Release Date: February 17

The four tracks on this EP—from one Ryan Cavangh, who also records as Worst Friends with John Paul Jones—start slow and soft, then crescendo into complex string arrangements, synth melodies, and sharp beats. It’s a well-established fact by now that not all music in the realm of techno is faceless and soulless—the emotive spirit of this release is further affirmation. JM

MP3: “Where Am I?”

Black Sea
Release Date: Out Now

In stark contrast to 2004’s Venice, its pop filigree braided from semi-directed transients and maws of static, Black Sea feels ever more disassociated, yet maintains an affecting heft. Far less centered on the granular residue of individual note strikes, these eight tracks are topped by a head of aerated reverb that gradually crowns with subtle melodies. Without a single punch, it leaves you breathless. TW

Horace Andy and Ashley Beedle
Inspiration/Information 2
Release Date: February

Reggae legends Horace Andy and Ashley Beedle joined forces to collaborate for the second installment in Strut’s ongoing series (Sly & Robbie and Amp Fiddler released the first volume in 2008). Roots and club reggae meet on this pleasantly laidback collection. JM

Late of the Pier
Fantasy Black Channel
Release Date: Out Now

Vocalist Sam Eastgate carries this album, the debut full-length from these four Castle Donnigan, U.K.-based lads. Fantasy might have been in danger of falling into the “just another nu-rave record” trap, but with Eastgate screeching indecipherable words in full falsetto, then suddenly dipping into low octaves while singsing about suicide and cheap wine, the album becomes a sometimes-hilarious, always energetic pack of tunes. MN

MP3: “Heartbeat”

Fabric 43: Metro Area
Release Date: Out Now

With disco’s undeniable resurgence in recent years, it comes as no surprise that Brooklyn duo Metro Area would be tapped for its own installment of the vaunted Fabric mix series. Fabric 43 provides a great window into the sounds that inspire Morgan Geist and Darshan Jesrani. Digging heavily into oddball later disco from the mid-’80s, many of the tracks show flourishes of electro and ’80s funk, sounds oft-ignored by disco revivalists. SR

Release Date: Out Now

Given that he’s from Somalia, it’s no surprise that rapper K’NAAN uses guns, war, lack of education, and life on the streets as subject matter on “ABCs.” His lyrics are made all the more intense by the driving rhythm that sits beneath, and an instrumental version of the song, as well as a couple of acapellas (talk about intense), complete this EP.

Blank Fade
Release Date: Out Now

If there’s one lesson we have learned from 2008, it’s that minimal techno is not nearly evil enough. On Blank Fade, Detroit’s Jon Gaiser injects pitch-black dread into the heart of his distinct brand of techno. Steamrolling basslines, droplets of toxic rain, and ghostly sirens all coalesce into swinging, propulsive grooves that stretch into a never-ending night. TS

Soul Jazz
Release Date: Out Now

This North Londoner has been releasing singles under the name Ramadanman (try saying that three times fast) since 2006 on a variety of labels—Bare Dubs, Tempa, and Fabric being a few of them. For this release, he’s crafted a set of minmalistic dubstep cuts in which the snare is the most prominent instrument. A good reminder that not all dubstep has to be dark and dirty. MN

Abe Vigoda
Post Present Medium
Release Date: February 17

Reviver follows 2008’s full-length, Skeleton, and finds the four-man-strong, Los Angeles-based outfit quite at home in their version of punk. Sometimes shoegaze-influenced and sometimes tropical-tinged, this EP rarely stays in one musical style for long, which makes it a good listen for ADD-addled folks like this writer. MN

The Long Lost
The Long Lost
Ninja Tune
Release Date: March 3

They say true love is a force, but here, it’s like a gentle breeze that floats through the open window of some quaint house in the woods. The Darlingtons strum acoustic guitars and sing sweetly back and forth to one another, and with track titles like “The Art of Kissing” and “Domestics,” it’s clear that Daedelus and his wife Laura are in a pretty blissful partnership. Naturally, the former’s signature beatmaking style shows up on several tracks as well. JM

Text by Jennifer Marston, Shawn Reynaldo, Tony Ware, Tim Saputo, and Maverick Newberry.

Pictured: K’naan

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