December Music Picks

Preface to end a beautiful month.

‘Twas the night before Christmas that I already had this selection up in mind. December, for it has always been a busy month no matter where you are; or what kind of sets of problems that you have. Either still stuck on the year-end list, or already crossing it off one-by-one by now. Even better yet, maybe we already started to make the new list all over again.

For a moment I ask myself, what kind of energy that I wanted to bring and manifest around this time. Even when all of the musical releases have been ridiculously spectacular for better or even for worse. This year ain’t letting me have too many times at hand to discover what my ears really wanted; what the drums of my heart beating towards to. Alas, we made this year with a dent here and there. And even maybe a flicker of light to a new hope too along the way.

A mixed bag of Hip-Hop, Hardcore Punk, Indie Pop, & more.

A touch of contemplation, rummaging 200 something genres that I consume almost every day is hard to keep a track of new records sometimes. Some heavy hitters of this year around releasing new material. And a lot of new acts that I’ve personally never even heard of are on the rise as well. Here are my top discoveries this month with all of its sound to be served in a silver platter:

Dos Monos – Larderello
Dos Monos – Larderello. 2021. (Image credit: note)

The unexpected tunes that came from the land of the rising sun. Dos Monos reaching out to the surface with Dos Siki (2019), and a few EP releases after; comes with Larderello (2021) back in September this year. Like all of the explorers of sounds out there, either got stuck in the Youtube rabbit hole—or comes with a term of smart AI from Spotify to suggest to them the things that they didn’t know they needed. Dos Monos is an experimental Hip-Hop group hailed from Tokyo, Japan. Inspired by their own underground statement and power—chose Larderello, a city in Italy to which is the oldest ‘geothermal’ producer in the world.

Opening the album with ‘暗渠’, sonically bringing the syncopated sounds with tambourine and a lot of digitized crash cymbals sounds. Switching into a more old school sounds in ‘medieval’; that still exist within the realm of the accented beats, unconventional Hip-Hop takes whilst the three MC’s trading bars. With only seven tracks that are being provided; a more compact, more polished sounds than its predecessors Dos Siki. Beautifully head buzzing, and laugh induced ‘OCCUPIED!’ with synths like no other; building spaceship whilst spitting bars. Dos Monos is one of the most exciting and anticipated acts from the Japanese Hip-Hop scene today.

Beach House – Once Twice Melody
Beach House – Once Twice Melody. 2022. (Image credit: Pitchfork).

With a new chapter of 2021 almost coming to an end, a new one surely’s about, to begin with, Beach House’s Once Twice Melody (2021). The ambiance-pop champion of the 2000s is back with more lush and 60s synth-inspired sounds. Dreamier than heavenly elements combined themselves—the duo Alex Scally and Victoria Legrand planned to release 4 chapters of their latest eight installments of Beach House’s saga. Double LP with 4 separated releases, heaven is the spell and we all made it here knowing it all too well—its blood gushingly romantic, too beautiful to be compared within these 8 tracks.

‘Superstar’ and its heady strings alongside Victoria’s signature looming voice fills the room with a message that everything is going to be alright. Lucid and vividly reminiscing a memory that wasn’t there, ‘Pink Funeral’, ‘ESP’ and ‘Once Twice Melody’ bring the nicotine side of the soundscapes; mind-numbing but not collected, yet still calming your senses all the same. Near disbelief when the thumping 808s—contrasting with a lot of bright instruments and 80s inspired drums makes ‘Runaway’ and ‘New Romance’ like a soundtrack to the coming of age movie, yet it feels like ages ago that this movie’s been released. Beach House 2 Chapter of the 4 intended chapter releases; it’s a beautiful movie of its own rights, connecting the dialogue enveloped in sounds & dreams.

