Breon S.Y.N.D.E.L. - Lavendar TVs, Neon Blue Glass

Over the past few months, Elmont-raised R&B hip-hop amalgamator Breon S.Y.N.D.E.L. has released no less than four broken-open-hearted, cyanosic songs with stunning visual accompaniment. Here's a quick watchlist. Hear more on Breon's Spotify.


Roc Marciano - "Downtown 81"

In which we find our protagonist riding the Shinkansen to Tokyo, touring Buddhist shrines, playing croquet, walking around a luxury estate in a Versace bathrobe, attending a Formual 1 race and finally catching the bullet train back home.

Aesop Rock - Spirit World Field Guide

The "must not sleep, must warn others" ink of Aesop Rock's early spellbooks has gradually given way to more insular themes, as if the sorcerer mage, having flown too close to the sun, has retreated to his cave to ride out some internal hellstorm near-rhyming infernal maelstrom, and it turns out this single-player, many-charactered D&D campaign is much more fun than faithfully filling the role of your doomsday cult's most loquacious doomsayer. 

"The Gates" closes, "My dream home is like 10,000 dead bolts and less than no windows." Make no mistake, though, this isolation is a means rather than an ends, the negative darkness a dream portal.

A telling aside: Aesop Rock albums often have one relatively straightforward song, which you can listen to just once and know what it's about. Labor Days had "No Regrets." Skelethon had "Ruby 81." Spirit World Field Guide has "1 to 10," a 53-second track about the rapper's bad back. 

All at once, Spirit World Field Guide is Aesop Rock's most outlandish, focused, conceptual and funniest album yet. I'm equal parts upset and unsurprised the vinyl has already sold out.


Richard Flesh - Violent Ballets

Limted, custom-packaged tapes available
Violent Ballets isn't rap or r&b or instrumental hip-hop, which means you won't find anything else like it here. 

So, what's it like? Maybe art rock? But with very little rock and really fucked up art at that. Released the same day the U.S. declared COVID-19 a national emergency, Violent Ballets does make for perfect pandemic music, though recorded months earlier. A while back, presumably while he was working on this, I asked Richard Flesh what he'd been listening to lately. He sighed, maybe even groaned, and got that look people get when you ask them something too excruciatingly complicated to get into. But we were at a barbeque in Wantagh Park, and the schmutz was flowing — like I said, these were simpler times — so with only a little prodding, he indulged me and rattled off a litany of geniuses not typicially mentioned in the same sentence. I can't remember exactly who but for comparison's sake, let's say it was La Monte Young, Shostakovich, Sun Ra and John Carpenter (at least one or two of those names probably came up, at any rate).

Produced, arranged, composed, performed and collaged by Richard Flesh, and mixed by the esteemed Gareth Jones (the guy who introduced sampling to Depeche Mode), Violent Ballets draws as much from the psychosphere that passively haunts both Memorial Day celebrations and long-overdue national emergency declarations. If the spot on the wall your cat spends hours staring at made a sound, it might go something like this.


De La Soul - “Remove 45”

Find your polling place here (NY) or here (elsewhere in U.S.). Polls are open until 9PM in NY. If you're still on the line when polls close, do not leave — you have the right to cast a ballot. Fuck fascism.