Notable Releases of the Week (6/7)
What a week it's been! Joan Jett joined Bikini Kill in NYC, Team Dresch released their first song in 19 years, The Futureheads are back too, Enema of the State turned 20 and blink-182 are playing it live all summer, and in less good news, a couple music festivals here in the tristate area suffered at the hands of unpredictable weather. Let's hope things get better for the rest of this year's festival season (including Chicago's Riot Fest, which has both Bikini Kill and blink-182 playing Enema).
As for new albums out this week, I highlighted four below and here are some honorable mentions: Pelican, Yeasayer, Tee Grizzley, MoStack, Stef Chura, Palehound, Lust For Youth, Mark Mulcahy, Nicole Yun of Eternal Summers, Dylan LeBlanc, Charlie Cunningham, As Cities Burn, Drowse, Jake Xerxes Fussell, Jambinai, Enthroned, and the Future EP.
Check out my four picks below. What was your favorite release of the week?
This one is bittersweet. As the album title implies, it features the last-ever recordings by Cave In bassist/vocalist Caleb Scofield, who sadly passed away during the making of the album. The rest of the band completed it after his death, and you can feel his death lingering over every song. It's a haunted, melancholic album, one that I imagine must have been very hard for the band to complete. It's impossible to listen to without thinking about and mourning Caleb, but it's also a blessing that Cave In were able to gift us with one more batch of songs that Caleb had a hand in. It's also the band's first album in eight years, and it's nice to have them back. Stephen Brodsky had been busy with his bluesy hard rock/metal band Mutoid Man in the time since the last Cave In album (and with his collab project with Marissa Nadler), and it's a treat to hear him getting back to making Cave In-style music. This album is very much rooted in the band's spacey post-metal/post-rock side -- it's probably their lightest album since Antenna and their most atmospheric since Jupiter, but it's also not too much like either of those albums, or really like anything the band has done before. It's distinctly Cave In sounding, yet simultaneously an outlier in the band's discography. As the last album their classic lineup will ever make, it's a somber yet very nice way to say goodbye.
Mariee Sioux's 2007 breakthrough album Faces In The Rocks remains one of the true gems of modern-day folk music, though Mariee has never truly gotten the due she deserves. She's respected by some very notable, likeminded artists -- as evidenced by shows with Mazzy Star and Joanna Newsom -- but her gorgeous songs have still yet to attract the widespread fanbases of artists like those. Mariee followed Faces In The Rocks with the very good Gift for the End in 2012, and now she's back with another batch of delicate, dreamlike folk songs, Grief In Exile. Like its predecessors, Grief In Exile will almost definitely appeal to fans of Mazzy Star and Joanna Newsom (and Marissa Nadler), and it's as consistently strong as just about anything she's done prior. Mariee has an old soul and Grief In Exile can often sound like a lost early '70s album, but it manages to have a familiar sound without having an overly vintage or derivative one. It may go on to be just as unfairly overlooked as its predecessors, but here's to hoping her music reaches more ears this time around. It's been a great year for stuff like this (thanks to Weyes Blood and Jessica Pratt and Big Thief and Aldous Harding) so it'd be perfect timing to tune in to the talented Mariee Sioux.
Depending on who you talk to, Fuming Mouth are either a death metal band who dabble in hardcore or a hardcore band who dabble in death metal. It probably has to do most with which genre you're most familiar with, but it speaks to the quality and originality of Fuming Mouth's music that fans and critics can't seem to neatly place them inside one genre or another. Whatever you wanna call them, Fuming Mouth are already masters at both hardcore and death metal, and that comes across again and again on their killer debut album The Grand Descent. This is the kind of album that you put on and it just whoops your ass over and over until it finally ends 34 minutes later, leaving you instantly wanting more. They're touring with Harms Way, Jesus Piece, and Portrayal of Guilt later this year, and like all three of those bands, they make heavy, physical music that offers up the tried-and-true thrills of hardcore without relying on overused tricks or sounding too stereotypical or generic. Music like this deserves to be experienced live and that whopper of a tour is an incredible way to do so (though they're also touring with Creeping Death even sooner), but Fuming Mouth are already more than just a see-it-live band. The Grand Descent just has that special something that sets it apart from the dozens of promising hardcore records that drop every year, and killer production by Converge's Kurt Ballou. (Also with striking artwork by Mariusz Lewandowski -- who you might be able to tell also did the covers of the new Bell Witch and False records -- this is one you might wanna own on vinyl.) It's one of the finest debuts of its kind in recent memory.
On their 2016 album Untitled, Philly's Soul Glo established themselves as makers of relentless, political hardcore, and three years and two EPs later, they're back with a followup. The N**** In Me Is Me picks up right where Untitled left off and pushes forward, incorporating hip hop, noise, and more along the way. Like its predecessor, it's a powerful record that leaves an impression right off the bat.