The Album Reviews: July 2021

We are back, and by this point you should know the drill. 9 albums I liked in one month. No other rules apply. This is the 3rd time, so you would expect me to stick with that format, right?


This time, it will be a handful of albums and EPs, and then some musicians. Why? Because some of these artists, it’s uh, impossible to actually find albums. You’ll get it. So let’s get to the albums:

  1. Alec Empire – Futurist

Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of techno music. I think you can tell. Between applying to jobs and working on something that will be released on this site next month, I need music that I can kinda just put on and tune out, and techno fits that bill. Alec Empire, if you are familiar with him or with 90s techno at all, is a great artist well known for being a member of the legendary Atari Teenage Riot, a group that combined noise, techno, and punk to be something totally on it’s own. However, he also put out a LOT of solo albums, and those are what I’ve been listening to. This album, however, is a bit outside his usual sound because it’s pretty much just a full on punk album. It’s fascinating to see musicians you like just shift what they do slightly, and for that reason I’ve been listening to this album a lot. It’s good! 

  1. Elite Gymnastics – RUIN

This is an album and group that I’ve always been vaguely familiar with. I’m sure I listened to them a bit in middle school. Coming out of that remix/mashup/sample-based music in the late 00’s / early 10’s, Elite Gymnastics was one of those pretty well known if you were in the know groups, with the RUIN cycle of remixes and EPs being very well regarded. That whole scene eventually evolved, becoming the roots of what we currently know as the vaporwave phenomenon and all those techno groups you see getting glowing writeups in Pitchfork, but EG broke up and the members went their separate ways. I think. This is all before my time and happened on deleted tumblr pages and filehosting sites. But now, Jamie Brooks, one of the members, has been getting ready for a re-release of this work, and that inspired me to actually check out this album. And it’s great! The new remixes are very rad, but those aren’t fully out yet so I’m recommending this.

  1. Folamour – Fort Bellefluer

Some more of the techno I’ve been listening to is House, specifically the subgenre of “Lo-Fi House”, which is pretty much exactly how it sounds. Chill house music to vibe to, much more old school and less like current banger house tracks. It’s a subgenre that I dig a lot, though I wish it was more Lo-Fi as in bringing back old Chicago and Baltimore House. But this is good too. Anyway, out of all the releases in this subgenre, this is the record I’ve been digging the most. Very chill, perfect to listen to and just vibe. What else can I say except to just let the beats speak for themselves? 

  1. E-40 – My Ghetto Report Card

Besides electro, the other thing I’ve been listening to a LOT of as of late is Bay Area Hip-Hop. Maybe it’s because I’m more nostalgic for my childhood, or maybe it’s that I finally have taste, but  I’ve been getting big into the bay. Sure, when I was a kid, the music was always present, but it’s not like I was listening to full Mac Dre albums when I was 8. So I’ve started listening to some of these albums, and I’ve finally hit E-40’s discography. My Ghetto Report Card is probably one of his most polished and famous releases, containing probably the biggest hit out of the Bay (that isn’t like a Lil B song), “Tell Me When To Go”. But the whole record is just as good! It’s all hits, no misses.

  1. LOOΠΔ – ++

My K-pop Journey continues! I’ve moved beyond just Ateez into other groups, and can I just say that Hi High by Loona is the sound of the summer? I’m not fucking kidding. Stan Loona, and listen to this short mini-album that goes pretty damn hard. Especially the 3rd track, favOriTe. Banger. Stan Loona.

  1. Sewerslvt – Schizophrenia Simulation

So first off: Sewerslvt made a remix of Hi High, from Loona’s ++, and it’s great. Here: 

Anyway, this whole record is great. I’ve been a fan of Sewerslvt for a good bit now, and her music perfectly scratches this itch I have to return to the electronic music I was listening to in middle and early high school. All amen breaks, weird samples, and great basslines. And this might be her best release, with tracks like “I Bleed” and “Existing Everywhere” probably being some of my favorites from her. 

  1. DJ Okawari – Compass

Yep, more instrumental Japanese Hip-hop. A lot of the current instrumental “Lo-Fi” hip hop annoys me, frankly speaking. I think it’s that a lot of it sounds like a beat that was made to be lo-fi, and not a chill instrumental of a song that was made to be rapped on. For that reason, I’ve been moving to older stuff, which feels much more like the second thing than the first. Japan is especially a goldmine of em, and I’ve found a new source – DJ Okawari. This album is especially great, the first track has Talib Kweli and there’s a lot of great instrumental sampling through the whole record. Check it out.

And now, for artists that I’m recommending, because these people don’t really fit into albums. 

  1. Artist: LTJ Bukem

Do you listen to DnB? Cause if you do, you probably already know this spiel. LTJ Bukem is probably one of the most influential producers in the genre, creating and mixing a lot of tracks as well having a hand in the creation of the jazzy, more ambient subgenre of “Intelligent Drum and Bass”, creating his own label, Good Looking Records, to promote just that. However, the one problem with including him on a list normally is hard, because his music, like a lot of music from this era and scene, isn’t in formal “albums” as we understand them. Mixes and mixtapes probably encompass way more of his oeuvre than his formal albums, which by the way have a spotty availability online. I cannot tell what percentage of the many mixes his label has put out which youtube labels as being by “Various Artists” is actually him versus collaborators, but it doesn’t matter. LTJ Bukem is a great musician, and check his stuff out. Pay tribute to one of the guys who made electronic music as we know it such a great thing. 

  1. Artist: Kanye West, but exclusively his features

“But doesn’t Kanye West have albums? Why don’t you review one of those?” I’m not Anthony Fantano. I’m not here to talk about albums from Ye. I’m here to talk about his features. I talked about E-40 earlier, so look at Ye popping up on a remix of Tell Me When To Go . It’s fascinating! He brings such an energy that he doesn’t have on his tracks. Ft. Kanye West is a different artist than Kanye West. But there aren’t any albums from ft. Kanye West. Nor will there ever be any, because that’s how features work. At the time of writing, Donda’s new album is supposed to be released today. Apparently. Personally, I also want a ft. Kanye West album. First track can be Down and Out – Cam’ron ft. Kanye West. Then American Boy from Estelle. Perfect album already.


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