New Music Roundup June 18th-June 24th

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Kings of Convenience – Peace or Love

★★★

Released June 18th, 2021 on EMI Records

Norway’s answer to Simon and Garfunkel return for the first time since the early Obama era with a record that speeds by with clever little folk-duo songs that present a complex interplay of melody. It’s fine and all, but they’ve always come off as a sort of overly knowing and dry take on Belle and Sebastian songs that lack a certain charisma. This album doesn’t really change that.

Cola Boyy – Prosthetic Boombox

★★★★

Released June 18th, 2021 on MGMT Records

Serious disco funk from a dude with both spina bifida and scoliosis. He’s also a hard champion of the working class. Did I mention he’s on MGMT’s new record label? There’s a whole lot to love here.

Andrew Hung – Devastations

★★★☆

Released June 18th, 2021 on Lex Records

The Fuck Buttons founder wrestles with his own demons and the ghosts of Eighties gloom pop on this buzzy, propulsive record.

Francis Lung – Bad Hair Day

★★★☆

Released June 18th, 2021 on Memphis Industries

The former bassist for Wu Lyf – who just celebrated the 10th anniversary of their one and only album – turns out a record of weirdly straightforward and low-key pop music. Shades of Elton John and the Beatles’ solo work from the Seventies.

Max Bloom – Pedestrian

★★★

Released June 18th, 2021 on Ultimate Blends

Max Bloom used to be the frontman for Yuck, who spent the early part of the 2010s putting together a pretty fair Dinosaur Jr. tribute act. Here, though, generic indie pop is the name of the game and while Bloom is exceedingly competent at it, there just isn’t much here to excite me.

Benjamin Francis Leftwich – To Carry A Whale

★★★☆

Released June 18th, 2021 on Dirty Hit Records

As the cover heavily implies, To Carry A Whale is an album deeply indebted to singer-songwriter pop of the 1970s, full of piano, martini-lunch lyrics and a foreboding sense that regardless of what you do you’ll never be able to fill that hole in your soul.

Tigercub – As Blue As Indigo

★★

Released June 18th, 2021 on The Orchard

Remember that misbegotten period following the turn of the century where mainstream alternative rock (post-grunge or whatever) went through an identity crisis that it never really fully recovered from? The days of Muse and Velvet Revolver? Yeah apparently there are bands that aspire to be like that.

Mykki Blanco – Broken Hearts & Beauty Sleep

★★★

Released June 18th, 2021 on Transgressive Records

It’s been five years since the most prominent transgendered artist in hip hop released her debut album and this “mini-album” keeps things going, if only barely. Blanco is stylistically generous but some of FaltyDL’s production is a little suspect; abandoning sampling for OC is fine but make sure the OC doesn’t sound cheese if you’re going to do that.

ME REX – Megabear

★★★

Released June 18th, 2021 on Big Scary Monsters Records

There is certainly a polished indie-pop charm in these nuggets that brings one back to the Elephant 6 era, but the need to make most of these tracks a scant 32 seconds in length makes the listening experience choppy at best.

Whispering Sons – Several Others

★★★☆

Released June 18th, 2021 on [PIAS]

The band has a vocalist reminiscent of Jamie Stewart of Xiu Xiu but the music is much more straightforward, albeit tense and goth. Nothing that you’d call brilliant, per se, but a great exercise in building atmosphere and dread.

Evolfo – Site Out Of Mind

★★★☆

Released June 18th, 2021 on Royal Potato Family

Brooklyn head-nodder psych that follows up their well-received first album with a lysergic science fiction-inspired drug trip.

We Hate You Please Die – Can’t Wait To Be Fine

★★★☆

Released June 18th, 2021 on Stomp Records

Slash-and-burn French punk rock that invites the B-52s into the garage to play along.

Amythyst Kiah – Wary + Strange

★★★★

Released June 18th, 2021 on Rounder Records

Tennessee country, a songwriting style that never falls into a rut, and enough soul to fill the continental United States. All this plus a Foucault reference on “Sleeping Queen.”

Daniel Romano’s Outfit – Fully Plugged In

★★★★

Released June 18th, 2021 on You’ve Changed Records

Recorded live in Atlanta in the “final hours before the stages of the aching world fell dark.” Pure, ripping Americana, played as usual by a bunch of Canadians.

MJ Guider – Temporary Requiem

★★★☆

Released June 18th, 2021 on modemain Records

A deconstructed mass for a deconstructed church that ends up sounding shoegaze af.

John Myrtle – Myrtle Soup

★★

Released June 18th, 2021 on Sad Club Records

I thought that we as a society had moved beyond Beatles pastiche but apparently I was wrong.

Gucci Mane – Ice Daddy

★★★☆

Released June 18th, 2021 on Atlantic Records

Look, at this point in Gucci’s career I think it’s safe to say that you know exactly what you’re gonna get here. He isn’t breaking the mold or pushing the envelope or whatever cliché you want to use. It’s a lot of fun, though, regardless.

Backxwash – I Lie Here Buried With My Rings And My Dresses

★★★★

Released June 20th, 2021 on UglyHag Records

If her previous album, the Polaris-winning God Has Nothing To Do With This Leave Him Out Of It, was an exercise in granting self-absolution and dealing, as she claims, in mercy, then I Lie Here Buried is an exercise in letting her id loose to rage across galvanizing, industrial-level production. Delivers on the things that Denzel Curry only promises.

H.E.R. – Back Of My Mind

★★★

Released June 18th, 2021 on RCA Records

Too much mid-tempo balladry and not enough forward-thinking R&B and knotty guitar work but when it’s on, it’s on.

Bossk – Migration

★★★☆

Released June 18th, 2021 on Deathwish Records

Crushingly heavy riffs, textured melodic passages, and weird sections of drone. At one point I forgot I had put the album on and thought there was something wrong with my air conditioning.

Alustrium – A Monument To Silence

★★★

Released June 18th, 2021 on Unique Leader Records

Once again, technical competence will get you far but it isn’t a pure substitute for compelling songwriting. It will get you pretty far though, let’s not kid ourselves.

Fear Factory – Aggression Continuum

★★★

Released June 18th, 2021 on Nuclear Blast Records

Fear Factory perfected their sound in 1998 and have been idly tinkering with it ever since.

Heavy Temple – Lupi Amoris

★★★☆

Released June 18th, 2021 on Magnetic Eye Records

Thick stoner riffs without pretension but with a strong feminist streak, as the good lord intended following a bong session.

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