We’re halfway through the year and sharing our favorite albums of 2024 thus far! Here’s Rem‘s list of current favs along with some words about each release.

It’s a busy world ain’t it? Between all the new sensations of 2024 and the ones of years prior that haunt and trouble our psyche, the artists we love and those we just recently discovered keep our belts spinning and playlists looping. Whether you’re grateful for when the algorithm shines upon your day or for the record store employees that talk your ear off about something you might like, hopefully this list serves the second scenario proud. Let’s get into it! 

Drew McDowall A Thread, Silvered and Trembling

Known for being a driving force in the seismographic impact of London based industrial group Coil, the fifth record by Drew McDowall isn’t straying from any of his influences or collaborations. From the brut yet saturated and entrancing cover art of a key-outlined pelican, to the many combinations of genres — ambient noise wall, progressive electronic, glitch, drone — that litter its runtime, this LP pairs vibrant and haunting atmospheres with magnificently enriching swells of low-end and choral samples, with a few melodies here and there to keep your heartstrings oscillating. 

Skee Mask Resort  

Since Compro, his breakthrough record from 2017, German electronic guru Skee Mask has been trying to strike gold once again, and here on Resort I feel that by a fascinating and successful hodgepodge of styles and tricks, he has achieved his goal. Comparisons to the ambient dub of Rod Modell/Deepchord and the blippy catalog of Warp would be too easy, for Berlin barbarian Bryan Müller stops at nothing to impress his listeners of his fluency in the obscure electronic zeitgeist of drum breaks, grumbling bass lines and the ever-constant techno kick drum. Any fan of Aphex Twin, GAS, Daniel Avery or Ross from Friends should make an effort to seek out this exquisite masterclass by a modern phenom of EDM. 

Phil GeraldiAM/FM USA 

An ethereal glimpse at life through a wet chorused car stereo, AM/FM USA by Phil Geraldi is if the KLF’s Chill Out and James Ferraro’s Last American Hero were having coffee at a truck stop diner where you can still smoke while Roy Montgomery is – somehow – playing on the jukebox. Chock full of clever panning, field recordings and swathing waves of guitar ambient that would make loveliescrushing proud, this hypnagogic two-track expedition makes good use of any listener’s 37 minutes away from life’s interruptions. 

Hammok Look How Long Lasting Everything Is Moving Forward For Once 

Norwegian screamo/post-hardcore act Hammok come out swinging with their debut record with catchy licks and punishing guitar distortion, keeping the listener in the corner with its sticky, syrupy production and monumental pacing. Somewhere between pageninteynine’s bloated emo tone and those titanic snarling passages of Converge’s Jane Doe, I find a lot of appreciation for Look How Long Lasting… with its charming DIY sound that lulls you in, only to swallow you in its onslaught of white-knuckled closed-fist punches. 

Abul Mogard and Rafael Anton Irisarri Impossibly Distant, Impossibly Close

The first collaboration between Italian drone specialist Abul Mogard and Rafael Anton Irisarri from The Sight Belowis another A/B side record, with the first half rich with gargantuan waves of granular synthesis shrapnel, and the second a meditative sub-frequency rumination of intangible space ambient. Combining the disembodied sample-based textures of maestros William Basinski and Leyland Kirby, and those glistening crystalline noisescapes of Jefre-Cantu Ledesma, Tim Hecker and Yellow Swans, I hope this LP is the first of many interesting joints between Mogard and Irisarri, with more soothingly interesting fuzzy verandas on the way. 

But what comes next? 

Despite a multitude of other worthy artists for this list – see: Uboa, Iglooghost, Rafael Toral, Bladee, sonhos tomam contra, Marjua, etc. – there’s still half a year to go, so here’s what I’ll be looking forward to most in the next coming months: 

Alva Noto HYbr:ID III 

While Carsten Nicolai’s Xerrox series is his more ambient heavy release, HYbr:ID II from 2023 was far more drone focused, while having those glitchy microsound flourishes that are more similar to the work he once had with the late, great Ryuichi Sakamoto. The third record in the series should serve to be another spacious and freezing wasteland of ambient for the German founder of the raster-noton label. 

Toe Now I See the Light 

A welcome surprise to most math-rock aficionados, Tokyo outfit Toe return for their senior record – their first in almost 10 years. While always seeming on the fringe of the emo twinkling of the ’90s and that angular sound of Battles or black midi, this new record surely will leave an impression for those missing out on that sound. 

Les Rallizes Dénudés屋根裏 YaneUra Oct. ’80 

In recent years the label Temporal Drift has been reissuing classics and releasing immaculately sounding live records of the greatest noise rock group to ever grace the sonic landscape – Japan’s Les Rallizes Dénudés. This release will follow in the wake of 2023’s BAUS ’93 and CITTA’ ’93, two mammoth-like and pristinely mixed live recordings, of which YaneUra I expect will not disappoint lovers of those exhibitions. 

*insert Bugs Bunny quote here* 

That’s it for 2024 – so far – I’ll let you get back to your digging, so I can finally listen to that Brat album I’ve been hearing so much about. Take care! 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *