Round-Up, Mar 19th-Mar 25th

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Chad VanGaalen – World’s Most Stressed Out Gardener

★★★★

Released March 19th, 2021 on Sub Pop Records

Canadian artist Chad VanGaalen adopts a chaotic style here where it’s literally just a matter of throwing all the utensils in the air and seeing which ones stick in the ground. The hit-to-miss ratio is pretty good though, and it’s hard to say which of this album’s disparate styles would be most welcome as a full album.

William Doyle – Great Spans of Muddy Time

★★★☆

Released March 19th, 2021 on Tough Love Records

The Mercury-nominated British artist is young but feels spiritually old. Great Spans of Muddy Time walks the line between ambient experimentation and traditional songwriting that feels very much like Berlin-era David Bowie, which I think is on purpose, at least if the Bandcamp writeup is anything to go by. The ambient parts start to wander a little far but the more cohesive songs are always on point.

Mint Julep – In A Deep And Dreamless Sleep

★★★★

Released March 19th, 2021 on Western Vinyl Records

A summer record released just before spring, In A Deep And Dreamless Sleep is a hazy dream pop record to conjure by. Deconstructs that old C-86 sound until it’s mere suggestions, impressionist brush strokes that imply jangly rock and new wave.

Middle Kids – Today We’re The Greatest

★★★☆

Released March 19th, 2021 on Domino Records

B-list indie rock that makes a concerted effort to to get a spot on the A list. It never quite makes it, but it manages to combine great moments that other bands have already done and so by the process that makes collages cool, Today We’re The Greatest manages a level of cool too.

Boise Cover Band – Unoriginal Artists

★★★☆

Released March 19th, 2021 on Ernest Jenning Record Company

In 2003 Doug Martsch of Built To Spill got together with some friends and put together a briefly-lived local cover band, complete with an album. The album was released as a limited run as a lark and then the band drifted apart when their day jobs started back up again. Seventeen years later Martsch convinced EJRC to put it out again, and here we are, listening to a weird stoned cover of Bowie’s “Ashes To Ashes” and the world’s most charmingly amateurish cover of The Pretenders’ “Back On The Chaingang.” Kind of makes me want to start a cover band, to be honest.

John Dwyer, Ted Byrnes, Greg Coates, Tom Dolas and Brad Caulkins – Endless Garbage

★★☆

Released March 19th, 2021 on Castle Face Records

John Dwyer’s odd muse takes him to strange places, and this time it’s taken him to chaotic free jazz. If you need a clattering background soundtrack to your strange avant-garde video show in the basement of the local community center, here you go.

Triptides – Alter Echoes

★★

Released March 19th, 2021 on Alive Records

Too many bands have done the Nuggets thing since its release. It was cool in 1977 when they scuzzed it up and called it punk, but doing a straight take on Sixties garage rock is, two decades into the 21st Century, a total snooze-fest. Triptides don’t offer anything new or different enough to separate themselves from the horde of slavish imitators that they sound just like.

Lo-Talker – A Comedy Of Errors

★★★

Released March 19th, 2021 on Arts & Crafts Records

A ‘fresh start’ of sorts for Roadkill Ghost Choir frontman Andrew Shepard, A Comedy Of Errors presents bog-standard indie rock with just enough minor alteration to keep things interesting. I’m not sure how much of a fresh start it is, but if it keeps him happy then it’s doing it’s job.

New Bums – Last Time I Saw Grace

★★★☆

Released March 19th, 2021 on Drag City Records

Well-crafted and unpretentious, the guitarist from Six Organs Of Admittance and a member of Skygreen Leopards put together a folk outing that plays to the strengths of both.

Benny The Butcher & Harry Fraud – The Plugs I Met 2

★★

Released March 19th, 2021

Red meat for the hip hop base, complete with questionable lyrics both offensive and tired. Coke rap that is delivered competently, no more and no less. Griselda needs to kick it to the next level if they’re going to stick. You remember Capone-N-Noreaga? No you don’t.

Pink Siifu and Fly Anakin – $mokebreak

★★★☆

Released March 19th, 2021 on Lex Records

Set in and very much sounding like a smoke-filled record shop, $mokebreak isn’t particularly new or progressive, and it often comes across like its protagonists are just fucking around rather than getting to any sort of point. That’s okay though, because this is a record that gets over the wall on vibes alone.

Dvne – Etemen Ænka

★★★☆

Released March 19th, 2021 on Metal Blade Records

Sludgy prog metal that hits that good crunch but also adds interesting textures at odd moments. Anthemic in parts (and with the requisite near-cringe vocal heroics that accompany such things) but also hard and riffy, like early Mastodon records.

Mare Cognitum – Solar Paroxysm

★★★★

Released March 19th, 2021 on Extraconscious Records and I, Voidhanger Records

Fresh off of a song cycle that took atmospheric black metal on a tour of the solar system, Jacob Buczarski returns to the Earth and all of the fragile human souls contained therein. Crushing and exhilarating all at once.

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