Experimental punk collective The Armed have been one of the most unique heavy bands around for a while now (we named their last album, 2018's Only Love, one of the 100 best punk or emo albums of the 2010s), so it's very exciting news that they've announced a new album, ULTRAPOP, due April 16 via Sargent House (their first for the label). The once-mysterious band are now entirely open about their lineup (pictured above, though Converge's Ben Koller is also a member and not pictured), and the album also features high-profile guest appearances from Mark Lanegan and Queens of the Stone Age's Troy Van Leeuwen. Guitarist/vocalist Dan Greene co-produced the record with Chelsea Wolfe collaborator Ben Chisholm, and as usual, Converge's Kurt Ballou was executive producer.

"Crafting vital art means presenting the audience with new and intriguing tensions—sonically, visually, conceptually. Over time and through use, those tensions become less novel and effective—and they become expectations," Dan Greene says. "The concept of 'subgenre' becomes almost the antithesis of vitality in art—itself a fetishization of expectation. ULTRAPOP seeks, in earnest, to create a truly new listener experience. It is an open rebellion against the culture of expectation in 'heavy' music. It is a joyous, genderless, post-nihilist, anti-punk, razor-focused take on creating the most intense listener experience possible. It's the harshest, most beautiful, most hideous thing we could make."

That could come off as all talk in a lesser band's hands, but The Armed walk the walk, as you can hear on ULTRAPOP's killer lead single "ALL FUTURES," which exists somewhere between noise punk and post-metal but really can't be pinned down and is mainly just a total sensory overload. (It's also one of the songs featuring Troy Van Leeuwen.) Continuing the theme of no longer being a "mysterious" band, the video for the song is a live-in-studio performance video that puts the actual people front and center. It's very cool, and it's really making us wish live music would return soon. (They have Europe dates scheduled for this fall, which are listed below, fingers crossed that it's safe to tour by then.) Check it out below.

The Armed Lineup
Jonni Randall - Vocals + Bass
Chris Slorach - Vocals + Guitar
Dan Greene - Guitar + Vocals
Adam Vallely - Guitar + Vocals
Dan Stolarski - Guitar + Vocals
Clark Huge - Synthesizers
Urian Hackney - Drums
Ben Koller - Drums
Cara Drolshagen - Vocals

ULTRAPOP Tracklist
ULTRAPOP
ALL FUTURES
MASUNAGA VAPORS
A LIFE SO WONDERFUL
AN ITERATION
BIG SHELL
AVERAGE DEATH
FAITH IN MEDICATION
WHERE MAN KNOWS WANT
REAL FOLK BLUES
BAD SELECTION
THE MUSIC BECOMES A SKULL

The Armed -- 2021 Tour Dates
10/09/21 - Bristol, England - The Exchange
10/10/21 - Birmingham, England - Dead Wax
10/11/21 - Dublin, Ireland - Whelan’s
10/12/21 - Manchester, England - YES
10/13/21 - Glasgow, Scotland - Temple of Boom
10/14/21 - Leeds, England - Temple Of Boom
10/15/21 - London, England - MOTH Club
10/16/21- Brighton, England - The Green Door Store
10/18 /21 - Antwerp, Belgium - TRIX
10/19/21 - Reims, France - La Cartonnerie
10/20/21 - Lorient, France - I’Hydrophone
10/21/21 - Nantes, France - Stereolux
10/22/21 - Rouen, France - Le 106
10/23/21 - Paris. France - La Boule Noire

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Best Punk/Hardcore/Emo/etc Albums of 2020

See #45-21 here.