Notable Releases of the Week (10/1)
Can you believe it's already October? I can't! Maybe it's because so many music festivals got squeezed into September that it feels like summer was just getting started, but here we are, starting to smell that autumn scent through our windows and see Halloween directions on our blocks. Truly the strangest timeline.
Entering fall means needing a new batch of fall albums, and I highlight seven new ones below. Over in Bill's Indie Basement, you can read about The Specials' new album of protest song covers, Audiobooks, Ducks Ltd, and Cindy. More honorable mentions: Meek Mill, Brandi Carlile, Tirzah, Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga, Lil Wayne & Rich The Kid, Benji & Spillage Village, Curly Castro, DJ Muggs & CRIMEAPPLE, Black Dice, Ministry, KK's Priest (KK Downing of Judas Priest), Pond, Roman Lions, Couplet (ex-You Blew It), Hotline TNT, Boy Scouts, Hovvdy, Shad, Icewear Vezzo, The Doobie Brothers, Yes, Philip Frobos (Omni), GHÖSH, ACTORS, Heiress, Sally Anne Morgan, Bummer, Gustaf, Petite Amie, Brion Starr, Constant Follower, Goodbye Honolulu, the Spy EP, the Diet Cig EP, the Oscar Bait EP, the A Knife In The Dark EP, the Bonnie Cosby EP, the GAAWK EP, the Wallowing / Thin / Slabdragger / Vixen Maw split, the Double Dagger rarities comp, the Kevin Morby demos album, the Explosions in the Sky soundtrack for Big Bend, the The The live album/film/bookoe, the Grateful Dead live box set, and the Neil Young live album from Carnegie Hall 1970.
Read on for my picks. What's your favorite release of the week?
Dying Wish - Fragments Of A Bitter Memory
Portland's Dying Wish built up a name for themselves in the hardcore/metal scene with a few EPs/splits/demos dating back to 2017, and before they even put an album out, Knocked Loose invited vocalist Emma Boster to scream on their instant-classic 2019 album A Different Shade of Blue. A few months later, Knocked Loose's Bryan Garris returned the favor by appearing on Dying Wish's "Enemies In Red." That song turned out to be the first taste of Dying Wish's debut album Fragments Of A Bitter Memory, which -- two years later -- has finally arrived.
It's been a long time coming for this band, and Fragments makes good on the promise of everything that led up to it. With crisp, bone-crushing production, the album sounds bigger and better than anything else Dying Wish put out previously, and the band sound tighter than ever too. With a rhythm section that sounds like a round of bullets and Emma's vocal-cord-shredding bark, Fragments is among the most purely heavy, aggressive records released this year, but they don't shy away from a little accessibility either. The album is packed with the kinds of bright, melodic riffs that catapulted metalcore to mainstream popularity in the early 2000s, and when Emma shows off her powerhouse pipes for a clean-sung hook, Dying Wish sound ready to burst out of the underground themselves. When Emma screams, she sounds genuinely pissed off, and the anger is pointed in the direction of topics that matter, like gender, racial, sexual, and environmental injustice, but it's conveyed in a way that feels personal. "[Politics are] an important part of our band, our beliefs and our message for sure, but it isn't our identity," Emma told Revolver. The political and the personal often intertwine, especially lately, but these songs tend to come from looking inwards, not outwards. It's not an album about current events that will quickly start to feel outdated; the feelings that fuel these songs will endure.
Full of Hell - Garden of Burning Apparitions
Full of Hell celebrated the 10th anniversary of their debut album last month, and in the decade since that album, they haven't slowed down one bit. In fact, their new album Garden of Burning Apparitions is one of their best yet. On this LP, they've channelled their rage into something that's a little clearer than usual, adding some Jane Doe-style mathcore into their usual deathnoisegrind assault, and the added clarity only makes them sound more brutal. They've still got some straightup noise tracks ("Derelict Satellite," "Non-Atomism"), and they channel lurching '90s post-hardcore on "Reeking Tunnels," kinda sounding like Portrayal of Guilt in the process. It's an album that proves they're still moving forward, still trying out new ideas, and getting even better as a band. If it doesn't feel like they've been around for over a decade, it's because they refuse to ever sound stagnant.
