Notable Releases of the Week (10/28)
Albums continue to come out at a rate that's nearly impossible to keep up with, but we try, and this week I highlight 15 new ones below as Bill tackles more in Indie Basement, including Honey Harper, Hammered Hulls, Drugdealer, Luke Haines & Peter Buck, King Gizzard, I Was A King, and NANCY.
On top of that, many honorable mentions: Darkthrone, Dear Nora, Nosaj Thing (ft. Panda Bear, Toro y Moi, Julianna Barwick, serpentwithfeet, Pink Siifu & more), Westside Gunn (ft. Run The Jewels, Black Star, A$AP Rocky & more), Che Noir, Bandmanrill, Lee Fields, Junior Boys, Fatboi Sharif, Duke Deuce, Lainey Wilson, Fauness, Sobs, Benjamin Clementine, Single Mothers, Noctem, BabyTron, Fantasy Camp, Dazy, Never Broke Again, dvsn, Molly Joyce, Psychonaut, Dan Mangan, Blessed, Ásgeir, Babehoven, Ghost Funk Orchestra, Martha, Implore, girlpuppy, Sea Moss, Gabe Lee, Brody Price, Brant Bjork (Kyuss), Natalia Lafourcade, Abraxas, Dragonette, Dorian Concept, Yung Gravy, Anja Lauvdal, Moin, the Tigers Jaw EP, the Your Old Droog EP, the Mr. Twin Sister EP, the Cinderblock (pre-Terror, Snapcase, Earth Crisis) EP, the Gay Meat (Museum Mouth) EP, the Sugar Horse EP, the GoGo Morrow EP, the Holly Caught A Contact High EP, the Superorganism remix EP, the Wand live album, the Guided by Voices comp, Theo Parrish's DJ-Kicks mix, and the super deluxe edition of The Beatles' Revolver.
Read on for my picks. What's your favorite release of the week?
Fred again.. - Actual Life 3 (January 1 - September 9 2022)
UK producer Fred again.. began his professional career almost a decade ago as a collaborator of Brian Eno, and he's since become one of the biggest electronic artists in the world. In addition to working on tracks with artists like Stormzy, Headie One, Rico Nasty, Charli XCX, and Ed Sheeran, Fred's been working on a trilogy of solo albums called Actual Life, which are powered by samples that come from social media, voice memos, other songs, and more. On the final edition of the trilogy, Actual Life 3 (January 1 - September 9 2022), the samples include a TikTok video, a fan-shot live video of 070 Shake, an Instagram post from Mustafa, an unused lyric from a session with Dermot Kennedy, an original track with singer Camille, a Wet song, a Bleu ft. Drake song, and more. We're all inundated with this kind of stuff on a daily basis, but Fred hears something in all of it that the rest of us don't, and he turns these clips into addictive collections of house and garage songs. It's real-deal club music and also ridiculously catchy, so it makes sense that his songs have been winning over ravers and pop music fans alike. The way he's blowing up right now, he might be the biggest crossover act to come out of the UK club scene since Disclosure, and the fame is deserved. Actual Life 3 (January 1 - September 9 2022) is just one banger after the next.
Show Me The Body - Trouble The Water
Show Me The Body are a band who just don't fit into any boxes. They play shows with hardcore bands and rappers, and they aren't really either of those genres, but they clearly take cues from and fit in with both. They also borrow from noise rock, electronic music, and the avant-garde. They also have a banjo player. They're a NYC band, and they're kind of what I might imagine The Velvet Underground or Suicide to sound like if either of those bands came out today. Their music feels steeped in their hometown's history, and like New York City itself, Show Me The Body's music is a melting pot. Trouble The Water is their third album, and it's very possibly their best yet. On it, they make accessible songs out of music that most people would consider off-putting, they sound focused even when their mix of styles is at its most disparate and eclectic. They're a band whose reputation as a live act precedes them, but you don't have to see them live to get into Trouble The Water. In its own strange, unique way, this album rips.
Pick up a vinyl copy.
Thotcrime - D1G1T4L_DR1FT
If you care about heavy music, there's a good chance you've heard of cybergrind, which has grown from a niche microgenre into a flourishing community of likeminded musicians who are constantly supporting one another, working together, and shining a light on so much cool music in the process. At this point it's more about a mentality than a style of music, and that comes across loudly and clearly on Thotcrime's Prosthetic debut D1G1T4L_DR1FT, an album that was born within the cybergrind community but completely transcends it. Thotcrime -- whose members are split across Champaign-Urbana, Philly, and the UK -- had already made a name for themselves across a slew of early releases, including last year's great 4-way split with p.s.you'redead, Kurama, and The Queen Guillotined, but none of those releases could prepare you for how much they level up on D1G1T4L_DR1FT. Throughout the record, they can sound like anything from The Dillinger Escape Plan to Nine Inch Nails to Black Cat #13 to 100 gecs, and they bring in guest vocalists from screamy bands like The Callous Daoboys, Pupil Slicer, and Dreamwell, as well as hyperpop artist diana starshine. The album is self-produced, but it sounds bigger and cleaner than anything Thotcrime did previously. It's just a great heavy record, with awesomely throat-shredding screams and riffs for days, and sometimes it's a pop record too. There are moments that might make you nostalgic for past eras of heavy music, but mostly, it's refreshing to hear a hardcore-informed record like this one that's so patently innovative.
