Notable Releases of the Week (2/17)
It's been another eventful week in the music world. Rihanna played the halftime show, Botch finally announced a full-blown reunion tour, Janelle Monáe returned with new music, UK cult group Panchiko returned to announce their first album in 20 years and a tour, and much more. Here at BrooklynVegan, we've also got a new podcast episode with Knapsack up in celebration of the band's long-awaited vinyl reissues.
As for this week's new albums, I highlight seven below, and Bill tackles more in Bill's Indie Basement, including Orbital, Anna B Savage, Lowly, dEUS, Cheater Slicks, and Index for Working Music (members of TOY and Proper Ornaments).
On top of those, this week's honorable mentions include Skrillex, P!nk, Shonen Knife, Pile, Runnner, Mirsy (Fleshwater), @, The Pomps, John-Allison Weiss, POSH SWAT (Ryan Sawyer, Andres Renteria & John Dwyer), Secret Machines, Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, Bktherula, Grade 2, Graphic Nature, Jay Critch, MAITA, New Pagans, Lisel, Wesley Joseph, Plasma Canvas, Hellripper, Spiral XP, Street Tombs, Embitter, Ron Sexsmith, Inhaler, MadeinTYO, Big Scarr, SleazyWorld Go, Neek Bucks, Steady Holiday, Sunroof (Daniel Miller & Gareth Jones), Locator, Tithe, Owl, Total Refreshment Centre, Free Range, Edwin Raphael, koleżanka, Jonnine, Mioclono, the Code Orange remix/companion album to Underneath, the TV Star EP, the NHOMME EP, and the Torn In Half EP.
Read on for my picks. What's your favorite release of the week?
Screaming Females - Desire Pathway
At this point, Screaming Females are basically a DIY institution. To some, they're your favorite band's favorite band--especially if your favorite band is Garbage or Dinosaur Jr--but they're veterans, heroes, and tastemakers in their own right. They throw an annual mini-festival in their home state of NJ and this year's diverse lineup supports all different kinds of independent music, from indie rock to hardcore to hip hop to ska to singer/songwriters, and they've been putting out consistently great records for nearly 20 years. Desire Pathway is their first in five years--closing their longest gap between albums yet--and it really screams "we're back!" It's their third consecutive album produced by produced by Matt Bayles (Minus The Bear, Mastodon, Foxing, etc), and they really seem to gel with Matt. Desire Pathway has some of the biggest, cleanest production of Screaming Females' career, and it's loaded with some of their catchiest songs ever. It really feels like they leaned into making anthem after anthem with this record, the kinds of songs that beg to be yelled along to at Screaming Females' always-fiery live shows, but they still do it in their own distinct way. Marissa Paternoster's warbly roar still sounds like no one else in the world, and she remains one of the best shredders in punk rock this side of, well, Dinosaur Jr. She leads the way as bassist King Mike and drummer Jarrett Dougherty hold down the same sturdy backbone that Screaming Females have had their entire career. Desire Pathway feels like a real gem in a discography that's full of them. So many bands fall off, lose focus, lose members, or break up entirely before even making it as far as Screaming Females have, but that's never been the case for this band, and Desire Pathway is Screaming Females at their best.
Caroline Polachek - Desire, I Want To Turn Into You
Sony/The Orchard/Perpetual Novice
Desire, I Want To Turn Into You is pop music on Caroline Polachek's own terms, ranging from flamenco to ambient pop to a breakbeats-fueled song with Grimes and Dido. It's also some of the most forward-thinking and best music she's ever made. Read my full review.
Nappy Nina - Mourning Due
Brooklyn-via-Oakland rapper Nappy Nina needs no introduction if you've got your ear to the rap underground, but if you haven't heard of her yet, Mourning Due just might be the album to change that. She began working on it back in 2019, even before she released her great JWords-produced Double Down in 2021, and it's an immersive, cohesive project that really takes you on a journey and feels like a grand statement. With production coming from JWords, dane.zone, Nelson Bandela, Nina herself, and others, its backdrop ranges from vintage jazz to futuristic electronics, with plenty of other compelling detours along the way. It's also loaded with awesome guests (Moor Mother, Mavi, lojii, maassai, Cavalier, Stas Thee Boss, JusMoni, and more), whose ear-catching contributions fit perfectly with Nina, whose own delivery varies between reflective introspection to rapid-fire bars to tongue-twisting abstraction. Nina has ton of range, and she's full of command in every scenario.
