Notable Releases of the Week (3/17)
Greetings from Austin! We're down here for another very busy SXSW (thanks to everyone who stopped by our parties earlier this week!), so I won't spend too much time on the intro. I highlight six new albums below, and Bill tackles more in Bill's Indie Basement, including Unknown Mortal Orchestra, The Lost Days (Tony Molina + Sarah Rose Janko), Death & Vanilla, Technology + Teamwork, Korine, Django Django, and more.
On top of those, this week's honorable mentions include R.J.F. (Ross Farrar of Ceremony), 100 gecs, EST Gee, Gideon, Lil Keed, Quin NFN, Money Man, Úlfúð, Kosaya Gora, Daddy Long Legs, Black Honey, Emiliana Torrini & The Colorist Orchestra, Ill Communication, Doug Paisley, Foretoken, Night Demon, Chelsea Grin, the Raging Nathans/Mikey Erg Band split, the XweaponX/World of Pleasure split, the Bayside EP, the Princess Nokia EP, the LONG.WAY.DOWN EP, the Torena EP, the Hyperdontia EP, the country Rolling Stones tribute album (ft. Maren Morris, Steve Earle, Ashley McBryde, Eric Church, Lainey Wilson, Elvie Shane & more), the U2 album of re-recordings, the T-Pain covers album, and the Inspiral Carpets comp.
Read on for my picks. What's your favorite release of the week?
Yves Tumor - Praise A Lord Who Chews But Which Does Not Consume; (Or Simply, Hot Between Worlds)
Sean Bowie has spent most of their career as Yves Tumor morphing from experimentalist into bold, glammy art-rocker, and at this point, the transformation is complete. Picking up where 2021's crowdpleasing The Asymptotical World EP left off, Praise A Lord Who Chews But Which Does Not Consume; (Or Simply, Hot Between Worlds) really leans into the loud, hook-fueled material that's perfect for the Coachella stage that Yves will be gracing this April. But as always, Yves approaches rock and pop music on their own terms; getting more accessible doesn't mean abandoning their stranger tendencies or softening the blow of their sharp, distinct voice. As ever, Yves Tumor is an expert at blending familiar sounds in unfamiliar ways; Praise A Lord recalls an array of different styles of music, including but definitely not limited to new wave, psychedelia, post-punk, grunge, funk, chillwave, and krautrock, and Yves often touches on two or more of those per song. With production from Noah Goldstein (Frank Ocean, Kanye, Bon Iver, etc), mixing by Alan Moulder (My Bloody Valentine, Ride, Nine Inch Nails, etc), and a cast of talented contributors (including standout guest vocalist Kidä on "Lovely Sewer"), Praise A Lord sounds fantastic, with a timeless sheen that's perfect for the concoction of sounds that Yves has stirred up.
M83 - Fantasy
Since skyrocketing to the forefront of popular indie with 2011's Hurry Up, We're Dreaming, Anthony Gonzalez has seemingly been retreating from the spotlight. It took him five years to put out a followup, 2016's more "difficult" (and underrated!) Junk, and he's otherwise been busy with soundtrack albums and the instrumental ambient album DSVII. Fantasy is the first proper M83 album since Junk, and it's also their most accessible album since Hurry Up, We're Dreaming. There's nothing as poppy as "Midnight City," but there are some very catchy "single-y" moments, along with plenty of more mood-based material. It's classic M83, and it's a gorgeous record. For more, Bill's got a longer review in Bill's Indie Basement.
Deathcrash - Less
Fire Talk / Untitled (Recs)
Last year, UK band Deathcrash caught our ears with their debut full-length Return, a 65-minute album that puts a fresh spin on '90s post-rock and slowcore. They intended to follow it up this year with an EP, but once they got to writing, the songs started pouring out and they ended up with another expansive full-length album, Less. It's an album that marks a clear progression from their debut; it's still got some post-rock and slowcore influence, but this is overall a louder, heavier, and more immediate album that leans into the band's emo and post-hardcore influences, with bigger choruses and more screaming than Deathcrash's debut. Picture a cross between like, Low and Thursday, and you're somewhere in the ballpark of what Deathcrash are doing on Less.
The Van Pelt - Artisans & Merchants
Just as Chris Leo was closing the book on his pioneering emo/post-hardcore band Native Nod, he began turning his focus towards what would become another iconic '90s band, The Van Pelt. Their mix of post-hardcore, post-rock, and spoken word gained them comparisons to Slint, but The Van Pelt were doing more than stealing from their favorite thieves; they developed their own style and--across two now-classic albums--became one of the most beloved and influential bands of their era. They called it quits in 1997, around which time Chris and former bassist Toko Yasuda (later of Enon, Blonde Rehead, St. Vincent, Sleater-Kinney, and Cate Le Bon's band) formed The Lapse, and would go on to briefly reunite over the years for live shows and 2014's Imaginary Third, a collection of previously unreleased '90s material that they were working on for a third album before breaking up. Now, 26 years since their last proper album, The Van Pelt have finally released an entire album of new music, Artisans & Merchants. More than a quarter-century may have passed by, but The Van Pelt sound just like you remember them. Artisans & Merchants has that classic Van Pelt mix of spoken word, sprawling instrumentals, and the occasional melodic singing, and these new songs carry the same emotional weight and lyrical wit as the band's classic '90s records. It was recorded and mixed by Jeff Zeigler (The War On Drugs, Kurt Vile), who helps give The Van Pelt an ever-so-slightly more modern production style without tainting the humble, trad-indie vibes they're best known for, and it's got a few minor embellishments courtesy of Chris' brother Ted Leo and American Football's Nate Kinsella. The Van Pelt were always a band with some unfinished business, and Artisans & Merchants doubles down on the fact that they needed to come back. They truly had more to say, and they sound fantastic saying it.
Kruelty - Untopia
Tokyo's Kruelty are one of the heaviest bands on the planet right now. They fall right in the middle of the death metal/hardcore venn diagram, and even with that becoming an increasingly populated sphere, Kruelty still stand out. They also branch out into black metal, doom, trash, and other extremities, and they sound absolutely brutal throughout all of it. Their sophomore LP Untopia was produced by Taylor Young, who knows a thing or two about making bands in this realm sound as vicious as possible, and Kruelty rise to the occasion, with seven slabs of beastly, skull-cracking terror.
Downfall of Gaia - Silhouettes Of Disgust
Germany's Downfall of Gaia formed in 2008 as a crust punk band and slowly morphed into an atmospheric black metal band over the years, and with their new album Silhouettes Of Disgust, they aim to bring all of it together. "With this record we wanted to return to our roots and the earlier days, but without taking a step back," vocalist/guitarist Dominik Goncalves dos Reis said via press release. "We wanted to incorporate both worlds into our new album, where we came from - the DIY/crust punk scene - and the direction things have taken over the past few years." That's exactly what they did on Silhouettes Of Disgust, a heavy-yet-beautiful album that sounds like the middle ground between Cult of Luna, Deafheaven, and Disfear. It's an album that really transcends genre, not just metal subgenres but metal in general; if you like intense, guitar-based rock music of any kind, this musically-varied album likely has something for you.
Read Bill's Indie Basement for more new album reviews, including Unknown Mortal Orchestra, The Lost Days (Tony Molina + Sarah Rose Janko), Death & Vanilla, Technology + Teamwork, Korine, Django Django, and more.
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 about classic emo albums turning 10 this year.