Notable Releases of the Week (8/28)
This has truly been one of the worst weeks of an all-around terrible year. We're all still stunned by the death of Power Trip frontman Riley Gale, and we're horrified not just by the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, WI but also by the 17-year-old white supremacist who then shot and killed two protesters and the right wing media personalities who not only defended but at times applauded him for doing so.
That said, it's also been heartwarming to see the countless tributes pouring in to Riley from all over the metal and hardcore communities, and to see the world of professional sports band together to protest Jacob Blake's shooting. Sometimes shitty times like these also remind us that there's so much good in the world too.
If you're looking for something to listen to this weekend, I'd strongly recommend a Power Trip album or one of the many great live videos of them. There's also a lot of great new music to listen to this week, and honestly, Riley would probably want you to check out something new. He was constantly putting on for new bands and introducing deserving older ones to new audiences.
I highlight eight new albums below, and here are some honorable mentions: the first Soulside 7" in 31 years, the first Shades Apart album in 19 years, Disclosure (ft. Mick Jenkins, Channel Tres, Aminé, slowthai, Common, Kelis, Kehlani, Syd, Fatoumata Diawara), Josephine Foster, Protoje, Tiwa Savage, Colter Wall, Ulver, Samia, Bettye LaVette, Aluna, Knot (ex-Krill), Narrow Head, The LOX, Toots and the Maytals, GAG, Cavern, Wedding Dress (ex-Maps & Atlases), The Mommyheads, Oceanator, Jonathan Personne (of Corridor), Internet Money, Spook the Horses, Psychososmatic, The Atomic Bitchwax, Widowspeak, the Brain Corrosion/Ripped to Shreds split, the Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah live album, the Ellott Smith reissue + live album, the Mouthing EP, and the Funeral Fires EP.
Read on for my eight picks. What's your favorite release of the week?
Angel Olsen - Whole New Mess
Sometimes the same set of chords and lyrics can result in more than one genuinely great song. Take the two equally essential versions of Neil Young's "Hey Hey, My My" or of Radiohead's "Morning Bell" -- not to mention spontaneously different live versions or great cover songs. Sometimes songs just have multiple lives. With Whole New Mess, Angel Olsen gives a second life to nine of the songs from last year's grand, orchestral All Mirrors, and these versions are at least as good as the ones you already know. In contrast to that album's sweeping arrangements, Whole New Mess is a collection of bare-bones recordings with little or nothing more than Angel's voice and acoustic guitar. It's her first truly solo album since her 2012 debut full-length Half Way Home. As much as I applaud the more ambitious arrangements of her more recent work, there's something about hearing her revisiting the style of music her longtime fans first fell in love with, and doing so with the new perspective she's gained in the decade since. It's like when Sufjan made Carrie & Lowell after The Age of Adz; the ambition of the latter is breathtaking but sometimes you just want the familiar simplicity of the former. You may already know the Whole New Mess songs that also appear on All Mirrors, but listening to Whole New Mess feels like hearing them for the first time. They're presented in an entirely different light, and like those Neil Young and Radiohead examples, they're at least as essential as the All Mirrors songs. And the two stunning new songs (the title track and "Waving, Smiling") fit right in.
Necrot - Mortal
The original death metal bands were basically just really intense thrash bands, and thrash itself comes from hardcore, and the past few years have seen a new wave of bands connecting the dots between those three genres in ways that feel familiar and new at the same time. One of the best albums to come out of this whole movement was Necrot's 2017 debut LP Blood Offerings. Three years later, they're finally back with a followup and it's the exact opposite of a sophomore slump; it's bigger and better in every way. The recording (handled once again by Greg Wilkinson, who's also worked with High On Fire, Autopsy, and others) is bolder and crisper, really allowing for Mortal's myriad of mind-melting riffs, throat-shredding growls, and bulldozing rhythms to punch you in the gut even harder than they did on Blood Offerings. It's an album that's relentless in its attack, but accessible and tuneful and not brutal just for the sake of being brutal. It's next level death metal that truly rivals the classic bands that influenced Necrot, and it's forward-thinking without abandoning the no-bullshit thrills of early death metal, thrash, and hardcore. No lengthy psych and prog passages to be found here, no symphonies, no fancy studio tricks, no clean vocals -- just a whiplash-inducing onslaught of well-crafted, beastily executed death metal.
Pig Destroyer - The Octagonal Stairway EP
In 2018, grindcore greats Pig Destroyer went in a slightly slower metalcore direction (and brought in a bassist for the first time ever) on Head Cage, and the new sound suited them well. It was one of our favorite albums of that year. But if you miss PD at their most reckless and grindiest, you're in luck. The first three songs on this EP find them returning to the rawer, more tornadic sound of the pre-Head Cage days, and Pig Destroyer have very much still got it. The back half of the EP finds them in noise territory, which they excel at too. It feels more like a collection of leftovers than a cohesive new project, but new Pig Destroyer is never anything to scoff at and these songs rip, so dig in.