Cakes Da Killa - Svengali
Young Art Records
NJ-born rapper Cakes Da Killa emerged in the mid 2010s as a talented purveyor of hip-house, but he eventually slowed his output down before experiencing a comeback with two well-received EPs produced by Proper Villains in 2020 and 2021. Now he returns with his first full-length album since those EPs (and first album in six years, and first since bringing his infectious charisma to Netflix's Rhythm + Flow), Svengali. The timing is perfect, since it's coming at a time where hip hop and dance music have collided on some of the biggest singles of the year, and it's also even stronger than the music Cakes was making when he first started to take off. It's got some hip-house bangers, but it's not just hip-house. A lot of the production leans in a more experimental electronic direction, and these are some of the most beautiful and mind-warping beats Cakes has ever rapped over. His delivery is stronger, more refined, and more confident than it was in the early days, and not at the expense of any of his original charm. It's not a comeback, it's a re-introduction.
Smino - Luv 4 Rent
Every Smino album has been more expansive than the last, and Luv 4 Rent -- his third album and first since 2018's Noir -- keeps that trend going. It's a rich-sounding, multi-layered mix of hip hop, soul, and funk with gorgeous production and a commanding, shapeshifting mix of rapping and singing from Smino and his impressive guests. Those guests range from others in the Midwest hip hop scene he hails from (Ravyn Lenae, Phoelix) to Dreamville leader J. Cole to pop-rapper Lil Uzi Vert to fast-rising, TDE-signed spitter Doechii, and Luv 4 Rent is the kind of multi-faceted album where all of those artists have no trouble feeling right at home. It breaks down boundaries between the Midwest and the South, the '90s and 2000s and present-day, and it continues to prove that Smino has both a great voice and a strong vision.
Arm's Length - Never Before Seen, Never Again Found
Ontario emo band Arm's Length put out one of 2021's best punk releases with their self-released Everything Nice EP, and now they've signed to Wax Bodega (Hot Mulligan, Knuckle Puck, Holy Fawn, etc) for their first full-length, Never Before Seen, Never Again Found. It was clear on Everything Nice that Arm's Length have a lot of musical ambition, but they take that even further on this album. These are soaring, swinging-for-the-fences emo songs in the spirit of anything from Thursday and Circa Survive to Pianos Become the Teeth and The Hotelier -- bands who mix dead-serious lyrics, post-rock-infused atmosphere, and radio-friendly hooks, and always seem to be playing like the world might end tomorrow. They use a lot of familiar tricks, but they use them very well and they know how to put their own spin on them. And in a year where "emo nostalgia" has reigned supreme, it's good to have bands like Arm's Length to remind you that the new generation of emo is in very good hands.
Dr. Acula - Dr. Acula
Dr. Acula are back and they're all grown up. The once-self-proclaimed party-grinders have made a new self-titled album -- their first in 10 years -- and it's for when the party's over. It's a much darker, more serious beast than the albums Dr. Acula put out in the 2000s and early 2010s, but they still sound like Dr. Acula. It's still a batshit blend of metalcore, post-hardcore, grind, death metal, and more, with some cool electronics thrown in too, and it manages to sound refined without toning down the band's usual chaos. It also comes at a very good time for Dr. Acula, whose over-the-top style is echoed in many of today's heavy bands, like SeeYouSpaceCowboy and p.s.you'redead who they recently played shows with, and Bodysnatcher whose Kyle Medina guests on the new album's closing track "The Barking Ghost." Read more about the album here.
Flatland Cavalry - Songs To Keep You Warm EP
As we head into the colder months, Texas country band Flatland Calvary have some songs to keep you warm. The group have been on a roll lately -- 2021 brought their great third album Welcome to Countryland and earlier this year they released gorgeous live versions of those songs recorded in unique outdoor spaces on Far Out West Sessions -- and these six new songs keep the momentum going. The EP was produced by Bruce Robinson and features backing vocals from Ashley Monroe and Kaitlin Butts (the latter of whom is married to Flatland Cavalry singer Cleto Cordero), and this is the kind of raw, no-nonsense country that should appeal to people whose taste in country veers towards Willie Nelson, John Prine, and Townes Van Zandt. There's nothing too fancy or too pop about it, but it's not retro either. It's just great songwriting.
