Notable Releases of the Week (5/7)
It's another hugely stacked week for new music. I highlight ten new records below, and here are a bunch of honorable mentions: Weezer, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Tee Grizzley, Undo K From Hot (Zach Hill), Sophia Kennedy, L'Orange & Namir Blade, Carlos Niño, Daniel Bachman, nasimiYu, Peter Doran, Natalie Bergman, Man On Man, Cold Moon (mem The Story So Far, Set Your Goals), Walter Etc, Doss, TEKE::TEKE, Kosmodemonic, Annie Hart, The Last Days of April, Night Beats, Paupière, Little Snake, Buffet Lunch, Kataan, Pillea, Mia Joy, Mephitic Grave, the Sentinel EP, the A Certain Ratio EP, the Axis:Sova EP, the Dan Wriggins EP, the Mina Tindle EP, the mt.ida EP, the Anjimile orchestral EP (ft. Jay Som, SASAMI, and Lomelda), the Useless ID "best of", the Vitreous Humor discography comp, the Angel Olsen box set, and Dev Hynes' score for Gia Coppola's film Mainstream.
Read on for my picks. What's your favorite release of the week?
Jack Ingram, Miranda Lambert & Jon Randall - The Marfa Tapes
Vanner Records/RCA Nashville
It's always exciting when a very big star does something you don't expect stars to do, and that's exactly what Miranda Lambert -- who has (deservingly) been one of the biggest country-pop stars for over 15 years -- has done with Jack Ingram and Jon Randall on The Marfa Tapes. The three previously collaborated on Miranda's 2017 hit "Tin Man" and her 2019 fan fave "Tequila Does," and during the pandemic, they met up outdoors in Marfa, TX with just an acoustic guitar and two microphones, and they recorded stripped-down takes of those two songs and wrote and recorded a handful of new ones. They did every song live in one take, leaving in whatever minor hiccups might have occurred, and you can really feel the warm Texas air in the recordings. You hear the breeze, the spaciousness, little sounds off in the distance, and the album is even better for all of those reasons. It's not only exciting to hear something so lo-fi from Miranda -- a very famous person who usually makes very polished records -- it's also exciting to hear how tangible the "live" aspect of this album is in a year (mostly) without live music. You really feel like you're right there with them, experiencing the kind of connection between artist, listener, and environment that was entirely lost throughout this year spent indoors. It's an album that fills a huge void in these socially distant times, and it's also an album that seems like it probably never would've been made if a global pandemic didn't shut down the performing arts world. But The Marfa Tapes won't lose its impact when concerts and normalcy return. This is a special album, unlike most others -- live, in-studio, or otherwise. I don't foresee its charm wearing off anytime soon.
Iron & Wine - Tallahassee
Before Sam Beam released his first album as Iron & Wine, the 2002 lo-fi indie folk classic The Creek Drank the Cradle, he had recorded an entire album between 1998 and 1999 with his former roommate (and former Iron & Wine member) EJ Holowicki, while the two were attending Florida State University’s College of Motion Picture Arts. Those recordings had been shelved for over 20 years (though some had been bootlegged), but -- with the help of EJ working as an archival producer -- they're now finally seeing the light of day in the form of the album Tallahassee. The bare-bones songs were recorded live in one take, and they're cut from the same intimate, somber cloth as the first two Iron & Wine albums. Sam eventually branched out from that sound and he made a lot of other cool records over the years, but those remain his most classic, and it's a very big treat to learn that there's another whole entire album from that era. This doesn't feel like a collection of demos or rough drafts; it feels like a real proper album that would've gotten the same positive reception as the other early Iron & Wine records if it came out in real time. It's a shame that it didn't, but we're lucky to finally get this long-missing piece of history today.
MF DOOM & Czarface - Super What?
Before MF DOOM's life was sadly cut short at age 49 last year, he and Czarface completed a followup to their 2018 collaborative album Czarface Meets Metalface called Super What? which they intended to release in April 2020 but halted the release due to COVID. Now, that album has been released. It features DMC, Del The Funky Homosapien, Kendra Morris, and Godforbid, and it serves as a reminder that DOOM remained at the top of his game up through his very last days. Read more about it here.
Wiki & NAH - Telephonebooth
After emerging from rap's underground with 2017's masterful concept album No Mountains In Manhattan (on XL), Wiki decided to reel it back in and he released the lower-stakes OOFIE on his own Wikset Enterprise label in 2019. As great as NMIM is, Wiki seems more comfortable staying out of the mainstream spotlight and doing something more niche, and that's even clearer on Telephonebooth, his most experimental album yet. The entire album was produced by NAH, the industrial rap project of Mike Kuhn, who used to drum in the emo revival band 1994!. NAH provides Wiki some of the darkest, most psychedelic production he's ever rapped over, and Wiki knows exactly what to do with NAH's beats. He sounds alive on these songs, and more fired-up than he did on OOFIE. With No Mountains In Manhattan, Wiki sounded like he was shooting for the stars. Now, he's in the deepest, darkest corners of outer space, and he sounds like he belongs here.
