Notable Releases of the Week (8/19)
It's another eventful week in the music world. The Sharon Van Etten / Angel Olsen / Julien Baker tour finally rolls through NYC for two Central Park shows this weekend (and we made a list of 25 of our favorite covers by Sharon Van Etten to celebrate), and Saturday (8/20) is also the 20th anniversary of two of the most iconic indie rock albums of all time: Interpol's Turn on the Bright Lights and Spoon's Kill the Moonlight. Both Interpol and Spoon put out new (old) stuff to celebrate, and those bands begin a tour together in a few days too. Bill also has retrospectives up on both (Spoon here, Interpol here). And speaking of lists we made this week, I put one together of 13 songs by punk & indie bands that are metal AF.
As for new albums, I highlight six below and Bill talks about more in Bill's Indie Basement, including Hot Chip, The Chats, Röyksopp, Oneida, the Tall Dawrfs comp, and the Soft Pink Truth EP.
On top of that, honorable mentions: The Mountain Goats, Russian Circles, Silversun Pickups, Panic! at the Disco, Heilung, Conan, Spirit Adrift, Why Bonnie, Aitch, Brady (mem Greet Death), Larry June, Stunna Gambino, Tink, Azizi Gibson, OMB Peezy & DJ Drama, Demi Lovato, THICK, Eli Winter, Spite, Watkins Family Hour, LIFE, HIVE, Little Mazarn, Loudon Wainwright III, Tiny Blue Ghost, Au Suisse, zannie, Dan Friel, Andrew Combs, Terence Etc., Spielbergs, The Losing Score, Early James, The Berries, Marketa Irglova, Pencey Sloe, Franklin Gothic, Ruby Goon, Flung, Szun Waves, Triathalon, Arnold Dreyblatt & Paul Panhuysen, the No Souls Saved EP, the YBN Nahmir EP, the Gordi EP, and the Madonna comp.
Cass McCombs - Heartmind
Cass McCombs put out one of his jammiest albums yet with 2019's Tip of the Sphere, and then a year later, the pandemic hit, robbing Cass of the ability to make collaborative music. "I need other people. I'm not a solo musician in that sense," he said in a new FADER interview. "I get a lot of energy and excitement from other players, a great rhythm section." Fortunately, he got the chance to jam with friends here and there, and when it came time to make his next album, Heartmind, he put together a very impressive cast of collaborators, including Shahzad Ismaily, Buddy Ross, Ariel Rechtshaid, Wynonna Judd, Charlie Burnham, Joe Russo, Kassa Overall, Danielle Haim, The Chapin Sisters, Frank LoCrasto, Nestor Gomez, and Rob Schnapf. Heartmind isn't as jammy and sprawled out as its predecessor, but it's still loose and lively and free and casually genre-less, blurring the lines between folk and pop and rock in the way that only Cass McCombs does. The album was inspired by death and loss and dedicated to Cass' late friends Chet JR White, Sam Jayne, and Neal Casal, but it's not all mournful and serious. "I want it to be comedic," he said in an interview with FLOOD. "There’s a clown-like element to my narrators, often. I think people miss that sometimes." And he excels at both, from the impassioned sincerity of "Belong to Heaven" to the campy, witty "Karaoke." Whatever the vibe, it's all done with the deceptively plainspoken delivery that's been Cass' trademark for years. Heartmind is Cass' tenth album in a two-decade-long career, and he still sounds as inspired as ever.
The Last Artful, Dodgr - Hits of Today
LA artist The Last Artful, Dodgr has been everywhere lately, and even if you haven't heard their name, you've probably heard their music on songs by Anderson .Paak. Mark Ronson, Black Thought, or Blu & Exile, or maybe you heard her 2020 single "Hot" in Euphoria. Born Alana Chenevert (she/they), Dodgr is a rapper/singer who's been defying the lines of genre and gender for about a decade, and now she finally delivers her major label debut album, Hits of Today, following the 2013 mixtape 199Nvrlnd, a collaborative release with Neill Von Tally, a long string of singles, and those many aforementioned collaborations. "Hot" is on this album, along with a new remix of recent single "Cloverfield" (now with an added verse from New York rapper Young M.A), along with recent singles "IT," "Hullabaloo," and "Better Safe Than Social" and a dozen other new songs. Across these 17 tracks, she gives you everything she's been building towards: electronic art pop, punky new wave, subwoofer-shaking trap rap, acoustic balladry, ethereal R&B, nostalgia-inducing synth-funk, and plenty of stuff that doesn't fit neatly into any category. Dodgr's become more and more of a truly post-genre artist over the years, and this long-time-coming album solidifies it.
