Still Striving (A$AP Worldwide/RCA); Grizzly Bear, Painted Ruins (label); Rainer Maria, Rainer Maria (Polyvinyl); UNKLE, The Road Part 1 (Cooking Vinyl); Steve Wilson, To the Bone (Caroline); Dent May, Across the Multiverse (Carpark); Judy Dyble/Andy Lewis, Summer Dancing (Acid Jazz/PIAS); KMFDM, HELL YEAH (Ear Music); DJ Shadow, The Mountain Has Fallen (Mass Appeal); Ghostpoet, Dark Days & Canapés (PIAS)