Lord Huron – Long Lost
Released May 21st, 2021 on Whispering Pines Records
Not that long ago this was a band that traded in ghostly forest-folk music. Apparently the trajectory of fame and growing audiences has led them to listen to a lot of Byrds records. Framing it as a long-lost TV variety show and bringing in dollops of old country and soul music is a solid move, but I still swear that “Not Dead Yet” is just a rewrite of AF’s “(Antichrist Television Blues)”.
Mdou Moctar – Afrique Victime
Released May 21st, 2021 on Matador Records
A Tuareg guitarist from Niger who marries scorching lead guitar work to traditional Saharan music and espouses fiery politics a la Fela Kuti. Matador claims it to be a combination of late-70s/early-80s Van Halen, Black Flag, and Black Uhuru, and that’s actually a fair approximation.
Georgia Anne Muldrow – VWETO III
Released May 21st, 2021 on Foreseen Records
A relentless set of grooving beats that never once stop moving.
Gruff Rhys – Seeking New Gods
Released May 21st, 2021 on Rough Trade Records
A snappy power-pop record with blurred, squealing edges and a relentless step, as you might expect from the singer of the Super Furry Animals.
BABii – MiiROR
Released May 21st, 2021 on Supernature Records
UK hyperpop leavened with thick bass, which manages to carry it through the places where the hooks are thin.
Gary Numan – Intruder
Released May 21st, 2021 on BMG
The one-time synth-rock/New Wave/industrial pioneer now sounds like he’s playing a desperate game of catch-up with people who’ve long since outdistanced him.
PACKS – Take The Cake
Released May 21st, 2021 on Fire Talk Records
When Madeline Link says her music is a meeting of old and new, what she means is that it’s alt-rock crossed with contemporary bands who also were influenced by old alt rock.
Sons of Raphael – Full-Throated Messianic Homage
Released May 21st, 2021 on Because Music
Takes any number of lessons from hyperpop, just none of the right ones.
Dayglow – Harmony House
Released May 21st, 2021 on Very Nice Records
If you’ve heard the lead single “Something” then you’ve heard everything. Some nice Seventies-esque sax work on “December” though, and “Crying on the Dancefloor” is pure Eighties AOR schlock if you’re into that sort of thing.
CHAI – WINK
Released May 21st, 2021 on Sub Pop Records
A winsome whirlwind of bass-heavy indie studded with synths and chops and occasionally breaks. Sets out to deconstruct traditional Japanese notions of beauty and femininity and does a damn good job at it.
Fiddlehead – Between The Richness
Released May 21st, 2021 on Run For Cover Records
The copy reads “Fiddlhead were never supposed to make second record” and while I feel it’s a bit unsympathetic to say “I concur”, there isn’t really enough variety from themselves and from other, better bands to make me say much else.
Lambchop – Showtunes
Released May 21st, 2021 on Merge Records
So goddamn gossamer and ambient it might as well float away on the breeze.
Billie Martin – Flora Fauna
Released May 21st, 2021 on Fiction Records
Another singer-songwriter who is attempting to convey Billie Eilish’s delivery with bog standard indie rock, not realizing that they’re the Snow Patrol to Radiohead.
Fly Pan Am – Frontera
Released May 21st, 2021 on Constellation Records
The Montreal multimedia collective runs through a diverse collection of sounds, but they remind me most especially of an OCAD art-funk band I once saw on the streets of Toronto during Nuit Blanche. There were people making out heavily in front of me and it was extremely distracting, but from what I remember it sounded something like this.
Yoo Doo Right – Don’t Think You Can Escape Your Purpose
Released May 21st, 2021 on Mothman Records
Buzzy, brash post-rock from a Montreal band with a pretty terrible name.
Storefront Church – As We Pass
Released May 21st, 2021 on Sargent House Records
An L.A. rock band that’s managed to figure out how to do tough and tender in amounts that don’t overwhelm each other. It walks a thin line, but it walks it.
Haerts – Dream Nation
Released May 21st, 2021 on Antifragile Records
It sounds like it should be derivative of a thousand Nineties-mining bands and in a sense they are, but this is also a pretty good start when it comes to making dream pop and sometimes it comes out successful. This is one of those times.
Erika de Casier – Sensational
Released May 21st, 2021 on 4AD Records
Slinky and breezy R&B that draws directly from the well of the late 90s and the early 00s, haunted by and empowered by the ghosts of Left Eye and Aaliyah.
FACS – Present Tense
Released May 21st, 2021 on Trouble in Mind Records
Post-post punk, as is the sound of the era, but with less of the whirlwind that finally brings about coherence that their peers deal in so well.
Jess And The Ancient Ones – Vertigo
Released May 21st, 2021 on Svart Records
Imagine, if you will, a psychedelic garage-punk band fronted by Gracie Slick. They call it metal, but in Finland they call everything metal.
Cult of Dom Keller – They Carried The Dead In A U.F.O.
Released May 21st, 2021 on Fuzz Club Records
Equal parts pounding fuzz heat and self-indulgent messy noise.
The Tragically Hip – Saskadelphia
Released May 21st, 2021 on Universal Music
Saskadelphia was originally the name the band wanted to use for 1991’s Road Apples but major label sanitization required them to use a name that was less overtly Canadian. So they recycled it for use in this collection of outtakes (and one live track) culled from one of their peak eras. They are all instantly recognizable as coming from this particular era of the band’s history, and I’ll be dead honest: it’s a little spooky to hear the late Gord Downie so young and vital and on top of his game as he is on these previously unreleased bits of Hip lore.
Anchorsong – Mirage
Released May 21st, 2021 on Tru Thoughts Records
While his from-scratch live shows are a thing to behold, Masaaki Yoshida’s live work is merely pretty good. Without the pressure of creating in front of an audience, the album feels too precise, in a way. Still miles beyond the great mass pile of producers, though.
Colleen – The Tunnel and The Clearing
Released May 21st, 2021 on Thrill Jockey Records
Simplistic rather than complex is sometimes a problem in electronic music – simple is often too clubby, too amateur-hour, and while minimalist house and other microgenres have made a name for ‘less is more’, it’s often a sign that a producer hasn’t thought through their sounds enough. Not so with Colleen; here, she offers vulnerable emotions in simple arrangements of analog equipment, with traces of trance bringing a sort of hazy wonder to these tracks.
Yautja – The Lurch
Released May 21st, 2021 on Relapse Records
Whiplashes between headalong thrash abandon and sludgy wallowing in noise and screaming. Rather satisfyingly, too.
Olivia Rodrigo – Sour
Released May 21st, 2021 on Geffen / Polydor Records
Nothing on here lives up to the promise of “Brutal” but also nothing on here is as insipidly bad as “Driver’s License” so it’s…okay?
twenty one pilots – Scaled And Icy
Released May 21st, 2021 on Fueled By Ramen Records
This album, like every previous twenty one pilots album, falls squarely into the category of music my wife calls “Owl City Bullshit.” Also “Mulberry Street” is just a rip-off of “Benny and the Jets.” Three thumbs down.
Mach-Hommy – Pray For Haiti
Released May 21st, 2021 on Griselda Records
Haitian-by-way-of-Newark, Mach-Hommy combines deep cut hip hop references, cutting word play, and a flow like prime Billy Woods with backup from Griselda’s best, Westside Gunn. There’s so much to like on this record and every spin reveals something new.
42 Dugg – Free Dem Boyz
Released May 21st, 2021 on 4PF/CMG
I’d say that he’d be a whole lot better withtout the bargain basement beats, but I’d probably be lying.
YG & Mozzy – Kommunity Service
Released May 21st, 2021 on Mozzy Records
A meeting of two solid gangsta MCs that doesn’t dazzle or do anything of particular note but does what it does well enough that you can put it on when a certain mood comes over the moon.
An Autumn For Crippled Children – As The Morning Dawns We Close Our Eyes
Released May 21st, 2021 on Prosthetic Records
Blackgaze is always a fun genre because it’s hard to screw it up and it’s always a decent listen. While the album is certainly no Sunbather it does have some moments of real frission and it never drops below a certain level of quality.
Dr. Colossus – I’m A Stupid Moron With An Ugly Face And A Big Butt And My Butt Smells And I Like To Kiss My Own Butt
Released May 21st, 2021 on Death Mountain Records
So, on the face of it, a band combining an obvious love of Sleep with a cavalcade of Simpsons references shouldn’t work. The fact that it does, really well, is absolutely Schwarzweldian. “So Long Stinktown” is an absolute banger.
ESOCTRILIHUM – Dy’th Requiem For The Serpent Telepath
Released May 21st, 2021 on I, Voidhanger Records
An expansive, creative album of blackened death so bursting with ideas that it’s hard to keep up with them all. This also goes for the creator, who seems to toss this sort of thing off as a matter of habit. If the sound quality suffers here and there, it’s almost to be expected.
Acausal Intrusion – Nulitas
Released May 21st, 2021 on I, Voidhanger Records
Heavy and technically complex, but the guitars sound like mud and the drums clatter more than pound. In the end the low-end frequencies bleed into each other too much.
Nadja – Luminous Rot
Released May 21st, 2021 on Southern Lord Records
Ambient doom metal with a lot of little nooks and crannies to hide interesting sounds in.