My friends are very talented:
free download, and one you should grab right now. A weird mix of spooky indie-pop, indie hip hop and jazz, this group/album is a collaboration between multi-instrumentalist Dameun Strange and MC/producer See More Perspective. It's very atmospheric without being too melodramatic, maybe a little less Halloween and a little more Dia de los Muertos, if that makes sense. Through all the doom and gloom, the album retains a sense of absurd positivity, a playfulness that's really refreshing and fun. And they put on a killer live show, too.
Graham is the drummer in two of my favorite bands, No Bird Sing and Junkyard Empire. He's also a producer, and one of the few people I really trust when it comes to forward-thinking hip hop aesthetics. His debut solo album mixes dark, brooding production with crackling live drums, and the result is incredibly engaging. Think a less-busy El-P meets Thom Yorke's solo material. Most of the album is instrumental, though the few guests (including Kristoff Krane, Eric Blair from No Bird Sing and Adam Svec) really shine. The last track, in particular, is starkly beautiful-- it's a remix of Svec's "Wolves in Milwaukee." Get the album here.
I'm cheating on this one, since I haven't actually read it yet. But there's no doubt in my mind that it's brilliant. Idris is one of the smartest, funniest, most talented hip hop heads in the country, and his work as an MC, as a poet, as a theater artist and as an essayist is always great. You can order the book now from Write Bloody.