Album Premiere: ‘The Blackwashing’

Album Premiere: ‘The Blackwashing’

Today, on Juneteenth, the day of emancipation, we bring to you The Blackwashing, an eclectic assortment of 24 tracks from some of the best and brightest black underground artists going today.

Conceptualized and spearheaded by mynameisblueskye and his new label ASAS in partnership with staple independent label Z Tapes and ourselves, The Blackwashing was coined as such as something of a counterattack: to whitewash has been to obscure, often by the whites who take social and political power and craft the narratives to fit their agendas. In response and in this context, to blackwash is to to reveal, to shine a light upon what and who has been ignored. Socially, it seems as though we may finally be at the point where what were previously open secrets regarding the systemic racism stitched into the very fiber of our nation’s institutions are now simply open, impossible to ignore for even the most passive among us. Similarly, with this compilation, we hope to spotlight black artists who in many cases have received but a fraction of attention that they deserve.

That’s not to say everything on The Blackwashing will be unfamiliar: there’s a good chance you’ve heard Kimya Dawson’s stark, harrowing 2015 spoken word piece “At the Seams” before, though if you haven’t, today’s a good a day as any as it’s still depressingly relevant five years later (and updated for The Blackwashing). Elsewhere, you’ll find sounds and perspectives that run the gamut, from The Cocker Spaniels’ funk-infused indie rocker “Snuff Film” which tackles the uncomfortable fact that it took something as disgusting as the George Floyd murder and its mass circulation to finally get people’s attention en masse, the zany and chaotic art pop of Jhariah’s “Split”, the Freaky Friday race-swap punk of Imani Coppola’s “Woke Up White” where she makes use of her newfound privilege to get away with all the dumb shit white people get away with, the seven-minute experimental synth hop epic of Savan DePaul’s “Final Flight of the Dying Cicada”, the ingenious blend of synthwave and brass instrumentation on the soulful “Shiparound” from Model Decoy, and a beautiful cover of Crosby, Stills & Nash’s “You Don’t Have to Cry” from Citrus City’s Shormey. And that, as you might’ve been hearing a lot recently, is just “the tip of the iceberg”.

Yes, this one is “political”, and yes, it has to be. How could it fucking not be, at a time where the festering wounds of social and political inequality have been displayed for the world after having been poorly, sloppily hidden for far too long? It’s time to apply disinfectant, clean out the puss that is a law enforcement system whose roots were first planted deep in the soil of racism. To those who think this started a few weeks ago, this might sting a bit, but you best buck up. We’ve waited too long to heal: it’s time to get started. We hope The Blackwashing can provide a soundtrack to that healing.


You can stream The Blackwashing in its entirety below:


‘The Blackwashing’ is out now via ASAS, Z Tapes, and COUNTERZINE and is available to purchase digitally through Z Tapes’ Bandcamp. All proceeds will be donated to and split between the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, National Bail Out, Community Justice Exchange National Bail Fund, Homeless Black Trans Women Fund, and You Good, Sis.

Track Premiere: Port Lucian’s “20z”

Track Premiere: Port Lucian’s “20z”

Today, we’re excited to premiere the newest track from Philadelphia bedroom pop artist Port Lucian, “20z”.


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Portia Maidment (Port Lucian)

Queer musician (and self-described “hermit) Portia Maidment, Port Lucian follows up earlier 2020 singles “Give It Up” and “Full Control?” with “20z”, a track most obviously inspired by turning recently turning 20 and the combination of uncertainty at that age as well as the psychological angst involved with feeling like you should be more certain at that arbitrary milestone. More specifically, Maidment examines these feelings through the lens of “long car rides [they] would take to Oberlin every weekend from Cleveland, and the timeless sort of feeling that going down the highway gives [them]” back when she lived in Ohio. Ultimately, “20z” is a track about time sneaking up on you when it feels like you’re trapped still in some sort of rift, whether it be the highway or anywhere you’re left to contemplate where you are in life and where you think you should be.

In terms of form and texture, it’s tempting to compare “20z” to music of Beach House with its thick haze of reverb, delay, and fuzz, though while it’s a generally gentle composition, there is notably more sporadic anxiety present than in much of that Baltimore duo’s work. The delay effect applied to Maidment’s vocals in particular could be described as “dreamy”, but disorienting may be more apt, spaced a bit further than many similar tricks implemented by artists going for a purely relaxed and nostalgic sound. Combine this with a surprising fade out-and-back-in and a rhythm which is both more active and tense than much of what the dream pop/shoegaze world offers (and undergoes a notable shift around the midway point) and “20z” ends up a surreal reflection of nostalgia’s decay amidst existential dread and the unknowable future.