Avey Tare - 7s
The Animal Collective crew has been on a hot streak lately. Last year, the band's new album Time Skiffs was hailed as a comeback, and Panda Bear also released an acclaimed collaborative album with Sonic Boom and did multiple beloved guest appearances. This year brings a new Avey Tare record, and it's right up there with those other recent AnCo-related releases. 7s finds Avey primarily in gooey psych-pop mode, often veering closer to fan fave Merriweather Post Pavilion than Avey's last solo album, 2019's freak folk-leaning Cows On Hourglass Pond. 7s is full of the kinds of zany arrangements and kaleidoscopic melodies that Avey Tare/Animal Collective fans know and love, and over two decades into his career, Avey still has the childlike wonder needed for this kind of thing.
See You Next Tuesday - Distractions
In case you haven't heard, Myspace grind is back and influencing lots of new bands (like SeeYouSpaceCowboy, .gif from god, p.s.you'redead, etc), and the renewed interest in the "genre" is also helping to coax some of the OGs out of retirement; last year, The Sawtooth Grin and Dr. Acula both put out reunion albums. This year brings another; the first album in 15 years from Michigan maniacs See You Next Tuesday. This was never a style of music that took itself too seriously, but as with the Sawtooth Grin and Dr. Acula comeback albums, Distractions finds SYNT doing some amount of "maturing" without losing their usual batshit edge. Distractions is the tightest, best-produced, and most intense album they've ever released, and it reminds you that this band always had an artful side; it wasn't just antagonizing for the sake of it. Most of the album is fast-paced chaotic grindcore, with songs ranging from 34 seconds to two-ish minutes, until closing track "Strange Music," a nearly-eight-minute sludge metal/hardcore fusion and perhaps the most epic song SYNT have ever written.
Ulthar - Anthronomicon & Helionomicon
20 Buck Spin
Ulthar--the Bay Area metal trio featuring Shelby Lermo (Vastum), Steve Peacock (Mastery, Spirit Possession), and Justin Ennis (Vale)--are following 2020's Providence with their third and fourth albums at once, Anthronomicon and Helionomicon. The former is a "traditionally" structured eight-song album, while the latter is broken up into two 20-ish minute tracks, also named "Helionomicon" and "Anthronomicon." If the latter sounds more daunting to consume, it's not; it's got just as many twists and turns as the eight-song album, just less track breaks. Recorded in Baltimore by Kevin Bernsten (Full of Hell, Pianos Become the Teeth, etc), both albums sound fantastic, and both find Ulthar completely blurring the lines between black and death metal, and flirting with things like ambient noise and bluesy clean guitar along the way. In an extreme metal landscape that often finds bands splintering off into highly specific subgenres, it's refreshing to hear Ulthar just doing whatever they wanna do regardless of any established boundaries, and sounding absolutely furious in the process.
Girl Scout - Real Life Human Garbage EP
Swedish four-piece Girl Scout met while studying jazz in Stockholm, but together they make indie pop bliss. Their debut EP Real Life Human Garbage already feels like the work of a band that's been around much longer, capturing everyday anxieties and memories of awkward moments with hooks to spare, recalling the likes of Alvvays and Belle and Sebastian. "It's a collection of songs about the turmoil of being human," they say. "About feeling lost, out of place and stuck in your awkward phase." [Amanda Hatfield]
Read Bill's Indie Basement for more new album reviews, including Orbital, Anna B Savage, Lowly, dEUS, and Cheater Slicks.
Looking for more recent releases? Browse the Notable Releases archive or scroll down for previous weeks.
Looking for a podcast to listen to? Check out our new episode with Knapsack. We've also got exclusive vinyl variants of the new Knapsack reissues.