True Panther/Mushroom Pillow
Following 2010’s highly acclaimed Subiza, Spanish dance-pop group Delorean returns with their new LP Apar. Glistening synths and bright, reverberated guitars sprinkled with outstanding female vocal features (specifically those of Caroline Polachek and Erika Springs) result in distinct, groove-worthy tracks that coruscate and gently tarnish. Though Delorean’s ear for sampling and electronic composition can be likened to that of Small Black or Washed Out, they are hardly derivative—transcending commonplace dance beats into something more resplendent.  Standout tracks like “Spirit”, “Unhold” and “You Know It’s Right” reiterate Delorean’s ability to organically grow simple beats into a climax of booming, production-heavy euphoria. Apar as a whole is pretenseless, yet invokes an extraordinary sense of enrapturing youth—a defining characteristic of any great Summer album. – Magnolia Triplett

Shaheed and DJ Supreme
Knowledge, Rhythm and Understanding
Communicating Vessels

Shaheed and DJ Supreme are an old school hip-hop inspired act from Alabama. They’ve been working together since 2000 releasing two previous albums, Health Wealth & Knowledge of Self and Scholar Warrior (The Remix Album). As you can probably guess from these album titles, their lyrics are very positive, unoffensive and almost insufferably polite [saying at one point, no joke, “I don’t really like the police”]. But they don’t come off like the cringeworthy music played at elementary school assemblies. And even with the occasional mentions of their Muslim faith they lack all the embarrassing connotations of ‘religious rap’. The lyrics are strong, passionate, clever and DJ Supreme lays down just the right mix of soul and boom bap. “Right Now” is pretty catchy even if the whole chorus revolves around the apparently important difference between “now” and “right now”. “Take it Back” name drops all their classic hip-hop influences, further emphasizing the musical knowledge that makes this a compelling album. – Brett Bennett

Edited by: Nathan Kerce