The XLR8R Office Top Ten Album Picks, July 16

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Daniel Higgs Atomic Yggdrasil TarotThrill Jockey
Famous tattoo artist, ex-Lungfish and Reptile House frontman, and cosmic traveler, Daniel Higgs is one of the foremost icons of the psych-scene. Atomic Yggdrasil Tarot (book and CD) features the bearded sage at his best–running acoustic guitars and banjos through distortion pedals, painting mind-numbing shapes, and writing epigrams that are the literary equivalent to the proverbial K-hole. Amazing.

Various This is Rong Music Rong Music
Forget Norway–the best new disco is dropping straight out of NYC. DJ Spun and Ben Cook’s Rong Music label has been releasing one amazing 12” after another since their 2003 inception, and this double-disc comp arguably showcases the best of the best disco tracks. Throw on Disc One’s mix and get sleazy.

Teki LatexParty de PlaisirEMI
After getting the video for “Les Matins de Paris”, I had to ask EMI France to send us a copy of this pop-scapade. It took about a month, but it’s here, and it slays. Nothing like Teki's work with TTC, Party de Plaisir is comparable to the tamest moments of Daft Punk with the bubbliest synth-lines imaginable. France is a better place thanks to old Teki.

Shocking PinksS/TDFA/Astralwerks
With Prinzhorn Dance School and Shocking Pinks, DFA has added an interesting, stripped-down rock element to its roster. The latter's debut LP sounds like a lo-fi shoegaze version of a Belle and Sebastian album with the heady appeal of ’80's rock (and John Hughes). This ain’t no Juan MacLean dance party, but it rips all the same.

To Kill a Petty BourgeoisieThe PatronKranky
The Patron is a great offering from the Kranky homies. To Kill’s debut beams with the textured guitar work we’ve come to expect from the label, but with delicate female vocals that bring to mind a heartbroken and bedridden Hope Sandavol. If you want to go to the mountains, sit by a pond, and reflect on life, it would be wise to make this record your travel companion.

Various Summer Records Anthology (1974 – 1988)Light in the Attic
If you're looking for an entry point into the ex-pat roots reggae scene of 1970s Toronto, the prolific Summer Records label is a good place to start. This comps digs deep into the label's archives and comes up with enough unreleased tracks, alternate takes, and demos to keep us going all summer long.

Juan Trip’ConsolationCitizen
Can you thank the heavens for French-psych? Juan Trip' has carved a niche into the genre, pulling instruments and inspiration from everywhere and anywhere. Flutes, trumpets, delayed guitars, and warm drums flow so naturally throughout this record, it’s like 1969 all over again, but without sounding like another corny retro-outfit. Consolation is the real deal.

The Spirals Without Control Darkroom Dubs
This Argentinean duo doesn't exactly redraw the synth-funk map with its debut LP, but with an album this fun, who cares? These tracks are drenched in kitschy guitars, Daft Punk vocoder, ’80's synth pads, and super-funky basslines; it’s a Friday night for your ears.

T. RexElectric Warrior Warner Bros.
We don’t know who’s to blame–Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof, drunken karaoke, or simply the summer heat–but something has pushed this ’70s classic back into the rotation, and now we can’t get enough. It seems there is a cure for the “Summertime Blues”: Marc Bolan.

Swell Session Swell Communications LPFreerange
Andreas “Swell Session” Saag is a legitimate producer. While he’s not afraid to scale the jazzy-house fence (which is typically kind of, ‘eh, not again?’), his sharp production and ability to switch into grimey dancehall and weird hip-hop territory, makes it justifiable. Not to mention Jimpster, Mr. Scruff, Domu, and others grace this long-player. Freerange has made a choice move.