It's a very busy week here in Notable Releases land, with 11 new albums that I highlight below, plus even more in Bill's Indie Basement, including Ty Segall, Thor Harris, The Sadies, and TRAAMS.

For even more new releases, honorable mentions include Jack White, Beach Bunny, Pool Kids, Nina Nastasia, ODESZA, Mozzy, Icewear Vezzo, Cuco, Twen, Carlos Niño & Friends, Northless, Wailin Storms, Imperial Triumphant, Bananarama, Nardo Wick, Asian Doll, Ms. Banks, Casey Veggies, Shordie Shordie, Jackboy, Sam Prekop & John McEntire, Bastard Noise & Merzbow, Gordon M. Phillips (Downhaul), Stud Count, Alex the Astronaut, Oceans of Slumber, Spacemoth, Rusty Santos, quinn, The Kooks, Ben Harper, Dawes, ZZ Top, the Lil Uzi Vert EP, the Julien Baker EP, the Peach Fuzz EP, the Hunny EP, the DaniLeigh EP, the Cageless EP, the Conduit EP, She & Him's Brian Wilson tribute LP, RZA's Bobby Digital and The Pit of Snakes comic book & soundtrack, the Voxtrot rarities & B-sides comp, the deluxe edition of Emma-Jean Thackray's Yellow, and the Tanya Tagaq remix album (ft. Backxwash, Daedelus, Chad VanGaalen & more).

Read on for my picks. What's your favorite release of the week?

Rico Nasty

Rico Nasty - Las Ruinas
Sugar Trap/Atlantic

"I think genre deserves to get bent and broken," Rico Nasty said in a recent interview with Kerrang. "I don’t ever look at genre; I only look at vibes." Even if she didn't say it, just one listen to Las Ruinas would reveal that's exactly how she feels. Rico's been bending genre lines since her career began taking shape in the previous decade, but never as overtly as she does on Las Ruinas, which may be her most thrilling project yet. Across its 17 songs, she raps her ass off, gets more aggressively in-your-face than your average metal band ("Black Punk"), ditches rap entirely for hyperpop ("Skullflower"), goes full-on emo with the acoustic guitar/piano ballad "Easy," and dives into straight-up dance music multiple times (the Marshmello-assisted dance-rap of "Watch Your Man," her remix of Fred Again's recent garage track "Jungle," the breakbeats on "Intrusive" and "Messy," the thumping house-pop of "One On 5"). A couple likeminded guests show up (Bktherula and Teezo Touchdown), but for the most part, all those different voices you're hearing are coming from the chameleonic Rico herself.

Throughout the album's musical ricochet, Rico opens up about some of the most personal topics of her career, like going to therapy ("Easy") and dealing with intrusive thoughts ("Intrusive"), but the album's also got some of the funniest punchlines of her career, like when she raps "Bitches smoke my weed/Now she’s wheezing with the COVID cough" on the 100 gecs-assisted "Gotsta Get Paid" or shouts "You made me shave my head like Britney!" on "Messy." All the major trends happening this year -- Kendrick Lamar making an album about mental health, Beyoncé and Drake bringing house music into R&B/hip hop -- Rico's doing them in her own way on this album, and it's a case of coincidental timing, not bandwagon-jumping. Maybe that means the timing is right for Rico's big break, and even if it doesn't, she certainly deserves it. Las Ruinas is one of the most unique, ear-catching, and exciting rap records released this year -- if you can even call it a "rap record" -- and if you've got even a passing interest in contemporary pop or hip hop or dance music, you need to hear it.


Flo Milli

Flo Milli - You Still Here, Ho ?

Not only does Rico Nasty have her own great new album out this week, she also appears on the new album from Alabama rapper Flo Milli, and this one's not to miss either. Flo Milli was one of the many artists whose careers took off thanks to the power of TikTok, and her excellent 2020 mixtape Ho, why is you here ? proved there was a lot more to her than her two viral singles. Her proper debut album You Still Here, Ho ? keeps that going, with an even lengthier batch of songs that solidify Flo Milli as one of the brightest new voices in rap. The album is loaded with songs catchy enough to be her next hit and endless knockout punchlines. Flo Milli's shout-rap style is tough as nails and her pop side is extremely fun, and her "Flo Milli shit!" ad-libs remain infectious. Besides Rico, the only other guest is rising Detroit rapper Babyface Ray; otherwise, Flo Milli holds her own across the album's 13 proper songs, and You Still Here, Ho ? never drags. The album also smartly tacks on recent singles "Roaring 20s" and "Ice Baby" as bonus tracks -- they're two of her strongest singles, and they act as the victorious encore that the Flo Milli show deserves.


