July 2020 Roundup

We’re about to roll into another month with a good amount of fear, uncertainty and anxiety in our minds, so here’s a new pile of music that you can get lost into and seek a little healing and comfort from. 

Josh Kimbrough – Slither, Soar & Disappear 


Leave it to Tompkins Square to release some of the best guitar music of the year. Josh Kimbrough’s Slither, Soar & Disappear is rich with gorgeously meditative folk-inspired fantasias and instrumental ballads.

Songs like “Giant Leopard Moth” and “Backyard Hawk” coast sweetly with graceful melodies and a relaxed—yet precise—concentration. It’s easy to listen to this album and feel your tension just completely melt away after a few tracks.

One thing that sets this record apart from many of its American Primitivism peers, is that some songs feature a near-cinematic scope. The addition of softly droning fiddles on “Morning Moon” and tense cellos and drumming on “Glowing Treetops” give these tracks a deeper, more enigmatic atmosphere. Songs like these could easily belong to the score of a Terrence Malick or a Wim Wenders film.

Utterly moving in its beauty, Slither, Soar & Disappear will improve not only your composure, but also your ability to see splendor in the life around you.

You can get this album from Bandcamp right now.

Kevin J. McKay – Neutral Mind


Kevin J. McKay’s Neutral Mind is a chilled-down slice of ambient pop that shimmers with a psychedelic glaze.

Hailing from Michigan, McKay is a master of feeding disparate styles, like folk rock, shoegaze and new age music through his own distinctive ethereal, modernized-sunshine pop sound.

Songs like “System” begin with a root of psych-rock and quickly wobbles and sways into a bleary vaporwave haze. Elsewhere on the album, tracks like “Pattern Maker” take a Rose City Band-like choogle, and melts it down to a blissfully tranquilized boogie.

For a tape that’ll leave you feeling cool and spaced-out, give Neutral Mind a try on the next sunny day you can get outside for a while.

Pick this up from McKay’s Bandcamp today.

Martin $ky – In Real Time


Speaking of feeling cool and spaced-out, that’s exactly how you feel after hearing even just one track off of Martin $ky’s new lo-fi instrumental hip-hop master work.

Released on both vinyl and digital via the Radio Juicy label out of Germany, In Real Time is a laid-back glide through a kaleidoscopic array of jazz samples (and some live instrumentation), mellow beats and sublime atmospherics.

The album’s frequent use of piano recalls the work of Idealism or something off of Wun Two’s Rio album, while the subtle yet heady production work is reminiscent of MF Doom’s Special Herbs series.

It must be said that the closing number, “Do Better,” is perhaps one of the most heartfelt recordings of this genre. The track is worth the price of the album alone.

This is the kind of record that you want to reach for at the end of the night, and all you want to do is turn the light on low, lay down and melt into your couch.

Get it from Radio Juicy’s Bandcamp before they run out of stock.

Quicksails – Blue Rise


If a computer could sleep, they wouldn’t dream of electric sheep, they would dream up the sounds that you hear on Quicksails’ Blue Rise.

Glitchy, dark and yet also somehow gorgeous at times, this new LP by the Chicago sound sculpter that is known as Quicksails (AKA Ben Billington) is a completely different trip altogether.

Billington mixes soothing drones, garbled sparks and hypnotic pulses from kosmische analogue synthesizers with all sorts of twisted, distorted samples. Mood and texture seems to be the artist’s main concerns here, as every track is a highly dynamic soundscape with a completely unique feel and presence.

If Dead Cities-era The Future Sound of London crashed a Tangerine Dream jam, you might get a record like Blue Rise.

Pre-order this ambient dreamscape ahead of its July 24th release date right here.

Kaleta & Super Yamba Band – “Black Man’s Cry” (Live)


Need a song to get you off your feet and groove for a while? Give the new live single by Afrobeat mavericks, Kaleta & Super Yamba Band, a try.

“Black Man’s Cry” (originally composed by Fela Kuti, of whom Kaleta had previously toured with) is a ten minute high-octane jam that soars with stellar sax solos, a killer beat and Kaleta’s larger-than-life vocal performance.

There’s something purely magical about this recording. Whenever you put it on, it completely takes you over and removes you from whatever time or place you’re in. If you’re in a bad mood, you certainly won’t be by the track’s end.

Best of all, 100% of the single’s proceeds will be donated to The NAACP Legal Defense Fund. So get dancing while helping a good cause today by picking this track up via Bandcamp.

Profe Fool – “Pushing a Train Up a Mountain”


Ever since being introduced to Profe Fool’s extremely unique fusion of acid rock and experimental hip-hop via their “Water Bearer” single a month or so ago, I have scarcely gone more than a few days without revisiting their music again.

On their latest offering, “Pushing a Train Up a Mountain,” the group, which includes Amiri Brown on vocals and Connor Tutins on guitar, creates a distorted realm of murky psychedelia that saunters with a dazed tempo and a crazy catchy beat.

Brown’s expertly creative production work on the song squarely throws the listener into a completely different dimension. (Play through big headphones for full effect!) Between the hallucinatory effects, Brown’s slithering vocals and Tutin’s funky guitar solos, this track feels like the grandchild of the P-Funk universe. That fact alone should make anyone feel hyped for the upcoming full-length record that Profe Fool has cooking up.

Give it a listen for yourself on Spotify right now:

Rhyton – Krater’s Call 


It’s been way too long since we last heard from acid-prog jammers, Rhyton.

Krater’s Call is a magnificent return to form, as the group has equipped itself with an eclectic array of instruments (including steel drums and electric mandolin) and traverses through shades of funk, jazz-rock fusion and even Middle Eastern modes.

Perhaps the biggest highlight on this record, is the closing track, “Skygazing.” This tight improvisation is full of nothing but sounds that I just love: a rolling drum beat, dueling acoustic and electric guitars that weave around each other and an atmosphere that suggests a stoned ride through unspoiled wilderness. What more could you need from a jam?

I’ll never forget catching Rhyton’s fiery opening set from a Wet Tuna show in Brooklyn a few springs back, but this record throws all of my senses straight back to that stunning performance.

Give this album a go and just hope that we’ll be able to catch live shows again soon, especially shows with Rhyton on the bill.


Instead of donating to me right now, please consider donating to any of these sites to help fight racial injustice.


Published by Record Crates United

Keith Hadad, the creator and manager of RCU, has been a contributing writer to Elmore Magazine and Thewaster.com and maintains a regular column, “Keith Hadad’s Choice,” in Blicker magazine. His writing has also appeared in the Smithsonian Folkways' Guest Blog and the Optical Sounds Fanzine. Also, please check out the blog's super-active Instagram account, @recordcratesunited for daily blurb-styled music reviews.

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