Notable Releases of the Week (11/6)
We've spent all week anxiously awaiting the results of the election, and as of this morning, Biden currently leads in all four of the current key battleground states (Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona, and Nevada), having flipped PA and GA just hours ago. There are still votes to be counted, but we are hoping for good news.
Meanwhile, Georgia especially has found itself at the center of this election, because it could potentially host two Senate runoffs in January, which could decide which party controls the Senate. If you voted absentee in Georgia, check the status of your ballot. If it was rejected, you have until 5 PM today (11/6) to fix it. And if you aren't already registered, new voters can register by December 7 for the January 5 runoff election.
As for this week's new music, there are understandably less albums out this week than usual, but I picked six that I highlight below and here are some honorable mentions: Kylie Minogue, Pulchra Morte, Solstafir, Adulkt Life (mem Huggy Bear, Male Bonding), Hey Colossus, Tiña, Pom Poko, The Silence, Heather Trost (of A Hawk and a Hacksaw), Olafur Arnalds, the Thirty Cent Fare EP, the Thunder Dreamer EP, the Ennio Morricone rarities comp, the Neil Young live box set, and the Pylon box set.
Also, it's a Bandcamp fundraiser today (with Bandcamp waiving its cut of sales and giving all profits to artists and labels) so pick up your new music there if you can. As always, the embeds in this post are Bandcamp when applicable.
Read on for my six picks. What's your favorite release of the week?
Record Setter - I Owe You Nothing
Denton, Texas' Record Setter debuted as a "late-to-the-party Title Fight worship" band (their words) on 2014's Dim, but they gradually expanded their sound over the years, pushing it in all kinds of new directions on 2017's Purge and their 2019 split with Genius Christ and Sylvania Ave. But it's on their new album I Owe You Nothing -- their first for Topshelf -- where they really opened up their sound and their message. "Purge was this half-step, not being able to let go and say just what I want to say truly or fully," guitarist/vocalist Judy Mitchell told Ian Cohen in a recent Stereogum profile on the band. "With this one, I’m not doing that."
I Owe You Nothing does indeed feel like an album where absolutely nothing is held back. Judy raises her voice to a scream several times, and it sounds like it's not just for artistic reasons but also because the emotion in these songs is so raw and overwhelming. Musically, I Owe You Nothing weaves between harsh '90s-style screamo, mathy Midwest emo, climactic post-rock, hook-oriented 2010s emo revival, and more, and the songs all segue directly into each other. There's no way to listen to this album other than start to finish, and when you do, it's hard to imagine not feeling swept off your feet. It's one of those albums that just checks every box and does everything right. A majority of the musical influences on the album are 20-25 years old, but Record Setter make you feel like you're hearing them for the first time -- no small feat given the amount of '90s-style emo bands that cropped up over the past decade.
For an album that musically ties all kinds of different sounds together, it lyrically is a story of "separation," Judy said in that same Stereogum interview. She also expressed disappointment that people will probably "cast the whole album in this view of trans-ness or LGBT," as she does touch on themes of gender discovery/dysphoria throughout the album, but the songs are a lot more universal than that. They're full of pain and desperation and doubt and acceptance, and those feelings come across so intensely at every turn.
Soul Glo - Songs To Yeet At The Sun
What do you call this - screamo? Hardcore? Maybe just call it utter fucking chaos. The Philly band's first EP for Touche Amore frontman Jeremy Bolm's Secret Voice label -- and quite possibly their best release yet -- opens with two tracks so pummeling it feels like all four members are racing to play faster than each other, yet they never lose focus. Then the EP does an about-face with the industrial rap of "2K" (ft. Archangel), a genre they tackle just as masterfully as punk, before wrapping up with two more fired-up rippers. The music feels built to send bodies flailing, and the lyrics are as pointed and direct as can be, blurring the lines between personal stories and systemic issues, and flipping a middle finger in the face of hypocrisy and oppression. ("Yt can grow tree on TV and never ever worry about no cases, how? And get praised as an entrepreneur! Wow!" goes one lyric on "Mathed Up.") These songs are full of purpose and messages that deserve to be heard, and every single word feels carefully chosen. It's also so noisy and obscured that you often have no idea what they're saying, but that feels intentional too. This type of glorious racket doesn't happen by accident.
