Summer pro-tip: Lemon pepper is underrated. Applied liberally to unbuttered chicken, the seasoning has persisted in American cuisine as an oven-baked, dried-out crunch of bitter acid. A tragedy. Lemon pepper was made to swim in fat, then seared in fire and smoke. Wings, yes, are the primary vehicle — especially if you are lucky to live in an area that serves them "wet" — but on salmon and broccoli, the sour acid of the lemon cuts across butter with the subtle sting of peppercorn and smoked char. Add a lil sugar to the lemon pepper mix to caramelize, and the grill is lemon pepper's true calling! Vegan friends, slather with Earth Balance on tofu and chopped Vidalia onion, sear on a flat skillet or grill basket. Pairs well with a (very) lightly sweet white wine. —Lars Gotrich
Derek Bailey, Domestic Jungle (Scatter): The British improviser — who invented his own language for the guitar, blew it to pieces, repeated ad infinitum — string splatters over radio chatter and static-strewn jungle beats on an inconsistent and noisy tape recorder. It's like that weirdly funky Mirakle album with Jamaaladeen Tacuma and Calvin Weston, but over hyperspeed breakbeats. Apparently, Bailey would practice guitar while tuned into the station, to break up the slower pace of his free-jazz circles. "I've always liked the parts where the music stops and drifts along — you get some ridiculous string orchestra, then it just slips a bit, the pitch goes or they slow it down or something," Bailey said. "Then the drums come back — it's completely meaningless! I like that." What a find.
Cult Objects, Secrets of Pain-Free Living (World Gone Mad): Post-punk at the intersection of shimmery and strepitous. Akin to White Lung and Pleasure Leftists, but bent on British noise-pop gestures and Lauren Leilani Iona's desperate howl, Philly's Cult Objects leans into the screaming maw of basement show beauty.
ELUCID, I Told Bessie (BackwoodzStudioz): A deep, desperate instinct runs through ELUCID joints: Call up the past, complicate and twist it, but hold it dear. On production alone, that's paradoxically clear in the dark, murky beats made here by The Alchemist, Kenny Segal, The Lasso, etc. — stuff that ain't too far off from what ELUCID would throw down himself. But I gravitate towards the tracks that push his dead-eyed delivery into other dimensions while understanding what makes his rhymes work, particularly the stuttered brass sample that beds "Impasse" or the Caretaker-like ambient dread of "Split Tongue."
Taper's Choice, Choice Tapes Vol. 3 (self-released): While I've never been a Phishhead and only have a few select Grateful Dead shows in my collection, "jam" is indisputably a part of my aesthetic and vocabulary, especially as a genre-fluid marker for elastic music. The winkably named Taper's Choice is unapologetically jamband, featuring Alex Bleeker (Real Estate), Dave Harrington (Darkside), Zach Tenorio-Miller (Arc Iris) and Chris Tomson (Vampire Weekend). These are noodles and choogles of the most choice quality, weaving cosmic Americana, pastoral singer-songwriter ditties, slow and stoned psych-folk, raga twang, fried boom-bap and synth washes into a tie-dyed crazyquilt.
Internazionale, Out of the Blue, Into the Light (Janushoved): Internazionale is Mikkel Valentin Dunkerley who, after some Discogs digging, has worked under many monikers, including Pummeler, which graced the tape and CD-R spines of Stunned, Digitalis, Small Doses and Anathema Sound a decade ago (aka my favorite era of underground dank). The mode is different here: there's a sturdy, gliding quality to this ambient music that scans the curvature of the earth with something between mourning and bleary-eyed hope.
MJ Noble, Kind Blade (Doom Trip): Is Ren Faire synth-pop a thing? I think MJ Noble makes Ren Faire synth-pop. Undeniably, the LA producer has her sights on retrofuturistic pop production — drum & bass mixed with slick electro-R&B and Orange Milk-y don't-call-it-hyperpop — but her roots must be drawn from cascading harpsong, hurdy gurdy drone and lilting melodies. The mystical and gilded elements are all there, just sequenced on synths and drum machines instead, although fairy flute features prominently!
Stream the Viking's Choice playlist via BNDCMPR. Tracklist below:
Cult Objects, "Safe"
Derek Bailey, "6"
Taper's Choice, "❜ ❜"
Internazionale, "There is a Place for Us"
MJ Noble, "Kind Blade"
Linda Ayupuka, "Yine Faamam"
Lou Reed, "I'm Waiting for the Man (May 1965 Demo)"
Moor Mother (feat. Melanie Charles), "WOODY SHAW"
Lia Kohl, "As Sweet As"
Charles Stepney, "Look B4U Leap"
JPW, "Wealth of the Canyon"
Nameless, "Newest Age Man"
Hot Dirt, "The Gallop"
Tomb Mold, "Aperture of Body"
KEN mode, "A Love Letter"
Obijuan (feat. YUNGMORPHEUS), "GUAPANESE"
Flora Wong, Jodie Rottle & Chris Perren, "Escapement"
Lean Year, "The Trouble with Being Warm"
Luke Requena, "The Salamander's Ascent"
JUICE MENACE, "Wake Up Call"