Stars Hollow - I Want To Live My Life
Following two EPs, a single, a four-way split (with Catholic Werewolves, Internet Dating, and Employer), and a demo dating back to 2015, rising Iowa emo band Stars Hollow have finally released their debut full-length, and it was worth the wait. They channel sounds from all across the emo spectrum -- noodly, Midwest-style riffage, power pop hooks, screamo-infused shout-singing, driving pop punk, somber acoustic emo, and more -- and they repackage it all in a way that nods at the genre's mid '90s pioneers without ripping them off. Vocalist/guitarist Tyler Stodghill has a distinct, versatile delivery, and you can really feel the raw emotion coming through. These are pop songs at heart, but they aren't performed or recorded like Stars Hollow expect anyone outside of the emo niche to care. There's not an ounce of polish in the production, and -- in the spirit of classic emo -- if Tyler can't hit a certain note, he just screams it instead. It's a formula that's remained endearing for about 25 years, and Stars Hollow are a welcome new voice in this long-running conversation.
Aduanten - Sullen Cadence EP
Aduanten is the new band formed by Vex members Ciaran McCloskey (guitar) and Michael Day (guitar, synth) and Obsequiae drummer Eoghan McCloskey, and their debut EP Sullen Cadence features lead vocals by Tanner Anderson of Obsequiae and Panopticon and bass by Vex's Joel Miller, plus additional vocals and mixing by Damian Herring of Horrendous and additional sound design and percussion by Adrian Benavides. That's one hell of a crew, and across these four songs, they leave one hell of an impression. It's a short EP, but there's a lot of musical variety here, from black metal to death metal to folky acoustic guitar to atmosphreic synth-fueled psychedelia to prog to goth, and more. It's harsh and aggressive but bright and melodic, ethereal but crushingly heavy, full of crossover appeal but true to extreme metal's roots. Aduanten say they already plan on having two more releases out by 2022, and just judging by the four tracks on Sullen Cadence, my hopes are very high.
ALLBLACK - TY4FWM (Thank You 4 Fuckin’ With Me)
Play Runners Association/EMPIRE
Oakland's ALLBLACK is part of the recent wave of West Coast rappers bringing back the sounds of the classic G-Funk era (YG, Mozzy, G Perico, Kamaiyah, Vince Staples' FM!, etc), and his new album TY4FWM features Mozzy, Vince, Bay Area vet E-40, and others, plus production by FM! contributor Kenny Beats (among others), who ALLBLACK released an entire project with in 2018. It's not surprising to see him in such good company; ALLBLACK really knows how to channel '90s West Coast rap without sounding overly indebted to his forebears. He's a great rapper with a great ear for beats, and he sounds as lively on these songs as the pioneers did 25-30 years ago. In classic West Coast fashion, there's a toughness to these songs, but they're also warm and laid-back (and often powered by rubbery, funk-derived basslines). It's a fun record, even at its most pensive moments, of which there are many.
Small Pictures - Songs For People Who Grew Up In The Church
Record Setter's Judy Mitchell has released her debut solo EP under the name Small Pictures, Songs For People Who Grew Up In The Church. While Record Setter's last album -- 2020's excellent I Owe You Nothing -- was largely a screamo record, this new EP finds Judy embracing her melodic singing voice and channelling 2000s emo singer/songwriters like Owen and Bright Eyes. Read more about it here.
Squid - Bright Green Field
Alongside fellow Dan Carey collaborators black midi and Black Country, New Road, Squid have become leaders of the new wave of British art punk, and they're now finally following up their very buzzed-about run of EPs and singles with their first full-length, Bright Green Field. It makes good on the promise of those early releases, and it also takes the band in a handful of new, exciting, experimental directions. It's a great debut, and you can read much more about in Erin's review + interview.
Iceage - Seek Shelter
Danish punk (and more) band Iceage are back with their fifth album (and first for Mexican Summer), Seek Shelter. It was produced by the legendary Sonic Boom (Pete Kember of Spacemen 3), and -- to quote Erin's writeup -- it "finds the band at their most open, having opted to break free of any past barriers they might’ve set for themselves in favor of sweeping blues-infused melodies, fuzzed-out riffery, angelic choral sequences (supplied by The Lisboa Gospel Collective), and goosebump-inducing piano arrangements." Read Erin's full review -- and interview with frontman Elias Bender Rønnenfelt -- here.
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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