Notable Releases of the Week (11/3)

It’s not every week that you get a new Beatles song in the 21st century, but this week was one of those weeks. It’s also the first week of November, which means we ran down the best punk, rap, and indie (basement) of October.

As for this week’s new albums, I highlight 11 below and Bill tackles more in Indie Basement, including Hotline TNT, Spiritual Cramp, bar italia, Jockstrap, Drop Nineteens, Matmos, Old Fire, The Embassy, and Lol Tolhurst, Budgie & Jacknife Lee.

On top of those 20 reviews, this week’s honorable mentions include Jimmy Buffett, Kevin Drew, Kevin Abstract, Pink Siifu & Turich Benjy, Damien Jurado, Amor Muere (ft. Mabe Fratti), All Get Out, Actress, Hilary Woods, King Creosote, Sarah Davachi, Diztort, Sen Morimoto, Jaime Wyatt, Jeezy, Light Beams, Bry Webb (Constantines), Sexless Marraige (The Red Chord, Deafheaven, Doomriders, etc), Silent Planet, Closet Witch, Last Gasp, Rid of Me, SUDS, Thala, William Eggleston, Resavoir, Crystal Canyon, Animal Hospital, Green Lung, Carnation, JasonMartin (fka Problem), Elaquent, Tee Grizzley, Lloyd Banks, Youth Fountain, Peace, Liza Anne, Crystal Fighters, Erik Nervous, There Will Be Fireworks, Sonny Digital, Calboy, Robb Bank$ & Tony Shhnow, Ava Mirzadegan, Memorytown, Gale Forces (ex-Engine Kid), Tech N9ne, Semisonic, The Struts, Dirty Honey, The Alchemist EP, the Fatboi Sharif & Bigg Jus EP, the Dead Pets (calicuzns) EP, the Tripper EP, the Ufomamut EP, the Mugshot EP, the Ozone EP, the University EP, the Spiritbox EP, the Atreyu EP, the Atameo/Letterbombs/Coma Regalia/Keratin split, the Snail Mail demos EP, the Micky Dolenz (of The Monkees) R.E.M. covers EP, the Katy J Pearson guest-filled EP of The Wicker Man covers, the Foxing The Albatross reissue + covers LP, Kwes’ score for Rye Lane, the U.S. Girls live album, the Portishead live from Roseland Ballroom in 1997 album, the Johnny Marr comp, the Earth reissue + remix album, and Jon Glaser’s Jon Glaser’s Soothing Meditations For The Solitary Dog.

Read on for my picks. What’s your favorite release of the week?

Tkay Maidza – Sweet Justice

The Australian-raised but now LA-based rapper/singer Tkay Maidza spent 2018 to 2021 rolling out a three-part EP series, and now she finally releases a new full-length album–her second ever–Sweet Justice. As good as the EPs were, it makes sense that she took her time before doing a new full-length; Sweet Justice has a level of well-executed ambition that the EPs only hinted at. With everything from hard-hitting rap songs to airy R&B to kinetic synth-funk to the tropical polyrhythms of “Love Again” to back-to-back forays into industrial rap with “Free Throws” / “Silent Assassin,” Sweet Justice is a vast undertaking and Tkay Maidza pulls it off remarkably. Like last year’s Sudan Archives album, it’s an indie album that feels like it could be the work of an album-oriented A-list star. (For an actual pop comparison, it’s kinda similar to what Doja Cat was going for on Scarlet, and perhaps an even stronger album. She’s also toured with Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa, and Lizzo.) It’s pretty amazing to get a mainstream-friendly album this well-thought-out and interesting from an artist who’s still playing 600-person venues, but if there’s any (sweet) justice in the world, her crowds might get a lot bigger once this album settles in.

Marnie Stern - The Comeback Kid

Marnie Stern – The Comeback Kid
Joyful Noise

You gotta love a comeback album that immediately fills a void you might not have even realized you were feeling. In the ten years since her last album, the world of guitar-fueled rock music has been missing an artist as loud, as catchy, as weird, and as technical as Marnie Stern, and she’s now back to reclaim her throne with an album that feels like a wake-up call. The Comeback Kid picks up right where Marnie left off on 2013’s The Chronicles of Marnia, and it hits today’s guitar rock scene like a jolt of electricity. It doesn’t aim to fit in with anything going on today, but Marnie’s always been out of step with the world and the return of her zany math rock/noise pop fusions feels like balance being restored. That said, it does arrive at a very good time for tuneful math rock (Pool Kids and Sweet Pill come to mind), and if you like music with dizzying guitar work and great choruses but haven’t checked out Marnie Stern yet, The Comeback Kid would be a great place to start. It’s a lively, refreshing album that’s up there with her very best work.

