Notable Releases of the Week (6/12)
It's been over two weeks since George Floyd's murder at the hands of police, protests are still happening across the country, and it really feels like things are different this time. Breonna Taylor's March case is being fought for once again; confederate statues are coming down; confederate flags are being banned by the Navy, the Marines, and even NASACAR; actual changes are being made to police departments... these are small victories and many of them are far too late, but they're victories nonetheless and it's obvious that the fight is not over and people are not just returning to their normal lives. If you're looking for ways to get involved, we have an updated list of resources that may help.
It's not easy to focus on music with everything going on, and it's understandable why some musicians are continuing to push their releases back (like the posthumous Pop Smoke album and the Orville Peck EP that were originally scheduled for today), but music can also provide some much-needed therapy during a time like this, and there are a handful of albums out today worth listening to, so here are seven that I picked. First, some honorable mentions: Savages singer Jehnny Beth's solo debut, Naeem (fka Spank Rock), Disheveled Cuss (mem Tera Melos), Bibio, Unwed Sailor, GUM (Pond, Tame Impala), Dougie Poole, Kate NV, KEY!, Paul Weller, Drab City, Gia Margaret, TENGGER, Chloe x Halle, Wesley Gonzalez (Let's Wrestle), Down Again, BPMD (Overkill, Vio-lence, ex-Dream Theater), the Living Gate (mem YOB, Oathbreaker, Amenra) EP, the Closedown EP, and Built to Spill's Daniel Johnston covers album.
UPDATE: Viral "Rascal" singer released his debut EP Drug Dealing Is A Lost Art, featuring Westside Gunn, Future, and Lil Baby.
Also, Bill reviews Built to Spill, Jehnny Beth, Drab City, Wesley Gonzalez, and more in Bill's Indie Basement.
Check out my seven picks below. What was your favorite release of the week?
Coriky - Coriky
No matter how much the music world begs, who knows if we'll ever get a Fugazi reunion (never say never), but Coriky's debut album is the closest thing to new Fugazi that we've heard since their final 2001 album The Argument. It's the new band of Ian MacKaye, his Fugazi bandmate Joe Lally on bass, and his wife/Evens bandmate Amy Farina on drums, with all three members splitting vocals, and much more so than with The Evens (who are great in their own right), you can hear the spirit of Fugazi informing Coriky. The chemistry of Joe Lally's rhythmic bass playing and Ian MacKaye's percussive vocals is heard on a song like "Have A Cup of Tea" nearly as much as it was heard on Repeater, and Ian's roaring vocals near the end of opening track/lead single "Clean Kill" recall his '90s era more than any music he's put out in a while. Coriky also has a softer indie rock side cut from a more similar cloth as The Evens, and the songs where Amy sings lead of course sound more like Evens songs than Fugazi songs. It's kind of the culmination of the various types of music Ian has made since Fugazi's early days, and as is really always the case with his music, it sounds new and fresh and inspired. We keep wanting his old band(s) to reunite, but Ian MacKaye has always been about pushing forward, and Coriky is the latest example of him doing just that.
Pay For Pain - Pay For Pain EP
After Tigers Jaw recorded 2014's Charmer -- which we named the 22nd best punk/emo album of the 2010s -- Adam McIlwee, Dennis Mishko, and Pat Brier left the band, and Tigers Jaw effectively became the duo of Brianna Collins and Ben Walsh plus touring musicians. Adam turned his attention to his emo-trap, GothBoiClique-affiliated project Wicca Phase Springs Eternal, Dennis and Pat formed the indie rock band Three Man Cannon, and Ben and Brianna released a new Tigers Jaw album, spin. spin captured a lot of Charmer's appeal, while Wicca Phase and Three Man Cannon were decidedly different projects, but now Adam, Dennis, and Pat have reunited as Pay For Pain, and their self-titled debut EP feels like their followup to Charmer. It's noticeably more lo-fi (it was recorded by Pat and Dennis' Three Man Cannon bandmate Matt Schimelfenig, who also released a great album this year with his new Cayetana-related band Gladie), but the heart of the songwriting feels similar to what these three were doing the last time they all collaborated together. They cited such influences as Nick Cave, Little Wings, The Smiths, Gillian Welch, Wipers, R.E.M., Joe Strummer, and more for this EP, and you can pretty much hear all of that coming through in these songs, which all kind of revolve around dusty, jangly Americana with a punk spirit and an edge of darkness.