You can stream “20z” below:


Port Lucian’s “20z” releases tomorrow, June 19th, and will be available for purchase at her Bandcamp. You can follow Port Lucian on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or visit their website to keep up-to-date with her work.

Leaaves Shares “Spun, Pt. II”, Announces New Cassette ’12 Worlds’ on Strategic Tape Reserve

Leaaves Shares “Spun, Pt. II”, Announces New Cassette ’12 Worlds’ on Strategic Tape Reserve

Today, we’re thrilled to share “Spun, Pt. II”, the new track from NYC ambient/drone artist Leaaves, as well as announce his upcoming album on Strategic Tape Reserve, 12 Worlds.


Nate Wagner/Leaaves

It feels like just yesterday that we first covered the music of Nate Wagner in our premiere of “This Is a Frozen House…”, and then we remember it’s been 10 months: enough time for him to release cassettes with Feels So Reel (Caught, the tape from which the aforementioned track comes), Personal Archives (December’s Viennese Period), and Alien Garage (February’s Moon King). Considering the prolific purveyor of experimental instrumentals’ tendency to travel the tape label landscape, it seemed only a matter of time before Wagner teamed up with our favorite German ferric material disseminator, Strategic Tape Reserve. After more than two dozen projects, Leaaves’ now prepares for the release of 12 Worlds on the imprint.

Wagner, a guitarist by trade, makes music stands out among the STR pack, if largely due to its relative strait-laced focus on beauty when contrasted against the oddity of conceptual compilations centered around Nordic-walking and Welsh audiobooks. Whettman Chelmets might be the closest comparison on label, though if Chelmets is more Boards of Canada-meets-Godspeed, Leaaves’ work is closer to that of Basinski. “Spun, Pt. II” is a gorgeous minimalist guitar piece, looped and disintegrated as it were. There’s an air of cold that persists from “This Is a Frozen House…”, but if that track was the sounds of freezing over completely, “Spun, Pt. II” is more akin to a cool, gentle wind on an otherwise sunny day: more refreshing than chilling.


You can stream Leaaves’ “Spun, Pt. II” below:


12 Worlds tracklist:

  1. “Eleanor”
  2. “Limits of Distance”
  3. “Alligator Bridge”
  4. “Slow Break”
  5. “Entering the Heart”
  6. “Spun, Pt. II”
  7. “I Don’t Want to Grow Older”


12 worlds tape
’12 Worlds’ cassettes


’12 Worlds’ releases June 19th, cassette and digital, on Strategic Tape Reserve and is available to pre-order here now. Be sure to follow Leaaves on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and SoundCloud for further updates.

Medium Soft Shares “Waterfall”, Announces New Album ‘AM in the PM’

Medium Soft Shares “Waterfall”, Announces New Album ‘AM in the PM’

Today, we’re excited to share “Waterfall”, the newest single from UK singer-songwriter Medium Soft, as well as announce his follow up to March’s Paradise SlumsAM in the PM.

“Waterfall”, and by extension AM in the PM, represents a stylist shift from Paradise Slums, largely owed to the acquisition of a ’90s Technics keyboard bought with funds made from that record. As we continue to note, one of the most refreshing things about Medium Soft’s approach to the more lo-fi subsets of pop music is that it reaches beyond a hollow aesthetic and represents his personal circumstances: this time, he could afford a keyboard, so he’s going to use it.


medium soft
Medium Soft

And use it he does: on lead single “Waterfall”, there’s no sign of the nylon string guitar that defined the tropical escapism of Paradise Slums, instead favoring ’80s synth and city pop artists as inspiration, such as Hiroshi Sato, Bread and Butter, and Haruomi Hosono. The result is its own type of escapism still, reaching towards the pristine visage of the pop seen as the reflection of luxury life in Japan in the wake of the country’s economic boon in the ’70s and ’80s. Similarly to Paradise Slums, however, the recordings are of a more humble nature, reminding us such idealism is but a hazy dream to grasp at in our minds and slip through our fingers in reality. Fans of the aforementioned artists should appreciate “Waterfall”‘s cool, sparkling synths, but fans of modern artist Part Time should especially take note of where Medium Soft goes from here.


