It's a busy weekend in the music world, with
weekend two (which Coachella streams live this year), as well as on Saturday. There's a lot of cool stuff coming out on Record Store Day (like the Beach House EP, the Hüsker Dü live record, the Kae Tempest EP, the expanded Dirty Projectors & Björk album, the Ivy demos collection, Wilco's alternate version of Record Store Day Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, a legendary Pearl Jam bootleg, and tons more), but as usual, I tend to keep RSD stuff separate from Notable Releases. There are plenty of great new albums out this week though, 12 of which I highlight below. Bill tackles more in Bill's Indie Basement, including Rose City Band, Holiday Ghosts, Django Django, μ-Ziq, and more.
On top of those, honorable mentions:
Dorthia Cottrell (Windhand), YoungBoy Never Broke Again, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Silver Moth (Mogwai), Zombie Juice (Flatbush Zombies), Paper Bee, Easy Beach, EUX, Lloyd Banks, Doki Doki (Dog Party, Grumpster, Small Crush, Get Married), Peezy, Dommengang, Dawn of Ouroboros, Morgan Heritage, Baba Ali, Annie Hart, Nourished by Time, Dreamer Isioma, Ian Hunter (Mott the Hoople), Brother May, Magazine Beach, Sign Language, Charm, Nathan Connolly (Snow Patrol), Arthur King, the Swizz Beatz EP, the Queen Key EP, the Léa Sen EP, The Mars Volta's acoustic version of their latest album, and the deluxe edition of Stars' From Capelton Hill.
Read on for my picks. What's your favorite release of the week?
redveil - playing w/ fire EP self-released
At the turn of the 2010s, a new generation of rappers arrived with a fresh perspective that threatened to change the rap game forever--artists like Odd Future, Danny Brown, Denzel Curry--and redveil feels like the true heir to their thrones. He's been co-signed by Tyler, the Creator, he toured and
collaborated with Denzel Curry, and he's the sole guest on the new JPEGMAFIA & Danny Brown album. His music also shares various traits with all of those rappers, but he never sounds like he's imitating any of them. He's a true auteur who handles much of his rapping, singing, production, and instrumentation on his own, and he's been on a roll lately. He released one of the best albums of 2022 with learn 2 swim, and now he follows it with the playing w/ fire EP in the midst of his first-ever headlining tour. It's only got six songs, but that's enough to prove that redveil is still pushing forward. The aforementioned JPEGMAFIA makes an appearance, as does R&B/soul singer Mekdelawit, and the EP shows off so much range. He blurs the lines between organic instrumentation and synthetic production, and he fills the EP with melodic hooks and lyrical turns of phrases that land with severe impact. It's not just that redveil's music reminds me of the sounds of that exciting early 2010s era; it's that he's as hungry and talented and as original as his heroes were back then too.
Esther Rose, Safe To Run
Esther Rose - Safe to Run New West Records Safe to Run is alt-country singer Esther Rose's first album since 2021's great , and since then, she's signed to New West Records and relocated from New Orleans to Santa Fe. She also brought in some new collaborators for this album--New Orleans band How Many Times Silver Synthetic backed her on several tracks, Cameron Snyder of her new labelmates The Deslondes appears, and Hurray For The Riff Raff's Alynda Segarra duets with her on the title track--alongside past collaborators Ross Farbe (who also produced) and Lyle Werner. What hasn't changed, though, is Ester's ability to write warm, gorgeous country and folk songs. As on her earlier material, Esther's voice has a timeless quality to it on these songs, and the arrangements are lush, earthy, and welcoming like a warm summer day. Safe to Run is one of those albums you can just put on and drift away with.
