Notable Releases of the Week (1/7)
We're only seven days into 2022, and this year is already blessing us with a good amount of good music. One of the most widely anticipated albums of the year has already arrived, and that's not all this first week of 2022 had to offer. I highlight seven releases below, and some honorable mentions include Gunna, The Wombats, rachel jr (of Water From Your Eyes), AITIS BAND (mem Joan of Arc), SIS, Wadada Leo Smith/Henry Kaiser/Alex Varty, the Jon the Movie (mem Rule Them All) EP, the Arrival Note EP, and the official standalone release of David Bowie's "lost" album Toy.
What's your favorite release of the week?
The Weeknd - Dawn FM
The Weeknd's highly anticipated new album Dawn FM is here, and it's a concept album that takes place on an imaginary radio station (starring Jim Carrey as radio DJ) that offers up retrofuturistic '80s pop bliss with an underlying sense of dread. Read my full review of it here.
Burial - Antidawn EP
Burial's latest album (2007's Untrue) is about to celebrate its 15th anniversary this year, and even though Burial hasn't released a full-length since then, that doesn't mean he hasn't remained prolific. He put out tons of great singles and EPs throughout the 2010s (which resulted in his Tunes 2011-2019 compilation), and he's continued to drop new stuff each year since then. Now he's back with Antidawn, and though it's technically an EP, it's definitely not a short or minor release. It's got over 40 minutes of new music, and it finds Burial continuing to push his sound forward. It's full of traits that have become Burial's calling cards -- reverb-heavy atmospheres, gorgeous pitched-up vocal samples -- but it's not a retread of anything he's done before. Burial continues to make music that's immediately recognizable as his work, and that remains on the cutting edge of electronic music in general. There are artists who are still trying to catch up to the advancements in electronic music that Burial made in the 2000s, while he himself just keeps exploring new ground.
APES - Lullabies For Eternal Sleep EP
Quebec's APES have been leaving their mark on the metal/punk world for a few years now, and now they've signed to Translation Loss and hit the studio with producer Will Putney (Every Time I Die, Knocked Loose, Vein.fm) for their new EP Lullabies For Eternal Sleep. Picking up where 2017's very good Lightless left off, it's a harsh, genre-defying trek through hardcore, grindcore, death metal, black metal, sludge, and other extreme subgenres. Sometimes it operates at jackhammer speeds, other times it's slow and heavy, and other times it offers up nothing but white noise (provided in part by Full of Hell's Dylan Walker) before unexpectedly exploding into a series of blood-curdling screams. It's just four songs, but it feels like the band's grandest release yet.
Deaf Club - Productive Disruption
Three One G
Justin Pearson is always active with at least two or three projects at once, but if you want more of the chaotic, "annoying" hardcore he helped pioneer with his classic band The Locust, you don't want to miss out on his newer band Deaf Club. Also including members of ACxDC, Weak Flesh, Run With The Hunted, and The Manx, Deaf Club make blasty, grindy, discordant rippers, and their new LP offers up 14 of them in the span of 25 minutes. It's a pissed-off, often-political album that just so happened to be recorded the same day as the January 6, 2021 Capitol attack, and it was intentionally released on the one-year anniversary (yesterday). Even without that timing, Productive Disruption would clearly function as an antidote to all the bullshit that had been building up in the leadup to the events of 1/6/21. If you're sick of living in a world of Donald Trumps and Tucker Carlsons and QAnon Shamans, Productive Disruption functions as a cathartic release.
The album was also released with an accompanying live performance video of the whole thing, and it's great to see Justin rocking out with just a mic in full frontman mode.
Pigeon Pit - Feather River Canyon Blues
Folk punk is a genre that gets unfairly hated on or ignored more than it stirs up buzz, so when I saw NPR's Lars Gotrich hyping a new folk punk album, I immediately clicked play and was not disappointed. Olympia's Pigeon Pit have albums on Bandcamp dating back to 2014, but this new album -- released on New Year's Day -- is the first I've heard from them, and it's great. With an irresistibly nasally voice, Lomes Oleander wraps defiant and devastating lyrics in comforting melodies, and the songs are fleshed out rustic harmonies, fiddle, banjo, pedal steel, and other appealing, Americana-tinged embellishments. If the term "folk punk" scares you, Pigeon Pit's not at all that different from stuff like The Mountain Goats and The Weakerthans either, and Lars' review also compared them to queer country legends Lavender Country (who Pigeon Pit actually just opened for). If those artists appeal to you, you need this album in your life too.
Forever Unclean - Best
Disconnect Disconnect / Hidden Home / Nasty Cut
Copenhagen's Forever Unclean call themselves "Pop Skate Indie Punk," and that may seem like a mouthful, but it's the perfect description. They sound like the best parts of '90s Fat Wreck Chords-style skate punk with modern indie-punk sensibilities (they also sound a bit like PUP), and it makes for an LP that's refreshing, nostalgia-inducing, and super catchy all at once.
Waxahatchee - El Deafo (OST) EP
Cece Bell's graphic novel El Deafo has been turned into an animated kids series for Apple TV+, and the series comes with a soundtrack made by none other than Waxahatchee. Of the five tracks, only two of them really count as proper songs ("Up in the Sky" and "Tomorrow"), but they're both great, breezy, indie rock songs that would stand tall next to the rest of Waxahatchee's discography even if they weren't written for a TV show. And if nothing else, here's to hoping this show turns some kids onto Waxahatchee!
Looking for more recent releases? Browse the Notable Releases archive or keep scrolling down for previous weeks.
For even more metal, browse the 'Upcoming Releases' each week on Invisible Oranges.
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