There’s a lot of music out there. To help you cut through all the noise, every week The A.V. Club is rounding up A-Sides, five recent releases we think are worth your time. Smino, Noir [Downtown JV, November 8] Smino’s music is wonderfully hard to pin down. Last year’s excellent Blkswn and the new (and also excellent) Noir are both slippery, hour-long stretches of smooth, genre-defying sound, with raps that melt easily into soulful croons and beats that seem to grow new limbs and transform into entirely new organisms as they run on. He operates out of the same nexus of forward-thinking R&B as SZA and Sir, but in lieu of their preternatural hooks he pushes out into bolder and stranger places, sprinkling reggae and electro and bold ambient interludes into the mix. Astonishingly enough, Noir, like Blkswn, holds together across its 18 wildly varied tracks. Imagine an alternate universe in which André 3000 doesn’t retire after The Love Below but instead downshifts into low-key, unfussy experimentation, and you’re pretty close. The only difference is that Smino sounds like he’s just getting started. [Clayton Purdom] Thought Gang, Thought Gang [Sacred Bones, November 2] It would be strange to go into Thought Gang assuming the record was anything less than a little weird. An album of oddball jazz compositions, this music from longtime collaborators David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti actually sat on the shelf for more than 25 years before finally seeing a proper release. Recorded in the early ’90s, only… [Read full story]
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