superviolet - Infinite Spring Lame-O Records
This past December, The Sidekicks
revealed that the reason they'd been quiet for a few years is that they'd broken up. It marked the end of one of the most beloved and frequently-underrated bands of the past 15 years, but just a few months later, we learned that singer/guitarist Steven Ciolek was turning his focus towards a new project, superviolet. Having formed The Sidekicks when he was 15 and only just starting to write music, writing with a band was really all Steven ever knew, so he considers superviolet a "clean slate," a way to try out different ideas that maybe wouldn't have worked in a band environment. "The idea behind Infinite Spring as an album was to try to capture that feeling of openness or possibility or growth," he said. He made the album in close collaboration with Zac Little, leader of Saintseneca (which Steve has also played in), and The Sidekicks' Matty Sanders drummed on it, so even though it is a solo album, it does have some of the familiar chemistry we've heard from Steven and his friends over the years. Steven has a distinct songwriting style that makes Infinite Spring instantly recognizable as the work of The Sidekicks' leader, but he's also never really written songs like this before. It tends to be a lighter folk-pop record, with only a few louder indie rock moments, and this vibe suits Steven well. He also sounds refreshed as a songwriter, and he injects this album with melodies, sentiments, and vivid imagery that you feel in your bones.
everything but the girl-FUSE-COVER-3000px
Everything But The Girl - Fuse Buzzin' Fly/Virgin
Tracey Thorn and Ben Watt are back with the first Everything But The Girl album in 24 years, and to quote Bill, it's "pretty much everything you could want from a EBTG record in 2023." Read his
Alfa Mist - Variables ANTI-
Alfa Mist's music knows no bounds. On his fourth album
Variables, the UK musician casually weaves between jazz, hip hop, and soul, with flashes of various other styles of music along the way. Sometimes the album offers up sprawling jazz odysseys, other times it offers up concise rap and R&B songs, and most of the time it's somewhere in between. Alfa Mist gets help from soul singer/frequent collaborator Kaya Thomas-Dyke and South African folk singer Bongeziwe Mabandla, and the album features some of his own rapping too. It's got a great sequence that mixes things up between vocal-oriented songs and instrumentals, and between lively improvisation and head-nod-inducing grooves. It's an album that never chooses between jazz-influenced hip hop and hip hop-influenced jazz; it's somewhere in the middle, creating something new that sounds like neither and both all at once.
Portrayal of Guilt
Portrayal of Guilt - Devil Music Run For Cover
Ever the unpredictable band, Portrayal of Guilt now return with
Devil Music, an album unlike much else in the punk and metal world, and unlike anything they've previously done. It's split into two halves, with five new songs on Side A, and an orchestral re-imagining of those same five songs on Side B. Side A was recorded and mixed by Majority Rule's Matt Michel, while side B was recorded and mixed by Uniform's Ben Greenberg. Past collaborator Jenna Rose provides guest vocals on "Where Angels Come to Die." On Side A, PoG do what they do best, blurring the lines between screamo, black metal, noise, goth rock, and more, and coming out with something that's nearly impossible to describe but immediately recognizable as Portrayal of Guilt. On Side B, they apply their harshly screamed vocals to brooding orchestral arrangements in a way that's somehow even more unsettling than the overtly metal half of the record. And, crucially, it works. The second half is just as gripping as the first, and the presentations are so vastly different that listening to the same five songs twice in a row never feels redundant. Get 'Devil Music' on 'Grey In Clear' vinyl limited to 200.
Bell Witch - Future’s Shadow Part 1: The Clandestine Gate Profound Lore
The six-year wait for a followup to 2017's
Mirror Reaper is finally over. Bell Witch tided us over with 2020's , a joint album with frequent collaborator Aerial Ruin, but they hadn't released a proper new Bell Witch album until now. Stygian Bough Volume I Future’s Shadow Part 1: The Clandestine Gate was announced just three days ago, and as the title implies, it's part one in a planned triptych of longform albums, which will be collectively known as Future's Shadow. Like Mirror Reaper, The Clandestine Gate is presented as one long 83-minute track. It goes through a number of changes, from ambient organs to bone-crushing funeral doom, from chanted vocals to harsh screams. The whole thing moves at a glacial pace, and is not really intended for casual listening. Give The Clandestine Gate the time it deserves, and it just might consume you.
