Emma-Jean Thackray – Yellow
Released July 23rd, 2021 on Movementt Records
Unlike many of her London contemporaries, bandleader Thackeray’s debut draws deeply from jazz’s scuzzy, funk-inflected Seventies era. Tubas on bass, clean little electric keyboard riffing, subway-sigh string arrangements: like Sun Ra getting together with Miles Davis to soundtrack a key party. Now consider that she’s done it all herself.
Darkside – Spiral
Released July 23rd, 2021 on Matador Records
Sometimes when a band does the same thing over and over they get by through an interesting form or through sheer force of will. Other times it turns out like this record.
Leon Bridges – Gold-Diggers Sound
Released July 23rd, 2021 on Columbia Records
Low-key and summer-cool R&B that pretty much sticks to one tonal setting and rides it the whole way.
Brittany Howard – Jaime Reimagined
Released July 23rd, 2021 on ATO Records
Remix albums are whatever but there are some pretty good entries on this one.
Alexis Marshall – House of Lull House of When
Released July 23rd, 2021 on Sargent House Records
Noise, to be sure, but with a clear voice and vision. Too often noise artists feel that their vocals have to be shrilly distorted with busting high frequencies for it to fit in. Alexis Marshall, meanwhile, sounds almost on the cusp of being an actual frontman here and there; at the very least, it makes the crawling chaos they’ve built behind the voice hit that much harder.
Piroshka – Love Drips and Gathers
Released July 23rd, 2021 on Bella Union
The British indie band drops the noisier stuff for a relaxed, spacious experimentation with sound and placement, but they may have sanded too much of their edge off.
Molly Burch – Romantic Images
Released July 23rd, 2021 on Captured Tracks
Indie/soft-rock club songs about heartbreak and loss, from a singer with a lovely, vibrant voice. If you’re looking to groove but not break a sweat, Romantic Images is here for you.
Mega Bog – Life, and Another
Released July 23rd, 2021 on Paradise of Bachelors
You say “experimental”, I say “dead ringer for Dan Bejar.”
Descendants – 9th & Walnut
Released July 23rd, 2021 on Epitaph Records
You are only young once, no matter how much you try and avoid it. Name a punk band that has aged and is still pumping it out like they did when they were 18.
Fruit Bats – Siamese Dream
Released July 23rd, 2021 on Merge Records
Full-album covers are a weird breed. Doing cover songs is normal; everyone does them because sometimes it’s good to play someone else’s hits and it’s fun to knock around a familiar tune every now and again. Covering an entire record is a much less normal thing to do; you need a real consistency of vision and something you want to say when you do it. There are only two that I consider essential: The Flaming Lips’ cover of Dark Side Of The Moon and now this one. It strips the Smashing Pumpkins’ classic of the high-flying psychedelic bombast and reveals the emotional turmoil at the heart of the songs, filtering them through the lens of laid-back Americana folk-rock.
Shiny Joe Ryan – Shiny’s Democracy
Released July 23rd, 2021 on Spinning Top Records
The guy from Pond (and affiliate of Tame Impala) takes a more laid-back, relaxed rock ‘n’ roll approach to the scene’s usual brand of trippy psychedelic music.
Anika – Change
Released July 23rd, 2021 on Sacred Bones Records
A blast of Seventies art-damaged pop, touching here and there on items like Nico and Suicide. She’s from Berlin, if I needed to say that.
Lea Thomas – Mirrors To The Sun
Released July 23rd, 2021 on Spirit House Records
An odd album, in that it’s three good songs (“Howl” through “Heat Keeps Rising”) bracketed by standard indie-folk songstress filler.
Ora The Molecule – Human Safari
Released July 23rd, 2021 on Mute Records
A fun, breezy little Euro-synth record that shimmers away like a mirage if you look at it too closely.
Upper Wilds – Venus
Released July 23rd, 2021 on Thrill Jockey Records
Bombastic, guitar-heavy alt-rock continues to live it’s strange, vibrant life in the half-light, far away from the ears of those who complain about its absence the most.
Dave – We’re All Alone In This Together
Released July 23rd, 2021 on Neighbourhood Recordings
Back in the early days of grime UK MCs had great wordplay, interesting flows, and noisy, cutting-edge production. They still have the first two, it seems.
Akintoye – Centrepiece
Released July 23rd, 2021
A breath of fresh air in a world of sing-song trapping, even if he gets Cole-corny here and there.
Ken Car$on – Project X
Released July 23rd, 2021 on Opium
Good hooks embedded here and there but succumbs to the tired tropes of the genre too often.
Craven Idol – Forked Tongues
Released July 23rd, 2021 on Dark Descent Records
Grabs in with intensity and lights up blackened flares when things start getting predictable.
Absynth – Plebe 2178
Released July 23rd, 2021
Heavy as hell, but it also brings odd lysergic passages along as well.
FULCI – Exhumed Information
Released July 23rd, 2021 on Time To Kill Records
Lucio Fulci is a legendary Italian horror film maker who is known for a lot of things but for me personally he’s best known for the shark vs. zombie scene in Zombi 2. FULCI the band is a Michigan death metal band who make solid, thrashing death metal but also seem to know their way around a great vintage horror film soundtrack.
Erdve – Savigaila
Released July 23rd, 2021 on Season Of Mist Records
A Lithuanian group that does sludge but with more speed than average, approaching Deftones levels of textures at times before dissolving into howling instrumentation and voice.
Necrogod – In Extremis
Released July 23rd, 2021 on Transcending Obscurity Records
Pure, brutal death metal – no fanciness, no frills, just riffs, blastbeats, and growls.