Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Parliament's first album in almost 40 years is titanic and weird

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Photo: Scott Legato (Getty Images)

Listen to these songs and more on The A.V. Club’s Spotify playlist, updated weekly with what we’re listening to.


Parliament, “Psychotropic”

This week saw the surprise release of Medicaid Fraud Dogg, George Clinton’s first new album in 38 years under the Parliament banner. And it’s a titanic, 100-minute record: dense, political, and vastly eclectic, drawing plenty of inspiration from modern artists along with the full spectrum of the group’s own legendary sound. Surprisingly, it’s “Psychotropic,” one of the album’s sparest, slowest jams, that’s grabbing me most right now. That might be because of my bias for early Funkadelic, which the song channels through the arpeggios and emotive guitar solos backing up its intimate female vocals. It doesn’t come close to approaching the cosmic majesty of “Maggot Brain,” but it builds something new and bewitching from those same vibes. [Matt Gerardi]

Daniel Avery, Projector

One of my favorite records this year so far is Song For Alpha, Daniel Avery’s sophomore album, released in April. Blending ambient and tech house with transfixing shoegaze synth textures, Alpha’s songs feel both vast and visceral, evoking the transcendent experience of withdrawing into oneself on the dance floor. (In Avery’s own words: “Eyes closed as opposed to hands in the air.”) Right when the album was announced, the London producer surprise-released a four-song EP that expanded on the energy of standout Alpha single “Slow Fade,” and last week he released Projector, a collection similarly building off the new album’s third track. Of the B-sides, I especially love the oceanfront-club vibe of “Shadow Mountain,” with its wave-like washes of synth and heavy sub thump. Avery’s songs take hold like an undertow—unexpectedly and powerfully—and I’m glad to have even more to explore. [Kelsey J. Waite]

Old Man Saxon, “I’ve Had It”


Sometimes the algorithms get it right: Spotify recommended L.A. rapper Old Man Saxon’s new EP, The Pursuit, to me a couple weeks back. It suggested the jittery, minimalist “Stop Shooting,” which I also like a lot, but I find myself returning to the aggressive, P.O.S.-esque “I’ve Had It.” The noisy squalls underneath Saxon’s voice recall Nine Inch Nails, as does the percussion, and that non-surprisingly clicks with someone like me, a punk with a deep background in industrial. The rest of The Pursuit takes it down several notches—or at least shifts the energy into something less kinetic—though “I’ve Had It” is a pretty great way to kick things off. [Kyle Ryan]