New Music Roundup, October 1st-October 7th

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Pond – 9

★★★★

Released October 1st, 2021 on Spinning Top Records

It has been…interesting…watching Pond go in a decade from the sunny psych Seventies of Beard, Wives, Denim to the, er, pure-Eighties approach that 9 takes. It’s not terrible by any stretch – in fact, in places it’s downright brilliant – but it’s clear that they’ve been taking cues from big brother band Tame Impala, who have charted their own arc from psych to contemporary funk and R&B. There’s plenty of touchstones to discuss along the way – Prince, synth-rock songs from the middle of the decade, 80s punk, Movie Of The Week ballads – but should a band on their ninth album be showing such obvious influences? More to the point, does that even matter? In a decade-plus with no major cultural trappings of its own (beyond sing-song cloud rap, I guess) maybe curating and distilling the sounds that came before is a work of cultural labour on its own.

Illuminati Hotties – Let Me Do One More

★★★☆

Released October 1st, 2021 on Hopeless Records

A lot of people are falling over themselves to praise this album of snotty but hurt vocals layered over sugar-rush guitar songwriting like we didn’t do Best Coast already. Let Me Do One More even suffers from the same problem in that the middle of the album falls into grunge-depressed mid-tempo rock. Still, just like Best Coast, the highs are worth coming back to again and again.

Hovvdy – True Love

★★★☆

Released October 1st, 2021 on Grand Jury Records

Sad-eyed American heartland rock with a tinge of midwestern emo here and there. The perfect record for dark nostalgia on a rainy day.

Full Of Hell – Garden Of Burning Apparitions

★★★★

Released October 1st, 2021 on Relapse Records

I was introduced to both death and grind by an old mentor, whose own band God’s Last Name was a pretty decent one-off death metal band in their own right. I was introduced to power electronics on 4chan’s /mu/ board. Full Of Hell combine both genres into a walloping tsunami of noise punctuated with some of the sickest blastbeats you’ll come across this year.

Explosions In The Sky – Big Bend (An Original Soundtrack For Public Television)

★★★

Released October 1st, 2021

A reworked version of a documentary score provides a gentle, peaceful version of EITS’ signature crescendo-core sound.

Strand Of Oaks – In Heaven

★★★

Released October 1st, 2021 on Thirty Tigers Records

An album in which Tim Showalter finds himself in a duel with Brandon Flowers for Most Springsteen-esque heartland rock album of the year.

Ducks Ltd. – Modern Fiction

★★★☆

Released October 1st, 2021 on Carpark Records

Toronto’s Ducks Ltd. present a collection of jangly, heartfelt indie rock songs that draw equally from old R.E.M. and much more recent late-Oughts underground indie records. It’s a pop record with a breath of nostalgia and the steady strum of a strong heart.

The Body & Big|Brave – Leaving None But Small Birds

★★★★

Released October 1st, 2021 on Thrill Jockey Records

The Body are one of the most prolific collaborative artists of the last decade or so and their work always adds intriguing layers to the work of whomever they’re paired up with. Here they get together with Montreal’s Big|Brave to wring the more unsettling parts out of their already bleak-eyed gothic folk-rock. The crashing waves of understated, textured noise that fills in the sonic gaps here really contribute to the feeling that you’re slowly drowning in a remote lake, Surfacing style.

Gustaf – Audio Drag For Ego Slobs

★★★

Released October 1st, 2021 on Royal Mountain Records

Sloppy, sharply canted post-punk/New Wave that manages to be interesting despite its obvious influences and its messy presentation.

YUNGMORPHEOUS & Eyedress – Affable With Pointed Teeth

★★★☆

Released October 1st, 2021 on Lex Records

When people describe albums as ‘weed albums’ they’re typically talking about those obnoxious records that brag entirely too much about how much weed they smoke, the performers wear weed-themed clothing, the album art has weed leafs and garish green/red/brown colour schemes. Affable With Pointed Teeth is a different sort of weed album – one where the weed is in the background, albeit very present, and acts as a texture to the harder-edged stuff in the lyrics. The production is very, very stoned however.

audiobooks – Astro Tough

★★☆

Released October 1st, 2021 on Heavenly Records

Any interest lyrically or vocally is offset by how godawfully boring the production is.

Tirzah – Colourgrade

★★★

Released October 1st, 2021 on Domino Records

R&B stripped down to its core ideals, and then played back straight.

Black Dice – Mod Prog Sic

★★★☆

Released October 1st, 2021 on FourFour Records

Brooklyn’s Black Dice have been shaping experimental cut-and-paste noise into near-danceable tracks for almost twenty years now, and there’s only the barest sign of slowing down into middle age.

reb fountain – IRIS

★★★☆

Released October 1st, 2021 on Flying Nun Records

Coming across like the midway point between Nick Cave and PJ Harvey (and, in some moments, Taylor Swift, oddly), New Zealand’s reb fountain crafts a gorgeous, dark collection of songs whose strong structures and textured emotions show why she’s a fixture in the Christchurch alt-folk scene.

Kedr Livanskiy – Liminal Soul

★★★

Released October 1st, 2021 on Mr Bongo Records

The Moscow DJ and golden-voiced singer returns with an album of prog breaks and soaring vocals, but I can’t help but feel that there’s something sonically empty about the backdrop. It’s mostly key pads and breaks, and while it provides a good foundation for Kedr’s vocals there’s less texture there than I would otherwise normally prefer.

The Allergies – Promised Land

★★★

Released October 1st, 2021 on Jalapeno Records

Sampledelic funk from Bristol that plays it mostly safe, although that still means it gets that proverbial dancefloor moving.

Kit Sebastian – Melodi

★★★

Released October 1st, 2021 on Mr Bongo Records

A cool, soulful take on Anatolian pop with a bit of tropicalia thrown in for good measure.

Frauds – Long Spoons

★★★☆

Released October 1st, 2021 on Alcopop! Records

Caustic post-punk with a heavy emphasis on minimalist riffing and seasick dynamic switches. Digs a rather narrow hole for itself but fills that hole quite well.

Shad – TAO

★★★☆

Released October 1st, 2021 on Secret City Records

Shad is now a veteran on the Canadian hip hop scene, and like all veterans of that scene no one pays much attention to him. This is too bad, since he has a decent grasp on good wordplay and has a knack for addressing social issues without being preachy about it.

WikiHalf God

★★★☆

Released October 1st, 2021 on Wikset Empire

The Ratking member drops a new album of experimental beatcraft and knotted, purely NYC wordplay.

Brandi Carlile – In These Silent Days

★★★★

Released October 1st, 2021 on Low Country Records

Brandi Carlile has made a hell of a name for herself as an American songwriter. While her tastes are centered in Nashville, it hasn’t stopped her from adding in layers of folk and rock into her sound to create something that is at once tender and tough. She also has designs on fronting the remainder of Soundgarden – and if you do a little digging, you’ll see that she might indeed have the chops to pull it off.

Lil’ Wayne feat. Rich The Kid – Trust Fund Babies

★★☆

Released October 1st, 2021 on Young Money Records

Weezy has been putting out some high-end verses on other people’s tracks over the last couple of years but very few of them have made it to this collab with Wayne disciple Rich The Kid.

Killah Priest w/ Shaka Amazulu the 7th – Ragnarok

★★☆

Released October 1st, 2021 on Black Stone of Mecca

There’s a reason Killah Priest was never one of the breakout stars of the Wu.

Meek Mill – Expensive Pain

★★☆

Released October 1st, 2021 on Atlantic Records

What would Meek do? Release a middling album of only occasional greatness, apparently.

Frontierier – Oxidized

★★★☆

Released October 1st, 2021 on Blood Blast

A raw wound – still bleeding in fact – slashed through the listener and agitated.

Abstract Void – Wishdream

★★★

Released October 1st, 2021 on Nekkomix

An amalgam of synthwave and blackgaze that functions like a black metal Outrun sequence.

Yes – The Quest

★★★

Released October 1st, 2021 on InsideOut Records

Despite the fact that they haven’t moved on from the early Eighties, the veteran prog band sticks to their guns and makes a solid Yes album, regardless of the actual year.

Ministry – Moral Hygiene

★★☆

Released October 1st, 2021 on Nuclear Blast Records

Too mid-tempo by half and only vaguely as strident as the Bush II trilogy.

Kryptos – Force Of Danger

★★★

Released October 1st, 2021 on AFM

No-nonsense meat-and-potatoes thrash from India.

Four Stroke Baron – Classic

★★★

Released October 1st, 2021 on Prosthetic Records

Heavy modern prog that has the tone, and now just needs the tightntess.

Bummer – Dead Horse

★★★★

Released October 1st, 2021 on Thrill Jockey Records

A burnt offering before the altar of rural banality and the evil that arises from it. Also has a deep, contemptuous thing against the Boss.

Stolen Kidneys – Maailma Loppuu

★★★☆

Released October 1st, 2021 on Trepanation Records

Searing Finnish hardcore that threatens your speakers integrity through sheer dissonance.

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