Joey Bada$$ 2000

Joey Bada$$ - 2000
Pro Era/Columbia

It's been ten years since Joey Bada$$ took the rap world by storm with his 2012 debut mixtape 1999, which -- like its album title -- hearkened back to the 1990s, with 15 tracks of boom bap revival. As Joey began experiencing mainstream success, he increasingly expanded and modernized his sound across his two proper albums -- 2015's B4.DA.$$ and 2017's All-Amerikkkan Bada$$ -- and then he slowed down his output, with just a few songs and guest appearances in the five years since his last album. This year he's been celebrating the 10th anniversary of 1999 on tour, and he also returns with a new album that doubles as a sequel to his debut, 2000. The majority of the songs were produced by lifelong boom bap devotee (and longtime Joey Bada$$ collaborator) Statik Selektah, and it's Joey's most overtly '90s-sounding project since 1999. On this album, Joey doesn't sound concerned with putting out a crossover single or fitting in with any current trends; he's just making the music he loves the most, just like he was before anyone was paying attention. Alongside Statik, the album also has production from Erick Elliott of Flatbush Zombies, Joey's longtime Pro Era associate Chuck Strangers, Mike WiLL Made-It, and more, and guests include Westside Gunn (who adds some great "doo doo doo doo!"s to "Brand New 911"), Diddy, Larry June, JID, and more, plus "Show Me" (produced by Statik Selektah) has a prominent and memorable sample of Men I Trust's "Show Me How." Sequels to classic records often signify that the artist is in need of a comeback, but that's not the case for Joey Bada$$. Having started so young, he's been in the game for decade but still isn't even 30 years old (he's 27), so he's a vet but still has that youthful hunger. 2000 has obvious throwback elements, but it may actually be the start of a new era for Joey Bada$$.


Anthony Green

Anthony Green - Boom. Done.
Born Losers Records

Anthony Green, who recently turned 40, has been releasing music in the public eye for more than half his life. He's sung in Circa Survive, Saosin, The Sound of Animals Fighting, Zolof the Rock and Roll Destroyer, and a handful of other projects, not to mention his countless solo releases, and he's never slowed down his output once. In fact, this past year has been one of his most prolific -- in the past 10 months, Circa Survive put out two EPs, and now he releases a new solo album, Boom. Done. As someone often associated with emo, Anthony faces the stereotype that his music is something you're supposed to grow out of or get nostalgic for, but he's actually making some of the best music of his career right now. Those last two Circa Survive EPs are great, and unlike anything else in the band's discography, and Boom. Done. already feels like one of the most special albums that Anthony's been part of. It's his first full-band solo album -- made with Tim Arnold and Keith Goodwin of Good Old War and Days Away, the latter of whom also produced it -- and he made it while working to recover from struggles with mental health and addiction. Anthony says the album is "not about my relationship with drugs or people, it’s about my relationship with myself," and adds, "Someone once told me to share what makes you feel most embarrassed or ashamed and the shame will die in the light of exposure. These songs are a part of that exposure." The songs deliver on that premise; they're some of the most personal that he's ever written, and you can feel the raw emotion coming through in Anthony's delivery, which is as soaring and distinct as ever. Stylistically, it's a departure from most anything he's done before, with horn-fueled indie/art rock that kinda sounds like the middle ground between Radiohead and Cursive. It's an album he could have only made now, for more reasons than one, and the way Anthony pushes himself both artistically and personally throughout these songs feels like a triumph.



