Wavves – Hideaway
Released July 16th, 2021 on Fat Possum Records
I got into Nathan Williams back in 2009, in the “Beach Goth” days when it was basically the same thing but hotly recorded – lo lo fi, if you will. Then came the era where the sound was cleaned up; King Of The Beach turned out pretty good but then he made his own label (Ghost Ramp), got major label distro through Warner Bros., and when you finally cleaned all the sand and grime off of him he sounded like Weezer, and not good Weezer. Hideaway is a return to Fat Possum, though, and with it comes some of the grime. There’s a fuzz on these recordings that plays to his strengths. His songs are pretty basic when it comes right down to it, so adding some dirt and pumping up the reverb on the surf riffs he peppers into these songs is exactly the right move. It’s also short, which is another plus; it would feel like a lot more of a slog if it didn’t breeze in and out in just under half an hour.
Clairo – Sling
Released July 16th, 2021 on Republic Records
Claire Cottrill takes the quiet-craft, low-key singing style of Adrianne Lenker to heart, and she gussies it up with AM jazz textures and a sort of hushed bustle behind the scenes. She is frank and honest in her lyrics and it’s all very interesting on the level of the individual song, but she runs into the wall of everything kind of sounding the same and blending into one indeterminate whole once it’s consumed as an album.
runner – Always Repeating
Released July 16th, 2021 on Run For Cover Records
Sure the songs are highly relatable, being about anxiety, confusion, and not knowing what direction you’re heading in, but I’m not convinced that Noah Weinman delivers more than one kind of song here. It actually picks up near the end; at any rate, the songs start having individual character. Maybe listen to the last half first, like your grandparents when they bought a new LP but they were stoned.
Midwife – Luminol
Released July 16th, 2021 on The Flenser Records
Songs of sorrow and dread, like shoegaze played by the restless dead. Madeline Johnston has mastered atmosphere, pacing, and interpolating the unquiet spirits of old Offspring ballads into statements on the Great Lost Year.
K.D.A.P. – Influences
Released July 16th, 2021 on Arts & Crafts Records
Kevin Drew of Broken Social Scene presents a collection of the same idea played eight times. That idea is “what if we played pre-modern electronic music with a lot of reverb?”
Jodi – Blue Heron
Released July 16th, 2021 on Sooper Records
Imagine Codeine’s Frigid Stars stripped of the atmosphere, the cold, dead-eyed stare, and everything else that made it good. Oh and there’s steel guitar and that’s the only memorable thing about the record.
Acid Dad – Take It From The Dead
Released July 16th, 2021 on The Reverberation Appreciation
Laid-back 70s-influenced reverb-laden jam rock that sounds like it would fit quite easily into an early-afternoon slot on some festival that caters to psych-heads and stoners.
Lucid Express – Lucid Express
Released July 16th, 2021 on Kanine Records
Hazy summer dream pop out of Hong Kong that bites shamelessly from Eighties tropes and affixes languid jangle-pop melodies to them.
Always You – Bloom Off The Rose
Released July 16th, 2021 on shelflife Records
Aesthetically and musically Always You are clones of Tennis and Real Estate, but somehow even more insipid.
Bacao Rhythm and Steel Band – Expansions
Released July 16th, 2021 on Big Crown Records
The German steel-drum funk band tackles a number of classic tracks by Grace Jones, J. Dilla, Slum Village, Ike Turner, and Jay-Z, as well as a couple of originals. It feels like a novelty record almost, except it’s got some serious groove.
pizzagirl – Softcore Mourn
Released July 16th, 2021 on Heist or Hit Records
A forward-thinking mixture of old school synth pop, modern hyperpop, and late Millenial trash.
Chet Faker – Hotel Surrender
Released July 16th, 2021 on Detail Records
Nick Murphy’s Chet Faker moniker returns after seven years and while the follow-up to Built On Glass probably won’t set the world on fire, it is a pretty chill record. Laid-back beats, nostalgic string sections, and of course some beefy saxophones. Pretty good, albeit inessential.
Lips – I Don’t Know Why I Do Anything
Released July 16th, 2021
This kind of partly-cute, partly-incisive songwriting could get a bit cringe in the wrong hands, but Steph Brown – allegedly a giant pair of lips with legs – injects streaks of art-punk and angular guitar work in these adolescent confessionals. More important, she already grasps the need to vary pacing in the tracklist, something artists twice her age struggle with mastering.
JOON – Dream Again
Released July 16th, 2021 on Italians Do It Better
The synthy nu-Italo disco you’ve come to expect, with a fun Depeche Mode cover thrown in for good measure.
Willow – lately i feel EVERYTHING
Released July 16th, 2021 on Polydor Records
Willow Smith has slid into her Avril Lavigne era. ‘”Will Smith don’t have to cuss in his songs to sell records” well I do, so fuck him and fuck you too’
John Mayer – Sob Songs
Released July 16th, 2021 on Columbia Records
Two songs in and I’m asking why John Mayer sounds like Marc Cohn on this record. Then when I do a bit of Googling I find out that Marc Cohn himself asked that before back in 2012.
recovery girl – recovery girl and friends
Released July 16th, 2021 on DESKPOP
There’s more than a whiff of Atari Teenage Riot in hyperpop, isn’t there?
Pop Smoke – Faith
Released July 16th, 2021 on Republic Records
Posthumous records are always an iffy proposition at best. Faith is worse than most: tossed-off verses, poorly matched production, and a general sense of why bother?
Remble – It’s Remble
Released July 16th, 2021 on Warner Records
An amiable enough mixtape that suffers from clunky flows here and there and some questionable lyrical choices.
Drakeo the Ruler – Ain’t That The Truth
Released July 16th, 2021 on Stinc Team
You know those guys who go out to the bars or to a party and drink straight from the bottle and get way quieter and more violent as the night goes on? That’s Drakeo’s flow and I haven’t figured out if it’s absurd or genius. Probably both.
WDNG Crshrs – U2DINFINITI
Released July 16th, 2021 on 1317 Recordings
Smooth, smoky Atlanta hip hop with a flair for wordplay.
Ophidian – Desolate
Released July 16th, 2021 on Season Of Mist Records
Technical death metal is usually soulless – there, I said it. It typically favours raw speed and dexterity over, you know, songs. Ophidian haven’t forgotten to write actual hooks, so their slash-and-burn extreme shred bursts have actual impact.
Vouna – Atropos
Released July 16th, 2021 on Profound Lore Records
Wildly uneven, but worth it for when the band falls into the void thrashing.
Wizardthrone – Hypercube Necrodimensions
Released July 16th, 2021 on Napalm Records
Glossy melodic death with a great SF storyline and layers of iced instrumentation.
Bottomless – Bottomless
Released July 16th, 2021 on Spikerot Records
This Italian doom metal band doesn’t do anything new, but they do bat around the old masters fairly well.
Cognitive – Malevolent Thoughts Of A Hastened Extinction
Released July 16th, 2021 on Unique Leader Records
Deeply rooted in the key works of late-80s / early 90s death metal but overfond of jumping from movement to movement without ever letting you get a good groove on. Technically impressive, though.
The Grasshopper Lies Heavy – A Cult That Worships A God Of Death
Released July 16th, 2021 on Learning Curve Records
Pummeling noise-rock that sprawls out into the sort of territory that Gizzard covered on Infest The Rat’s Nest – namely the four-part title track that moves relentlessly over the course of nearly nine minutes.