Notable Releases of the Week (9/2)
Labor Day Weekend is already here, which means summer is winding down (but not over yet!), and which also means this is a lighter release week than usual. But there are still some great ones, five of which I highlight below, and more of which Bill talks about in Bill's Indie Basement, including Stereolab, Bitchin Bajas, Mo Troper, Unloved, Living Hour, and The Orchids. It's also the end of the month, which means I listed the best punk songs and best rap albums of August. This past month also brought the breakup of a great band, mewithoutYou, and we celebrated with a list of every mewithoutYou album, ranked, and we've got some new podcast episodes up too.
For more of this week's new releases, here are some honorable mentions: Megadeth, The Hu, Sunflo'er, Lean Year, Pi'erre Bourne, LMD, Madlib & MED, The Homeless Gospel Choir, Jon Pardi, L.O.T.I.O.N. Multinational Corporation, The Veldt, SOHN, P-LO, G Perico & Gotdamnitdupri, Jake Tittle, Life of Crime, Pale Blue Eyes, Bill Orcutt, Two Door Cinema Club, See Through You, ylayali, Yungblud, The Front Bottoms EP, the Gravedweller EP, the Young Costello EP, the Cryalot (Kero Kero Bonito) EP, the Teens In Trouble EP, the S. Raekwon EP, and the "lost" Codeine album.
Read on for my picks. What's your favorite release of the week?
The Callous Daoboys - Celebrity Therapist
MNRK Heavy/Modern Static
If you've heard anything about The Callous Daoboys, you've probably seen them compared to an array of late '90s and early 2000s mathcore and metalcore bands, like Every Time I Die, The Dillinger Escape Plan, The Chariot, Botch, and Converge, and they're definitely influenced by those bands, but those bands are the launching point for The Callous Daoboys' music, not the desired destination. Even referring to their long-anticipated sophomore album Celebrity Therapist as just mathcore or metalcore ignores so much of the ground that this album covers. The band cites influences as disparate as Radiohead, The 1975, and Arca. It could be compared to experimental rock bands like Mr. Bungle and Cardiacs as easily as it could be compared to ETID or The Chariot. For a more modern comparison, these theatrical, proggy, chaotic songs arguably share more DNA with the new black midi album than they do with other current metalcore bands. With the dozens of musical ingredients sprinkled across Celebrity Therapist, I could probably sit here for another full paragraph namedropping comparisons, but that kind of misses the point. The Callous Daoboys are connecting dots that are rarely if ever connected, and they're much more than the sum of their influences. The end result of their valiant efforts is an album that never really sounds like any other artist in the world.
Across the eight songs that make up Celebrity Therapist, The Callous Daoboys not only knock down walls between different styles of music, they also ricochet between moods and shapes. It's an album that's funny, angry, sneering, sarcastic, serious, and lighthearted, often in the same song. Lead vocalist Carson Pace has a throat-shredding scream, as well as a pristine singing voice. Jazz interludes and church choirs are just as fair game as mathcore breakdowns. Lyrics are personal and political, introspective and outward-looking, poetic and plainspoken. They're a seven-piece band, with an additional seven guest contributors (including members of For Your Health and Cryptodira), and they've got multiple vocalists, synths, horns, strings, and spoken word augmenting heavy music's traditional guitars/bass/drums setup. As great as the singles (and music videos) are, no one or even three songs can prepare you for Celebrity Therapist; it's an album you really need to hear start to finish -- and probably multiple times -- to fully take in.
In my recent review of the new Pianos Become the Teeth album, I wrote about how the album's heavy parts hit extra hard because they're few and far between, vs an album where every song is heavy. Well, the opposite is true too, and Celebrity Therapist proves it. Take "Beautiful Dude Missile"; it spends most of its first half as an abrasive onslaught of mathcore fury, and when it pauses to sneak in a few gorgeous clean guitar chords, that part manages to snap you out of a daze even more than the heavy parts. On an even grander scale, there's "Title Track." It's a genuinely beautiful song, a dose of bluesy art rock with crystalline vocal harmonies that non-metal listeners would probably consider the most accessible song on the album by a large margin. But it makes so much sense that it wasn't a single; as great as it is on its own, its impact increases tenfold after you've made it through three treacherous mathcore songs to get there. Like everything else on Celebrity Therapist, it's a crucial part of a whole.
