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Top 10: Atmosphere, Atlas Sound, Presets

Atmosphere
When Life Hands You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold
Rhymesayers
Release Date: Out Now

Sean "Slug" Daley and Anthony “Ant” Davis return with their sixth full-length, and their method of making songs here is something of a deviation from previous albums. Lyrically, Daley–whose "heart-on-the-sleeve" approach to writing is well documented–looks beyond his own experiences and explores the lives of bums, washed-up waitresses, teenage mothers, and no good fathers as they experience poverty, abandonment, self-medication, revelation and the like. It's a colorful cast of characters, complemented by Davis' sharp beats, a live band, and a ton of analog synths.

Syclops
I've Got My Eye On You
DFA
Release Date: June 17

Speaking of gold, it seems that everything Maurice Fulton gets his hands on turns to that particular metal. The Sheffield, U.K.-based producer lent his production expertise to this, the debut album from Finnish trio Syclops, and it's a whirlwind of carefully crafted tracks that blend computer-generated sounds with chugging guitars and smashing hi-hats. There's a nice amount of variety on here, which keeps the album captivating throughout as it transitions from spastic techno to ethereal house to leftfield hip-hop and more.

Various
New Orleans Funk Volume Two
Soul Jazz
Release Date: Out Now

Soul Jazz's latest musical exploration takes the label to New Orleans in the late '60s and early '70s, to a scene which had enough classic artists and seminal hits to put it on par or above any U.S. scene at the time, Motown, Detroit, and Memphis included. To explain why, exactly, the New Orleans funk scene never reached the superstardom success of those other locations would take too long to explain. Suffice to say that this compilation, featuring 25 jazz, funk, and soul recordings you've probably never even heard and not a moment of filler, only makes that question harder to answer. Wyatt Williams

The Presets
Apocalypso
Modular
Release Date: May 13

The standout track on 2006's Beams was an dreamy, pop-driven number that sounds absolutely nothing like Apocalypso's lead single, "My People," a fact that's indicative of the entire album. It seems that Julian Hamilton and Kim Moyes have spent the last two years doubling the number of synth layers in their tracks, speeding up the pace of the beats, and adding things like acapella choirs and piercing keyboard melodies. All of this makes for an aggressive dance-rock album that, though it mimics the worst of the '80s a little too frequently, is nonetheless a fine piece of party music.

Apparat
Things to be Frickled: Parts and Remixes
Shitkatapult
Release Date: Out Now

Sascha Ring has gotten his hands on a grip of dance music's latest floor fillers and given them each a face-lift–with impressive results. Disc one has Ring remixing everyone from Boys Noize to Nathan Fake, giving each track a hypnotic, 3 a.m. feeling while maintaining shades of the original numbers. The standout track here is a collaboration with BPitch Control boss Ellen Allien, for Paul Kalkbrenner's "Queer Fellow," which sounds like something from the sci-fi flick I just wanted last night. For disc two, Ring handed the mixing board and a bunch of his own tracks over to friends and colleagues for their interpretations. Now if only I could figure out the definition of the word "frickle."

Various
Soul Messages From Dimona
The Numero Group
Release Date: Out Now

A compilation of four Black Hebrew soul groups recording and living in Dimona, Israel between 1975-1981, Soul Messages From Dimona contains the contributing artists' stories–ones that run just as deep as the basslines. Over half the tracks come from The Soul Messengers, who moved from the South side of Chicago, lived and toured as one of the first Liberian funk bands, and eventually arrived in Dimona, the declared "center of the spiritual universe." The tracks are hot, featuring some sweet soul tunes to accompany the heavy stories. Wyatt Williams

Atlas Sound
Things I'll Miss EP
Download

If you're a Bradford Cox fan, you likely check in with his Deerhunter blog regularly and know that dude is constantly throwing free music up there for anyone who happens to stumble upon the site. His latest output contains three instrumentals and a couple tracks with Cox's usual bizarre-yet-poignant lyrics sung over ambient electronics. It's a more soothing affair than previous material that has appeared on the blog–you could almost call it pretty, with its sweeping strings, keyboards, chimes, and tambourines. Throw this one on in the early a.m.

Various
Buzzin' Fly - 5 Golden years in the Wilderness
Buzzin' Fly
Release Date: June 23

This one's for both new fans of Ben Watt's Buzzin' Fly imprint and those who have kept up with the label's releases since its inception five years ago. Disc one features some of the best dancefloor fillers Buzzin' Fly has released and includes Ben Watt's "Lone Cat," which only saw the light of day because it was bootlegged back in 2003. For disc two, Watt selected heavier numbers by the likes of John Tejada and Jimpster, to showcase a darker side of the label's output. Finally, to ensure we're all looking forwards as well as backwards, disc three features some brand new material.

The Black Ghosts
The Black Ghosts
IAMSOUND
Release Date: July 8

Though hard to pin into any one genre, "melodramatic" is one label you could easily slap onto this release–and that's not a bad thing. Simon Lord and Theo Keating have crafted an album that, while scatter-shot musically, retains an intensely dark flavor that isn't so surprising when one learns that Keating's godfather directed horror films and Lord's grandmother was a psychic. Synthesizers on the danceable "Any Way You Choose to Give" chugs and rumbles along like a ride at a haunted house, while the more rock-oriented "Repetition Kills You" is like a dark, twisted version of an indie rock ballad. Spooky.

Stars Like Fleas
The Ken Burns Effect
Home Tapes
Release Date: June 3

The latest full-length from this Brooklyn-based outfit is an avant-jazz-meets-organic songwriting affair that's both accessible as your average indie rock band and puzzling as the most abstract soundscapes. Static droning gives way to gently plucked acoustic guitars, while spastic vocals are accompanied by gentle chimes and ambient synth lines. In the hands of some artists, a combination like this would spell disaster. Here, a perfect balance has been struck between conceptual electronics and emotionally weighted songwriting.

Pictured above: Slug of Atmosphere.

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