New Music Roundup, June 25th-July 1st

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Lucy Dacus – Home Video

★★★★☆

Released June 25th, 2021 on Matador Records

Look, there’s a lot I could say about this intense, emotionally honest, immaculately crafted slice of a indie rock album, but I’ll keep it succinct: I thought Pheobe Bridgers was the best part of boygenius, and I was wrong.

Modest Mouse – The Golden Casket

★★★☆

Released June 25th, 2021 on Epic Records

Look, here’s the deal: the classic Modest Mouse that you know and love is never coming back. They put paid to that in 2007. With that firmly in mind, the direct comparison can then be made between this record and its predecessor. Strangers To Ourselves was half-good. The bad half was awful. The Golden Casket is half-good. The bad half is okay: lightly psychedelic pop music that takes “Coyotes” as its jumping-off point. Is this progress or a sign of growing old? Don’t answer that question.

Tyler, The Creator – Call Me If You Get Lost

★★★★☆

Released June 25th, 2021 on Columbia Records

Tyler takes his new character, Sir Tyler Baudelaire, on a luxury-rap vacation to Europe and beyond; he leaves his home city of Los Angeles behind to discover, like so many other rich talented tastemakers before him, that there’s a whole wide world out there to experience. He also takes back the mic in a sense; he did far more singing and experimental melodic work on Flower Boy and IGOR than bar delivery but he evens the ratio out a little more here. It’s a wiser, more globally-minded Tyler on that mic, though; he talks about how he doesn’t even like the word “bitch” but it just sounds so cool when you say it, popping his local bubble the first time he took a plane out, all wide-eyed, and muses on wanting to rail Justin Beiber. He’s not alone, either; a lot of names show up and bring their A game. 42 Dugg, Ty Dolla Sign and Lil Uzi Vert show why they maintain their position in the game. Wayne shows up and spits his best bars in a long, long time, and OF stoner boy Domo Genesis returns in rare form. At the very least, we’ll look back at this as the perfect ending to a globe-trotting three-album run.

Faye Webster – I Know I’m Funny haha

★★☆

Released June 25th, 2021 on Secretly Canadian

“Cheers” is pretty good though.

Sault – Nine

★★★★☆

Released June 25th, 2021 on Forever Living Originals

The album is only available on streaming for 99 days – less now by the time you’re reading this – so if you’re gonna listen to this frenetic, loose collection of sharp-edged funk then you’d best do it now. You would think that after crafting two of the five best albums of 2020 that the mysterious British group would suffer a step down in quality. You would be wrong.

The Marias – Cinema

★★★

Released June 25th, 2021 on Atlantic Records

Mid-tempo pop, to be sure, but mid-tempo pop with a crisp sense of craft and a woozy, hazy lens.

The Mountain Goats – Dark In Here

★★★☆

Released June 25th, 2021 on Merge Records

John Darnelle and Co. return to the sharp acoustic songwriting that made them indie legends, but the album scans more as a outtakes collection than it does a coherent album. Still, there’s some great tracks on this one.

Hiatus Kaiyote – Mood Valiant

★★★☆

Released June 25th, 2021 on Brainfeeder Records

Hiatus Kaiyote always seem to run just under the current awareness of the musical underground; they have a great deal of support and love but they never seem to get it in the more mainstream outlets, just on the internet. The Aussie group calls themselves “future soul” and maybe that’s the problem – too much future for the Pitchforks of the world.

Spellling – The Turning Wheel

★★★

Released June 25th, 2021 on Sacred Bones Records

An interesting and eclectic little orchestral pop record that expands on the artist’s previous work without sacrificing anything in terms of vision.

Pom Pom Squad – Death Of A Cheerleader

★★★☆

Released June 25th, 2021 on City Slang Records

The liner notes say that “Mia Berrin wrote [this] in the traumatic throes of her adolescent feminine awakening while realizing the ever-present gaze of the male patriarchy,” which is a fancy way of saying it’s a riot grrl record, even if it at times doesn’t really sound like it. It’s amazing how many similarly-minded albums fall into the same mode; ie, scooping most of their sound up whole and quivering from the mid 1990s.

Daniel Avery – Together In Static

★★★

Released June 25th, 2021 on Phantasy Records

Solid IDM, with some good ambient passages and some moments of honestly crushing break work.

MIKE – “Disco!”

★★★★

Released June 25th, 2021

Densely layered samples and abstract drum patterns underlie a strong collection of underground New York hip hop songs that betray a sense of…is that hope? Good vibes? Maybe.

Newgrounds Death Rugby – Pictures Of Your Pets

★★★☆

Released June 25th, 2021 on Sun Eater Records

Heartfelt and at times painfully adolescent DIY pop-punk that is heavily reminiscent of underground albums before the word “scene” took on uncomfortably emo connotations.

