Notable Releases of the Week (4/15)
For the first time in three years, it's Coachella weekend! You can see the set times (including a just-added surprise Arcade Fire set) here, and as always, if you're not there, you can stream it live.
It's also another great week for new albums, nine of which I highlight below, and more of which you can read about in Bill's Indie Basement (including the new SAVAK). Plus, honorable mentions: the surprise orchestral/choral SAULT album, James Krivchenia (Big Thief), 3rd Secret (members of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden & Void), Flock of Dimes (Wye Oak), 50 Foot Wave (Kristin Hersh), Tee Grizzley, Anna Sage, Jessica Willis Fisher, Joyride!, River Whyless, Altameda, Swedish House Mafia, Anitta, Incandescence, Darkher, Yungeen Ace, Vundabar, The Crystal Method, Axel Bowman, Hostilities, Cisco Swank & Luke Titus (ft. Saba, Phoelix & more), Trace Amount, Cancer Bats, The Troops of Doom (ex-Sepultura), Egregore, Fred Moten / Brandon López / Gerald Cleaver, Jewel, Jerry Paper, The Sewer Cats, Death Lens, NEXØ, Quaker Wedding, Koloah, the Typhoon EP, the La Neve (Downtown Boys) EP, the Mal Blum EP, the Seer single, the Anatomia / Undergang split, the Video Prick / Raw Breed split, the Spanish Love Songs re-imaginings album, the Alex G score for We're All Going to the World's Fair, and the These Arms Are Snakes rarities comp.
Read on for my picks. What's your favorite release of the week?
Prince Daddy & the Hyena - Prince Daddy & the Hyena
Prince Daddy & the Hyena's last album, 2019's Cosmic Thrill Seekers, was a three-act, DIY punk rock opera that channelled the ambition of American Idiot, The Black Parade, and The Monitor through a scrappy, lo-fi, basement scene lens. It's the kind of built-to-be-classic album that some artists would spend the rest of their careers living in the shadows of, but for its self-titled followup (and Pure Noise debut), Prince Daddy & the Hyena have made a new album that's even better.
The new LP is also a concept album, one that finds vocalist Kory Gregory grappling with the fear of his death in the wake of his severe 2018 van accident, but it's not necessarily a dark or sad album. "I think the record as a whole, as a journey, feels bittersweet and hopeful in a way," Kory said in the press materials for the LP. "In other words: we're all going to die, so we might as well enjoy the ride before we do."
Musically, the album finds Prince Daddy blurring the lines between punk, emo, and indie rock to the point where it never fits neatly into any genre, and it's got everything from mosh-inducing ragers to tender, atmospheric pop songs with so much else in between, sometimes in the span of a single song. One of the tracks is nine minutes long ("Black Mold") and you might not even know it if you didn't look at the tracklist; like the album itself, it's an ever-changing piece of music that flies by. Kory's also become an even better vocalist; his messy rasp that made Cosmic Thrill Seekers so charming is even grittier, and his softer side is smoother and cleaner, but never at the expense of what made him sound so unique in the first place. It's an unusual choice to follow a beloved breakthrough album with a self-titled, but it makes sense, because this is a reintroduction. Whatever you thought you knew about Prince Daddy & the Hyena, they're now even better at all of it.
Pick up the new Prince Daddy album on limited-to-250 splatter vinyl.
Kurt Vile - (watch my moves)
Kurt Vile is still really good at writing songs that sound like Kurt Vile songs.
Home Is Where / Record Setter - Dissection Lesson
Topshelf / Father/Daughter
Home Is Where and Record Setter are both responsible for releasing two of the best emo albums in recent memory, 2021's I Became Birds and 2020's I Owe You Nothing, respectively, so it's amazing news that they've teamed up for a split. They're also both bands with trans singers, they tapped another trans singer from the punk/emo scene to design the artwork (SeeYouSpaceCowboy's Connie Sgarbossa), and the songs are about trans issues, ranging from personal struggles navigating the world as a trans women to observing the violence enacted against trans women on a widespread level.
Record Setter's two contributions pick up where the emotive post-hardcore/screamo of I Owe You Nothing left off, and are just as impactful as anything on that great album, while Home Is Where's two contributions are heavier and more overtly screamo than anything they'd ever released. There was a little screamo on I Became Birds, but they've never gone full-on Ebullition Records like this before. According to their current bio on Bandcamp, Home Is Where were already "heading a heavier direction," and if these songs give us an idea of what to expect from LP2, then I am very excited to hear more. The 76-second opener "Names" is violent, discordant, '90s-style screamo, but the even more jawdropping song is the slower, lengthier "Creationish," which features guest screams from Soul Glo's Pierce Jordan that are as manic as anything on the great new Soul Glo album. It's a brooding, climactic post-hardcore song that sounds at various points like Unwound, Moss Icon, pg.99, and Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and if those comparisons sound like hyperbole, then you probably just haven't heard how stunning this song is.
Greyhaven - This Bright and Beautiful World
The renewed interest in metalcore/post-hardcore continues to grow, and one of the bands who's been helping shape this current wave of the genre for a while is Louisville's Greyhaven, who are finally back with a followup to their 2018 breakthrough album Empty Black. Across the ten songs on This Bright and Beautiful World, Greyhaven push their sound to opposite extremes, from melodic moments that would've flown on '90s rock radio to parts that are chaotic and pulverizing enough to rival Converge. Usually though, they're somewhere in the middle of those two things, churning out catchy-yet-aggressive anthems that would sit nicely net to bands like Every Time I Die, Thrice, and Glassjaw. And Greyhaven are always bringing their own flair, honoring their influences without ever sounding overly indebted to them.
