Magdalena Bay – Mercurial World
Released October 8th, 2021 on Luminelle Records
Carefully considered and constructed synth pop that brings in disparate strands of early Grimes, slowed-down hyperpop, and Charli XCX.
The World Is A Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid To Die – Illusory Walls
Released October 8th, 2021 on Epitaph Records
The veteran post-hardcore band is slowly losing the crescending, post-rock influenced noisiness that characterized their early work. Instead, it’s a lot more straightforward, in the same sense as dozens of other bands they used to be a certain notch above.
BADBADNOTGOOD – Talk Memory
Released October 8th, 2021 on XL Records
Once a hip hop group in the guise of a jazz band, BBNG are now a straight-up jazz band. While there’s something sort of missing now, there are more than enough searing moments to make up for it.
Porches – All Day Gentle Hold!
Released October 8th, 2021 on Domino Records
Another album of overly repetitive, cynical synth rock tailor made for distressed indie playlists.
James Blake – Friends That Break Your Heart
Released October 8th, 2021 on Polydor Records
James Blake has a bona fide pop record here, although the execution is something of a mixed bag.
Sam Fender – Seventeen Going Under
Released October 8th, 2021 on Polydor Records
A British singer trying to summon the desperation and the glory of Bruce Springsteen? The British have been mining the American Songbook relentlessly since the 1950s, so it’s not completely unsurprising. Much like the Boomer generation’s smirking take on the blues, there’s something missing in the translation.
W.H. Lung – Vanities
Released October 8th, 2021 on Melodic Records
A light sort of indie funk-pop, some of which sounds as though Pop Will Eat Itself met the Pet Shop Boys.
Destroy Boys – Open Mouth, Open Heart
Released October 8th, 2021 on Hopeless Records
Brash, bratty punk rock for the angry teen set.
Moaning Lisa – Something Like This But Not This
Released October 8th, 2021 on Cooking Vinyl Records
It’s truly a golden age of female-fronted indie rock when a knock-off bargain bin version of the sound can be decent.
Screensaver – Expressions Of Interest
Released October 8th, 2021 on Heavy Machinery Records
Heavy psychedelic New Wave that doesn’t manage to do anything interesting with either genre.
The Velveteers – Nightmare Daydream
Released October 8th, 2021 on Easy Eye Sounds
Displays a penchant for serious riffery but goes in too often for sub-Cage The Elephant modern rock radio tropes.
Matt Maltese – Good Morning It’s Now Tomorrow
Released October 8th, 2021 on Nettwerk Records
Slow burn balladry that goes back to the pre-grunge masters to mine inspiration.
We Are Scientists – Huffy
Released October 8th, 2021 on Masterswan Recordings
Their sound is now, in 2021, nothing new, but they haven’t made it 21 years by just phoning it in. There’s real passion and joy behind their 2009-era peak indie rock, and it manages to move you despite the familiarity.
Oh Wonder – 22 Break
Released October 8th, 2021 on Island Records
Tastefully understated and yet emotionally hefty, 22 Break seems tailor-made for drawing the power out of quieter moments.
Various Artists – Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows: Songs of John Prine, Vol. 2
Released October 8th, 2021 on Oh Boy Records
A loving tribute to one of America’s all-time greatest songwriters, with solid performances from Brandy Carlile, Jason Isbell, Amanda Shires, and Emmylou Harris, as well as an absolute stomping take on “Pretty Good” from Nathaniel Rateliff.
Efterklang – Windflowers
Released October 8th, 2021 on City Slang Records
A modern slow-burn indie pop conglomeration that doesn’t really go anywhere or do anything.
Low Hum – Nonfiction
Released October 8th, 2021 on Last Gang Records
Hazy melodies with laid-back production, nice Sunday afternoon music but I don’t know when else I’d put it on.
Kowloon Walled City – Piecework
Released October 8th, 2021 on Neurot Recordings
Slow and bludgeoning, reminiscent of Harvey Milk without the more interesting bits.
Church Girls – Still Blooms
Released October 8th, 2021 on Big Scary Monsters Records
Derivative, but I suppose I wouldn’t mind if more bands sounded like a more mainstream Screaming Females.
Atmosphere – WORD?
Released October 8th, 2021 on Rhymesayers
Their style is largely out now; there’s no slurred singalong verses, no trap beats, no Yachty spots. That said, the Minnesota duo know exactly what they’re doing and that they do it well. At this stage in their career, what more do they need?
Nick Zanca – Cacerolazo
Released October 8th, 2021 on Full Spectrum Records
Low-grumble, sample-studded drone that digs at the veneer of urban life to reveal the short-circuits going on beneath.
Del Water Gap – Del Water Gap
Released October 8th, 2021 on Mom + Pop Records
Pop rock with a few good hooks and a lot of the kind of songs that you’ll just end up half-listening to.
Taraka – Welcome To Paradise Lost
Released October 8th, 2021 on Rage Peace Records
Psychedelic power pop that’s as subtle as a wink and a nod, but contains some above-average moments despite this.
Don Toliver – Life Of A Don
Released October 8th, 2021 on Atlantic Records
The usual esoteric hip hop / stoned R&B that Future made de rigeur, with decent enough hooks and some nice smoky moments.
AJ Mitchell – SKYVIEW
Released October 8th, 2021 on Epic Records
I guess even revolving pop playlists and hotel bar dance night DJs need filler sometimes.
Roc Marciano & Bronze Nazareth – Ekphrasis
Released October 8th, 2021 on Fat Beats Records
The verses are workaday at best, and the production tends to carry the day a lot. You’ll hear a couple on college mixtape radio, and then not at all.
Blanket – Modern Escapism
Released October 8th, 2021 on Music For Nations
The shoegaze / alt-metal crossover has perhaps begun to run its course in the, what, eleven years after Ceremony (not that one, the other one), but Blanket makes a case that it’s sun has not quite set yet.
Trivium – In The Court Of The Dragon
Released October 8th, 2021 on Roadrunner Records
The thrashy parts thrash, the cheesy parts taste like fine gouda, and if the solos don’t rip quite the way they should, they still get that ‘blur-of-notes’ thing going pretty well. Twenty-plus years and ten albums in, the band has pretty much perfected their particular brand of melodic thrash metal.
Atrae Bilis – Apexapien
Released October 8th, 2021 on 20 Buck Spin
The Vancouver death metal band’s debut doesn’t have quite enough ideas to cover it’s full runtime, but its moments of brutality show a band that is poised to do great things in the future.
The Omnific – Escapades
Released October 8th, 2021 on Wild Things Records
Funk metal with more than a whiff of djent in it. You can tell the band is trying to do something fun and interesting, but all too often it comes off as video game menu music.