Emily Scott Robinson - Built On Bones EP
Oh Boy Records
Speaking of country EPs and John Prine, Emily Scott Robinson -- who's among the new generation of artists on the late John Prine's Oh Boy Records -- is back with the stunning six-track release Built On Bones. It follows her great 2021 album American Siren, and it may be a short release, but it's a very substantial one. It's a song cycle that was originally commissioned for a theatrical piece, and it's a conceptual project inspired by Shakespeare's Macbeth. Emily's joined by guest vocalists Alisa Amador and Lizzy Ross, and the three of them take on the voices of the witches in Macbeth. "The Witches of Macbeth are traditionally cast as scary, ugly and evil creatures to which we attribute the darker magic of the show and Macbeth’s descent into madness. Our theory was this: What if the Witches were instead beautiful, tempting, sexy, powerful and playful?" Emily said. "What if the Witches held the capacity, just like Macbeth, for both light and dark magic? [...] We envisioned a version of the show where we gave the Witches a powerful voice, and in doing so, belied the history of violence against women and their magic." So the inspiration may have been a 400-year-old play, but the patriarchy-battling message feels urgent today. And Emily, Alisa, and Lizzy's harmonies are truly spectacular. Built On Bones is also noticeably different than Emily's previous music, which is more traditionally country. These songs are darker and more like something that falls in between The Decemberists and First Aid Kit. (They sound more European than American.) No idea if this just a detour from Emily's regularly scheduled programming or if she'll do more stuff like this in the future, but either way, this different direction clearly suits her.
Worm - Bluenothing EP
20 Buck Spin
Speaking of EPs that are very substantial releases, this new Worm EP (or mini-album) feels just as gargantuan as their breakthrough 2021 album Foreverglade. It's got four songs that click in at 26 minutes, and it treks through death metal, black metal, funeral doom, folk guitar, symphonic parts, shred solos (thanks to the addition of guitarist Philippe Tougas), and more in a way that feels truly towering. The production is crisp, the musicianship is as tight as can be, and the screams (delivered by a guy named Phantom Slaughter) are bloodthirsty. Also: really cool artwork.
Dead Cross - Dead Cross II
Dead Cross -- the supergroup of vocalist Mike Patton (Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, etc), bassist/vocalist Justin Pearson (The Locust, Deaf Club, Retox, etc), guitarist Michael Crain (Retox), and drummer Dave Lombardo (ex-Slayer) -- are back with a followup to their 2017 debut LP. Like the debut, it was produced by Ross Robinson, and it picks up where that album left off and pushes Dead Cross in a bunch of thrilling directions. Justin is singing (or screaming) more on this one, and the clash of his and Mike's voices makes things even more chaotic. The music moves between hardcore, D-beat, thrash, goth, experimental rock, and more, and it comes as no surprise that this lineup pulls that all off perfectly. They've got one of the best thrash drummers in the world with Dave Lombardo, one of the weirdest rock vocalists of all time with Mike Patton, and masters of chaotic hardcore with Justin and Michael, and it all comes together to create one delightfully nasty mess.
Pick up the new Dead Cross on gold vinyl or CD.
Aoife Nessa Frances - Protector
Irish singer/songwriter Aoife Nessa Frances made a mark in 2020 with her Ba Da Bing-released debut LP Land of No Junction, and she's since moved to Partisan Records who releases her sophomore album Protector. Her songs are fleshed out with baroque pop-style string and horn arrangements, and she's got one of those instantly-timeless folk singer voices; it all comes together in a way that would sit nicely next to anything from Judee Sill's early '70s classics to recent albums by Weyes Blood. It's a sound that never seems to go out of style, especially when it's coming from an artist as commanding as Aoife.
Scout Gillett - no roof no floor
Brooklyn-via-Kansas City artist Scout Gillett's debut LP no roof no floor is full of beautiful folk songs with an alt-country feel that should appeal to fans of Angel Olsen's new album, and she worked on it with Palehound's Ellen Kempner and MS MR's David Lizmi, recording in a big wooden barn. "We did the vocal takes in the pitch black darkness of night in the country, void of light pollution," Scout says. "I stared out at the stars through the open door as if singing to them.” Scout also made us a list of music, film, places, and more things that influenced the album, and you can read that here.
Deadbody - The Requiem
Closed Casket Activities
Taylor and Colin Young (who play together in God's Hate and Twitching Tongues) are both absolute forces to be reckoned with in the metallic hardcore sphere, so it should come as no surprise that their new band Deadbody is another total monster. They handle vocals/guitar and vocals/bass, respectively, and they're joined by guitarist Miles McIntosh (Apparition) and drummer Jorge Herrera (ACxDC, Despise You). It's a hardcore LP, but the death metal influences are very strong, and I could see this album hitting hard with fans of either genre.
Marlowe - Marlowe 3
Mello Music Group
If you keep up with boom bap-inspired underground rap, especially the kind associated with the Mello Music Group label, there's a good chance you've heard producer L'Orange, who's spent the past decade crafting beats for Kool Keith, Mr. Lif, Namir Blade, Jeremiah Jae, and others. In 2018, he linked up with North Carolina rapper Solemn Brigham for a collaborative album as Marlowe, and now they're on their third record together. These two are great on their own and a real force when they come together, and Marlowe 3 is loaded with triumphant, jazz/soul/funk-sourced beats from L'Orange and a rapidfire delivery from Solemn that lands perfectly in the pocket. Solemn and L'Orange's initial pairing made for one of the most underrated rap gems of 2018, and now they're a true dynamic duo with three full-lengths in four years and no sign that they're slowing down.
Read Bill's Indie Basement for more new album reviews, including Honey Harper, Hammered Hulls, Drugdealer, Luke Haines & Peter Buck, King Gizzard, I Was A King, and NANCY.
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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