Wake - Thought Form Descent
Metal Blade

If you don't roll your eyes too hard at the term "post-grindcore," then you might use it to describe Wake. The Canadian band dramatically expanded upon their grind roots with their two 2020 releases, Devouring Ruin and the Confluence EP, and with the inability to tour in 2020, Wake got started on their next record Thought Form Descent as soon as Confluence was finished. Picking right up where its predecessor left off, Thought Form Descent has roots in grindcore, but it's really a towering, genre-defying post-metal album that stretches the very definition of extreme music, as the band intended: "The words 'brutal', 'crushing', 'devastating' are overused adjectives for extreme music. We wanted to force people to confront the idea that 'brutal' or 'extreme' ideas aren't just blastbeats or angular tritones, or, more importantly, 'brutal' elements alongside pointedly passive elements can create their own experience that can channel both and neither," the band said. Vocalist Kyle Ball also adds that the album is "a non-linear fiction story that focuses on escapism and existentialism," though personal issues and experiences do find their way into the songwriting, as "the character could more or less be me." From their narrative storytelling to the way they actively ignore genre boundaries, Wake stand out as anomalies within the world of modern metal. Thought Form Descent works to consistently challenge stereotypes within heavy music, but it's not just being different for the sake of it. These shapeshifting songs are an absolute thrill to listen to.



Fixation - The Secrets We Keep
WAR Records

Philly hardcore band Fixation (who share members with Chemical Fix, Wild Red, Drowse, and Action News) have EPs and promos dating back to 2017, but in 2020 they revamped their lineup with new vocalist Wyatt Oberholzer, who had previously recorded the band (and was also behind the boards for records by Year of the Knife, Soul Glo, Shackled, Gridiron, Ecostrike, Worn, and many others). Wyatt made his debut on the band's three-song 2020 promo, and now those songs plus eight others make up Fixation's first full-length, The Secrets We Keep. Fixation's influences veer towards the darker side of hardcore, anything from Samhain to '90s AFI to 2000s bands like American Nightmare and Blacklisted, and that sets the perfect backdrop for Wyatt's deeply personal lyrics. His delivery is vicious yet impassioned; a lot of aggressive bands like to point fingers, but, true to its title, The Secrets We Keep directs all of Fixation's fury inwards.


Stand Still

Stand Still - In A Moment's Notice EP
DAZE/Triple B

When Long Island Emo blew up in the early 2000s with bands like Taking Back Sunday, Brand New, and The Movielife, you could trace basically all of it back to Silent Majority, who broke up before the sound they helped pioneer reached the masses. For years, they were seen as underrated, influential legends by those who knew them, but virtually unknown by most fans of the popular bands they influenced. But now they seem to be reaching a new generation, with bands like Koyo and Stand Still reviving the Silent Majority sound. Stand Still have just put out their sophomore EP (and first for DAZE and Triple B Records), and it's got three new songs and three live versions of songs from their 2021 debut EP A Practice In Patience that tie Long Island Emo back to its melodic hardcore roots. Stand Still definitely wear their influences on their sleeves, but they also harness that same exciting feeling that the late '90s / early 2000s bands, that feeling that a band from the hardcore scene was writing enough hooks to translate on a larger scale. I don't know if Stand Still will gain the same popularity that emo bands 20 years ago did, but it's refreshing to hear a band so simultaneously invested in hardcore grit and pop sensibilities. Tons of bands have ripped off Taking Back Sunday and Brand New over the years, but Stand Still are going all the way back to the source and writing an alternate version of the history that we saw unfold two decades ago.

Pick up our exclusive clear/orange splatter vinyl variant of the new Stand Still EP.



Spaced - Spaced Jams
New Morality Zine

If you pay attention to underground hardcore, you probably know that Spaced are one of the most talked-about bands in the scene right now. They hail from the hardcore epicenter of Buffalo (and gained the attention of Buffalo hardcore veteran Scott Vogel, whose band Buried Alive brought out Spaced vocalist Lexi Reyngoudt on stage at Every Time I Die's final 'Tid the Season), and their 2021 demo was called one of the year's best by members of Scowl and Taking Meds. They've been touring like crazy lately, playing shows with other current hardcore staples like Gel, Broken Vow, and Shackled, and they've also been tapped to open for bigger bands like New Found Glory and Comeback Kid. They call themselves "far out hardcore," which comes across in both their kaleidoscopic artwork and the hint of Turnstile-esque psychedelia on their guitars, and Lexi tops that off with a militant bark that ropes you in on first listen. Their new release Spaced Jams compiles their 2021 four-song demo and two-song Two New Joints promo, and also adds in three new songs. It's the perfect introduction to a very promising band, and it makes me really excited to hear where Spaced go next.