You can stream Medium Soft’s “Waterfall” below:


AM in the PM was named in reference to Medium Soft’s own sleeping patterns (largely awake at night and asleep during the day), as well as in homage to AM radio, where you’re liable to catch the occasional glimpse of pure pop magic obscured by a shaky signal and a poor timeslot. It’s yet again another perfect angle to cut for a man on a persistent yet gradual climb towards a better life via a communication of the beauty, peace, and happiness that isn’t, but should be. The album is tentatively planned for release sometime in June or July, and Medium Soft is currently looking for a tape label for release.


“Waterfall” is out now and available to purchase here. Be sure to follow Medium Soft on Twitter and Bandcamp to keep up-to-date with his music. You can read more about Medium Soft via our premiere of “I’m Fine, I Lied” or our review of ‘Paradise Slums’.

Album Premiere/Review: Dead Friends’ ‘Shirley’

Album Premiere/Review: Dead Friends’ ‘Shirley’

Dead Friends


(Wallflower Records)

Today, we’re excited to premiere the new LP from Edmonton rock band Dead Friends, Shirley.

The sound of Dead Friends is not one so far removed from the likes of many popular modern garage rock acts such as Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, and The Growlers, but it’s also not one that you’d find quite as often from their home country of Canada. The distance removed from larger scene centerpoints such as California lends the band a broader perspective than many of their contemporaries on their newest album Shirley, one that blends the usual suspects of the day with surprising touches that call back to darker, dangerous acts.


dead friends
Dead Friends (left to right: Jesse Ladd, Brian Musilek, Callum Harvey, Carter Mackie and Ellen Reade)

When it comes to more prolific genres of music, such as psych-garage-with-a-country-tinge, the devil is all in the details. One of the most striking on Shirley are the vocals, which may be one of the best identifiers for where Dead Friends land on the spectrum of this scale of bands: nearly all of it. When talking about lead single “Molly” in February, we mentioned Ben Wallers as a reference point while discussing the deep drunken drawl on display, but following the isolated bass soon joined by blaring organ and cacophonous percussion on opener “Honey Darts”, the energy and hookiness are more reminscient of early Cage the Elephant if layered in an extra cloak of shadow and an addtional layer of grit.

A fluctuation and melding between and of more widely popular and radio-ready rock music and black, exhausted cynicism is the story of Shirley. The following track, “Ennio’s Desert Dessert”, is similarly poised to easily catch ears, but proves more adventerous over the course of its runtime, starting with a doo-wop style melody and leading out with surf guitars. “Uncle Is an Eremite” is the song that sounds most like Shirley‘s cover art: a hazy Spagetthi western with electric-acoustic interplay, while single “Joy” is likely the heaviest track on the album, a chaotic swirling mass on the cusp of rampage that in its most manic moments reminds of The Gun Club. The second half of the album settles into more of a tradional pattern in the three song stretch of “1912”, “Campfire”, and “Wells” that earns the band’s most common RIYLs, but these tracks are bookended by two more deviations in the striking organ punk of “On the Mend” and closer “Dandelion Blues”, a stripped down acoustic blues piece that ends the album on a quiet, satisfying note.

Shirley is at its best when it’s trying new things, and Dead Friends manage to keep it fresh and engaging for the large majority of its duration. It’s easy to be exhausted by the sheer volume garage rock in the 21st century, but Dead Friends prove to be one of the handful of acts that make digging in the mines to find precious gold worthwhile.


You can stream Shirley in its entirety below:


Favorite tracks: “Uncle Is an Eremite”, “Molly”


Rating: Recommended


‘Shirley’ is out tomorrow, May 1st, via Wallflower Records. Be sure to follow Dead Friends on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Bandcamp to keep up-to-date on the release and future work.

EP Premiere: Plum Anderson & The Varunas’ ‘Jetplane 76’

EP Premiere: Plum Anderson & The Varunas’ ‘Jetplane 76’

Today, we’re thrilled to premiere an exclusive version of the collaborative split EP between synth jazz act Plum Anderson and psychedelic soul band The Varunas: Jetplane 76.



