Notable Releases of the Week (1/13)
The music world was still slowly waking up from its holiday nap last week, but this week, the floodgates officially opened. We got tons of major music festival lineup announcements, including Coachella, Bonnaroo, Boston Calling, and more; we got major album announcements like M83, U.S. Girls, The New Pornographers, Everything But the Girl, Black Thought, Avey Tare, and Yaeji; and we got over 100 new songs. 2023 is in full swing, and for an idea of what's on the horizon, we posted multiple lists of albums we're anticipating this year.
This week is still a little bit slower for new albums than what's to come, but there's a pretty good amount. I highlight seven below, and Bill tackles more in Bill's Indie Basement, including Billy Nomates, The Tubs (ex-Joanna Gruesome), MOLLY, Gaz Coombes (Supergrass), and Liela Moss (The Duke Spirit). And in case you missed any of last week's Notable Releases, the year started off with a few great albums too.
On top of that, honorable mentions: James Yorkston, Nina Persson & The Secondhand Orchestra, Velvet Negroni, Rozi Plain, Myron Elkins, Skyzoo, 03 Greedo & Mike Free, Declaime & Madlib, Clavish, Real Ones, Stress Fractures, Haest, Poolblood, The Subways, Julian Never, UNI & The Urchins, Mickey Diamond, Daniel Pioro, the Crooks & Nannies EP, the Miri Devora (Queen of Jeans) EP, the Skullpresser (The Wonder Years, Mannequin Pussy) EP, and Oliver Coates' soundtrack for Aftersun.
Read on for my picks. What's your favorite release of the week?
Margo Price - Strays
Margo Price's 2020 album That's How Rumors Get Started marked a clear departure from the trad-style country music that largely populated her first two albums, and Strays goes even further in that direction; louder, bolder, and even more genre-defying. It was expertly produced by Jonathan Wilson (Angel Olsen, Father John Misty, etc), who Margo credits for creating "the best studio experience I'd ever had in my life," and it ranges from the hard-edged rock of album opener "Been To The Mountain" to the Sharon Van Etten-assisted, synth-infused anthem "Radio" to the Stevie Nicks-worthy piano ballad "County Road" to the psychedelia-tinged folk of "Lydia" and "Light Me Up," the latter of which features Mike Campbell of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. Throughout the shapeshifting album, Margo offers up some of the most assured, defiant lyricism she's ever written, taking on topics like substance abuse, sexual pleasure, and abortion with fiery intensity and vivid detail.
Obituary - Dying of Everything
Dying of Everything, Obituary's 11th album, comes five years after their last, and in the time since then, we've found ourselves in the midst of a serious death metal renaissance, fueled by an exciting crop of bands who wouldn't exist without Obituary. Obituary and their equally influential Florida peers like Death and Morbid Angel helped pioneer death metal by pushing thrash metal to its most evil conclusion, and making it even more evil from there. And Obituary never abandoned their thrash influences as they went on, making records whose influence echoes throughout a vast array of today's death metal, thrash metal, and metallic hardcore bands. They've also never stopped writing great records, and that includes Dying of Everything, an album that comes 34 years after Obituary's debut and still has the same hunger and urgency as the genre's new blood. Obituary still have original members John Tardy (vocals), Donald Tardy (drums), and Trevor Peres (rhythm guitar), and for the past decade-plus, their lineup has been rounded out by fellow Florida death metal pioneer Terry Butler (Death, Massacre, Six Feet Under) on bass and lead guitarist Kenny Andrews (who previously played alongside Donald Tardy in Andrew WK's band and was in Florida thrash vets Azrael and Pain Principle before that), two people who are not surprisingly very good at helping Obituary keep their classic sound alive. Dying of Everything doesn't stray too far from Obituary's early records, but it also doesn't sound outdated or redundant at all. Obituary made some of the best death metal of the 1980s and they make some of the best death metal today, period. May all bands be this effortlessly relevant 30+ years into their careers.
