The music week in review: SZA, Vic Mensa, Beach Fossils, Toro y Moi & more
It’s been a stressful week, folks. The former FBI Director spoke to congress about our lyin’ ass president, the Warriors are about to sweep LeBron, and the F train is bugging.
But it’s Friday, it’s officially nice out, I see some of y’all already taking those summer Fridays, shouts out to you.
We understand you need a soundtrack while you’re ignoring your bosses’ emails, watching the Cavs get swept, or stuck in the tunnel between Broadway/Lafayette and West 4th.
We got you.
Sza – Ctrl
After dropping three singles over the past couple months, SZA dropped her debut studio album on Friday and it’s pretty impressive stuff.
Ctrl blends a bunch of different styles; hip-hop, r&b, soul, and rock music, but it’s SZA’s singular voice and charisma that makes the album work.
The TDE-singed SZA also recruits some of the more fashionable names in hip-hop, with features from Travis Scott, Kendrick Lamar, Isaiah Rashad, and James Fauntleroy.
Vic Mensa – The Manuscript
Kanye West-approved Chicago native Vic Mensa has been one of the more hyped names in hip-hop since being an XXL freshman in 2014.
Besides appearing on a lot of interesting features (Gorillaz, Kanye, Kaytranada, Flume to name a few), The Manuscript is only Mensa’s third solo release.
The Manuscript runs four songs, but Mensa says it’s only ‘Part 1’ so there’s more to come imminently from the Roc Nation artist.
Chief Keef – Thot Breaker
The second of three mixtapes Sosa promised to release this year is the beautifully named Thot Breaker. Of course there’s some drill-inspired tracks, but Keef is making softer, bouncier music at this point in his career.
“Can You Be My Friend” is Keef’s attempt to jump on the dancehall wave and it’s definitely something.
Keef is great, it’s wonderful to see him flourishing. Glad to see Young Chop and Keef back making music as well (“Slow Dance”), even if it’s very different than what they used to make.
Shouts out to growing up.
Phoenix – Ti Amo
Everyone’s favorite French glam pop band is back and they are doing their little groovy thing again on Ti Amo.
There’s a lot of those signature French electronic drums, extremely palatable guitar riffs, and excitable synthesizers.
Ti Amo is not the most revolutionary album of all time, but it’s hard to be in a bad mood while listening to Phoenix’s bounding, glossy pop music.
Beach Fossils – Somersault
Brooklyn’s favorite band with the word beach in the name (well, at least top three) make their return with Somersault.
Beach Fossils have been one of the more prominent indie bands since 2010’s Beach Fossils introduced the world to their lo-fi surfer rock.
Somersault is bigger and more audacious than the Fossils’ earlier releases as they broke their own mold, taking the filter off frontman Dustin Payseur’s mic and bringing in some different instruments than just their jangly guitars (there’s some jazz flute on Somersault). The risk was well worth it.
Big Thief – Capacity
Another Brooklyn favorite, Big Thief, released their sophomore album after last year’s boldly-named Masterpiece. Big Thief show on Capacity why the indie scene is so excited about them.
Their sound is stripped all the way down, but lead singer Adrianne Lenker fills the void with her voice and the often harsh, traumatic subject matter of her lyrics. Capacity makes more intense listening, but it’s worth the effort.
The Alchemist – “Brother Jedidiah” ft. Action Bronson & Big Body Bes
Everybody’s favorite wax-smoking, gourmet food-eating, shit-talking hip-hop trio are back with “Brother Jedidiah.”
Action raps over a vintage Alchemist beat, with sampled church organs, and Big Body does his thing, yelling about… stuff. It’s certainly entertaining.
Toro y Moi – “Girl Like You”
Toro y Moi did a whole lot on Friday, releasing “Girl Like You” the first single off his upcoming album Boo Boo, which he also announced today with a statement about the anxieties of being famous.
He also changed his name from Chaz Bundick to Chaz Bear, so there’s that.
“Girl Like You” is some great Toro y Moi. We want more of it. Boo Boo is scheduled to arrive July 7th.
Big Boi – “In the South” ft. Gucci Mane, Pimp C
A trio of wonderful southern gentlemen released “In the South,” an old school take on one of hip-hop’s most prominent regions.
With a chorus from the late legend Pimp C and Big Boi and Gucci Mane spitting, “In the South” is an extremely dope single off Big Boi’s upcoming Boomiverse album, slated to drop next week.
Vince Staples – “Rain Come Down”
Vince Staples teams up with Ty Dolla $ign on this menacing number off Staples’ upcoming Big Fish Theory, which drops June 23rd.
Dolla and Staples make up an interesting duo and definitely not the most obvious collaboration ever, but on “Rain Come Down” the two L.A. natives work very well together.