Venomous Concept - Politics Versus The Erection
Season of Mist
Need even more grind? Venomous Concept have got you covered with this quick and dirty new record. "We wanted to do a record that sounded reactionary," vocalist Kevin Sharp (also of Brutal Truth) said. "We went into a studio wrote and recorded PVE in four days, in the age of digital thinking, records full of edits. Politics Versus the Erection is perfectly imperfect." We couldn't have said it better ourselves, and when your music is punk af like this, you don't want perfection. VC members Shane Embury and Danny Herrera are also currently gearing up for a new Napalm Death album, which, according to Decibel's 10/10 review, is literal perfection. You'll have to wait a few more weeks to hear that, and obviously it's going to rule, but it's not going to be as raw and as straight-up punk as this. This is middle-finger-up classic UK style punk at grindcore speeds, and it feels like the breath of fresh air that this terrible year needs.
Alan Braufman - The Fire Still Burns
Valley of Search
In 2018, Brooklyn-born downtown NYC jazz icon Alan Braufman and longtime collaborator Cooper-Moore returned to the spotlight after Braufman reissued his 1975 classic Valley of Search (which Cooper-Moore played on) and performed it live with Cooper-Moore and James Brandon Lewis. After gearing up to perform the material for the first time in decades, Braufman realized that his fire still burns, and he ended up writing a whole batch of new songs too, which turned into his first new album in 25 years (following 1995's As Daylight Fades, released as Alan Michael), first under the name Alan Braufman since Valley of Search, and first with Cooper-Moore since Valley of Search. They recorded it at The National's studio in upstate New York with live member James Brandon Lewis on tenor sax as well as drummer Andrew Drury and bassist Ken Filiano, and it finds the veteran musician sounding a lot more fresh and lively than you may expect from someone whose debut album came out 45 years ago. The Fire Still Burns often echoes the bustle of the Manhattan streets that Braufman lived on in the mid 1970s, but there's a real warmth to it too, thanks in no small part to Cooper-Moore's rich piano sound. It's already a treat that Alan Braufman was able to give his career a second wind thanks to the reissue and live shows, but to come back after all this time with an album that sounds as inspired as The Fire Still Burns is truly an impressive feat.
Jyoti (Georgia Anne Muldrow) - Mama, You Can Bet!
There's seemingly no end to what Georgia Anne Muldrow can and will do. The past two years have seen her release one of her best solo albums (2018's Brainfeeder-released Overload), an instrumental album (2019's VWETO II), and a collaborative album with her husband Dudley Perkins as G&D (2019's Black Love & War), and now she returns with the third album (and first in seven years) by her jazz alias, Jyoti. Unlike her previous albums Denderah (2013) and Ocotea (2010), Georgia incorporates her voice into Mama, You Can Bet!, further blurring the lines between "Jyoti" and "Georgia Anne Muldrow" and coming out with some of her most uncompromising music yet. If you haven't heard the previous Jyoti records, Georgia is the real deal when it comes to jazz as much as she is when it comes to soul and hip hop. Besides Lakecia Benjamin lending saxophone to "Ra's Noise," Georgia handless the instrumentation, and her arrangements and musicianship rival the greats of jazz's '50s/'60s heyday. This album also honors one of those greats, Charles Mingus. Georgia was commissioned to perform Mingus' music at The Kennedy Center in 2017 as part of the "Muldrow Meets Mingus" concert program, and that led to Georgia remixing "Bemoanable Lady" and "Fables of Faubus" for this album. She does the originals justice while also breathing very new life into them, making them sound like modern-day electronic music and hip hop, and they sit comfortably alongside the many great original songs on this album. The LP moves from organic vintage jazz to futuristic electronics to soaring psychedelic soul and beyond. On paper, it shouldn't work, but Georgia pulls it off seamlessly.
Dua Lipa & The Blessed Madonna - Club Future Nostalgia
Dua Lipa's Future Nostalgia is already one of the most purely enjoyable pop albums of the year so far, and now she and The Blessed Madonna have given it a remix album, Club Future Nostalgia, featuring an impressive cast of remixers including Hot Chip's Joe Goddard, Yaeji, Moodymann, Horse Meat Disco, Masters At Work, and more, and it's all assembled in a way that flows like an actual club mix. There's a Mr. Fingers mix of "Hallucinate" that incorporates part of Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl," and the actual Gwen Stefani shows up to sing with Dua Lipa on a Mark Ronson remix of "Physical." Madonna and Missy Elliott lend their voices to The Blessed Madonna's remix of "Levitating," and Jacques Lu Cont (who also just aided The Killers with their Rolling Stones remix that's out today) incorporates part of Stevie Nicks' "Stand Back" into his remix of "That Kind of Woman." There's a lot of cool stuff on the album, which works as a great companion to the original album and also as a genuinely cool DJ mix.
Kelly Lee Owens - Inner Song
Electronic art pop artist Kelly Lee Owens follows her great 2017 self-titled debut with her second full-length album, and it features The Velvet Underground's John Cale and a cover of Radiohead's "Arpeggi." Bill named it his album of the week in Bill's Indie Basement and wrote, "KLO does not not disappoint with album #2, as she explores the furthest reaches of her electronic universe." Read his full review here.
Looking for more recent releases? Browse the Notable Releases archive or keep scrolling down for previous weeks.
For even more metal, browse the 'Upcoming Releases' each week on Invisible Oranges.