Notable Releases of the Week (7/8)
Hey, hope those of you that had a long weekend enjoyed the time off, hope you're staying cool, and hope you're ready for more new music after last week's slower release schedule. This week has plenty of great new ones, seven of which I highlight below and more of which Bill talks about in Bill's Indie Basement, including Party Dozen, Viagra Boys, Mush, Spiral Stairs (of Pavement), and James Righton (of Klaxons).
On top of those, honorable mentions include: Metric, Westside Gunn, Neil Young & Crazy Horse (shelved 2001 album), The Deslondes, Brent Faiyaz, Attia Taylor, Quinton Brock, Apollo Brown, The Slow Death, Try The Pie, Dead Tired (Alexisonfire), Kota The Friend, Ransom, Among Legends, Caterina Barbieri, Tyshawn Sorey, AJ Lambert, Delicate Steve, the PACKS EP, the Wet EP, the Blood EP, the FLO EP, the SSGKobe EP, and the Kid Cudi compilation.
Read on for my picks. What's your favorite release of the week?
Burna Boy - Love, Damini
As much as we as music fans tend to put music in different categories based on sound or region or aesthetic, everything is usually more connected than it seems at first glance, and Burna Boy's music is a testament to this. Across his sixth album Love, Damini, the Nigerian artist connects the dots between Afrobeat, Jamaican reggae and dancehall, UK hip hop, North American R&B, South and Central American reggaeton, and more, reminding you that the African musical diaspora is a constantly moving full circle. Along for the ride are guests from all of those musical walks of life; the album is bookended by songs featuring legendary South African vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and in between there are songs with UK rapper J Hus, Nigerian singer Victony, dancehall trailblazer Popcaan, R&B singer Kehlani, pop stars Khalid and Ed Sheeran, and reggaeton star J Balvin. Some songs lean more towards one genre/region than another, but most of the time Burna Boy swirls it all together and comes up with instantly-satisfying anthems in the process. It makes sense why people just refer to Burna Boy's music as "Afro-fusion," because it really is one big melting pot of musical styles that all have ties back to traditional African music, but even that description kind of undersells what Love, Damini is doing. Love, Damini imagines a world where nothing fits neatly into any box, and where all forms of art, music, and expression are in constant conversation with each other. "It has always been my vision to build a bridge between all Black people in all parts of the world through the music and performance," he recently told Billboard. "Music is the No. 1 messenger."
Wu-Lu - Loggerhead
It's been seven years since UK artist Wu-Lu released his debut album Ginga, a mostly instrumental electronic album, and in that time, he has expanded his sound and made greater use of his own voice across two EPs, before blowing everything out of the water with his new sophomore album and Warp debut, Loggerhead. At this point, Wu-Lu (real name Miles Romans-Hopcraft) is totally post-genre; the album weaves between electronics, grime, punk, metal, industrial, trip-hop, art pop, and more, and Wu-Lu blurs it all together in a totally organic way. Contributors include Lex Amor, Léa Sen, Asha, Amon, and black midi drummer Morgan Simpson, who help expand Wu-Lu's sonic universe even further than he does on his own. It's an album that feels all-over-the-place and cohesive all at once.
Katy J Pearson - Sound of the Morning
UK singer/songwriter Katy J Pearson was first one half of the duo Ardyn before going solo with her 2020 debut album Return. That album quickly stirred up buzz, and now she returns with new album Sound of the Morning, which was co-produced by Ali Chant (who also worked on her debut) and Speedy Wunderground's Dan Carey. It's her first release since she found herself in the indie music spotlight, which is something she addressed on the album's breezy lead single "Talk Over Town," which she said is about "being Katy from Gloucester, but then being Katy J Pearson who’s this buzzy new artist," and which finds Katy ruminating on the realization that fame doesn't always bring happiness ("all this talk over town makes me feel like I'm going crazy"). Like that song, much of this album finds Katy looking at some darker lyrical topics as she offers up bright, warm, welcoming music, making good on Katy's promise to "always strive for the bittersweetness of things." The album treks through folk, heartland rock, jangle pop, danceable indie pop, and more, and it always sounds calming. "I want people to feel things with my music, but I don’t want to cause my listener too much trauma," she jokingly adds, and Sound of the Morning is indeed an album that will make you feel.
