Words by Brian James
Every month Off Shelf contributor Brian James brings you the best singles of the month and puts together a playlist for your enjoyment. Below you’ll find six highlighted songs that stood above the rest, which is followed by the entire playlist.
ME REX – Galena (Big Scary Monsters)
What if I told you Galena doesn’t actually exist? Well, sure, it exists as a single, fine you got me; but, it’s not an actual song on the new ME REX album, unless you’re lucky enough for shuffle to recreate it for you. That’s because Megabear, the album from which the pieces of Galena are pulled, consists of 52 very short songs meant to be played on shuffle. It’s an amazing concept and works amazingly well as you can see listening to this stunning track that ME REX put together. It’s beautiful, emotive music often presented as a piano driven ballad with many fun instrumental detours along the way.
Peggy Gou – Nabi feat. OHHYUK (Gudu Records)
Peggy Gou consistently churns out amazing electronic jams and Nabi just may be the best on yet. It’s a bit of a slow-burning, head-bobbing track borrowing from 80s synth pop as well as 90s house. The vocal performances from Peggy and OHHYUK combine as effortlessly as the differing styles to create a song that just begs to be played on repeat.
Yves Tumor – Jackie (Warp)
With Heaven to a Tortured Mind, Yves Tumor moved a bit further away from their strange, noisey roots and further toward “rock god” territory. That trajectory continues with the song Jackie, which is almost disarmingly poppy. So much so, it took a few listens for my mind to re-calibrate and realize how much of a jam it actually is. Yves, you’ve made me a believer, I’ll follow you wherever you want to take me.
Deafheaven – Great Mass of Color (Sargent House)
To be honest, I’m pretty unfamiliar with Deafheaven and have spent little time listening to them before hearing Great Mass of Color. From what I understand they normally make metal music, which isn’t normally my thing; however, when I read that this was a pretty big shake up from their normal sound I was interested. Great Mass o Color is a stunning, beautiful rock song that builds and morphs and eventually explodes. It’s a total goosebumps inducer and surprises me whenever I hit play.
kolezanka – In a Meeting (Bar None Records)
Kristina Moore, based out of New York, creates super catchy and unique indie music under the name kolezanka. Before this album rollout I had been completely unfamiliar with their music; however, over the course of three singles (including In a Meeting) I’m completely hooked and can’t wait for the upcoming album. In a Meeting gets in a great groove, adds on some lovely harmonies and takes you into some fun directions.
Vince Staples – Law of Averages (UMG Recordings)
Vince Staples continues his never ending winning streak with Law of Averages, a taste from his self-titled album out now. It’s also another team up with Kenny Beats who has brought some amazing and chaotic production for Vince to spit hard all over. Law of Averages is surprisingly a more stripped down sound for Vince and Kenny, more chill and really focuses inward. This pairing down allows for even more introspection and creativity from Vince who seems determined to be considered as one of the best rappers alive right now.
If you don’t have time for the whole playlist but want a handful more awesome songs, check these out!
Teenage Sequence – All This Art
The Go! Team – A Bee Without Its Sting
But, really, just listen to the whole playlist here: