Round-Up, May 7th-May 13th

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Skee Mask – Pool

★★★☆

Released May 7th, 2021 on Ilian Tape Records

A liquid and deeply satisfying collection of ambient and dnb tracks.

Fucked Up – Year Of The Horse Act 4

★★★★

Released May 7th, 2021 on FU Records

The final installment in Fucked Up’s lengthy Year Of The Horse project careens from slamming hardcore (or popcore, as Emily Haines once accused the band of being) to swinging indie-pop cabaret music in the space of nearly half an hour.

Alife Templeman – Forever Isn’t Long Enough

★★★☆

Released May 7th, 2021 on Chess Club Records

The lyrics are no great shakes but he did this all himself and he’s only 18. I feel like there are probably big, funky things in his future.

Mia Joy – Spirit Tamer

★★★

Released May 7th, 2021 on Fire Talk Records

Dream pop for somnambulists.

Man On Man – Man On Man

★★★☆

Released May 7th, 2021 on Polyvinyl Records

A dreamy but unpretentious power pop outing from the Faith No More keyboardist and his partner. Has great keyboard parts, as you might imagine.

New Order – Education, Entertainment, Recreation

★★★

Released May 7th, 2021 on Mute Records

This makes five live albums in ten years, and two studio records. Clearly the band knows which side the butter is on. They tour through most of their eight albums and includes some Joy Division classics, but Bernard Summer’s voice is here and there. On some of the more monotone tracks he still pulls it off alright, but this version of “Regret” causes some winces.

Natalie Bergman – Mercy

★★★

Released May 7th, 2021 on Third Man Records

The lyrics do absolutely zero for me but if you’re a devout Christian and you’re despairing about finding anything halfway decent to listen to that shares your faith, musically this is a pretty good blend of folk, psych, and classic soul. The rare Christian album that violates the Hank Hill Rule of Christian Rock.

Sam Valdez – Take Care

★★★

Released May 7th, 2021 on B3SCI Records

Lana Del Rey without the dead-eyed sadness, and therefore without the vestige of personality granted unto her by this. Still, this is beautifully made, so someone’ll like it.

Linn Koch-Emmery – Being The Girl

★★★★

Released May 7th, 2021 on Boys Tears Records

Finely tuned alt-power-pop, likely one of the finest you’ll hear all year.

Sophia Kennedy – Monsters

★★★☆

Released May 7th, 2021 on City Slang Records

Imagine, if you will, an old-soul Merrill Garbus who dabbles in electronic swells and sounds instead of world-beat rhythm extravaganzas. That’s Sophia Kennedy’s Monsters, a beat-heavy exploration of Kennedy’s particular songwriting style, a snapshot of modern pop exploration for better or worse.

Teke::Teke – Shirushi

★★★★

Released May 7th, 2021 on Kill Rock Stars

What Dengue Fever did for Cambodian psych-rock, Montreal’s Teke::Teke does for Japanese soundtrack music from the 1960s and 70s. That is to say, it brings it screaming into the modern era with an approach that borrows as much from psychedelic and punk as it does from the source material.

CZARFACE & MF DOOM – Super What?

★★★☆

Released May 7th, 2021 on Silver Age Records

Probably one of many posthumous MF DOOM releases in the wake of the veteran MC’s untimely death in 2020. CZARFACE, led by Wu-Tang alum Inspectah Deck, delivers a thick chunk of classic Wu-era bangers but despite the man’s name being emblazoned on the cover, there just isn’t enough DOOM on here.

Marissa Nadler – Instead of Dreaming

★★★☆

Released May 7th, 2021 on Sacred Bones Records

Sometimes cover albums can be good. Sometimes they can be fucking awful. Instead of Dreaming is thankfully in the former category, taking a disparate (ish) group of artists and making them sound like Nadler might have written them in the first place. The America deep cut is especially nice to hear.

Wy – Marriage

★★

Released May 7th, 2021 on Rama Lama Records

One of those albums you can’t remember a blessed thing about twenty minutes after you stop listening to it. Does an unfortunate job of trying to be boygenius without the personalities.

