Who would have known when we started this month just how drastically different our lives would be coming into April. For most people quarantine guidelines have only been in place for a couple of weeks but already it's starting to feel like years, stranded at home without the respite of live music or dancing on the weekends. If you're in the mood for some calming ambient music check out these 10 ambient albums to get you through quarantine and if not then enjoy our guide to the best new albums, singles, and live mixes released in March.
Ambient techno mastermind Daniel Avery teams up with synth mastermind Alessandro Cortini for a genre-bending 10 track exploration of the relationship between density and delicacy. A timely record accentuating the beauty among the madness. [Nick]
It’s easy to write this off as a collection of half-baked loosies and idea skeletons, but I think we ought to start embracing the mixtape style release and consider it almost in it’s own artistic category. These may not be polished, fleshed out ideas, but there’s no denying the fascinating glimpse we are given of Donald Glover and his creative tendencies across the 57 minute runtime of 3.15.20. These tracks range from shimmering summer anthems to crunchy, dark Alt-R&B numbers with the unifying factor is that they all sound and feel like they were born of the same wacked out, but undeniably creative, mind. [Nick]
Purple Moonlight Pages is Rory Ferreira's most naturalistic and spontaneous album yet, a jazz-rap manifesto for freedom which feels urgent and relaxed in equal measures. Back when he released music as Milo, Rory used to make it clear that he'd studied philosophy -- now, with Purple Moonlight Pages, the philosophy has become organically embedded into the music, psychic liberation expressed subliminally using the language of warm keys, cosmic digressions, and images of domestic bliss. [Paul]
The latest project from Porches is a short but sweet grouping of synthy art-pop songs. Short tracks connect the stellar singles that really buoy the album. From straightforward pop songs like “Do U Wanna” to quirky tracks like “Fuck_3”, this album has its footing in a lot of different genres and executes on most of them successfully. [Liam]
After 10 years of rumors and false starts Jay Electronica’s debut album is finally here and it does not disappoint. A Written Testimony is a densely constructed album, full of subtle nuances and top notch sampling along with features by Travis Scott, James Blake, Khruangbin and most notably Roc Nation boss Jay-Z who spits some of his best bars in years on nearly every track.
Every Bad, the second full-length from British art-punk rockers, Porridge Radio, is a soundtrack for the times. Exploring the bleakest ends of human emotion, Dana Margolin’s raw lyricism is a refreshing take on the complexities of life and relationships. Guitar driven instrumental components propel the record out of stark introspection, creating altogether catchy lo-fi, post-punk goodness. [Morgan]
An outstanding mainstream pop album that finds Abel abandoning the outright party vibes of ‘Starboy’ in favor of more moody introspection reminiscent of his 2012 debut album Trilogy and songs like “House of Balloons”. This is music you listen to when the parties over. The album’s production shines bright managing to sound both futuristic and retro at the same time with heavy 80’s influenced sections but also bits of cloud rap, drum and bass, dream pop and more. [Alek]
Nap Eyes are Kings of slacker indie rock — their laid back approach works so well because their ease of playing directly translates to ease of listening; they’re nothing more than friends performing in a suburban basement. “snapshot of a Beginner” is the Canadian outfit’s tightest record yet without sacrificing any of the vibes. If you ever find yourself taking them too seriously, listen to them try and convince you that Mark Zuckerburg is a ghost...lemme tell you, they make a compelling argument. [Nick D]
An ambient album comprised solely of her own voice fusing classical training, pop sensibilities, performance practices and contemporary club culture (think Arca) in what may best be described as futurist folk music. [Alek]
Sign of the Devil may wear all of its influences plainly across each track, but that doesn’t make them any less thrilling. By combining elements of doom, thrash and more, Dopelord crafts one of the most thrilling metal experiences of the year. Each track is dangerously heavy, and prone to induce absurd amounts of headbanging. Listen to it at full volume, if your neighbors have any taste they’ll enjoy it too.
For more metal music from the month of March check out of Monthly Metal Roundup.
Empty is a soothing vessel of eight simple and serene pieces originally recorded as the music to a short art film he shot with his friend and film director Benoit Toulemonde. Drifting through emotions from the stark and sobering to the gently euphoric, Empty is a comforting score for these turbulent times.
An EP that we couldn’t even begin to describe if we tried. It’s a bombastic, frenetic explosion of energy that absolutely took us by surprise [Alek]
It’s a collection of bright, elegant, and simple tracks like these that makes you think that Dave should just stick to songwriting and playing the guitar and leave the vocals to others. A short & sweet EP filled with lush instrumentation, delicate vocal performances, and enough pop sensibility to be the perfect companion to a warm weathered afternoon. [Nick]
A warped cyber-journey through lo-fi noisy beats and nearly incomprehensible rapping. The future of music will sound like outdated operating systems and broken machines -- and i’ve finally come to terms with that. [Nick]
If you are looking for blissful, clean, and bright synthpop, look no further than Magdelena Bay. The duo has been releasing singles and short EPs consistently for the past year or so with A Little Rhythm and a Wicked Feeling being their lengthiest project to date. It is home to a few of those singles and a handful of new tracks guaranteed to make you feel like getting up and dancing. (Favourite Tracks: Venice, Killshot) [Liam]