Chill Out: 10 Icy, Dark New Albums for Summer

The great outdoors. Picnics in the park. Going to the beach. All of these activities are summer staples for a reason: warm weather and longer days are a natural catalyst for carefree fun. But sometimes, we’ll admit it, all the sun and sand and Best Coast songs about weed and cats blasting out of iPhones just makes us feel a little, well, antisocial. In the same way that at times we just want to curl up with a devastatingly sad book, sometimes we really want to rock out to some bleak tunes. If you, like us, are having “glass is half empty” tendencies at this point of the year, fear not: summer 2011 is bringing with it a bevy of excellent releases for those of us who are a bit more…moody. So crank up the air conditioning, close the blinds and remedy summer overload with these records.

Pictureplane, Thee Physical

“Well tha ill-behaved is back!” goes the vocal sample on “Body Mod,” the first song on Travis “Pictureplane” Egedy’s long-awaited and hotly anticipated Thee Physical album, out July 19. That sentiment’s meant to speak to Pictureplane’s recent reputation as the “bad boy” of the modern dark music movement (this is, after all, the guy credited with coining the term “witch house”), but it’s also indicative of his gleefully plunderous approach to music production. Thee Physical doesn’t borrow so much as five-finger pilfer from America’s early-’90s take on house music, Downward Spiral-era Nine Inch Nails vocals (sung by Egedy himself, proving himself a fully formed vocalist in an entirely welcome but unexpected way), and Genesis P-Orridge’s entire set of aesthetics. Songs like “Sex Mechanism” and “Trancegender” flirt playfully with preconceived industrial notions while Pictureplane crams rave down that crowd’s pierced, tattooed throats. Thee Physical is a bratty summer dance party record that’s perfect if the only person you’d like to dance with is yourself.