Notable Releases of the Week (3/18)
It's mid-March, and for the first time in three years, that means a big chunk of the music world is down in Austin for SXSW. (BrooklynVegan's there too; come hang at our free day party today!) Also, Arcade Fire are back! I, for one, think the new single is much better than Everything Now.
As for new albums, it feels like there are slightly less this week than the very stacked past few weeks, but there are some real heavy hitters in there. I highlight six below, and Bill talks about Midlake, Tropical Fuck Storm/King Gizzard, Pictish Trail, and more in Bill's Indie Basement.
On top of all that, honorable mentions: Cypress Hill, Hailey Whitters, Yumi Zouma, Chalk Hands, Audio Karate, Charger (Rancid), Stabbing Westward, Peter Doherty & Frédéric Lo, Colin Hay, Babeheaven, Daine, Mattiel, Lisa LeBlanc, Colpitts (Kid Millions), Delia Meshlir, Pinch Points, Blue States, Sy Ari Da Kid, Dark Funeral, Hell Militia, Overgrow, Maggie Gently, Bogdan Raczynski, Ritual Earth, Bladee & Ecco2k, Feeder, Blanck Mass' Ted K score, the TianaMajor9 EP, the Bent Blue EP, the Erupt EP, the Hana Vu EP, the A Mourning Star EP, the Spy/Maniac split, the Asian Glow/Weatherday EP, the End On End EP, and the INSTILL demo.
Read on for my picks. What's your favorite release of the week?
Rosalía - Motomami
Rosalía's 2017 debut album Los Ángeles found the Spanish singer putting a fresh spin on traditional flamenco, while 2018's El mal querer roped in co-production from El Guincho and found Rosalía taking her sound in a more art pop direction. Since then, Rosalía got even more pop (and more popular) thanks to massive collaborations with J Balvin, Bad Bunny, Travis Scott, and Ozuna, and her new album Motomami continues in that direction. It finds her continuing to channel the reggaeton, hip hop, and straight-up pop influences she embraced on those recent collabs, and it ropes in another superstar: The Weeknd. (The album's only other guest appearance comes from fellow J Balvin collaborator Tokischa.) El Guincho is once again a producer, but so are other big names like Latin trap beatmaker Tainy, Toronto hip hop/pop producer Frank Dukes, and Pharrell. The more mainstream-friendly sound is fitting for Rosalía, who seems born to be a star, and some of those songs are among the best of her career. But the album isn't just a pivot to mainstream pop. The communal chants of "Buleria," the vintage Latin sounds of "Delirio de Grandeza," and a few jazz-tinged ballads ("Hentai," "Genis," "Sakura") find Rosalía embracing her traditional side, while the James Blake-assisted "Diablo" is among her most experimental songs. All sides of Rosalía are represented on Motomami, which feels like her most all-encompassing statement to date.
Charli XCX - Crash
In 2020, Charli XCX spoke in an interview with Stereogum about a new album that she called her "most polished [...] aesthetically and possibly musically, too," but because the pandemic hit, she hit pause on that album and released How I'm Feeling Now, a more DIY-style album that reflected the isolation everyone was living in. Now that things have mostly opened up again, she's finally finished and released her big pop album, Crash. She's repeatedly cited Janet Jackson as an inspiration on the album (among others), and Crash does indeed go more full-blown '80s pop than some of Charli's more recent hyperpop-ish material. And because it's Charli, even the most mainstream-friendly songs are still arty and tasteful. Some of the singles already feel like iconic Charli songs ("New Shapes" [ft. Christine and the Queens and Caroline Polachek] and "Good Ones" especially) and plenty of the deep cuts are just as instantly-satisfying ("Lightning" and the "Show Me Love"-sampling "Used To Know Me" especially). And at just 12 concise songs with no noticeable filler, this is singles-oriented pop that goes down well as a full album. It doesn't have the same conceptual feel as How I'm Feeling Now, but it's one potential hit after another, and that's a time-tested concept too.
Hot Water Music - Feel The Void
Hot Water Music's last album was 2017's Light It Up, and in the time since then, co-frontman Chris Wollard retired from touring with the band, with The Flatliners' Chris Cresswell replacing him at live shows, though Wollard did still record with the band, as heard on 2019's brief Shake Up The Shadows EP. Now, they're officially a five-piece in the studio, with Chris Cresswell as a full-time member, and they've reunited with producer Brian McTernan for their new album Feel The Void. Brian produced three of the band's most-loved records (2001's A Flight and a Crash, 2002's Caution, and 2004's The New What Next), and though HWM have released great stuff without him too, you can hear a certain chemistry when they work with Brian and that's all over Feel The Void, which may very well be their best record since The New What Next. It's not just that Brian helps this band achieve the perfect balance between aggressive and accessible, it's also that Hot Water Music sound as fired-up and inspired on this album as they did 20 years ago. Maybe the break from touring gave Chris Wollard a chance to regroup, 'cause he put out some top tier songs with last year's Ship Thieves album and contributes even better ones to Feel The Void. Chuck Ragan's songs are all punk rippers, after he went in a slower alt-rock direction on parts of 2012's Exister and 2017's Light It Up, and Chris Cresswell's one lead vocal turn ("Turn the Dial") fits right in. It just feels like one of the all-time great punk bands firing on all cylinders, and it's a real treat to hear that over a quarter-century into their career.
PLOSIVS - PLOSIVS
PLOSIVS is the new supergroup led by the songwriting partnership of Rob Crow (of Pinback, Goblin Cock, etc) and John Reis (of Drive Like Jehu, Rocket From The Crypt, Hot Snakes, etc), and it reunites John with former Rocket From the Crypt drummer Atom Willard (who went on to play in The Offspring, Angels & Airwaves, and more, and is currently in Against Me!), and is rounded out by Jordan Clark (of Mrs. Magician) on bass. These musicians have all made sprawling, ambitious music over the years, but PLOSIVS is back-to-basics indie/punk project that basically sounds like the exact middle ground between early Pinback and Hot Snakes. Rob handles lead vocals, though John's unmistakable sneer pops up a few times (for more of John's singing, check out his new solo album), and it sounds like these four are having a ton of fun cranking out rippers like this. There are moments that change things up, like the noisy sections of "Never Likely" and "Broken Eyes" that almost veer towards '90s Sonic Youth territory, but more often than not, this album is about rocking out and not overthinking it, and the lifers in this band know exactly how to do that.
Oso Oso - Sore Thumb
Round Hill/Triple Crown
Long Island's Oso Oso have just surprise-released their fourth album, Sore Thumb. Main member Jade Lilitri had been demo-ing the album in early 2021 with his cousin Tavish Maloney at producer Billy Mannino’s (of Bigger Better Sun) Two Worlds Recordings, and the plan was to take a month off and then go back and decide where and who to work with to complete the album, when Tavish suddenly passed away. When that happened, Jade decided not to touch the songs and release them as is, only handing it over to Long Island veteran Mike Sapone (who also produced and mixed Oso Oso's 2019 album Basking in the Glow) to mix. The result is a big, soaring, spacious indie rock album, and you can read more about it here.
Aeviterne - The Ailing Facade
New York death metal band Aeviterne formed in 2015 by former Flourishing members Garrett Bussanick and Eric Rizk, along with drummer Ian Jacyszyn, and they released their debut EP Sireless in 2018. Now, with the addition of guitarist Samuel Smith (Artificial Brain, Luminous Vault), Aeviterne have signed to Profound Lore and their debut full-length, The Ailing Facade, is here. Colin Williams wrote a review of it and interviewed the band over at Invisible Oranges, and you can read that here.
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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