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Wiki - Half God
New York rapper Wiki has been very prolific this year, and he's been experimenting with a few different styles too. Back in May, he put out the album Telephonebooth, which was entirely produced by NAH and which was some of the darkest, most psychedelic music he'd made yet. Following a string of non-album singles, he's now just released his second album of 2021, Half God. This one was entirely produced by Navy Blue, who's become a leader of the off-kilter Brooklyn rap scene. Navy Blue gives Wiki a warmer, more organic sounding backdrop than the one he had on Telephonebooth, with beats often derived from jazz and soul, but still in a way that feels underground and experimental. Navy Blue's own music often has a hazy, head-in-the-clouds feel, and his production contrasts well with Wiki's more direct style. As he's been doing for years, Wiki tells stories of the city that raised him. He sounds tough but thoughtful, and he always makes you feel like you're right there with him, in whatever scenario he's describing. Guest appearances come from frequent Navy Blue collaborators MIKE and Earl Sweatshirt, as well as NYC indie-soul singer duendita, Remy Banks of World's Fair, and UK rapper Jesse James Solomon. It's an eclectic, appealing cast of guests, and it all makes sense within the world that Wiki and Navy Blue have created.
YUNGMORPHEUS & Eyedress - Affable With Pointed Teeth
Speaking of prolific rappers, Affable With Pointed Teeth is YUNGMORPHEUS' third album of 2021, following the ewonee-produced Thumbing Thru Foliage and the largely self-produced States of Precarity, and he remains on a roll. This one was entirely produced by Eyedress, who also recently put out his own new album Mulholland Drive (ft. King Krule, DāM-FunK, Dent May, and more), and Eyedress provides a palette of stoned, jazzy beats that allow YUNGMORPHEUS to go off into third-eye-open space. The only guest is Pink Siifu, whose own left-of-center rap style fits perfectly on this album, but mostly it's just YUNGMORPHEUS and Eyedress, showing off a ton of chemistry and coming out with music that feels cozy and trippy all at once.
Illuminati Hotties - Let Me Do One More
Snack Shack Tracks / Hopeless Records
Illuminati Hotties, the project of Sarah Tudzin, comes from the punk scene, but her new album Let Me Do One More is only punk in spirit. It almost never sounds like the average person's idea of punk, but while punk itself often embraces the conformity it claims to reject, Let Me Do One More doesn't conform to anything. It's punk as fuck in its ability to freak out listeners of even the most aggressive and experimental music. With the theatrical avant-pop of a song like "MMMOOOAAAAAYAYA" and the helium-shouted garage rock of "Joni: LA's No. 2 Health Goth," Sarah sounds like she's kidding and dead-serious all at once. On the same album, she'll do something as ethereal and gorgeous as "Protector" or as haunting and melancholic as "Growth." It's an album that's constantly changing shape, and its overall vibe isn't like much else coming out right now (or ever, really). It boasts a couple cool guest appearances (Big Thief's Buck Meek and Great Grandpa's Alex Menne), though Sarah is a true auteur, writing, producing, and performing much of this album herself. The boldness of her vision is electrifying.
Strand of Oaks - In Heaven
Tim Showalter's new Strand of Oaks album was inspired by the grief he experienced after losing his wife Sue's mom and his cat Stan, but he calls it his happy record. "I just had to celebrate Sue’s mom, and my cat, and the people I got to love in the first place," he told Stereogum. "Celebrate the fact that I’m not dead, and I want to live." He also -- after making three harder rock records -- found solace in the acoustic guitar during the making of In Heaven. It's not folky and minimal like his pre-HEAL records -- it was eventually fleshed out by producer/drummer Kevin Ratterman, My Morning Jacket members Carl Broemel and Bo Koster, and guitars and vocals from Tim's hero Jim Iha of The Smashing Pumpkins on "Easter" -- but acoustic guitar is still in the mix and it does have an overall calmer feel than his last three records. Like grief itself, the album is a whirlwind of emotions and moods. It doesn't really sound like most people's definition of a "happy" record, but it's not wallowing in sorrow either. It tends to be a softer record, but sometimes those electric guitars can really scream. It's the kind of album you might make when your life's been turned upside down, and when you've already written three of the best indie-heartland rock records of the past decade. It doesn't feel like it's aiming to be a huge record, but it doesn't feel small either. For Strand of Oaks, it just feels like a very natural place to be.
Frontierer - Oxidized
It's a big week for in-your-face, aggressive music, with the new Dying Wish and Full of Hell albums, but Frontierer's Oxidized just might be the most batshit of them all. It's the third album by the Scottish metalcore maniacs, and it feels designed to give you tinnitus. Its chaotic blend of guitars and electronics is like a mix of mathcore, industrial, nu metal, and djent, but not in a way that ever embraces the pop-friendly sounds that the latter three genres often do. It's an album that makes even some of the most pulverizing hardcore bands seem soft, and it's a lot to take in. This is not for the faint of heart, nor is it anything that could ever function as background music. You need to strap yourself in for the ride, and pray your eardrums will forgive you later.
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.
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