Mach-Hommy – Balens Cho (Hot Candles)
Mach-Hommy – Balens Cho (Hot Candles). 2021. (Image credit: Stereogum)

Haitian Creole in lyrics, waving the flags as the identity to covering one’s face, and breadcrumbs trails of familial history; Mach-Hommy has already done what most couldn’t in putting his heritage on the map through music. Balens Cho (2021) or ‘Hot Candles’ in Haitian creole, is a more concise familial story, false-doing, fatherhood, and most of all witty bars that are allowed on a single track. Most of the Haitian Hip-Hop heads like Billy Woods are on the more oddball in terms of musicianship; different crafts come from Mach as he is more seamless and oil slick flows without any syncopated rhyme schemes.

Mach-Hommy is one gem in the Hip-Hop scene today. With Balens Cho now he swears that the proof is there—and it won’t leave like immeasurable stains and blood-clot to show. ‘LABOU’ and ‘SEPERATION OF SHEEPS AND THE GOATS’ are some of the heaviest hitters for the year-end. And with typical Mach-Hommy relentless flows and rhymes; the more braggadocio side is really put to show this time around. More seasoned than the early projects, and more sword pointing; Balens Cho is deeply rooted in sacrifice, muck swearing, and witty contemplations.

Age Factory – Pure Blue
Age Factory – Pure Blue. 2021. (Image credit: UK.project.Inc)

Arrived from Japan yet again. Age Factory made me reminisce the mid-west sound of Punk Rock and emotive vocals of broken English could do to a man. It feels like the emo soundscapes this time around are more like a tree carving love; out of the bird-watching act to just running around grass greenery without having any reasons whatsoever. With a single ‘My own world’ release, this mid-year; Age Factory Pure Blue (2021) is an experience of what I expect coming from this band, and even more.

With opening tracks ‘Over’, the band solidifies their stamp that was less intense than its predecessors Gold (2018) and digs into more EVERYNIGHT (2020) emotive sounds. ‘Say no more’ and ‘Feel like shit today’ would be an instant radio hit of the early 2000s punk sounds; added extra layers of shoegaze elements and sonic drums crashing. What more I can say about this band. One of the most if not the best acts of Punk Rock—other than Amazarashi, Kana-Boon, and all of its peers.

Turnstile – GLOW ON
Turnstile – GLOW ON. 2201. (Image credit: Pitchfork)

I know… I know, this wasn’t an attempt for having an agenda of promoting one of the most celebrated acts in Hardcore Punk today. But alas, Turnstile’s GLOW ON (2021) already sitting on the shelf begging to be discussed. Even though this is a mid-year release, I keep running it back to back whenever I needed that zhing; and what better way than to just slam dance your way through the routine itself?.

Baltimore-based Hardcore Punk outfits of the distressed but positively outlooked youth. Turnstile 2018’s releases Time & Space is credited as one of the freshest releases, and one of the most joyous Hardcore Punk sounds today that we could ever hope for. With many explorative sides and experimental quirks of the band’s nature, no wonder GLOW ON eventually caught on its own winds. With memorable ‘HOLIDAY’, ‘MYSTERY’, & T.L.C, Turnstile manage to bring crowd surfing as consciously as you can. Alongside the more emotive and somber notes and tunes on ‘UNDERWATER BOI’, ‘NO SURPRISE’‘ALIEN LOVE CALL’; youth is only a button click away from us all along.

Honorable Mentions

Failure – Wild Type Droid
Failure – Wild Type Droid. 2021. (Image credit: Spotify)
Boldy James & The Alchemist – Super Tecmo Bo
Boldy James & The Alchemist Release New Album 'Super Tecmo Bo': Stream
Boldy James & The Alchemist – Super Tecmo Bo. 2021. (Image credit: Stereogum)
Tierra Whack – Rap?, R&B?, & Pop? EPs
Tierra Whack – Rap?. 2021. (Image credit: Stereogum)
Arca – kick ii,iii,iiii,iiiii
kiCK iiiii - Album by Arca | Spotify
Arca – kick iiiii. 2021. (Image credit: Spotify)
Tricot – 上出来 (Jodeki)
Tricot – 上出来 (Jodeki). 2021. (Image credit: rateyourmusic)

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