Bree Runway - 2000AND4EVA
Bree Runway is a boundary-pushing, fast-rising UK rapper/singer that The Guardian called a "pop-rap superstar of the future." She namedrops such diverse influences as Freddie Mercury and Grace Jones and Busta Rhymes, and she's gained praise from Rihanna and Missy Elliott. "It’s genre-bending and genre-fluid," Bree told NME of her music. "It’s pop, trap, dance, R&B, rock, PC music — hell, it’s even sometimes country music too! Black women in music are always expected to sing R&B or soul: we are always boxed in. I’m always asked if I’m a soul singer and I say, ‘No, actually, I make very in-your-face, destructive pop that is all genres and everything at once.’"
Missy also appears on her new mixtape 2000AND4EVA, as do three other highly charismatic rappers who left their mark in recent years: Rico Nasty, Maliibu Miitch, and Yung Baby Tate. Like all four of the women who guest on this mixtape, Bree is extremely talented and makes music that's impossible to tune out. Like she herself said, it constantly shifts genre, and it's very in-your-face. It's loud, bold, and original, and it's not just all over the place for the sake of being all over the place; the songs are accessible, and it's clear that Bree went into this tape with a strong vision. The way she executed it is breathtaking.
Chester Watson - A Japanese Horror Film
Chester Watson is a 23-year-old rapper from St. Louis who's been on the rise for the past few years. He cited influences like Earl Sweatshirt, Tyler the Creator, and MF DOOM early on, and he's definitely in the lineage of abstract thinkers like those, but as his career moves forward, he continues to establish his own sound. His latest release is A Japanese Horror Film, a self-produced, plainspoken concept album that begins with our narrator tripping on acid in an Uber pool after landing from a flight to Japan, and it takes all kinds of psychedelic twists and turns from there. It's a murky, eerie album, but Chester's delivery is clear and direct, and he leaves you hanging on every word even as the production drifts away on a hazy, haunted, magic carpet ride. It's an album that feels small and epic at the same time. Listening to it feels like going on a journey, and it's a trip that's genuinely worth taking.
Giggs - Now Or Never
Giggs has been at the forefront of UK rap for over a decade, he influenced a handful of today's rising UK rap stars, and he continues to consistently put out quality material. Today, he surprise-released the mixtape Now or Never -- which follows last year's Big Bad... -- and it's got 16 new songs that keep his reign alive. As ever, Giggs remains a rapper who's able to stay true to the road rap sound that he's been called the "undisputed king" of, while also allowing his album to be a melting pot of sounds, finding room for appearances by soul singers Jorja Smith and Emeli Sandé, Nigerian Afro-fusionist Obongjayar, Jamaican dancehall artist Demarco, US auto-tunester A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, fellow UK rap icon Dave, and more. Now Or Never finds Giggs tackling his pensive, introspective side, his ominous, menacing side, and plenty of the in-between, always changing things up enough to keep you hooked for its entire 62-minute running time.
The Casket Lottery - Short Songs For End Times
Wiretap/Big Scary Monsters/Second Nature
The Casket Lottery aren't as prolific as they once were, but -- creatively speaking -- they just never lose steam. The Kansas City band came up in the late '90s/early '00s with a gritty fusion of emo, punk, and post-hardcore in the vein of peers like Hot Water Music and Small Brown Bike (both of whom they released splits with in 2002), and after five years, three albums, and countless EPs/splits, they went on hiatus for a while before returning in 2012 with the very good new album Real Fear and a split with Touche Amore. They went quiet again after that, but now they're back with their first album in eight years, and they sound as inspired and energized as they did two decades ago. Short Songs For End Times is classic Casket Lottery -- gravelly, shouted hooks set against bulldozing, casually tech-y post-hardcore -- but as you may expect from the album title, the perspective in the songs is entirely current. "It's a dark time in American history," says guitarist/vocalist Nathan Ellis. "These are just my impressions of what is happening and the reasons that I don't sleep anymore."
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.