Cynics might accuse the band of trying to do way too much at once, or trying to be weird for weird's sake, but every move they make on Celebrity Therapist feels carefully considered. They're not just purveyors of chaos, they're also great songwriters, and that continues to come across even after the initial shock of how jarring the album is wears off. They also come off just as genuine and just as effective whether they're at their weirdest, their heaviest, or their poppiest. They bite off a lot, but they know exactly how to chew all of it. Even when they're at their funniest, there's nothing on Celebrity Therapist that they aren't serious about.
Pick up the new Callous Daoboys on bone & olive green swirl vinyl.
George FitzGerald - Stellar Drifting
UK producer George FitzGerald is back with his first album in four years, Stellar Drifting, and his knack for blurring the lines between underground electronic music and pop appeal is stronger than ever. Throughout Stellar Drifting, George combines clattering beatwork with truly beautiful melodies made up of glistening synths, pitch-shifted vocal samples, celestial ambient soundscapes, and more. He recalls anything from Four Tet's sparkling microhouse on "Setting Sun" to Burial's warped R&B on "Retina Flash," and he does it all in a way that transcends whoever his influences might be. He also brings in some great guest vocalists: SOAK lends their airy voice to "Rainbows and Dreams," London Grammar's Hannah Reid makes "The Last Transmission" sound like the ballad at the end of a dramatic film, and Panda Bear, who's been very prolific this year, brings his usual psych-pop charm to the shuffling "Passed Tense." It's a good mix of songs with guest vocalists and songs without, and not a moment goes by that doesn't offer pure bliss.
Kenny Beats - LOUIE
Kenny Beats has become one of the most omnipresent producers in hip hop, having done a significant amount of work with Vince Staples, Rico Nasty, JPEGMAFIA, Denzel Curry, Freddie Gibbs, Flo Milli, slowthai, and more, and he's also handled production for punk bands like IDLES and Trash Talk. And now he has just put out his first solo album, LOUIE. "I always said that I wouldn’t do a solo album because I didn’t have anything to say," Kenny said in a statement. "Finally, I did. Something dark turned into something beautiful," he added, referring to the news that his father had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. "This album encapsulated the feeling of that one month." Kenny made the album with contributions from some of his famous friends, including Benny Sings, Dijon, Fousheé, JPEGMAFIA, Mac DeMarco, Pink Siifu, Omar Apollo, Paris Texas, Remi Wolf, slowthai, Thundercat, Vince Staples, and more, and you can make out some of those familiar voices in the mix, but it's not your typical album where a hip hop producer gets a bunch of guest rappers to do the talking. It's more like one continuous sound collage, with tracks flowing right into the next, and guest appearances popping up in spurts. It actually doesn't have much in the way of lyrics at all, but Kenny didn't need words to capture the feelings he was feeling. Even without knowing the backstory, you can tell that this is a personal project for Kenny. He so often takes a backseat role, but with LOUIE he's put together a project that's distinctly his.
156/Silence - Narrative
I mentioned above how it wouldn't even be accurate to just refer to The Callous Daoboys as a metalcore band, but if you do want some full-on metalcore this week, 156/Silence are here to meet your needs. Since releasing their breakthrough 2020 album Irrational Pull, they signed to SharpTone Records (Loathe, Dying Wish, etc), put out the killer stopgap EP Don't Hold Your Breath, and now they return with new album Narrative. Like Irrational Pull, it was produced by Andy Nelson, but the production is much bolder and richer sounding on this one, the band's arrangements are more spacious and atmospheric without losing any of their aggression, and vocalist Jack Murray has developed more of an expressive, speak-shouted approach that really brings out the raw emotion in these songs. (Sometimes he kinda sounds like metalcore's answer to La Dispute.) It's an exciting step forward for a band who was already filled with promise.
Vermin Womb - Retaliation
Closed Casket Activities
Ethan McCarthy wears many hats. He handles vocals and guitar in one of the heaviest sludge bands on the planet, Primitive Man, he makes noise music as Many Blessings, and he also fronts the deathgrind band Vermin Womb, whose sophomore album Retaliation has just arrived via Closed Casket Activities (and which coincidentally was also produced by the same person as the 156/Silence album, Andy Nelson). It's almost the polar opposite of Primitive Man, who achieve their monstrous sound at glacial-paced tempos; in contrast, Vermin Womb is an in-your-face, antagonizing whiplash that aims to be as taxing and abrasive as possible. And Ethan finds a little time on Retaliation for his love of noise music too. His throat-shredding roar is as beastly as ever, and he and the rest of the band never let up on their all-out assault of your ear drums.
Read Bill's Indie Basement for more new album reviews, including Stereolab, Bitchin Bajas, Mo Troper, Unloved, Living Hour, and The Orchids.
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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