Notable Releases of the Week (4/22)
It's been another busy week in the music world. Coachella resumes this weekend (check out pics of weekend one and set times for weekend two), and Record Store Day is this Saturday (check out the long list of RSD releases). It's also Pavement week here on BV thanks to the 30th anniversary of Slanted and Enchanted, and there's been a lot of exciting news, including that Kendrick Lamar and Radiohead offshoot The Smile both announced their long-awaited albums (due out the same day, no less).
On top of all that, so many good albums came out this week. I highlight eight below, and Bill tackles even more in Bill's Indie Basement, including King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, Jane Inc, Jeanines, Tess Roby, and more.
And that's not all. This week's several honorable mentions include Hatchie, S. Carey, Poppy Ajudha, redveil, Bodysnatcher, Claire Rousay, Black Matter Device, Ben Marc, My Idea (Palberta, Water From Your Eyes), Snuff, Psychedelic Porn Crumpets, Old Crow Medicine Show, Railroad Earth, Charley Crockett, The Waterboys, Bonnie Raitt, Real Lies, Nils Frahm, Blxst, Taylor Bennett, Vanum, Caliban, Some Became Hollow Tubes (mem GY!BE), The Lord (Greg Anderson of Sunn O))), Goatsnake, etc), Haru Nemuri, Suppression, Taj Mahal & Ry Cooder, Static Abyss (mem Death, Autopsy), Patrick Watson, Guppy, Abigail Lapell, Roger Eno, Suki Waterhouse, Georgia Harmer, Mister Goblin, Satchy (mem Zulu), Linqua Franqa, Corpsessed, Erasers, Crystal Eyes, Dama Scout, Kathryn Joseph, Reverie, Christian Blunda (Mean Jeans), Donovan Melero (Hail the Sun), Painted Shield (mem Pearl Jam), the Kate Bollinger EP, the Primus EP, the Huntsmen EP, the Broken Vow/Set Straight split, the Light Tower (On the Might of Princes, Spotlights) EP, the Greed Worm EP, the Field of Flames EP, the Jon Porras (Barn Owl) EP, the Wardruna live album, the Mdou Moctar remix album, the Neko Case comp, the 40-minute Vile Creature & Bismuth track, Marissa Nadler, Cave In, and Amenra's Townes Van Zandt tribute album, Robin Carolan and Vessel's score for The Northman, the Gratitude Riddim EP (ft. Jaz Elise, Mortimer, Naomi Cowan, Ras-I & more), and the deluxe edition of Margo Price's That's How Rumors Get Started.
Update: Thou and Mizmor surprise-released a collaborative album today too!
Read on for my picks. What's your favorite release of the week?
(Note: this list does not include Record Store Day exclusives, which aren't out until tomorrow, but you can see the full list of those here.)
Pusha T - It's Almost Dry
Kanye's Wyoming Sessions ended up being a hit-or-miss project, with Kanye's own albums being one of the misses, but if there's one artist who actually used those sessions to push their career forward it was Pusha T. As great as the Clipse member's first two solo albums were, Daytona took Push's solo career to a new level and further established him as not just a veteran but one of the best traditional rappers of present-day. When classicists like Freddie Gibbs and Benny the Butcher needed standout guest verses for career-boosting albums like Bandana and The Plugs I Met, the post-Daytona Pusha T was there to do both. Hype for Daytona's followup started building ever since Push dropped a couple non-album singles in 2019, and now that it's been another three years, anticipation is impossibly high. Fortunately, It's Almost Dry proves that Pusha T is still doing what he does best.
The new album was co-produced by Pusha T's frequent solo-career collaborator Kanye West, and also by The Neptunes, who were entirely behind both of Clipse's classic first two albums. Kanye also appears on two tracks -- one alone and one with Kid Cudi -- and The Neptunes' Pharell Williams is on "Neck & Wrist" alongside Jay-Z. Don Toliver, Lil Uzi Vert, Labrinth, and Pusha T's Clipse partner Malice are on the album too. You can hear the influence of both Kanye and The Neptunes, with the vintage soul samples that the former built his career on as well as the trunk-rattling maximalism that The Neptunes revolutionized rap, pop, and R&B with. The result feels like the culmination of everything Pusha T has touched for the past 20 years, and he rises to the occasion with bars as tough and memorable as he's ever been.
Undeath - It's Time... To Rise From The Grave
There's been more attention on underground death metal in the past few years than there has been in ages, and Rochester's Undeath seem to have emerged as the genre's latest poster children. They became one of the targets of former Cannibal Corpse vocalist Chris Barnes' curmudgeonly take on modern death metal, which probably only ended up helping the band, they've been hyped by several music publications that exist outside of niche metal, they've landed tours opening for popular metal acts like Dying Fetus and The Black Dahlia Murder, and they've got hardcore cred too. Everybody's hopping on the Undeath train lately, and their sophomore LP It's Time... To Rise From The Grave proves that you should believe the hype. It builds upon everything they did on their already-great 2020 debut LP Lesions of a Different Kind except bigger, better, catchier, and more absurd, and they've roped in a fifth member to help beef up their sound. Undeath don't water down the extremity of death metal to achieve crossover success; they've crossed over just because when the songs are this tight, it's hard for anybody to deny them.