Katy also made us a list of inspirations behind the album and you can read that here.
Wormrot - Hiss
For over a decade, Singapore's Wormrot have been one of the most reliable voices in grindcore. They've gotten less prolific over the years, but whenever they do drop, it's always worth it. Hiss is their first album in six years, and it's also their last with lead vocalist and co-founder Arif, which is bittersweet, but Arif is going out with a bang. Hiss continues to push Wormrot down the path of boundary-pushing, innovative grind, staying true to the genre's decades-old roots without feeling confined to its often-strict rules. It's crisply produced in a way that shows off the band's razor-sharp musicianship without softening their attack. It ventures into straight-up punk ("When Talking Fails, It's Time for Violence"), noise ("Hatred Transcending"), classic metal ("Seizures"), sludge ("Sea of Disease"), and towering post-metal ("Glass Shards"), all while staying overall planted in grindcore. It doesn't feel like an exaggeration to say this is some of the most refreshing grind released this year.
Laura Veirs - Found Light
Raven Marching Band Records
To quote Amy's writeup: Laura Veirs' newest album Found Light sees her exploring a newfound independence following the 2019 divorce from her longtime producer and husband. To be sure, it is not a divorce album. Laura set out to prove that her music could speak for itself, and that she had it in her to craft a distinct sound without the collaborator she could no longer lean on. The resulting project, co-produced by Veirs and Shahzad Ismaily, is as raw and intimate as it is ambitious and experimental.
Laura also made us a list of influences for the album; read that here.
End It - Unpleasant Living EP
End It hail from the thriving hardcore scene that is Baltimore, home of Turnstile (who they've opened for), Angel Du$t/Trapped Under Ice (whose vocalist Justice Tripp guests on this new EP), and other current greats, and they recorded this new EP with local engineer Kevin Bernsten (Pianos Become the Teeth, Praise, Full of Hell, etc). They're clearly in good company, and they stand out from all of their peers with a refreshing vibe that doesn't really sound like anyone else in their scene. Unpleasant Living has five proper songs and an intro track that have a sense of humor and a serious side, that are as aggressive as they are fun, as catchy as they are confrontational. And really driving things home is vocalist Akil Godsey, who has a ton of charisma and an infectious delivery. In a genre that's too often littered with dime-a-dozen idol worshippers, End It stand out by entirely being themselves.
Vomit Forth - Seething Malevolence
It's been a great time for death metal bands with a hardcore punk spirit, with bands like Undeath, Frozen Soul, 200 Stab Wounds, and Sanguisugabogg all recently dropping deservingly buzzed-about albums that fit that description. And out of that same murky swamp comes Connecticut's Vomit Forth, whose debut album Seething Malevolence has just arrived via Century Media. It follows a 2019 EP and a 2021 promo on Maggot Stomp, the label that has been at the center of this current wave, and it was self-produced and then given to Power Trip collaborator Arthur Rizk to mix and master. Throughout its 10 proper songs, Vomit Forth seamlessly bounce between old school-style death metal, thrash, and hardcore, and they sound totally ass-kicking the entire time. The riffs are thick and rhythmic, and vocalist Kane Gelaznik matches them with a burly growl that suits the vibe perfectly, as well as the occasional higher-pitched hardcore shout to shake things up. If you like death metal that puts pure sonic assault above everything else, you need Seething Malevolence in your life.
Pick up a copy on vinyl.
Read Bill's Indie Basement for more new album reviews, including Party Dozen, Viagra Boys, Mush, Spiral Stairs (of Pavement), and James Righton (of Klaxons).
Looking for more recent releases? Browse the Notable Releases archive or scroll down for previous weeks.
For even more metal, browse the 'Upcoming Releases' each week on Invisible Oranges.
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