Floating Room, Tired and True
Floating Room, Tired and True
I know, I know: It's nearly impossible to look away from the news right now, but take this post as a sign from the universe to take a brief mental health break from all that social media scrolling and constant election coverage. Here are six new releases to consider adding to your 2020/dumpster fire playlist.

Tired and True, Floating Room

Portland-based five-piece Floating Room–the project of guitarist/vocalist Maya Stoner, Mo Troper (bass, guitar, keys and vocals), drummer Jared Ridabock, guitarist Jon Scheid, and keyboardist Aaron Liu—dropped a new album at the end of October called Tired and True. According to Bandcamp, album opener “Freak Show” concerns “Stoner’s perceived pariahdom within Portland’s blindingly white, furtively racist punk scene.” There’s also additional instrumentation from Brian Harvey (on “Warm Death”) and Jay Ringer (on “Dancer”), the album’s emotive peak.

“Summer Madness,” Khruangbin

Ever since catching their mesmerizing set at Pickathon a couple summers ago, I’ve been obsessed with relaxing to Khruangbin’s often lyric-free tunes, from 2015’s The Universe Smiles Upon You to 2018’s Con Todo El Mundo. (In 2020 the trio also dropped Mordecai, which includes vocals, as well as Texas Sun, an EP with singer Leon Bridges.) On October 28, the Texas three-piece released another eclectic instrumental single for audiences to chill/study/smoke to, with a cover of Kool & the Gang's "Summer Madness," which is part of their Late Night Tales compilation, due out December 4. Like many of their songs, their rendition of “Summer Madness” pulls from various global influences, with an emphasis on psychedelia. Mark Speer’s trippy, distorted guitar licks are the perfect adornment to Laura Lee’s basslines and Donald Ray "DJ" Johnson Jr.’s chill percussion.

“Take Me Away,” Sinead Harnett feat. EarthGang

If escapism is what you’re after, jump into “Take Me Away,” a collaboration between R&B singer Sinead Harnett and Atlanta hip-hop duo EarthGang. The romantic single features acoustic guitar, gentle vocalizations from Harnett about the need to find some inner peace (and a hug) after reading the news. How relatable. In the third verse, Johnny Venus melodically raps: “Times like these, I need some top down in the breeze /Times like these, you and I both need a release/Moments like this, gotta get in the p-p-peace/World on fire, only your—— can make time freeze.”

“B.O.B. (Remix),” Outkast feat. Zack de la Rocha

In celebration of the 20th anniversary of Outkast’s classic hip-hop album Stankonia, they’re releasing a series of digital bundles that include radio mixes, vocal-only tracks, instrumentals, and remixes of the album’s biggest singles. One of those is a remix of “B.O.B. (Bombs Over Baghdad)” from Rage Against the Machine’s Zack de la Rocha. De la Rocha reportedly worked on his version at Atlanta’s Southern Tracks Recording in September and October 2000. Although the unearthed remix unfortunately doesn’t include a verse from the Rage frontman, his engineer work on the song maintains the spirit and integrity of the rapid-fire original, giving it a grungy, hard-rock edge. The remix would be suitable for anyone needing to dance, jump, or rage out their feelings like the sentimental end to a Grey’s Anatomy episode.

A Beautiful Revolution (Pt 1), Common

Common recently dropped a new album, A Beautiful Revolution (Pt 1), which includes several stunning appearances from singer PJ, a feature from the inimitable Lenny Kravitz on “A Riot In My Mind,” as well as Black Thought (The Roots) on “Say Peace.” The latter is a rhythmically driven track that sees two prolific lyricists trading bars about the modern struggle for Black liberation. The whole album is worth a listen.

Positions, Ariana Grande

Ariana Grande’s new album Positions has more than a couple gems, including the uptempo “motive” featuring a verse from Doja Cat, and the peppy, self-assured “just like magic.” Ari demonstrates, once again, her mastery of the whistle pitch in the last bars of sultry anthem “my hair,” sounding remarkably similar to a flute, and then immediately again in the intro to “nasty.” If R&B-infused pop and vocal acrobatics (with curse words!) are your jam, this album will be.

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