ShrapKnel - Metal Lung
billy woods and his duo Armand Hammer have been at the forefront of underground rap lately, and if you're into woods and his extended Backwoodz Studioz family, then ShrapKnel is a name you should be very familiar with too. It's the duo of Curly Castro and PremRock, both of whom have appeared on multiple billy woods and/or Armand Hammer albums. They debuted with 2019's Cobalt EP before putting out their self-titled debut album in 2020, and last year Curly Castro and PremRock each released solo albums, Little Robert Hutton and Load Bearing Crow's Feet, respectively. Now they return with their second ShrapKnel full-length, Metal Lung. After making their debut LP with Armand Hammer's ELUCID handling most of the production, this one was largely made with Backwoodz producer Steel Tipped Dove, along with some production from Child Actor, Olof Melander, and PremRock himself, and appearances by Rob Sonic, Fakts One, Donovan Days, Ethel Cee, and The Binary Marketing Show. As you'd expect from these two, it's well within the sound of the Backwoodz world, but ShrapKnel also have their own vibe that separates them from their peers. Prem and Curly have distinctly different deliveries, but their chemistry is so strong that they often literally finish each other's sentences, and their bars are hard-hitting and surreal all at once. The production fits perfectly, ranging from jazz to boom bap revival to far-out psychedelia.
Terence Etc. - V O R T E X
Before launching his Terence Etc. music moniker, Terence Nance was best known as a filmmaker; he directed, scored, and starred in his first feature film, An Oversimplification of Her Beauty, which premiered at Sundance in 2012, and he created HBO's sketch comedy series Random Acts of Flyness. He then released his debut EP as Terence Etc., Things I Never Had in 2020, and then signed to Flying Lotus' Brainfeeder label for his debut album, V O R T E X. The album has a handful of cool contributors (including serpentwithfeet, Nick Hakim, Brandee Younger, Nelson Bandela, and Raja Kassis), and it's no surprise why Flying Lotus took an interest in him; the maximalist musical collage that is V O R T E X feels right at home on Brainfeeder. Various parts sound like the futuristic jazz/funk electronics of FlyLo and his frequent collaborator Thundercat, and other parts dabble in warped R&B, avant-pop freakouts, kaleidoscopic psychedelia, grimy hip hop, tender balladry, and more, and there's almost always three or four different things all colliding at once. Picture a jam session between Frank Ocean, Flying Lotus, James Blake, Solange, and black midi, and that might give you an idea of what this otherworldly album has in store.
Orthodox - Learning to Dissolve
Nashville metalcore band Orthodox (not to be confused with the multiple other bands of that name) reached a lot of new fans with their 2020 album Let It Take Its Course (Unbeaten Records), and they've since inked a deal with Century Media, who are now releasing their followup album, Learning to Dissolve. Orthodox have been called "nu-metalcore," and that suits them well; Learning to Dissolve basically sounds like an alternate version of the early 2000s where Slipknot recorded Iowa with Adam D instead of Ross Robinson and released it on Trustkill instead of Roadrunner. The Y2K-era vibes are strong, but Orthodox connect dots that were rarely connected back then, and they do it in a way that sounds totally modern. (They made it with producer Randy Lebooeuf, who's recently worked with The Acacia Strain, Kublai Khan, and other bands, and really knows how to make great-sounding modern metalcore albums.) And more importantly than any of that, this album just goes super hard. Whether you lived through early 2000s metalcore and nu metal or not, it'll be tough to deny Orthodox's unfettered rage.
SRSQ - EVER CRASHING
Kennedy Ashlyn lost her closest friend, her Them Are Us Too collaborator and co-founder Cash Askew, in 2016's Ghost Ship fire. She began making music as SRSQ in the wake of the tragedy, and released her debut full length with the moniker in 2018. With her sophomore album Ever Crashing, she's come into her own with the project, crafting a multi-layered work that blends art-pop and electro-pop. Her songs take their time -- all but one are over five minutes long, and one clocks in at over seven minutes -- and are each mini-epics, lush with synths and strings. Ashlyn's soaring voice arcs above it all, delivering lyrics inspired by grief and her diagnosis with ADHD and bipolar disorder. Ever Crashing is a dreamy and moving journey, which art pop fans shouldn't sleep on. [Amanda Hatfield]
Read Bill's Indie Basement for more new album reviews, including Hot Chip, The Chats, Röyksopp, Oneida, the Tall Dawrfs comp, and the Soft Pink Truth EP.
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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