Bella White - Among Other Things Rounder
Calgary singer/songwriter Bella White turned a lot of heads with her 2020 debut album
Just Like Leaving, and the album's success led her to sign a deal with Rounder Records, who gave the album a worldwide release in 2021 and now issues her sophomore album Among Other Things. The new album was produced by Jonathan Wilson (Father Jjohn Misty, Angel Olsen), has Big Thief's Buck Meek on guitar, and features contributions from Erin Rae, multi-instrumentalist/string arranger Drew Erickson (Lana Del Rey, Weyes Blood, Angel Olsen), and Bella's longtime bandmate Patrick M’Gonigle, and it's got a bigger, cleaner sound than Bella's debut, but her songwriting is just as intimate and raw. Her songs toe the line between country and folk, and her bluegrass roots shine through at times too. There are clearly some decades-old influences at play here, but Bella's songwriting feels personal and modern. She's not trying to fit in anywhere, she's just using some time-tested traditions to say what she needs to say.
Predatory Void - Seven Keys to the Discomfort of Being Century Media
Predatory Void are a new Belgian post-metal band started by guitarist Lennart Bossu (Amenra, Oathbreaker) that also features vocalist Lina R (Cross Bringer), bassist Tim De Gieter (Amenra, Doodseskader), guitarist Thijs De Cloedt (Cobra The Impaler, ex-Aborted), and drummer Vincent Verstrepen (Carnation), and in Lennart's own words, "I kind of consider Predatory Void Oathbreaker's more obnoxious and delinquent sibling who will not hesitate to punch you in the face if needed." Lennart is the main songwriter, but everyone contributed, and the result is a deeply intense metal album that rarely stays in one place for long. There's pulverizing black metal and ten-ton doom, post-rock buildups and gentle folky passages, throat-shredding shrieks and ethereal clean vocals. The more tender moments are downright beautiful, but the heavy stuff gives any extreme metal band around a run for their money. The heavy stuff is
really fucking heavy.
Gabe 'Nandez Pangea
Gabe 'Nandez - Pangea POW Recordings
Gabe 'Nandez is a rapper based in NYC--though he's also lived in Haiti, Tanzania, and Jerusalem--and he's been pretty prolific these past few years, but even if you haven't heard one of his own projects, you might've heard him alongside Boldy James on "Sauvage," one of the big highlights of last year's widely-acclaimed billy woods album
. This week, Gabe released his own new project, Aethiopes Pangea, and it's a great one. It's got eight songs, all produced by Tony Seltzer (Wiki, MIKE, Princess Nokia), and Tony and Gabe's styles go really well together on Pangea. Both have a knack for using familiar, accessible tricks in inventive ways, making for a record that's easy to process but never predictable.
All Hands_Make Light, Darling The Dawn
ALL HANDS_MAKE LIGHT - Darling The Dawn Constellation
ALL HANDS_MAKE LIGHT is the new duo of Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra co-founder Efrim Manuel Menuck and recent Broken Social Scene member / La Force leader Ariel Engle, and their debut album was made with Efrim's partner/frequent collaborator Jessica Moss on violin, SUUNS' Liam O’Neil on drums, and mixing by The Besnard Lakes' Jace Lasek. Across seven songs--some of which near or pass the 10-minute mark--ALL HANDS_MAKE LIGHT brew up a concoction that pulls from drone, folk music, post-rock, and more. There's both a darkness and a spirituality to their music, which sometimes sounds like a literal cross between Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Broken Social Scene, and sometimes sounds like nothing else Efrim and Ariel have ever done.
Lael Neale - Star Eaters Delight
Lael Neale - Star Eaters Delight Sub Pop
Singer/songwriter Lael Neale left Los Angeles at the beginning of Covid lockdown in 2020, moving back to her famiy's farm in rural Virginia, where she began work on her third album,
Star Eaters Delight. It finds her working again with Guy Blakeslee, who did the arrangements and production, together compiling a collection of songs with the weight and conviction of hymns. Some have a more spare, lo-fi feel, with Neale's voice accompanied by vintage instruments, including her signature mellotron, but the real centerpiece is the eight-minute "In Verona," which brings a real sense of urgency to its invocations of Shakespeare. [Amanda Hatfield]
Bill's Indie Basement for more new album reviews, including Rose City Band, Holiday Ghosts, Django Django, and μ-Ziq.
Looking for more recent releases? Browse the
Notable Releases archive or scroll down for previous weeks.
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