Notable Releases of the Week (4/1)
This week's Notable Releases is kinda light, but last week's Notable Releases had seventeen reviews, plus Bill reviewed eight more heavy hitters in Bill's Indie Basement and we reviewed the new Machine Gun Kelly album later on, so there's plenty to catch up on during this lighter week. I highlight five new ones from this week below, and Bill tackles more in Indie Basement, including Sondre Lerche, Jon Spencer & The HITmakers, Papercuts, and Warmduscher.
Plus, honorable mentions: Dreamville & DJ Drama, Meshuggah, Confidence Man, Ultra Deluxe, Soundwalk Collective/Charlotte Gainsbourg, Factor Chandelier, Sadness, Carpenter Brut, Eunoia, Tempers, Pacman da Gunman & Hit-Boy, Christian Lee Hutson, Forests, Pillow Queens, Tree River, Elway, Devon Kay & the Solutions, The Color Fred, The Dead Tongues, Plastikman & Chilly Gonzales, Lustmord, Pastor Champion, Yume, Black Death Cult, Paul Cauthen, Reminders, Christian Alexander, the Hrishikesh Hirway (The One AM Radio, Song Exploder) EP (ft. Jay Som, Yo-Yo Ma, Kimbra & more), the Kublai Khan TX EP, the µ-Ziq EP, the Candescent A.D. EP, the Warren Franklin EP, the football, etc EP, the Still EP, the Tanner Meritt (of O'Brother) remix album, the deluxe "Geëk Pack" edition of Yeat's 2 Alivë, the Miley Cyrus live album, the Desaparecidos live at Shea Stadium album, the Sally Shapiro remix album, and the Daryl Hall comp.
PUP - THE UNRAVELING OF PUPTHEBAND
PUP's Stefan Babcock refers to their great 2019 album Morbid Stuff as the "logical conclusion" of the sound that they'd been working towards since their 2013 self-titled debut LP, so for their fourth album, they wanted to do something different. They enlisted the help of producer Peter Katis (Interpol, The National), and he helped the band get out of their comfort zone, bringing an entirely new production style to PUP's music and giving them the opportunity to toy with things like campy piano interludes, a skronky sax freakout, and a variety of synths. The result is the funniest, darkest, and weirdest PUP album yet, which also makes it the PUP-iest thing PUP have ever done. You can read my full review of it and my interview with Stefan here.
Pick up the PUP album on splatter color vinyl.
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Unlimited Love
Between 1989 and 2006, five of the six albums the Red Hot Chili Peppers released were with John Frusciante on guitar, and all of the ones from 1991's Blood Sugar Sex Magik onwards had Rick Rubin producing. Regardless of what you think of the band, the combo of Anthony Kiedis, John Frusciante, Flea, Chad Smith, and Rick Rubin is obviously a winning one. All of the albums with those five people involved birthed omnipresent hits that even the haters had to hum along to, and that never sounded like any other band in the world. After 2006's Stadium Arcadium, Frusciante left the band and was replaced by Josh Klinghoffer for two albums, 2011's I'm With You and 2016's The Getaway. For the latter, Rick Rubin was also out of the picture, with Danger Mouse instead handling production and Radiohead collaborator Nigel Godrich mixing. Those albums were also commercially successful, and also sounded unmistakably like Red Hot Chili Peppers albums, but you could tell something was missing and even their biggest hits weren't world-conquering the way they'd always been throughout the two decades prior.
