A two-week edition of the NMR, because the output from April 15th was mostly a snooze, with a couple of key exceptions.
Sault – Air
Released on Forever Living Originals
Having conquered a swampy mix of funk and soul on 2020’s two Untitled masterpieces, the anonymous weirdos – maybe Inflo, but then again, maybe not, who knows for certain – behind Sault turn their talents to…modern classical music. It’s a stunning 180, all the more so because it works. By the time the voices come in 3/4 of the way through “Time Is Precious” you’ll have largely forgotten who you had assumed you were listening to when you embarked on the record, rendering the sudden vocals all the more powerful. This is brilliantly composed choral music, proof that genre is a myth and that the quicker we break down our silos, the better.
Pusha-T – It’s Almost Dry
Released on G.O.O.D. Music
Some – notably Variety – have said of this album that it’s merely more coke rap from an MC who has built their career on it. There are artists, though, in every medium who have used specific themes or motifs to more deeply mine the subtleties of human existence. Scorsese and the gangster film is the most obvious counterpoint to what Push does, and for much the same reason. When you remove morality and the law from the equation, what powers the human soul? Push spends the entirety of It’s Almost Dry considering this. The Pharrell/Ye-driven production is the added catalyst, like the ambience of Goodfellas. It adds a grim, glorious veneer of the reality to the tales.
Kurt Vile – (watch my moves)
Released on Verve Records
It’s a Kurt Vile record – sprawling, unable to conclude, so laid-back you could be forgiven for thinking it’s asleep. It’s a little more open than previous KV records, though, poppier in a sense and less gnarled. Like a copse of trees in a subdivision, rather than the edge of a deep dark wood.
Cremation Lily – Dreams Drenched In Static
Released on The Flenser
Uneasy ambient passages dominated by decaying industrial structures, like someone took mid-90s industrial, burned it, and scattered the ashes over a lonely beach.
Fontaines D.C. – Skinty Fia
Released on Partisan Records
The Dublin band has taken a path like so many bands before them. The first album blows up and immediately pins them down on a certain sound. The second album strives for something authentic and different, and gets labeled as ‘difficult.’ The third album becomes an exercise in balancing the two: keeping the crowds coming while still being honest and pure. Skinty Fia finds them unsure how best to balance it. The worst sins of A Heroes Death were boredom; many of the songs devolve into dirges, without the pure sweat-inducing power of a “Hurricane Laughter” to break them up. Skinty Fia has a couple of moments like that, notably the single “Jackie Down The Line.” There are still a lot of dirges, though. If you were into the slower parts on Album Two, knock yourself out here.
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Omnium Gatherum
Omnium Gatherum, as the name suggests, puts together almost all of the disparate styles that the ultra-prolific Aussie psych band have played over the last decade. While this sounds cool on paper, it’s a bit jarring to go from hard psych to cool jazz to Beastie Boys pastiches. All are fine on their own, but this not-a-comp comp feels more all over the place than all together. Still, literally no one does it better than King Gizz.
Guppy – Big Man Says Slappydoo
Released on Lauren Records
If you’ve been waiting for a scrappy, irreverent, frankly hilarious indie punk record, it’s arrived. Please stop asking.
Prince Daddy & The Hyenas – Prince Daddy & The Hyenas ★★★ (Pure Noise)
Vundavar – Devil For The Fire ★★☆ (Gawk)
Jerry Paper – Free Time ★★★☆ (Stones Throw)
Typhoon – Underground Complex No. 1 ★★★☆ (Roll Call)
50 Foot Wave – Black Pearl ★★★☆ (Fire)
Savak – Human Error / Human Delight ★★★ (Ernest Jenning)
High Pulp – Pursuit of Ends ★★★☆ (ANTI-)
Hatchie – Giving The World Away ★★★ (Secretly Canadian)
Spiritualized – Everything Was Beautiful ★★★ (Fat Possum)
Haru Nemuri – Shunka Ryougen ★★★☆ (TO3S)
S. Carey – Break Me Open ★★☆ (Jagjaguwar)
Psychedelic Porn Crumpets – Night Gnomes ★★★ (What Reality?)
Patrick Watson – Better In The Shade ★★★ (Secret City)
claire rousay – everything perfect is already here ★★★ (Shelter Press)
Dama Scout – gen wo lai ★★★☆ (Hand In Hive)
My Idea – CRY MFER ★★★ (Hardly Art)
Somali Yacht Club – The Space ★★★☆ (Season Of Mist)
Jeanines – Don’t Wait For A Sign ★★★ (Slumberland)
Colatura – And Then I’ll Be Happy ★★★
SosMula – 2 HIGH 2 DIE ★★ (Republic)
Asun Eastwood & Wavy Da Ghawd – The Complex ★★★☆ (SUPREME GENES)