Sonagi - Precedent
Get Better Records

Sonagi is one of (at least) three current screamo bands fronted by Ryann Slausson, who also sings in Closer and Scenario A. They made their recorded debut on Middle-Man Records' 2020 four-way split The Cold Promise of Uncertainty, alongside Coma Regalia, Indisposed, and Obroa-skai, and then weren't really heard from as Closer and Scenario A released albums the following year, but now Sonagi have signed with Get Better Records and put out their debut full-length, Precedent. The band says the albums captures "a genuine and heartfelt politicized perspective that draws on personal (queer and trans and colonized) experience and larger narratives of what shapes and guides us through time," and Sonagi deliver that with intense, furious songs that take cues from '90s screamo in refreshing ways. The album utilizes a bare-bones production style that sounds like you've got your ear right up against their amps and drums, and they flirt with everything from spacious post-rock to chunky metallic hardcore riffage as Ryann delivers coarse, caustic shouts and screams (with some pretty brutal backing growls from guitarist Harim Jung). There's been a lot of screamo coming out lately, and this record stands out as some of the best I've heard this year.


The Suicide Machines Coquettish

The Suicide Machines / Coquettish - Gebo Gomi
Bad Time Records

Two veteran ska-punk bands, Detroit's The Suicide Machines and Tokyo's Coquettish, have teamed up for a new split LP, and it's being released by Bad Time Records, the label that's been helping to fuel the US ska-punk resurgence. It follows The Suicide Machines' killer 2020 reunion album Revolution Spring (Fat Wreck Chords), and it's Coquettish’s first release since 2015’s Change This World and their first US release since their stint on Asian Man Records in the early/mid 2000s. As on Revolution Spring, The Suicide Machines sound totally revitalized, with a mix of upbeat ska and fast-paced hardcore that stands tall next to their classic '90s material. Coquettish's half fits perfectly, with a mix of ska, punk, and hardcore that's just as fun, lively, and fired-up as The Suicide Machines' songs. American listeners might be a little less familiar with this band, but it's never too late to stumble upon a great band, and Gebo Gomi proves that both of these bands have very much still got it.


John Moreland

John Moreland - Birds in the Ceiling
Old Omens/Thirty Tigers

Having started his career over a decade ago in country/folk rock territory, John Moreland began bringing in some electronic art rock elements on 2020's LP5, and he goes even further in that direction on this year's Birds in the Ceiling. Across these nine songs, John's singer/songwriter style is fleshed out by electronic textures and glitchy drum pads that he says were inspired by hip hop producers like The Alchemist, Just Blaze, and Madlib, as well as house and techno, and John's also adopted a more hushed delivery that sounds more like Pedro the Lion than country music. (For what it's worth, the album was produced by Matt Pence of Centro-Matic, who is one degree of separation from David Bazan.) John's also been looking at the state of the world and specifically America, and that's reflected in this album too. "The songs remind me a bit of last year: the pandemic, the lockdowns and the completely crazy political climate in the USA," he recently told the German Rolling Stone (translated via Google). "I was just like, 'What the hell is happening here?'" You can hear it coming through loudly and clearly on songs like "Claim Your Prize," which looks at the way the American Dream is a lie built on racism, misogyny, and other immoralities, or "Generational Dust," which grapples with being raised to think a certain way and believe in certain things that maybe don't fit with the person you aim to be today. In a way, there are parallels to be drawn between Birds in the Ceiling and the new Wilco album, an album that uses country music to address some of the country's issues, rather than indulge in blind patriotism. For a genre of music that's so often built on tradition, John's musical and lyrical choices on this album feel quietly daring.


Read Bill's Indie Basement for more new album reviews, including Ty Segall, Thor Harris, The Sadies, and TRAAMS.

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.

And check out what's new in our shop.

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