Five Notable Releases of the Week (8/4)
It's a busy weekend in the live-music world, with some extreme highs and lows. Though the first weekend of August means both Lollapalooza and Osheaga, sadly the former was evacuated due to weather yesterday before Lorde and Muse could play and had a Liam Gallagher set that was cut short due to vocal issues. The latter just lost Solange as a headliner for this Saturday.
Here in NYC though, it's been crazier than normal in a good way. Last night had a surprise Tyler the Creator show with Frank Ocean and A$AP Rocky, a surprise Liars show, and surprise appearances from T.I. and Doug E. Fresh at Dave Chappelle''s ongoing 16-show Radio City run. Chappelle's run has had surprise guests every night, and it continues tonight, with 12 more shows after that. Phish's high-concept 13-show MSG run wraps up this weekend. Nine Inch Nails played a surprise intimate Webster Hall show on Monday. What a time to be alive.
Three of my picks are on Bandcamp (embeds below), and if you purchase them today, Bandcamp will donate 100% of proceeds to The Transgender Law Center.
As for new albums, I've picked five as always (including one that features A$AP Rocky). Check out my picks below. What was your favorite release of the week?
Since leaving Slayer (again), fans have been in desperate need to hear Dave Lombardo drum in a mile-a-minute, heavy-as-all-hell band again, and thankfully Dead Cross is that band. He formed the band with a few members of the Locust, including bandleader Justin Pearson and Gabe Serbian, who was on lead vocal duties in Dead Cross initially. Serbian ended up needing to leave the band to focus on his family, and his replacement was none other than Faith No More/Mr. Bungle frontman Mike Patton (who previously played with Lombardo in Fantômas). Though the addition of Patton upped the band's star power by a lot, it seemed like a weird choice at first. Dead Cross was going to be Dave Lombardo's chance to play in a real-deal hardcore band, and Mike Patton, talented as he is, is not exactly a hardcore frontman. Somehow, though, Dead Cross really did manage to combine all of their strengths. The album has the speed, power, and brevity of a hardcore record (only two songs pass the three-minute mark), and it manages to fit in all of Mike Patton's weirdness without sacrificing any of the ferocity. Lombardo plays at least as hard and fast as he did on Reign In Blood, really reminding you why that last Slayer album didn't have quite the same backbone as their classics. Patton switches from harsh screams to brooding croons and hits ton of the in-between, and the rest of the band keeps a noise-punk-metal attack going the whole time. It was produced by Ross Robinson, who worked on classic albums by spazzy post-hardcore bands like At the Drive-In, The Blood Brothers, and Glassjaw (plus like every nu metal band), and his touch is really perfect here. The major bands of Ross Robinson's prime era were almost definitely influenced by both Slayer and Mike Patton, so of course he's the guy for the job if those two things are actually coming together.
A$AP Mob are releasing three albums this month, and the first one out of the gate is the debut album by A$AP Twelvyy. Twelvyy has been quietly honing his skills in the background as Rocky and Ferg emerged as the group's stars, and 12 shows those skills have gotten pretty sharp. Rocky and Ferg are both on the album, as are fellow NYC staples Joey Bada$$ and Flatbush Zombies, and his famous friends' appearances should do a good job drawing new fans in -- 12 sounds like a showcase of where New York rap is at right now. With its atmospheric Phantogram sample, the Rocky collab "Diamonds" could pass as a new Rocky single, and the same could be said for the club-ready Ferg collab "Hop Out." The Flatbush Zombies-featuring "A Glorious Death" even has enough psychedelia to fit on a new Zombies album. And even though A$AP Twelvyy isn't a household name just yet, he's never out-rapped by any of his guests. He proves again and again that he can hold his own next to today's greats, and often ends up stealing the show. He's got a style that should please fans of New York rap's golden age, with a hard-hitting delivery, complex rhymes, and two very New York skits. Take a listen to highlights like "Periodic Table" or "L.Y.B.B." (which stands for "Last Year Being Broke"), neither of which have guests, to hear just how much fury he can pack into one song.
Between fronting both Spanish-language punks Los Crudos and queercore staples Limp Wrist since the '90s, Martin Sorrondeguy is truly one of modern punk's most legendary figures. Especially with the type of protest punk we're getting during today's political climate, it's tough to picture a lot of it (like, say, Downtown Boys, whose anticipated Sub Pop debut comes out next week) existing had Martin Sorrondeguy not broken down certain barriers two decades ago. It's also a great time for him to release new music, which makes it very exciting that Limp Wrist are back with their first album in nine years. They describe the album as "11 new trax of complete punk faggotry, not for the weak at heart and never will be," which is a pretty great sell of what to expect here. The songs are raw, fast, short, and full of both anger and purpose. Limp Wrist don't compromise and they aren't subtle, and Facades is a perfect example of this. It picks up where they left off so well that the nine years between Facades and its predecessor feel nonexistent. One surprise they throw in, is after eight songs of high-velocity punk, Facades ends with three electronic jams that sound built for an ecstasy-fueled 3 AM night. They're creepy, lo-fi head-nodders with hints of industrial and early Soft Cell. They might not have distorted guitars, but their inclusion is punk in spirit.
UK trio Girl Ray released a few promising singles last year and now they're putting out their debut LP, Earl Grey. They make mellow indie pop with a hint of darkness and just the right amount of studio shine. Their vocal harmonies sound great, and they really know how to craft pleasant, enjoyable melodies. The most interesting moments to me are when they break from the pop formula and throw in a bit of a jazz touch (like on "Stupid Things"), or when they really let their sound stretch out on the 13-minute "Earl Grey (Stuck In A Groove)." It starts out like a typical Girl Ray song, but ends up turning into quite the psychedelic excursion. About ten minutes in, there's a serious freakout with wah guitar, and sax and piano just going off into all kinds of unorganized directions. Given how mild-mannered most of the album is, it's thrilling to hear them pull off something like this.
German heavy metal legends Accept put out some of the genre's all-time classic albums in the early '80s. If you dig classic metal and your record collection is missing copies of Restless and Wild or Balls to the Wall, you should remedy that, stat. They reunited back in 2009 with vocalist Mark Tornillo replacing Udo Dirkschneider, and even though Udo's Bon Scott-esque shouts are of course missed, Tornillo has proven he does a pretty great job fronting Accept. The music they make these days doesn't sound like it was written any later than 1983, but if countless new bands can write homages to '80s metal, why can't Accept revel in the sound they helped define? Maybe it would be a little more eye-rolling of The Rise of Chaos -- their fourth album with Tornillo -- wasn't such a rush. If you found out this was a "lost" album from 1983, you'd be losing your mind at how much fun it is. The riffs are chunky and sharp, the solos scream, and Tornillo wails his damn head off. It's far from groundbreaking, but it's perfect for stubborn metalheads who don't want the genre to change and newcomers who have yet to be exposed to the charms of classic metal.