It's been a pretty big week for music, especially if you're a fan of Phoebe Bridgers, who was involved in three of this week's major album announcements. Not to mention many more music festivals were announced, including NYC's Governors Ball, California's aughts-indie nostalgia fest Just Like Heaven, and more. We've also got some worthy new albums to talk about; I highlight seven below, and Bill tackles seven others in Bill's Indie Basement, including John Cale (ft. Animal Collective, Weyes Blood, Sylvan Esso & more), The C.I.A. (Denée & Ty Segall), The Bad Ends (R.E.M., Five Eight), Guided by Voices, Ladytron, The Murder Capital, and Dave Rowntree (Blur).

On top of those, honorable mentions: Ryuichi Sakamoto, Mac DeMarco, Katatonia, We Are Scientists, Tribunal, Nighttime, July Talk, Måneskin, Låpsley, Gloss Up, Kali Malone (featuring Stephen O’Malley & Lucy Railton), Trippie Redd, Kota the Friend, J.T. IV, Turbid North, The Brokedowns, Rian Treanor & Ocen, Pyramid Mass, Sebastian Rochford & Kit Downes, Núria Graham, Glyders, Jadu Heart, Juni Habel, Taylor Janzen, SLUG, Dosser, Immaterial Possession, Strategy, Re-Buried, Skull Practitioners, Mette Henriette, the Saturdays At Your Place EP, the Tha God Fahim & NicoJP EP, the New Found Glory acoustic album, and the Beauty Pill comp. (Update: and we also realized after this was published that there's a new Boldy James album.)

Read on for my picks. Rest in peace, David Crosby.


Brainiac - The Predator Nominate EP
Touch & Go

When Tim Taylor tragically died in 1997, Brainiac--the Dayton, Ohio art punk band that he fronted--was immediately put to rest and members went on to play in Enon, Model/Actress, and more. But when the Brainiac documentary Transmissions After Zero came out in 2019, surviving original band members John Schmersal, Juan Monasterio, and Tyler Trent celebrated by reuniting to perform Brainiac material for the first time in over two decades, and the newfound interest in the band inspired the members to go digging through their vaults, which is where they found the nine never-before-released demos they had recorded after their final release, 1997's Electro-Shock for President EP. 26 years later, those demos are now being presented to the public as The Predator Nominate EP, which Schmersal says is "Brainiac’s last concerted effort, our last complete thought, before the end." The demos are clearly unfinished, but it's a treat to hear these final ideas that remained shelved for decades. Much of the EP picks up where the electronic vibes of Electro-Shock for President left off, with Tim Taylor's bubbling synths powering these songs instead of the angular guitar attack of their earlier material. But Brainiac never went synth pop; synthy songs like EP highlight "Kiss of the Dog" are just as discordant and abrasive as their guitar-fueled songs. Some of the tracks feel more like partial ideas or interludes, but there are moments that are almost fully realized, like "Smothered Inside," "Going Wrong," "Come With Me," and the aforementioned "Kiss of the Dog." And for recordings that are over a quarter-century old, they don't sound dated at all; probably because Brainiac were always too weird to fit in with any trends in the first place.


Ice Spice

Ice Spice - Like..?
10K Projects/Capitol

Bronx rapper Ice Spice and her producer RIOTUSA started dropping singles together in 2021, and they took the rap world by storm with 2022's "Munch (Feelin' U)." With Ice Spice's calm delivery and the ability to turn one clever line into an instant-classic hook, "Munch" put a fresh spin on the NY drill sound that's been dominating the city for the past few years, and it quickly became the New York rap song of the summer. Ice Spice proved it was no fluke, following it with "Bikini Bottom" and "In Ha Mood" that successfully repeated the same formula and won over Ice Spice's growing fanbase just as quickly as "Munch" had. Today she follows those songs up with her first project, the Like..? EP, featuring all three recent singles and three new songs, entirely produced by RIOTUSA. She keeps her trademark spin on drill going with "Princess Diana," but Like..? also finds Ice Spice starting to flirt with some other ideas too. Ice Spice recruits Lil Tjay for a song that's named after the late Gangsta Boo and samples P. Diddy's 2002 single "I Need a Girl Part 2," and it finds Ice Spice mixing her usual sound with a little Y2K-era nostalgia. "Actin A Smoochie" finds RIOTUSA offering up slower, more atmospheric production that could fit on an early 2010s Drake record, and Ice Spice matches the mood with something a little more sentimental. With six songs in 13 minutes, starting with an EP instead of going straight to an album or mixtape feels like a good move. The brief format is perfect for Ice Spice's short, blunt songs, and Like..? hints at her being capable of more than she'd shown us already without drifting too far from her already-winning formula. I'm very curious to hear what she does when it comes time for a full-length, but for now, Like..? feels like a neat, lean introduction to a rapper who's clearly got something to say.