Nuvolascura - As We Suffer From Memory and Imagination
Zegema Beach/Dog Knights
LA screamo band Nuvolascura released their great self-titled debut album in January 2019, and they're now back just a year and a half later with their sophomore album. Like the debut, they made this one with Jack Shirley, whose work with bands like Loma Prieta, Deafheaven, and State Faults makes him a great fit for Nuvolascura's heavy yet atmospheric/melodic screamo, and As We Suffer From Memory and Imagination only sounds bigger and better and tighter than its predecessor. Nuvolascura sound like a more confident band this time around, and they've really expanded their sound, with a greater emphasis on sprawling post-rock and tech-y math rock, but not at the sacrifice of their fast, aggressive sound (all of these songs clock in around just one or two minutes, except one that almost makes it to three). The album can be dark and discordant or bright and melodic, and often these quickly-shapeshifting songs incorporate two or more moods into their brief running times. The album's sequence is a big part of the appeal too -- there are standout tracks, but As We Suffer From Memory and Imagination functions best when it's heard as one big piece of music (and it only takes 21 minutes to hear it that way).
Update: Nuvolascura actually pushed the album release back to next Friday (6/19) this morning. Update 2 (6/19): Out now!
Ulthar - Providence
20 Buck Spin
Late '80s / early '90s style death metal has been in the midst of a comeback for a few years now, and one of the most exciting current death metal scenes is the Bay Area scene, which is home to bands like Necrot, Vastum, and Ulthar, all of whom are like one degree of separation from the other and all of whom have a slightly different approach to OSDM. Early death metal and early black metal both came from thrash, which in turn came from hardcore, and Ulthar kinda exist somewhere in that venn diagram where black, death, thrash, and hardcore all cross paths. Providence is their second album, following their great 2018 debut Cosmovore, and this one's even better. It's at least as evil and brutal and pulverizing as the debut, but there's a greater clarity and a greater amount of precision to Providence that makes Ulthar's attack all the more intense.
Also I didn't review it but if you like this album, check out the Living Gate EP that's out today too.
Dua Saleh - ROSETTA EP
Minneapolis artist Dua Saleh released one of the most powerful new protest songs with "body cast" two weeks ago, and today they followed it with a new EP, ROSETTA, which is named after the Godmother of rock and roll, Sister Rosetta Tharpe. "Tharpe wowed both churches and juke joints with distorted guitar stylings and a flamboyant stage presence. And though she was married several times, she was known to have had romantic relationships with women," reads the EP's description on Bandcamp. "Dua draws a parallel to Tharpe with their own biography of growing up queer in a strict Muslim household." You can hear the influence of loud, distorted rock on this powerful EP, but you can also hear modern R&B, auto-tuned trap, atmospheric art pop, and more. It breaks down boundaries left and right.
Wiley - The Godfather 3
The godfather of grime is back with the final part of his Godfather trilogy and also with what he tells The Guardian is his final album. "I made it my goal to make sure the grime scene wheels are spinning before I leave," he says. Wiley was one of the artists who helped define the sound of grime in the early/mid 2000s, and when the genre began making a comeback in the 2010s, he was right there all over again, so there's really no arguing that he kept the genre's wheels spinning for a very long time. And if this album really is his last, he'll be going out on yet another high note. (But who knows... he's talked about retiring before.) He says he "[doesn't] want to try and fit in with kids," but really "the kids" are still trying to fit in with him (like Stormzy, who's about half Wiley's age, had some recent but now-resolved beef with Wiley, and paid clear homage to the godfather on his latest album Heavy Is The Head with the song "Wiley Flow"). So when he stays true to his grime roots on The Godfather 3, he doesn't just sound like he's reliving his early days; the album sounds as relevant as anything coming out of the grime scene today.
Orlando Weeks - A Quickening
Play It Again Sam
UK indie rockers The Maccabees were pretty popular and well-received in their home country, but they never seemed to be as big of a deal (or taken as seriously) here in the US, and I've always felt like they deserved better from American audiences. After the fun but mostly generic post-punk revival of their 2007 debut Colour It In, they released the darker, more adventurous 2009 album Wall of Arms, which was produced by Arcade Fire's Neon Bible collaborator Markus Dravs and kinda sounded like a blend of UK indie and Neon Bible. It remains one of the more unique indie rock albums of the past decade or so. The band's two albums after that went more in an atmospheric art rock direction that would fit more nicely next to Coldplay, U2, or Radiohead than the post-punk revival bands they were first associated with, and I don't think either one really reached the heights of Wall of Arms, but they proved this was a band who were not content to go backwards or dumb things down. The Maccabees called it quits in 2017, and now frontman Orlando Weeks has just released his debut solo album. His voice makes it unmistakably the work of no other artist, and musically it kind of continues down the same path as the last two Maccabees album but it's more haunting, more somber, and less bombastic -- more Sigur Ros than Coldplay. It's a good look for him, and it might actually be my favorite thing he's done since Wall of Arms.
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.
For ways to help out in the fight against racism and police brutality, here are some resources.