This week: ear-piquing frequencies, swelling harmonies and oddball synth grooves

By in Features





Essential weekend listening.

This week’s rundown is by VF’s Kelly Doherty, alongside Annabelle Van Dort, Emily Hill and James Hammond.

Mount Kimbie

MK 3​.​5: Die Cuts | City Planning

(Warp Records)


A record in two parts, MK 3.5:Die Cuts/City Planning gives space to Mount Kimbie’s Dom Maker and Kai Campos to play to their individual strengths. Maker’s half, featuring collaborations with Wiki, Slowthai and Danny Brown, is soporific alternative hip-hop; it wobbles and unfurls through heavy atmospheres and textures. Campos takes a minimalist club approach, often teetering on ambient soundscape territory. Whilst both halves differ in genre, they are tonally connected; imbued with melancholia and internality.—KD

She Spells Doom


(All Centre)


All Centre is the much-beloved imprint from the creative brains of DJ Pitch and Simkin, hosting artists from South London to Los Angeles, and now Zambia. Bossano is the latest release from She Spells Doom, a producer whose percussive output has been stirring the electronic music scene since 2013 and the release of S.S.D Tracks. In that time, She Spells Doom has produced music for Telekom Electronic Beats and made some seriously heated booty-shaking bootlegs. Bossano is an expansive take on their body of work, keeping procedures on an experimental techno tip.–EH

Big Joanie

Back Home

(Daydream Library Series)


Big Joanie’s sophomore album, Back Home, expands on the lo-fi punk stylings of their debut with added depth and variety. While the heavy smashers are still here, the trio widen their sound by introducing layered electronic elements, folk nods and soaring walls of feedback that feel absolutely massive. A must-listen for anyone who thinks punk has nothing new left to give.—KD


Sound Is Like Water



Washington-based DJ, producer and singer dreamcastmoe releases his debut album Sound Is Like Water on Ghostly International. Dreamcastmoe is on the rise with releases on the Funkinevens Apron imprint and PPU, amongst other collaborative projects. This latest body of work reflects the laidback artist’s personality and traverses genres and moods on the electronic, hip-hop and funky spectrum. The dance-friendly closing tracks, co-produced by Sami of 1432 R, sit perfectly in the world of movement.—EH

Carla dal Forno

Come Around

(Kallista Records)


Taking in themes of insomnia, reconnection, and disorder, Carla Dal Forno’s third LP Come Around retains the mysterious interplay and post-punk influences of previous works whilst invariably refining the formula. Continuing with a seemingly effortless ability to pair alluring vocal melodies with bass hooks and sparing beats, these carefully measured structures make space for all manner of ear-piquing frequencies and residual moods.–JH

Markos Vamvakaris

Death Is Bitter

(Mississippi Records)


Presenting a partial cross-section of Markos Vamvakaris’ enduring songcraft, Death is Bitter takes us to the bars, brothels and hash dens of the port of Piraeus in the early 1930s. A legend of Greek rebetika music, Vamvakaris honed his skills in such establishments before setting his songs of love, loss and suffering to disc in Athenian studios. This set comes as an apt introduction for those unfamiliar with Vamvakaris’ voice and bouzouki playing, holding a potency that goes beyond language barriers and the recording fidelity of the time.— JH

First Aid Kit




Sometimes a formula is tried and tested for a reason and First Aid Kit are living proof of this. While Palomino doesn’t mark a major shift for the Swedish sister duo, it works to further cement their reputation as one of the most consistent country-pop acts of our generation. Filled with sincere lyrics about love and loss and warm, swelling harmonies, Palomino is a pleasure to spend time with.— KD

Bahtiyar Taş


(Zel Zele)


Istanbul’s Zel Zele Records return with Acayip, a 1980s solo album by Turkish bassist Bahtiyar Taş. A delightful concoction of oddball synth grooves and DIY production, this eclectic collection of tracks was curated by Istanbul-based producer Grup Ses from hundreds of unreleased bedroom tapes recorded from 1981 to 1988. Drawing on the traditions of Arabesque music–a genre characterised by melancholic melodies and wistful lyrics full of longing for a better life–Taş explores his experiences as an immigrant in Frankfurt through socially conscious lyricism and inventive musical production.—AVD

Agile Experiments

These Are Times For Mind And Spirit

(DDR Records)


On their 11th release in four years, Agile Experiments display a renewed creative synergy and appetite for experimentation. Led by multi-instrumentalist Dave De Rose, Agile Experiments is a collaborative project comprised of GoGo Penguin’s Jon Scott on drums and Melt Yourself Down’s George Crowley on saxophone and machines. Texturally rich and packed full of sonic surprises, These Are Times For Mind and Spirit shifts effortlessly between ambient jazz soundscapes and more avant-garde territory. An essential release from the prolific group.—AVD



(You See)


On his new label You See, Romare returns with Fantasy, an eight-track album that takes influence from ’70s fantasy film soundtracks. Fantasy is an unpredictable release that melds dancefloor-ready cuts with slow introspection through soulful and vast sound collages. A release that is often leftfield but always cohesive. —KD