Defcee - For All Debts Public and Private
Chicago rapper Defcee released one of 2021's more underrated underground rap albums with the Messiah Musik-produced Trapdoor, which was released on billy woods' Backwoodz Studioz label, and now he's back with a new album, For All Debts Public and Private, this time released on Closed Sessions and produced entirely by the label's in-house producer, BoatHouse. billy woods may not be releasing this one, but his group Armand Hammer reprise their role as guests (alongside Closed Sessions artists Kipp Stone and Mother Nature, as well as SolarFive and greenSLLLIME), and Armand Hammer's inclusion is a perfect fit. They've pushed their way to the forefront of abstract yet laser-focused underground rap, and their fans would benefit from hearing Defcee, who scratches a similar itch and operates at the peak of his powers on this LP. (Fans of classic Def Jux should take note too.) With just 11 songs in 32 minutes, Defcee trims all fat and just zeroes in on delivering impactful song after impactful song. Some say you should always leave 'em wanting more, and Defcee definitely does.
Joshua Hedley - Neon Blue
Joshua Hedley released his debut album Mr. Jukebox in 2018 on Jack White's Third Man Records, a pairing that made a lot of sense; the album recalled the classic tear-in-my-beer country of artists like George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Jim Reeves, Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn and fit right in with Jack White's love of vintage Americana. For its followup Neon Blue, Joshua moved to the venerable alt-country label New West Records, and the premise for this one is similar but a little different. "The last bastion of country music was the early 1990s, roughly 1989 through 1996," Joshua said in press materials for the new album. "You could turn on the radio and immediately know you’re hearing a country song. You could still hear steel guitar and fiddle. But there was a hard fork around 1996 or ‘97, when country veered off into pop territory. Neon Blue asks, What if that fork never happened? What if country kept on sounding like country?"
That is indeed exactly what Neon Blue does; it's an album that owes as much to those aforementioned '60s influences as it does to the "neotraditional country" of someone like Alan Jackson, and Joshua favors a modern production style that fits right in with the type of alt-country that New West is best known for. There's no denying how traditional and vintage much of the album sounds, but Joshua's goal of imagining an alternate future of country, rather than simply reviving the past, is tangible. He's also just a great songwriter whose songs would resonate no matter what year he released them. His lyrics are imagery-inducing, his voice is warm, his melodies stick, and when he incorporates the fiddle and steel guitar that he longed for, it falls directly in the pocket.
Overo - Waiting For The End To Begin
There have been so many great screamo bands cropping up lately, and sometimes even the best bands can kinda all blur together, but Houston's Overo have come up with a unique sound that really separates them from the pack. Guitarist/co-vocalist Brendan Stephens handles the harsh screamo/post-hardcore roars, while guitarist/co-vocalist Lindsay Minton -- who also fronts in the indie/emo band football, etc -- balances that out with soaring clean vocals that have gained a few comparisons to Rainer Maria. (And that band themselves have taken notice; Rainer Maria's Kaia Fischer plays arpeggiator on this album.) They're obviously not the first band to combine screaming and singing, but their voices overlap in a way that feels inventive and thrillingly new. Adding more fuel to the fire are instrumental arrangements that are even grander and more dynamic than the ones on their 2019 self-titled debut. They incorporate strings and horns and trek through passages that recall anything from towering post-rock to circle-pit punk to knotty Midwest emo to tender acoustic guitar to mammoth sludge riffs, with a wide open production style that makes everything feel huge. In addition to Brendan and Lindsay's own dual vocals, they rope in Roberto Tejada for spoken word on "Lung Compliance Witness," and it makes for one of the album's most show-stopping songs. Overo really pulled out all the stops on this one, and the results are stunning.
ASkySoBlack - Autumn In The Water
New Morality Zine
Philly's ASkySoBlack released one of 2021's best punk EPs with their debut What Is Yet To Come?, and now they've just followed it with a second killer EP, Autumn In The Water, out today via New Morality Zine. On the first EP, ASkySoBlack sounded like they were channeling Hum by way of Hopesfall, and Autumn In The Water picks up where that one left off and continues to push the band in new directions. There's no screaming on this one, but you can still feel the band's post-hardcore/metalcore influences coming through in the heavy, chugged guitars that lie beneath all the shoegazy atmosphere. Hum still sounds like a core influence, and it sounds like some Deftones love is coming through a little more strongly on this one, but ASkySoBlack really bring something new to the heavy shoegaze table. Their yearning vocals feel closer to second wave emo than to hazy shoegaze, and in a genre where it's easy to focus more on style than substance, ASkySoBlack never fall into that trap.
Spiritualized - Everything Was Beautiful
Spiritualized are back with a new album, and according to Bill's review, it's their best since Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space. Read his review here.
Fontaines DC - Skinty Fia
Irish post-punks Fontaines DC are back with their third album, and in his review, Bill writes in part, "The shouty punk rippers that epitomized their debut, Dogrel, have given way to dark, textured guitars more akin to early-'80s postpunk (The Sound, The Chameleons) filtered through late-'90s UK alt-rock and dance music, with chunky basslines and increasingly adventurous drumming, making for music that is both expansive and claustrophobic." Read the full review.
Pick up our exclusive, limited-edition transparent red vinyl variant of the new Fontaines DC album.
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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