Notable Releases of the Week (1/10)
It’s the first Notable Releases of the new year and the new decade – welcome back! Hope everyone enjoyed their holidays and enjoyed list-making season. If you missed any of ours, here they are one last time: 50 best albums of 2019, 30 best rap/R&B albums of 2019, 12 great screamo releases from 2019, 141 best albums of the 2010s, 100 best punk & emo albums of the 2010s, and 100 best rap and R&B albums of the 2010s. And for metal, you can check out the various year and decade lists on Invisible Oranges.
With all that finally behind us, here are some worthy new releases to kick off the new year/decade. This week’s addition includes anything released after January 1, and I’ve got four picks that I highlight below but first a few honorable mentions: Lotus Thief, Unreqvited and the Unreqvited/Sylvaine split, Georgia, Selena Gomez, Beach Slang, Haunt, and Moneybagg Yo.
Read on for my four picks. What’s your favorite release of the past couple weeks?
Floral Tattoo – You Can Never Have a Long Enough Head Start
Seattle’s Floral Tattoo dropped their sophomore album You Can Never Have a Long Enough Head Start on Bandcamp at the very beginning of 2020 without any of the usual press-driven hype cycles, and it’s quickly becoming one of the young year’s most buzzed-about albums thanks almost entirely to word of mouth alone. Alex Anderson (who started Floral Tattoo a few years ago as a solo project before it morphed into a full band) says, “it’s kind of about growing up, kind of about being trans, kind of about getting better, and kind of about arson. Or it’s just a collection of songs.” It has that mid 2000s indie vibe where it sounds small and lo-fi on the surface but it’s bursting with arena-sized ambition, and it seems to almost effortlessly hop between different styles of music. There’s wall-of-sound shoegaze, there’s emo that ranges from the nasally Modern Baseball/Weakerthans kind (“She”) to the mopey Tigers Jaw kind (“Oar House”), there’s ska-tinged punk that kinda sounds like Keasbey Nights-era Catch-22 (“Don’t Try Things”), and there’s even an interpolation of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” (on “[redding forest fire / fermi]”). The whole album sounds dense and claustrophobic, but the melodies and the emotion all find a way to shine through.
Frail Hands – parted/departed/apart
We premiered the stream of Nova Scotia screamo band Frail Hands’ sophomore album earlier this week, and here’s what we said then: It follows their great 2017 self-titled debut album and 2018 split with Ghost Spirit, and it’s Frail Hands’ first release as a four-piece since the departure of vocalist Dawn Almeda due to vocal strain. Like their debut, it was recorded by Palmer Jamieson and mixed and mastered by Jack Shirley.
Dawn’s presence is of course missed, but Frail Hands still rip as a four-piece, and they’ve managed to create an album that channels all the same energy as their debut and the Ghost Spirit split, while simultaneously turning over a new leaf. The new album has everything from chaotic, pulverizing screamo to gorgeous post-rocky passages, and a few flashes of math rock as well, and it all blurs together for an album that’s greater than the sum of its parts.
Mick Jenkins – The Circus
Chicago rapper Mick Jenkins has become an increasingly versatile rapper, one who can navigate lush, lively jazz-rap (as on his decade-list-making 2018 album Pieces of a Man and last year’s Robert Glasper collaboration) as well as he can navigate futuristic electronic music (as on last year’s Kaytranada collaboration). On his brief, seven-song, 19-minute new project The Circus, he picks a handful of beats that sort of blur the line between both of those things, with the warmth of the former and the gloss of the latter, and it should be no surprise that he handles it all like a pro. The only guest on the album is Atlanta duo EarthGang (who Mick is gearing up for a tour with), and they make worthy contributions to “The Light,” but mostly Mick is the star of his own show and he continues to handle the spotlight well. The more you listen to him rap, the more he sounds like nobody else around, and this short-but-sweet project is a reminder that nothing else hits quite right when you’re craving Mick Jenkins. He frequently releases EP-length projects in between his proper albums, so presumably he’s got a new full-length on the way and hopefully it’s as big a leap from Pieces of a Man as that album was from his 2016 debut The Healing Component. It’s too soon to say, but The Circus already sees him inching his way forward, so I’d say he seems very much on track to pull it off.
Field Music – Making a New World
Proggy indie popsters Field Music are always very ambitious, and this new album is no different. It’s a 19-song concept album about the after-effects of World War I, and it’s also Field Music’s first full-band album since 2007’s Tones of Town (most of the music the Brewis brothers have made since was primarily built by the two of them in the studio). Bill, who included 2016’s Commontime among his favorite albums of the 2010s, has a longer writeup coming very soon in Bill’s Indie Basement.
Looking for more recent releases? Browse the Notable Releases archive.
For even more metal, browse the ‘Upcoming Releases’ each week on Invisible Oranges.