Kaitlin Butts - What Else Can She Do
We just named Kaitlin Butts one of 15 current country singers every indie rock fan needs to know, and said that What Else Can She Do is the best thing she's done yet and an album that seems poised to raise Kaitlin's profile more than ever before. The Boot recently said lead single "Blood" is "as clear of a successful crossover from Red Dirt to Nashville as early Kacey Musgraves or Miranda Lambert," a sentence that applies to the full album as well, and it's not hard to see why. Like both of those artists, Kaitlin has a strong, unique voice that cuts right through the crowded field of singer/songwriters trying to achieve something similar. She knows how to write songs that honor the influence of the classics but sound entirely modern, and these are powerful, emotional songs that, to quote, Kaitlin, "are all stories from different women facing the question: 'What else can she do?'" "I see myself in all of these women in these stories," she adds. "I see these women in my friends and family all around me going through divorce, abuse, infidelity, financial instability, addiction, generational trauma, family issues, and life-altering, tough times but somehow, are still resilient and come out on the other side okay." The songs are filled with hooks that stay in your head for days, and Kaitlin nails the classic/modern balance not just with her original material, but also with a stunning rendition of "In the Pines" (which Nirvana fans know best as "Where Did You Sleep Last Night?") that really adds something new to this oft-covered song. The album's only downside? With just seven songs, it ends far too soon.
David Quinn - Country Fresh
Down Home Records/Soundly Music
Kaitlin Butts isn't the only country singer with a new album out today that indie rock fans would probably like; Chicago singer/songwriter David Quinn's new LP Country Fresh scratches that itch too. If you're coming to this from an indie standpoint, someone David often reminds me of is Phosphorescent, and if you liked Phos' Willie Nelson tribute album or the country album he made after that, you might like Country Fresh too. It covers a lot of ground, from rollicking, Southern-fried tunes to gorgeously melancholic ballads, from traditional acoustic sounds to electrified rock, and David made it with an impressive cast of players, including Laur Joamets (Drivin N Cryin) on slide guitar and solos, Micah Hulscher (Emmylou Harris) on piano, Fats Kaplin (John Prine) on fiddle, dobro, banjo and harmonica, Miles Miller (Sturgill Simpson) on drums, Jamie T. Davis (Margo Price) on guitar and Brett Resnick (Kacey Musgraves) on pedal steel. Country Fresh honors a lot of time-tested country traditions --and as you'd probably expect from that group of musicians, everything sounds spot on -- but David also brings a freshness to the genre. His voice sounds crisp and modern, and even his most traditional sounding songs offer something new.
The Slackers - Don't Let the Sunlight Fool Ya
Pirates Press Records
NYC ska icons The Slackers emerged in the 1990s, when the genre was having its American explosion, and The Slackers became one of the most important bands of ska's third wave with a sound that was unlike almost any of the ska bands on the radio at the time. When the popular US ska bands were almost all pulling from California punk, this distinctly New York band instead pulled from vintage soul, jazz, and rock & roll. They weren't really punk at all, unless you count how Vic Ruggiero's New York accent gave The Slackers the same tough attitude as their punk neighbors. The prolific band hadn't released an album since their 2016 self-titled LP, but they're now back with their first album in six years, and it finds these vets in fine form. All of the elements of their classic sound are present in this collection of songs that range from laid-back reggae to upbeat ska in the way that only The Slackers can. But as nostalgia-inducing as the music is, the lyrics reflect the world we've been living in since 2020, with topics ranging from washing your groceries ("Windowland") to tearing down confederate flags ("Statehouse," which is a rewrite of/response to the 1998 Rancid song "Wrongful Suspicion" that was co-written by Vic). Even the album title/title track is a reference to the sunny days of May 2020 when things felt like they were looking up, and definitely weren't. It's a good metaphor for this album overall; these songs sound bright and upbeat on the surface, but don't let the sunlight fool ya.
Pick up the new Slackers album on orange/yellow galaxy vinyl.
Tim Kasher - Middling Age
15 Passenger/Thirty Something Records
Cursive/The Good Life frontman Tim Kasher has released his fourth solo album, Middling Age. It features guest vocals by Laura Jane Grace and saxophone by Jeff Rosenstock on the climactic closing track "Forever of the Living Dead," and there's also percussion by Cloud Nothings drummer Jayson Gerycz, plus trumpet and cello from Tim's Cursive bandmates Patrick Newbery and Megan Siebe, giving the album a similarly orchestrated feel to classic Cursive records. The Mystic Valley Band's Macey Taylor plays bass on a song ("100 Ways To Paint A Bowl Of Limes"), and a portion of the opening track "Middling Age Anxiety Prologue" is a piece written and performed by Tim's nine-year-old niece Natalie Tetro called "Long Days." For a deeper dive into the LP, Tim spoke to us about the inspirations behind it, including Judee Sill, Leonard Cohen, King Crimson, Pedro the Lion, and more. Read that here.
A Wilhelm Scream - Lose Your Delusion
A Wilhelm Scream need no introduction in some circles, but for the uninitiated, the New Bedford, Masschusetts band emerged in the early 2000s with a brand of thrashy melodic punk/hardcore that sat somewhere between Hot Water Music, Strung Out, and Strike Anywhere, and they released a string of great records throughout the 2000s before slowing down their output at the turn of the 2010s. Their last album, 2013's Partycrasher, was their first in six years, and now they're back with their first album in nearly a decade, Lose Your Delusion. Nine years may have passed, but A Wilhelm Scream picked right back up where they left off, with 11 new songs full of all the anthemic choruses, shreddy leads, and circle-pit-inducing rhythms you want from this band.
Read Bill's Indie Basement for more new album reviews.
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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