TWINKIDS – “Jigoku Tengoku” // Patrick Kramer

“Jigoku Tengoku”, which means “hell or heaven” in Japanese, is a promise from one lover to another that he’ll follow them anywhere to be with them. Heaven and hell are also the two extremes he’s putting his partner through – “this time”, “believe me”, empty promises. TWINKIDS flesh out this track’s modern-yet-poetic narrative with care, placing coked-out rants and the 2AM texts between lines about amethyst loving and the closing refrain of the other half of this relationship, a powerful realization of “I keep making the same old mistake”.

Deft lyricism aside, “Jigoku Tengoku” is a massive pop tune, with gargantuan drums topped only by the snarling synth line in the closing chorus. The whole thing sounds massive, so crank up your stereo and mash that repeat button – this one will stick with you for a while.

For more TWINKIDS, get back into “Dreamer” from VINYL MOON Volume 009: Shifting States.

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Ross From Friends – “John Cage” // Art: Dolly Faibyshev

Ross From Friends brings us a delightedly demented cut of lo-fi house via the always future-minded LA collective Brainfeeder. Sporting a barely-coherent vocal hook, surf guitar, lush chords, and maniacal laughter (!!!), “John Cage” has enough of what you know to keep it feeling familiar, but enough curveballs to keep you fascinated listen after listen. Will you be uncomfortable? Maybe. Will you love it? Absolutely.

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Fenne Lily. – “On Hold” // Masha Ivashintsova

There’s something about the contrast between the scratchy guitar and the elegance of Fenne Lily’s voice that brings this whole track together, like, when leaning against a tree, the roughness of the tree bark somehow makes the sun leaking through the leaves that much more lovely. All I know is that when the guitar solo rips into life, I’m totally sucked in, abrasion or no.

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Christian Besa Wright – “Cherry Blossom Oak” // Daniel Sprick

Straddling the worlds of indie folk, americana, and pop, Christian Besa Wright sounds like Youth Lagoon going through a heavy Elliott Smith phase. And if those two touchpoints don’t pique your interests, you probably don’t have much interest in those worlds at all. Your loss! The rest of us will happily slip on some headphones and sink into whatever it is we happen to be sitting on.

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KNIGHTSTOWN – “Keep” // Jenna Barton

KNIGHTSTOWN wastes no time in “Keep”, immediately establishing the bassline to a track that makes a perfect soundtrack to either dusk or dawn. The cooed vocals are perfect for either shrugging off the cares of the day or giving you the strength to face them. Even better, the steady claps will let you do either of things with an extra spring in your step.

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Sangam – “Egotistical” // Reka

Sangam is an artist that thrives in the large and growing larger by the day Vaporwave scene. Putting his music into a single genre, however, would not do it justice. “Egotistical” is full of heavy, murky drones that, rather than alienate the casual listener, captivate them into being spellbound. Let yourself drown in the textures and sounds of the underwater futuristic cityscape that Sangam constructs for you in this track. A glorious death and rebirth.

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Xavier[EXS22] – “Take Flight” // Hiejin Yoo

“Take Flight” is a love letter to the jazzy hip-hop beat stylings of Nujabes, Ta-Ku, Uyama Hiroto, and is deserving to sit amongst the masters as, at the very least, a Padawan. I never get sick of piano based heartfelt beats like this, so perhaps I am biased in my praise, but I guarantee this will put a smile on your face and lift your heart as Xavier[EXS22] bares his soul for your chill-out enjoyment.

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Kahiem Rivera – “This Night Last Year (feat. Snake Eyes)” // Angela Wang

Kathiem Rivera channels Kendrick Lamar’s “Good Kid M.A.A.d City” era flow as Snake Eyes beautifully and soulfully fills in the hook. The synthy, downtempo beat provides a nice foil to Rivera’s snappy bars. A unique track that draws from the greats just as much as it innovates; “This Night Last Year” has definitely put Rivera on my radar and I look forward to hearing what else he brings to the hip-hop table.

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