A loosely conceptual project based around the idea of being on a jet in the ’70s, Jetplane 76 is mentioned as being particularly indebted and in homage to ’70s soul music. Kicking things off with Plum Anderson’s “Losing Touch” makes it immediately apparent the swathe of influence is broader than simply that, featuring vocals with an affectation similar to British synthpop bands of the era and synth work that recalls the spirit of older soul music, but in form exists as something closer to 2010s synthwave. The Varunas’ side, including “Finer Things” from our own Banders compilation, is a bit easier to directly relate to the soul aspect of the concept, though each track on Jetplane 76 is collaborative to an extent and as such occupies space in a bizarre rift between the work of Curtis Mayfield, Fly Cruziero, and Neon Indian’s VEGA INTL. Night School, performed with the balance between earnest love and playful teasing of a Ween album: a far more compelling blend than even the artists might give themselves credit for. Our version of the EP here also includes two exclusive remixes, as The Varunas re-imagine Plum Anderson’s “Where Did Our Love Go?” as “sunshine tropicalia”, while Plum Anderson conversely takes “She’s My Nancy” and molds it into nightcore. Both are pretty weird, and we like weird a whole lot here.


You can stream Jetplane 76 in its entirety below:


You can also check out some wild ads for the project:



‘Jetplane 76’ is out now and as of this moment is a SoundCloud only release. Be sure to follow Plum Anderson on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and The Varunas on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to keep up to date with their projects. Plum Anderson and The Varunas will be doing a livestream tomorrow for a release show, and have a contest to join the virtual Plum/Varunas smoking circle to whoever can smoke the most joints during one song. 

Video Premiere: The Lice’s “Blank Tape on the Radio”

Video Premiere: The Lice’s “Blank Tape on the Radio”

Today, we’re thrilled to share the music video for “Blank Tape on the Radio”, the Banders single from COUNTERZINE favorites The Lice.


the lice
The Lice (photo credit: Hali Espinoza)

Long Beach “shitgazers” The Lice quickly followed up their April 1st album Hoarder House UFO (check our premiere of single “Serial Killer”) with another new track in “Blank Tape on the Radio”, a feature song on our very own Banders compilation. “Blank Tape on the Radio” is characteristically moody and minimalist with its dark bassline and cold percussive rhythms, but these rhythms are more immediate than ever. “Blank Tape” is about as ‘pop’ as The Lice get, which is far from a knock on the track: as compelling as their more odd material is, it’s nice to hear them flex the purity of their songwriting. The song seems to allude to a failing relationship of one sort or another, with lyrics such as “The chemistry’s all gone / Same old song / Bang your head against the wall / Knock it down” referring to the struggle to push back against communication issues, the following hook “At least I hear your voice / Blank tape on the radio” insinuating that the band may hear perfectly fine: the other party simply isn’t saying anything.

The video, like the one for “Serial Killer”, is made up of low-quality black-and-white footage. Rather than skating, however, it consists of slightly unsettling footage of a few men developing photos which reveal themselves to be of what we imagine as ancient man.


You can watch the video for “Blank Tape on the Radio” below:


You can also check out the band’s recent LP Hoarder House UFO:


You can stream and purchase The Lice’s “Blank Tape on the Radio” and the rest of ‘Banders’ here, stream and purchase ‘Hoarder House UFO’ here, and be sure to keep up with The Lice by following them on Instagram and Bandcamp.

Album Premiere: ‘Banders’

Album Premiere: ‘Banders’

On February 22, 2020, my 26th birthday, I was fully prepared to put my label to bed, once and for all. I had one last release to work on, and then Under the Counter Tapes would go gently off into that good night, largely unnoticed if something I was proud to have worked on. That night, a number of celebratory drinks along with Bernie Sanders win in the Nevada caucus stoked one last flame of inspiration: a final release compiling music from many of the friends I’ve engaged with since starting the label, in benefit of the most human rights-oriented campaign I’ve seen in my lifetime. We call it: Banders

Banders has several meanings: the combination of “Bernie” and “Sanders”, a reference to “bands” in a music sense, but most importantly, a celebration of the power that can be harnessed for good when people from all different backgrounds band together with a common goal. Banders is about collectivism. “Not Me, Us”.