Paint It Black Famine

Paint It Black – Famine
Revelation Records

Speaking of artists putting out their first album in 10 years and immediately reclaiming their throne, Paint It Black did that today too. The Philly hardcore band has been going strong for over 20 years (and vocalist Dan Yemin has been at it even longer as the guitarist of Lifetime, Kid Dynamite, and more), and they sound as vital as ever on Famine. Recorded live to tape with engineer Jack Shirley (Deafheaven, Jeff Rosenstock, etc), Famine has all the raw, explosive energy of four people locked in and playing together in a room. From the very first lyric (“This is the America of fable”), you can tell that this album is a reflection of the bleak world it’s being released into, with all the anger, frustration, and hopelessness that comes with it. With guest vocals from Brian Stern (of a million bands) and Cold World’s Dan Mills, it finds Paint It Black in the company of other hardcore lifers, and Dan spoke extensively about how new bands like Soul Glo and Gouge Away are just as influential to him as the formative ’80s hardcore bands that he’s channelled for decades. You can feel it; Famine is an album that’s built to unite the old heads with the new, an album that really adds something to both the ever-growing hardcore scene and the dying world.

Listen to our new podcast episode with Dan Yemin for more.

Empty Country

Empty Country – Empty Country II
Get Better Records

For his second album as Empty Country, Joe D’Agostino reunites with producer John Agnello for the first time since his former band Cymbals Eat Guitars’ classic 2014 album LOSE, and like on that album, Joe is swinging for the fences. “I was just trying to make the ultimate version of the album that I’ve kind of been trying to make for my whole career,” Joe tells us. “There are certain archetypes, like the grand, sweeping opener with the ambient intro; the huge 6/8 closer; the random punk song in the middle. [I was] trying to do the best possible version of that with the best possible lyrics that I could muster that weren’t Cymbals Eat Guitars-esque–like about my dumb life–but more expansive, more short story type stuff.” Empty Country II really is the grand slam that Joe was swinging for; read our recent feature on it for much more.

Laura Veirs Phone Orphans

Laura Veirs – Phone Orphans
Raven Marching Band

The title of Laura Veirs’ new album Phone Orphans is literal. (Metaphoric, but literal.) The 14 songs on this album came from Laura going through hundreds of songs that she recorded in her living room on her phone’s voice memos app over the years that never made it onto other albums. Those voice memo recordings are exactly what you’re hearing here–they were mastered, but Laura made no edits or overdubs. There are parallels to be made to Laura’s 1999 self-titled debut, which was also recorded with just Laura’s voice and guitar, but her songwriting has also matured so much since then and it’s a unique thrill to hear her making such an intimate project nearly 25 years later. These songs may have been rejected from previous albums, but these are genuinely great songs and it’s a testament to the power of Laura Veirs’ songwriting that they hit so hard without any embellishments.

Flying Raccoon Suit Moonflower

Flying Raccoon Suit – Moonflower
Bad Time Records

I know a lot of people talk about “throwing shit at a wall and seeing what sticks” in album reviews, but trust me when I say it really applies to Flying Raccoon Suit’s new album Moonflower. Across 13 songs, they trek through ska, jazz, punk, klezmer, thrash, metalcore, twinkly emo, reggae, indie rock, and more, usually with at least two or three of these in the same song, and all of it works. It’s a fun, catchy, danceable album, even when the subject matter is less bright than the music sounds. “This album focuses a bit on the feeling of being trapped inside your own thoughts, making mountains out of molehills, the what-ifs, and whatnot,” singer Jessica Jeansonne tells Bearded Gentlemen Music. “Uncertainty about the future, the unknown.” Moonflower is already so much at first glance, and the more you dive in, the deeper it gets.

