Best Records of 2016: Swet Shop Boys’ ‘Cashmere’

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With the new year approaching, we’re taking a look back through the past 11 months at records that did not get coverage in New Music Monday when they were first released earlier this year. This week it’s Cashmere, the debut LP from Swet Shop Boys.

2016 has been a dark year, and much of its highly acclaimed much has matched that tone with brooding, gothic records. Cashmere, however, flies in the face of that trend. The album is filled with energy, drawing from Qawwali hand claps, harmonium, Bollywood string drama, sitar, Western synths, and an arsenal of drums – from 808s to tablas and tars, dholaks and doumbeks.

For all the brightness and energy in its music, Cashmere is a charged album. The duo of Heems (formerly of Das Racist) and Riz MC (a.k.a. Riz Ahmed of The Night Of and Nightcrawler) utilize producer Redinho’s soundtrack for songs like their single “T5,” where the emcees lament the discrimination they face as they amass frequent flyer miles while traveling the world for work.

Swet Shop Boys’ Cashmere is out now via Customs and is available for purchase on Amazon, Bandcamp, and iTunes.