With Banders, we wanted to put together something as unique, diverse, and enduring as the coalition of supporters backing the ideals of the Sanders campaign. You’ll hear country, folk, lo-fi pop, dark ambient, alternative R&B, dance-punk, pop punk, shoegaze, synthpop, psych pop, jazz pop, post-punk, hip hop, and much, much more on ‘Banders’, all new, unreleased, or never released on physical media before. UTC regulars such as Imp of Perverse and The Ryne Experience contribute brand new tracks, while COUNTERZINE favorites such Greg Mendez, Spartan Jet-Plex, Medium Soft, Petridisch, Machine+, Mythical Motors, COW, ODAE, Tribe Friday, and Of House, COUNTERZINE writers Secat and Pink and Yellow, and sounds relatively fresh on our radar from brilliant acts such as The Curls, Raul Gonzalez Jr., Matthew Barton, and Adrian Kae, come together to create a 200 minute ride that’s all killer and never settles in one spot long (though we did come up with some nice sequences to make sure the listening experience is smooth).

We started taking submissions late February through all of March with the idea that this would be a release solely in benefit of the Sanders campaign. Needless to say, a lot has changed since then, both with the presidential race as well as with COVID-19. Sanders has since stopped actively seeking donations for his campaign, instead focusing his fundraising efforts towards coronavirus relief. There have been several organizations he has supported, but five in particular include No Kid Hungry, One Fair Wage Emergency Fund, Meals on Wheels, Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund, and the National Domestic Workers Alliance. Along with these five, we will also be raising for Our Revolution, a progressive political action organization spun out of Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign to continue its work. Some of this money will still see its way to Sanders’ campaign, but given the situation, we figured this would be more appropriate.

I am incredibly proud of this one. It’s very heartening in times like these to have such a wide array of talented individuals from different backgrounds making different types of music come together on a project like this for good causes. There’s a lot going on that looks to test our hope. Nevertheless, we must continue to do whatever we can to make things better than they were a moment ago: through art, through policy, through caring for and supporting fellow humans. We hope that Banders communicates this desire, and perhaps stokes just a bit of hope and inspiration.


You can listen to the entirety of Banders below:


‘Banders’ is available to pre-order now on digital and cassette box set and officially releases tomorrow, April 3rd. Box sets are only available for pre-order through April and will ship May/June. All proceeds from both the digital and physical will be split between No Kid Hungry, One Fair Wage Emergency Fund, Meals on Wheels, Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund, the National Domestic Workers Alliance, and Our Revolution.

Album Premiere/Review: Medium Soft’s ‘Paradise Slums’

Album Premiere/Review: Medium Soft’s ‘Paradise Slums’

Editor’s note: This album was originally released by MUZAI Records and since been removed from the label’s catalog. As such, we’ve edited links and info accordingly.

Medium Soft

Paradise Slums

(Not on Label)

Today, we’re thrilled to premiere Paradise Slums, the debut album from English yacht pop/soft music singer-songwriter Medium Soft.

By nature and by necessity, Paradise Slums is a work of low-budget escapism, a picturesque image of a beautiful beach with warm sands, gentle waves, and a bright sun seen at a distance through the lens of thrift-store binoculars that don’t quite work the way they should. Medium Soft operates in large part with little more than a toy nylon acoustic string guitar bought from a market and a Yamaha 4 track tape machine: not because he wants to, but because he has to. To some, that may not seem to be all that relevant; to others, it may even sound like a negative. However, the circumstances under which Paradise Slums was recorded imbue it with a genuineness that seeps through the performances of these simple, laid back pop songs, lending to an empathetic quality that allows us to join Medium Soft in the slums right before he lightly tugs us along into paradise.


medium soft
Medium Soft

Nearly half of Paradise Slums has seen prior release in the form of singles: “Let It Breathe” and instrumental “Sunkissed” in January, followed by “I’m Fine, I Lied” and “Sun in My Eyes” last month. Much of what we said about about “I’m Fine, I Lied” last month more broadly applies to the album as a whole: Medium Soft making effective use of his instrumentation and recording limitations to not make his songs work in spite of them, but because of them. The album’s thinness and shaky tape hiss forcibly masked by plucky tropical melodies is a direct reflection of Medium Soft’s own personal desire imagine his way out of his own situation. How this is made manifest varies to an extent: “I’m Find, I Lied” is present as a very clear struggle to escape, teetering between exhausted and relaxed both in its melody and depressive lyrics, where as the cheery “Sun in My Eyes” is more clearly successful at abandoning reality for something better.

Of the new tracks, most operate on something of a sliding scale between these two poles. The opening title track is not necessarily one to stand out, but effectively sets the album’s mood with its reserved shuffle. “Playing Peekaboo” tackles self-identity, where as “Concrete Wonderland” features the same melodic pop immediacy as “Sun in My Eyes”, but lyrically has more in common with “I’m Fine, I Lied”, with one foot still deeply entrenched in the slums. Perhaps the stand-out among them however is “Epoch & Angel”, a beautiful and warbly ballad lamenting lost love.