Fuming Mouth

Fuming Mouth – Last Day of Sun
Nuclear Blast

As Fuming Mouth were working on their sophomore album, vocalist Mark Whelan was diagnosed with cancer, and after a nine-month struggle, he was finally declared cancer free in August of 2022. After recovering, he “rewrote melodies, drum sections, and lyrics, infusing the music with his personal journey of struggle and hope,” turning Last Day of Sun into a “concept-reality hybrid” that was largely influenced by his brush with death. The result is a dark, punishing death metal/hardcore hybrid that has some of Fuming Mouth’s heaviest moments as well as some of their catchiest. Recorded by Kurt Ballou, it’s crisp and clear and just lets Fuming Mouth’s power shine through. It’s the sound of resilience, and it’s also just a kickass heavy record.

Dying Wish

Dying Wish – Symptoms of Survival

It’s a big week for very aggressive music, and next up in this realm is the new Dying Wish. The Portland, OR band’s second album picks right up where their first left off, with a refreshing update on early 2000s metalcore. The band goes from breakdowns that hit like gunshots to infectiously catchy riffage, and vocalist Emma Boster has a genuinely caustic scream as well as the ability to belt out powerhouse choruses. Produced once again by Randy LeBoeuf, it’s a little glossier than the debut, but no less menacing. There’s so much real anger and real pain coming through in Emma’s delivery, and you really feel it.

For more on this album, there’s a great feature over at Revolver.

Cauldron Suicide City

Cauldron – Suicide In The City
Ephyra/The Coming Strife

Another album making this a big week for very aggressive music is the debut LP from UK metalcore band Cauldron. It’s a concept album that’s partially based on a novel that vocalist Frazer Cassling is still in the process of writing, and it pulls from Frazer’s real-life experiences and struggles with mental health, and portrays those experiences through fictional characters. Like the Dying Wish album, it’s a modern-day interpretation of early 2000s metalcore that really captures both the darkness/heaviness and brightness/catchiness of that era. It’s full of familiar thrills, and Cauldron know exactly how to deliver them.



Jillian Medford has spoken often about her love of Coldplay, and for her fourth album as IAN SWEET she took inspiration from their second album, 2002’s A Rush of Blood to the Head. “Coldplay always inspires me to not be afraid of the anthemic chorus, to embrace it and run with it,” she told us. “It’s so cathartic to lean into repetition and have a song build, grow and bloom as you circle around a phrase again and again, learning something new from it every time.” She definitely brought that embrace of the anthemic to SUCKER, where widescreen dream-pop tracks like “Fight” and “Smoking Again” spiral upward in heady bliss. It’s a departure from the noisy indie rock of some of her previous work, but unlike 2021’s Show Me How You Disappear, which she made in the wake of a mental health crisis, SUCKER was born from a desire to experiment, and without preconceived notions of the outcome. She left Los Angeles to work in a secluded studio in a barn in upstate NY, saying, “I went there not knowing exactly what I wanted to do or make, but I knew I wanted to explore and get out of my comfort zone. I forced myself to make things on the spot, in the moment and not overthink it too much.” The resulting record deals with the aftermath of a breakup; it’s propelled by a sense of freedom and buoyancy that brings it to life and begs repeat listens. [Amanda Hatfield]

Niontay Demon Muppy

Niontay – Demon Muppy

Brooklyn-via-Florida rapper Niontay is one of the more recent recruits into MIKE’s orbit, and it’s easy to see why he’s catching on within that world. On his new EP Demon Muppy–released on MIKE’s 10k label–Niontay shows off a slurred, muttered flow that goes perfectly with the hazy production of 454, TAKA, Tony Seltzer, and Surf Gang’s Harrison. 454 guests on the EP, as do Earl Sweatshirt, MIKE, and El Cousteau, who all appear on the Tony Seltzer-produced closing track “Real hiphop.” That song already feels like a moment-capturing posse cut of modern abstract rap, and it shows how tall Niontay stands next to those established greats.

Read Indie Basement for more new album reviews, including Hotline TNT, Spiritual Cramp, bar italia, Jockstrap, Drop Nineteens, Matmos, Old Fire, The Embassy, and Lol Tolhurst, Budgie & Jacknife Lee.

Looking for more recent releases? Browse the Notable Releases archive or scroll down for previous weeks.

Looking for a podcast to listen to? Check out our new episode with Dan Yemin (of Paint It Black, Lifetime, Open City, etc).

Also, BrooklynVegan launched pre-orders for its first-ever special edition 80-page magazine, which tells the career-spanning story of Alexisonfire and comes on its own or paired with our new exclusive AOF box set and/or individual reissues. Pick up yours in the BV shop.

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