Hobo Johnson – The Revenge Of Hobo Johnson

★★★

Released June 25th, 2021 on DashGo Records

A lot of people like to shit on this guy but I have heard far worse albums by Very Serious Artists. At least he’s honest, even if it’s a bit much at times.

Hiss Golden Messenger – Quietly Blowing It

★★★☆

Released June 25th, 2021 on Merge Records

Deeply rooted Americana that comes off like a more southern Springsteen, or a less willfully obscure Dylan.

Lightning Bug – A Color Of The Sky

★★★☆

Released June 25th, 2021 on Fat Possum Records

Fat Possum’s journey from being a label focused on scuzz-punk old Mississippi bluesmen to a more general-purpose label is a fascinating one, isn’t it? Put T-Model Ford up against this dreamy haze-pop record and try and make a connection.

L’Rain – Fatigue

★★★

Released June 25th, 2021 on Mexican Summer Records

Hot, hazy, nearly ambient soul music that is thick with gorgeous instrumentation but tends to run together a bit, like it’s melting under the summer sun.

John Grant – Boy From Michigan

★★★☆

Released June 25th, 2021 on Bella Union Records

An American poet releases his rumination on youth, growing up, and the lie inherent in the American Dream.

Rose City Band – Earth Trip

★★★☆

Released June 25th, 2021 on Thrill Jockey Records

A rollicking folk-country record with long, looping psychedelic passages, as befits an album by a guy from both Wooden Shijps and Moon Duo.

Helvetia – Essential Aliens

★★★

Released June 25th, 2021 on Joyful Noise Records

It’s a dead ringer for one of those rough-hewed local albums that you always seem to end up with just through dint of attending folk arts festivals and battles of the bands and street parties.

No Kill – Gold Chorus

★★★

Released June 25th, 2021 on Substitute Scene Records

Big, buzzy, reverb-laden indie rock that does the usual with its promising components: makes hazy, somewhat lazy power pop out of it.

Mother Mother – Inside

★★★

Released June 25th, 2021 on Mother Mother Music

My 11 year-old daughter loves this band. I suppose there are worse bands for her to love, in all honestly. At least they are passionate, varied, and rather theatrical – all great qualities in a rock band.

Birds of Maya – Valdez

★★★★

Released June 25th, 2021 on Drag City

Leans heavily on the Seventies for their hard rock iconography but they have the chops and the attitude to pull it off successfully, like a jam band doing Black Sabbath. I grooved for 40 minutes without even noticing the time, so it has to be good.

Throwing SnowDragons

★★★☆

Released June 25th, 2021 on Houndstooth Records

Throwing Snow are never quite industrial but often walk a thin line between heavy IDM and industrial. Dragons tiptoes along this line, being more visceral than golden period Boards of Canada but less slam-in-the-face than Ministry or Nine Inch Nails.

PremRock – Load Bearing Crow’s Feet

★★★☆

Released June 25th, 2021 on Backwoodz

The finest distillation to date of the New York rapper’s emotional, complicated delivery, this time with underground legends Backwoodz Studioz backing him up.

Curren$y – Welcome To Jet Life Recordings 2

★★☆

Released June 25th, 2021 on Jet Life

Globe-trotting jet set hip hop that, unlike the other album released in that vein this week, sounds flat and business-as-usual. Curren$y used to be a hot commodity, but now he’s just a workaday rapper like everyone else.

David Shawty – Caterpillar

★★☆

Released June 25th, 2021 on Orchard Records

Hip hop needs three things to win out over everyone else playing the game: big time hooks, wordplay at a high level, and a willingness to experiment or at least push the envelope in terms of sound. Shawty maybe succeeds slightly at the last one, but that’s about it.

Amenra – De Doorn

★★★

Released June 25th, 2021 on Relapse Records

The band is heavier than lead but the vocals are bog-standard noise, except here and there where they’re bog-standard nu metal.

Darkthrone – Eternal Hails…..

★☆

Released June 25th, 2021 on Peaceville Records

I had a whole spiel ready to go on this album but actually it sucks. Mid-tempo primitive thrash metal that Sepultura did better when they had a drum kit scavenged from a trash bin. This is supposed to be the legacy of one of the touchstones of first wave black metal?

Fractal Universe – The Impassable Horizon

★★★

Released June 25th, 2021 on Metal Blade Records

You know, I don’t usually like tech death but there are saxophone solos on here, which is a step in the right direction for metal if you ask me.

Light The TorchYou Will Be The Death Of Me

★★★

Released June 25th, 2021 on Nuclear Blast Records

Metalcore, to be sure, but the hooks are okay and they’re nothing inherently cringeworthy about it.

Thy Catafalque – Vadak

★★★★

Released June 25th, 2021 on Season Of Mist Records

That’s two albums in a row of gonzo progressive black metal that is literally just all over the place – bagpipes, Eighties retro synth arpeggios, wild pagan piano balladry – but still shreds hardcore.

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