Notable Releases of the Week (3/1)

Any week with a new music festival coaxing Cap’n Jazz and The Dismemberment Plan out of hibernation is an exciting week for music, and today it gets even more exciting, with the release of my personal favorite album of 2024 so far and a bunch of other great ones. I highlight five below, and Bill tackles more in Indie Basement, including Yard Act, Sheer Mag, Uranium Club, Liam Gallagher & John Squire, The Bevis Frond, SAVAK, and Midlife.

On top of those, this week’s honorable mentions include Bruce Dickinson, Faye Webster, Jahari Massamba Unit (Madlib & Karriem Riggins), Gulfer, Squarepusher, Ben Frost, Ministry, STRFKR, Late Bloomer, Daniel Romano’s Outfit, TSOL, The Tyde, Poisoned Seeds (ex-Go It Alone, Hollow Ground), Mush (Dowsing, Annabel, Kittyhawk), Everything Everything, Les Big Byrd, Broken Hearts Are Blue, Tyla, Nils Frahm, Sheherazaad, Punchlove, Turnpike Gates, Myles Bullen, Kaiser Chiefs, Brittany Davis, Coco (Dirty Projectors, Pavo Pavo, Lucius), BrhyM (Bruce Hornsby & yMusic), Paula Cole, Jad Fair, Ceramik, Big Big Train, Robb Bank$, Julian Lage, The Pheromoans, Hands of Goro, Jacob Collier, Jimmy Montague, Hammok, Arms and Sleepers, Amaro Freitas, Rhodes, San Cisco, Footballhead, Kitchen Dwellers, Master Peace, Donny Benét, Another Sky, Staś Czekalski, lake j, The Narcotix, RIP Dunes (Caveman), the Meek Mill EP, the Perennial EP, the Mini Trees EP, the Worst Doubt EP, the Graduation Speech EP, the Chalk EP, the Julien Chang EP, and the Bad Blooms (The Best of the Worst) EP.

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

Mannequin Pussy – I Got Heaven

As the opening track, title track, and lead single of their fourth album, there was no better way to introduce this new era of Mannequin Pussy than “I Got Heaven.” It’s a punk rock battle march that finds Marisa Dabice shouting her way through rage and desire, and it culminates in a shiny, glossy chorus that sounds like it would fit on a late ’90s Garbage record. Obviously a song that wonders “what if Jesus himself ate my fucking snatch?” is making a statement, and this song very much does. It sets the stage for the rest of the album, which ranges from dream pop to hardcore punk with moods and thoughts and feelings that have just as much variety as the music itself.

Marisa has said that, if 2019’s Patience is a breakup record, then I Got Heaven is a record inspired by living with your loneliness and solitude and really getting to know yourself, and all the ups and downs and indecisiveness and contradictions that come along with that. From a couplet like “I want to be a danger/I want to be adored” to the collage of music genres, I Got Heaven pulls you in multiple different directions at once. Thanks in part to new guitarist Maxine Steen (who also plays with Marisa in the side project Rosie Thorne), the album has a greater use of electronics and it finds Mannequin Pussy living out their pop music dreams in a way that they only hinted at in the past on sweetly melodic songs like “I Don’t Know You” and “Sometimes.” But it also has some of the most intense hardcore songs they’ve ever written, like “OK? OK! OK? OK!,” “Of Her,” and the especially groovy “Aching.” It’s a record that refuses to be pinned down or stereotyped, and it’s refreshing in a world that too often wants to fit things into neatly organized boxes. There’s really nothing neat or organized about Mannequin Pussy; they’re a mess, and messes are way more interesting.

Pissed Jeans - Half Divorced

Pissed Jeans – Half-Divorced
Sub Pop

Pissed Jeans are back with their first album in seven years to remind you that no one does sludgy noise punk and sardonic humor quite like they do. They also sound extra fired-up on this one, with a higher dose of short, fast, classic hardcore-style songs than ever. The eternally-sneering Matt Korvette tackles the kind of shit that people deal with on a daily basis–debt, finding a place to live, parenting, targeted ads, the tragedy-ridden news cycle–and almost every word out of his mouth is fully drenched in sarcasm. Half-Divorced turns dread and mundanity into fun, funny punk songs that are an absolute blast to listen to. They’re also gnarly and fucked up and bending the “rules” of punk and hardcore, just like Pissed Jeans have been doing for 20 years straight. Down to its title, Half-Divorced reminds you that punk doesn’t have to be a young person’s game to be this reckless.

Schoolboy Q Blue Lips

ScHoolboy Q – Blue Lips

I like ScHoolboy Q’s 2019 album CrasH Talk, but it felt like he was coasting a little, playing it a little bit safe. It’s good news then, that its followup Blue Lips is one of the most delightfully weird albums that Q has released yet. Across 18 songs, Q covers everything from distorted punk-rap to industrial electronics to jazzy psychedelia to smooth soul to throwback boom bap to modern trap. He sounds totally re-energized, ready to yell about whatever on one song and tone things down and get pensive on the next. Freddie Gibbs, Rico Nasty, and longtime Black Hippy compatriot Ab-Soul are among the guests, and all three of them deliver standout verses. Q’s felt a little more elusive during the rollout for this album than he has in the past, and it makes sense. This one feels meant to get a little darker and weirder.

Stay Inside Ferried Away

Stay Inside – Ferried Away

Emo was never as big in NYC as it was in the suburbs, but, for my money, Stay Inside are the best emo band in NYC right now. And they are very much NYC emo–their new album Ferried Away has a song about a friend who moved to the suburbs to start a family, and thinking maybe they might ditch the city and do the same (“A Backyard”). It’s like, the inverse of all those emo bands who sing about their suburban hometowns. It’s also not the only song on the album about topics that affect you after your twenties, and it’s always nice to get an emo album that bucks against the stereotype that this genre has to be juvenile. It’s also nice when the “mature” themes are matched by music that captures the thrill of emo at its most cathartic, and that’s exactly what Ferried Away does. It treks through driving emo-pop, brooding post-hardcore, breezier indie rock, and a hint of harsher screamo, with uplifting horn arrangements that take these already-great songs to the next level.

Call Me Malcolm Echoes and Ghosts

Call Me Malcolm – Echoes and Ghosts
Bad Time Records

Call Me Malcolm’s 2018 album I Was Broken When You Got Here was a concept album about mental health struggles, its 2020 followup Me, Myself and Something Else was about dealing with those struggles while living in a world of hate, and singer/songwriter Lucias Malcolm calls new album Echoes of Ghosts “a eulogy for the parts of myself I killed with medication, and a love letter to the silhouette I became.” It feels like the third installment of a trilogy, and perhaps the darkest one yet. It combines the thrill of horn-fueled ’90s ska-punk with the grim, minor-key pop punk of bands like Alkaline Trio and Bayside, without any of the exaggerated elements that those genres have been maligned for in the past. It’s energetic, infectious music, and it’s also dead-serious, with a conversational-yet-poetic delivery from Lucias that leaves you hanging on every word.

Read Indie Basement for more new album reviews, including Yard Act, Sheer Mag, Uranium Club, Liam Gallagher & John Squire, The Bevis Frond, SAVAK, and Midlife.

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 Ned Russin (of Glitterer and Title Fight).

Pick up the BrooklynVegan x Alexisonfire 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, in the BV shop. Also pick up the new Glassjaw box set & book, created in part with BrooklynVegan.

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