For Unlimited Love, John Frusciante is back in the band for the first time in 16 years, and Rick Rubin is producing for the first time in a decade. From the first few notes of opening track/lead single "Black Summer," it's clear this is a return to form. John Frusciante's riff is cut from the same cloth as songs like "Under the Bridge" and "Californication" and "Snow (Hey Oh)," and it returns to the more simple production style that the Chili Peppers departed from when Danger Mouse got involved. As the album's 17 songs roll on, everything you expect from a Red Hot Chili Peppers happens. Frusciante plays more riffs like the one on "Black Summer," and rips some genuinely cool guitar solos too. Flea slaps the hell out of his bass. Anthony Kiedis does all those weird Anthony Kiedis-y vocal things that everybody hates to love. Chad Smith plays drums. Sometimes they go full-on funk, sometimes they break out into skronky jazz freakouts or trippy psych jams, most of the time they play the kinds of concise rock songs they've scored countless hits with. So far it's hard to tell if this album will produce any songs that take over the world the way RHCP did numerous times in the Mother's Milk - Stadium Arcadium era -- it's hard to imagine RHCP fitting in with the current pop culture zeitgeist the way they did up through the mid 2000s, and none of these songs have that surefire hit-making magic that their biggest songs all do -- but for those hoping the reunion of the classic lineup would sound like the Red Hot Chili Peppers that you know and love, there's no denying that Unlimited Love does.
Grab the RHCP album on orange or black vinyl.
Duster - Together
In the time since San Jose slowcore trio Duster's initial underrated '90s/early 2000s run, they became a frequently namedropped influence on modern DIY/indie bands, and when they returned in 2019 with their first album in 19 years, it was not only a great comeback but a step forward for the band. Last night, they surprise-released its followup Together, and it picks right up where the 2019 LP left off, sounding unmistakably like Duster but continuing to push the band in new directions. Across these 13 songs, they stay true to the slowcore sound that they and other '90s bands helped define three decades ago, but never in a way that feels rehashed. And this album continues down the more overtly psychedelic path of its predecessor too. They're not quite as out there as what Low are doing right now, but like that band, Duster have figured out how to take the very '90s slowcore genre and make it feel futuristic.
Alabaster DePlume - GOLD – Go Forward in the Courage of Your Love
A staple of London's current jazz scene, Alabaster DePlume returns with his second album for the great, forward-thinking Chicago jazz label, International Anthem. Alabaster handles tenor sax, guitar, synths, and vocals, and he's joined by a 21-piece collective, including eight other vocalists, who contribute to the album's swirling vocal harmonies. The album seesaws between full-blown jazz and more of an art pop/sophisti-pop vibe, with Alabaster delivering commanding vocal performances that blur the line between speaking and singing, kind of sounding like a cross between Leonard Cohen and Arab Strap. According to the album bio by Emma Warren, Alabaster recorded the album with a different set of musicians each day, and didn't give the musicians enough time to rehearse, so they'd have to "tune into each other and rely on each other to reach the end of a song," and Alabaster later went back to the 17 hours of sessions, cut them up, and edited them down to the 67 minutes of music that make up GOLD. But if you didn't know any of that, you'd never guess it from listening. These songs feel cohesive and concise. Even as an ambitious 17-song double album that's stuffed with sprawling jazz odysseys, GOLD feels like it could be someone's definition of pop music.
Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway - Crooked Tree
Molly Tuttle has spent her career exploring all various types of Americana, and for her Nonesuch debut, she goes full-on bluegrass with help from her new collective Crooked Tree. "I always knew I wanted to make a bluegrass record someday," Molly said in the press materials for the new album. "Sometimes I’ve felt an internal pressure to come up with a sound no one’s heard before, but this time my intention was just to make an album that reflected the music that’s been passed down through generations in my family." She does indeed stay true to time-tested musical traditions, but at the same time, Crooked Tree is a version of bluegrass that sits nicely next to today's indie folk and alt-country. The album also features a slew of impressive guests (Gillian Welch, Margo Price, Sierra Hull, Old Crow Medicine Show, Billy Strings, and Union Station's Dan Tyminski), but you might not necessarily realize how star-studded the album is without looking at the tracklist; they all assume humble backing roles. Still, Molly's famous friends will presumably put a few new eyes on this album, and the increased visibility is much deserved. Crooked Tree is an album that Gillian Welch and Margo Price fans will appreciate as much as longtime lovers of traditional bluegrass.
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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