Last week was a shorter album release week because of the holiday, and this one has a bit more going on but it's still a little lighter than usual. I highlight four albums below; Bill reviews The Goon Sax, Museum of Love, and more in Indie Basement; and here are some more honorable mentions: Koreless, IDK, The Prefab Messiahs, The Wallflowers, Twin Shadow, Bad Luck, Doug Tuttle, Alex Orange Drink (The So So Glos), Pictureplane, the second Justin Courtney Pierre (of Motion City Soundtrack) EP of 2021, the Growing Fins EP, and the Mayhem EP (with covers of Discharge, Dead Kennedys, Rudimentary Peni, and the Ramones).

Read on for my picks. What's your favorite release of the week?

Half Waif - Mythopoetics
ANTI-

Half Waif (aka Nandi Rose) had originally planned to hit the studio for a stripped-back, solo piano album, but once she was there, she and producer Zubin Hensler ended up continuing the maximalist art pop direction of last year's The Caretaker. It's full of synths and studio-as-instrument tricks, but underneath all the futuristic arrangements, you can hear the remnants of Nandi's original plan for the album. Piano is used heavily, and these feel very much like singer/songwriter songs that would work in a solo acoustic setting; all the added stuff just makes them sound even more impressive. Some songs still sound like somber ballads ("Fabric," "Sourdough"), while others are glitchy and percussive ("Take Away the Ache," "Fortress"), and "Party's Over" is one of Half Waif's most purely pop moments yet. It has an immediacy that most of the other songs only hint at, but it doesn't overshadow them. "Party's Over" is a good way to draw people in, but once you're here, there's so much to explore in the immersive world of Mythopoetics.

 

Vince Staples - Vince Staples
Blacksmith/Motown

Vince Staples' new self-titled album is his most relaxed, laid-back, and personal yet. It's unlike anything he's done before, and it's great. You can read my full review of it here.

 

Tkay Maidza - Last Year Was Weird, Vol. 3
4AD

Australian rapper/singer Tkay Maidza concludes her Last Year Was Weird EP trilogy, which began with Vol. 1 in 2018 and continued in 2020 with Vol. 2, which was also Tkay's first release for 4AD. Tkay has always fallen on the "indie" side of hip hop, which makes 4AD a great fit for her, but on Vol. 3, she sounds like she could be on the verge of a mainstream breakthrough. Lead single "Kim," which pairs her with Yung Baby Tate, is a two-headed monster in the same vein as "WAP" and "Best Friend," and it's one of the year's best pop-rap songs. Elsewhere on this EP, Tkay navigates rap, pop, and R&B seamlessly, rivaling chameleonic superstars like Doja Cat and Nicki Minaj in the process. And before you accuse her of selling out or whatever, Vol. 3 still finds time for the weirder stuff too. It's both mainstream and indie friendly, and it's some of her best and most immediate music yet.

 

Koyo - Drives Out East EP
Triple B Records

Long Island emo is back. It's not that emo bands haven't existed on Long Island, but when you think of the "Long Island emo" sound, you're probably thinking of the sound that bands like Koyo (and peers like Stand Still) have been reviving lately. Koyo -- who formed last year with members of SeeYouSpaceCowboy, Typecaste, Rain of Salvation, Hangman, and Adrenalin -- hearken back to the sounds of Silent Majority, The Movielife, and early Taking Back Sunday, and they do a ton of justice to that style of music. When they released their debut EP Painting Words Into Lines last year, it seemed like a side project to give members of those five aforementioned hardcore bands a chance to pay homage to some of their formative influences, but Koyo is shaping up to be much more than that. Drives Out East is even better than Painting, and it doesn't feel like homage; Koyo are taking their influences and twisting them into something they call their own. They also show off a good amount of musical diversity across these four songs. "Moriches" is a Silent Majority-esque emo-punk ripper, "Since You Asked" embraces more of the mid-tempo melodrama of Long Island emo's early 2000s boom, and "The World We Claim" goes even softer, embracing acoustic guitars before turning into an explosive power ballad. And then there's "Diamond One," which sort of exists right in between hardcore and emo, and finds Koyo tapping Abby Rhine of Life's Question for a great guest vocal appearance. Drives Out East feels like a sampler of everything that this band is capable of. It's bursting with potential, and it makes me really hope a full-length is on the way.

Pick up the Koyo 7" on clear blue vinyl in our store.

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