Cosmo Jones Beat Machine – Skeleton Elevator

★★★

Released May 7th, 2021 on Svart Records

It’s bouncy and it has that beat, but it’s still boomer rock for all of that.

Stars Hollow – I Want To Live My Life

★★☆

Released May 7th, 2021 on Acrobat Unstable Records

Wow, a mediocre midwestern emo album from a band named after the absurdly twee town from Gilmore Girls? Is this an obscure Bojack Horseman joke?

Tony Allen – There Is No End

★★★★

Released April 30th, 2021 on Decca Records

The late dean of Nigerian jazz drumming and bona fide beat-making genius Tony Allen is paid tribute to on a posthumous record that combines his own hand-crafted and ethereal beats with a hot collection of serious underground MCs, including Danny Brown.

McKinley Dixon – For My Mama And Anyone Who Look Like Her

★★★☆

Released May 7th, 2021 on Spacebomb Records

There’s a lot to like here, but it’s too reminiscent of other, bigger artists to make its own particular statement. It’s coming, though; you can feel it coming.

Jusell, Prymek, Sage, Shiroishi Yamawarau

★★★☆

Released May 7th, 2021 on cachedmedia

Spring jazz, full of light airs and swirling violin. Music for bright spaces and brighter days.

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones – When God Was Great

★★★

Released May 7th, 2021 on Hellcat Records

The Bosstones success in 1997 was always a fluke. They were a B-tier band even in the ska scene; they’re not exactly Voodoo Glow Skulls or Reel Big Fish after all, appearance in Clueless or not. However, the years seem to have treated them kindly and they seem to still be able to turn in a decent record, so who am I to roll my eyes?

Will Stratton – The Changing Wilderness

★★★

Released May 7th, 2021 on Bella Union Records

A slippery little British folk/chamber-folk record that revels in the woods without actually setting foot outside of them.

Ashe – Ashlyn

★★★☆

Released May 7th, 2021 on Mom + Pop Records

Not the most innovative or groundshaking pop record ever created, but full of good melodies, an undeniable rhythmic swing, and some decent lyrical lines. All in all not bad, and promising for the future.

Weezer – Van Weezer

★☆

Released May 7th, 2021 on Crush Records

Fuck off.

Night Lovell – Just Say You Don’t Care

★★☆

Released May 7th, 2021 on G*59 Records

The beats are heavy and the bass is menacing but his flow doesn’t switch up much so it peters out about halfway through.

Tee Grizzley – Built For Whatever

★★☆

Released May 7th, 2021 on 300 Records

Cheap beats, cluttered flow, and generic subject matter do this record absolutely no favours. There’s a couple of head nodders here and there but you can find better versions of this exact stuff pretty much anywhere.

Cochise – Benbow Crescent

★★★

Released May 7th, 2021 on Columbia Records

Synth-heavy production and scattershot melodic delivery make for a markedly uneven experience.

Ghost Iris – Comatose

★★★☆

Released May 7th, 2021 on Long Branch Records

A lot of djent mixed in with some metalcore and melodic hardcore, and the guy’s voice is one of those that reminds you of many great metal vocalists without being an imitation of any one of them.

Book Of Wyrms – Occult New Age

★★★

Released May 7th, 2021 on Desert Records

Heavy stoner rock that borrows as much from the Pacific Northwest of the Nineties as it does from the dank wood-paneled basements and D&D games of the late Seventies. Singer Sarah Moore Lindsey is a great counterpoint to the churn and toil of the rest of the band; they just need to center her voice a little more and pump up the volume, as she tends to get a bit buried by the guitars.

Feed Them Death – Negative

★★★☆

Released May 7th, 2021 on Brucia Records

Brutal and as dark as the void behind the stars.

Artillery – X

★★

Released May 7th, 2021 on Metal Blade Records

Muted thrash that would have been considered C-tier even in the trash heyday of the mid-to-late Eighties.

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