One Step Closer - Songs for the Willow EP
Run For Cover
Wilkes-Barre melodic hardcore band One Step Closer's This Place You Know was one of the best debut LPs of its kind in recent memory, and while we await a full-length followup, they've just dropped this new EP, Songs for the Willow. It's just three songs, but it feels like a pivotal release for the band that finds them further exploring the expansive, melodic side of This Place You Know without toning down their usual attack. It was produced by frequent Drug Church collaborator Jon Markson, who has a knack for helping bands nail a balance between aggression and melody, and that's exactly what he and OSC did here. The EP is a step forward for a band who just keeps moving up in the world, but as vocalist Ryan Savitksi explains, its melancholic tone was inspired by some of the downsides of tour life. "All three songs revolve around the problems that touring so much this last year have caused," he says. "Losing relationships, losing band members, losing a sense of what this band even means to everyone." Still, OSC's sights remain set on the future, with a lot of touring plans lined up for the next five consecutive months and probably even more after that. "And yes we are playing new songs," they say.
ZelooperZ - Might Not Make It EP
Experimental rapper ZelooperZ took an R&B/soul-inspired detour on last year's Get WeT.Radio, and this week he dropped off a surprise five-song EP that more picks up where the eccentric rap of 2021's great Van Goghs Left Ear left off. The beats are fueled by futuristic electronics and rarely--if ever--rely on traditional hip hop production, and ZelooperZ's rapping is as erratic as ever. It's loud and abrasive at times, and woozy and psychedelic at others, with no two songs that sound alike. And no matter what mode he chooses to work in, ZelooperZ continues to sound like no one else in the world.
BabyTron - Bin Reaper 3: New Testament
BabyTron hails from the thriving Detroit rap scene, and he's got a sound that's distinctly regional but with increasingly widespread appeal. He makes music both on his own and as a member of ShittyBoyz, and he's been extremely prolific. Last year saw the release of two ShittyBoyz albums and two BabyTron solo albums, including the third installment in BabyTron's Bin Reaper series, Bin Reaper 3: Old Testament. Turns out that was only part one of Bin Reaper 3, which also includes the just-released, 26-song Bin Reaper 3 New Testament. The new project finds him doing what he does best, pairing his wired, quirky delivery with beats that channel old school '80s production through a lens of modern Detroit rap, and filling his songs with absurd punchlines and Nickelodeon references. (Old Testament had a song called "Drake & Josh"; this one has a song called "CatDog.") The album's got a Michigan posse cut ("Waffle House") and it also features fellow rising Detroit star Babyface Ray and Michigan-loving Atlanta rapper Lil Yachty, and it's also got some guests whose styles contrast more sharply with BabyTron's, like DC punk-rapper Rico Nasty and Raleigh traditionalist Cordae, whose inclusions here are yet another way that BabyTron is widening his range.
Belle & Sebastian - Late Developers
Indie pop lifers Belle & Sebastian are back with their 12th album, Late Developers, which was recorded at the same time as last year's A Bit of Previous and announced just four days ago. As Jeff Rosenstock accurately and entertainingly wrote in the bio he penned for the album, "It is beyond remarkable and inspiring that a band 600 years or so into their career can make music that not only feels immediate and effective, but two back-to-back albums that feel like Belle and Sebastian are at the top of their game and will always be there for you, while admitting tunefully that yes, 'Every girl and boy, each one is a misery.'"
Scalp - Black Tar
Closed Casket Activities
Scalp have returned with a followup to 2020's beloved Domestic Extremity, and they haven't gotten any less brutal in the two years since its release. Once again engineered and mixed by Taylor Young, Scalp offer up 8 songs in 12 minutes that weave between death metal, hardcore, grindcore, and noise, making for a perfectly bleak backdrop to the album's subject matter. "Black Tar is a very negative outlook on my past life experiences: trauma, addiction, psychosis, losing family members to overdose, personal opinions with religion, and blasphemy," says guitarist Devan Fuentes. "I saw a side of humanity that was pretty disturbing to accept. It’s seeing people’s houses, seeing how they let themselves rot away, and seeing individuals who shouldn’t be alive kept alive just to live in suffering rather than die. The story isn’t about redemption or recovery. It’s very unfiltered judgement, and I wanted to replicate those experiences in the most disturbing way."
Read Bill's Indie Basement for more new album reviews, including Billy Nomates, The Tubs, MOLLY, Gaz Coombes (Supergrass), and Liela Moss (The Duke Spirit).
Looking for more recent releases? Browse the Notable Releases archive or scroll down for previous weeks.
For even more metal, browse 'New Metal Releases' each week on Invisible Oranges.
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