Paradise Slums is a record good enough to be well worth revisiting after the peak chaos of the world has begun to subside, but the mileage you can get out of it right now, as most of us have locked ourselves up in our homes, isolated and alone, is immense. I’m looping it over Animal Crossing: New Horizons right now, and together they make quite the island getaway package, melting away stress and anxiety like ice cream on summer days we may not enjoy outside this year. A timely album if there ever was one.


You can stream the entirety of Paradise Slums below:


Favorite tracks: “I’m Fine, I Lied”, “Sun in My Eyes”


Rating: Strongly Recommended


Be sure to follow Medium Soft on Twitter and Bandcamp to keep up-to-date with his music.

Album Premiere/Review: Quinton Barnes’ ‘Aarupa’

Album Premiere/Review: Quinton Barnes’ ‘Aarupa’

Quinton Barnes


(Grimalkin Records)

Today, we’re excited to premiere the new album from Canadian experimental R&B songwriter and producer Quinton Barnes, Aarupa.

For those who follow the Grimalkin collective, it’s likely that your first exposure to Quinton was the “Domestika” single released earlier this, which made a strong impression with us with its soulful, intimate minimalism. That said, it was noted that it “didn’t make the cut” for Aarupa, which is always an effective way to hype an album. In a lot of instances, this promise doesn’t follow through, but having listened to Aarupa in full, we can safely say that as good as that single was, it does little to prepare you for this genre-bending odyssey.


Quinton Barnes

Barnes gets quick to work destroying any preconceived notions about what he does with the opening title track, a hard-hitting pitch-modulated trap cut where he flexes his rapping and colorful production. If “Domestika” was reserved or subtle, “Aarupa” is the polar opposite, wielding idiosyncrasy with the force of a sledgehammer, the grace of a contemporary dance, and the mind-altering potency of an acid trip. While “Domestika” was easy to connect with, “Aarupa” is more difficult to penetrate with its dense presentation, but stands as a monument to Quinton’s ambition. It also, as they say, goes.

What follows are the two most ‘traditional’ tracks, “He” and “This Moment”, the songs most likely to catch on in the mainstream. “He” in particular feels like a radio hit with with its bouncy electronics and immediate hi-hat loop paving a smooth road for Barnes’ flexible self-harmonized vocals to coast on. Meanwhile, “This Moment” is the closest Quinton comes to evoking Prince, at least on baseis of composition and vocals: more sprawling than “He” and dripping in sensuality, but not quite as off-the-wall as what’s to come.

It’s near impossible to boil down Barnes to a track, but if it absolutely had to be done, centerpiece “Tru Vbva” would have to be the pick. As it begins, it seems as though it’ll go forward with the same general framework as its two preceding tracks, but through noisy swarms of electronics, drones, string samples, and more, it evolves readily, over and over, across its duration. As the album moves into its back half, it fully embraces oddity after having hooked the listener into its world. “Femmedomme” is by and large a six minute instrumental aside from the repetition of the title: warping, a little seedy. The ending passage reminds me of old PC-98 OSTs for games such as YU-NO: A Girl Who Chants Love at the Bound of this World. “Injustice”, meanwhile, is a rare instance removed from trap. The bouncy electronics of “He” return, now dressed in glitchy bouquets and cool waves of ambiance.

“Nonbinary” is a brightly toned dance track, playing the warm glow of its main beat against punchy hits of metallic cold. Though not technically the closer (that honor goes to outro “Slowbuild”), it serves as something of a thematic closing statement of Aarupa beyond its literal meaning. Throughout Aarupa, Quinton refuses to be traditionally defined, both as a person, and as an artist. As a result, it’s a vicariously freeing listen that demonstrates the vision of an individual whose vast array of talents are too big to fit in any box.


You can stream Aarupa in its entirety below:


Favorite tracks: “Aarupa”, “Tru Vbva”, “Nonbinary”


Rating: Essential


Quinton Barnes’ ‘Aarupa’ is out now on digital, cassette, and lathe cut vinyl through Grimalkin Records here. All digital sale proceeds go to Barnes, all cassette proceeds go to Prisoners with AIDS & HIV Support Action Network, and all lathe proceeds go towards future label efforts (production and labor). Be sure to follow Barnes on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to keep up with his work.