Papo2oo4 - PAP on P.E.D.'s

NJ rapper Papo2oo4 had a very prolific 2022 that included the release of his album Ballerific, his collaborative album with DJ Lucas Continuous Improvement, and an appearance on the new Wiki album, all three of which were entirely or mostly produced by Subjxct 5. Papo2oo4 and Subjxct 5 reunite once again on his new project PAP on P.E.D.'s, with co-production from DVNTBEATS, and they continue to make a perfect pair. Papo's low, booming, casually melodic delivery has gained comparisons to mixtape-era 50 Cent, and Subjxct's knack for channelling the early 2000s East Coast production style of artists like Swizz Beatz, Just Blaze, Timbaland, and Pharrell makes for a backdrop that couldn't be more suitable. They're not shy about their influences--the project has songs called "Smile Like G-Unit" and "Stillmatic," and Subjxct repeatedly samples Jay-Z's "your flow is brain on drugs, mine's is rap on steroids" lyric from The Blueprint throughout the album--but they bring a sense of urgency to these 20-year-old sounds, and it's also refreshing to hear an East Coast rap revival of something other than '90s boom bap. Papo2oo4 and Subjxct 5's frequent collaborators YL and Reed show up on the album, and there's also a track with prolific Richmond rapper Monday Night, whose recently-released Good Company EP with 3WaySlim has been deservingly gaining some traction this year. If you're new to Papo, the already-vast discography that he's built in the past two years alone can seem intimidating, but PAP on P.E.D.'s is a fine entry point. He seems to just be getting better and better and this project is just instant satisfaction from start to finish.



Oddisee - To What End

After a busy 2017 that saw the release of the new album The Iceberg and the full-band live album Beneath the Surface, the usually-prolific rapper/producer Oddisee slowed down a bit. He wrote, recorded, and then surprise-released the Odd Cure EP during 2020 lockdown, and now he finally returns with his first proper full-length in six years, To What End. In the time since his last album, he's been focused on his family and his mental health, and he started going to therapy for the first time, and those experiences directly inform this deeply personal album. "Music has always been a source of therapy for me," he said in press materials for the album. "To What End is a musical journal of my life in recent years. It’s a record of my experiences and gradual shift in perspective." He describes his journey over a backdrop that owes as much to hip hop as it does to vintage funk and soul, and he gets help along the way from Phonte of Little Brother, Bilal, Freeway, C.S. Armstrong, Noochie, and Haile Supreme. The musical arrangements are organic, multi-layered, and gorgeous, and Oddisee's knack for satisfying hooks and in-depth lyricism remains in full force.



Fran - Leaving
Fire Talk

Fran, aka Chicago musician Maria Jacobson, follows 2019's A Private Picture with her sophomore album, Leaving. With a collection of songs that vary between bare-bones acoustic folk, breezy indie rock, and stunning orchestral arrangements, Maria tackles topics that range from personal relationships to the state of the world, all with a remarkable voice that sounds straight out of peak Laurel Canyon.


Palette Knife

Palette Knife - New Game+
Take This To Heart

Columbus, Ohio emo band Palette Knife have been stirring up buzz in underground emo circles for a few years, and listening to their sophomore LP New Game+ makes it easy to see why. They've mastered so many of emo's tricks--math rock guitar heroism, spit-shined pop punk hooks, the occasional harsh scream, anxiety-fueled lyricism delivered in a quivering, quirky, youthful manner--and they use them to churn out punchy, likable songs. You could probably think of bands from all throughout emo's history that they sometimes sound like, but mostly they remind me of much more recent bands like Origami Angel and Ben Quad, bands that fuse together so many different eras and subsets of emo into something that could only exist today.


Riot Stares

Riot Stares - Sounds of Acceleration

Riot Stares are a band from Charleston, SC with two EPs dating back to 2016, and they fuse post-hardcore and alt-metal in a way that's gained comparisons to '90s bands like Quicksand, Orange 9mm, and Snapcase, and also shares traits with newer bands like Higher Power and Excide. They may wear their influences on their sleeves a bit, but they're just getting started, and Sounds of Acceleration already shows off a super tight band and makes a clear leap from the early EPs. Recorded and mixed by John Howard (Ecostrike, Yashira), the record has great production that really lets Riot Stares' songs soar, and vocalist Brad Marino has an impressive knack for sounding aggressive and melodic all at once. Whether you're coming to this for the '90s nostalgia, or because you're an invested member of the current hardcore community, or just because you're in the market for some heavy, fun guitar rock, I think Sounds of Acceleration will scratch an itch.


Update: We realized after this was published that there's also a new Boldy James album.

Read Bill's Indie Basement for more new album reviews, including John Cale (ft. Animal Collective, Weyes Blood, Sylvan Esso & more), The C.I.A. (Denée & Ty Segall), The Bad Ends (R.E.M., Five Eight), Guided by Voices, Ladytron, The Murder Capital, and Dave Rowntree (Blur).

Looking for more recent releases? Browse the Notable Releases archive or scroll down for previous weeks.

For even more metal, browse 'New Metal Releases' each week on Invisible Oranges.

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