Notable Releases of the Week (3/29)

Last week may have been the busiest release week of the year so far, and the overload of great new albums is not stopping any time soon. I highlight eight new albums from this week below, and Bill tackles more in Bill’s Indie Basement, including shoegaze legends Ride‘s third reunion album, plus Chastity Belt, Holiday Ghosts, High Llamas, Reyna Tropical, and Dent May.

On top of those, this week’s honorable mentions include Sheryl Crow, Sum 41, Coffins, Sarah Shook & the Disarmers, Real Bad Man & Lukah, Omar Souleyman, Kelly Moran, Gesaffelstein, Alejandro Escovedo, Machine Gun Kelly & Trippie Redd, Jim White (The Dirty Three), Scott Ballew, Teens In Trouble, Dawn Landes, CNTS, Kólga, Ed Harcourt, Chicano Batman, A Country Western, The Secret Sisters, Hate Force, h. pruz, Mutilation Barbecue, Boundaries, Blu & Shafiq Husayn, Buddy, Bfb Da Packman, DJ Muggs & Mooch, BlueBucksClan & Hit-Boy, Nickelus F, NAHreally & The Expert, Blu DeTiger, Esben Willems (Monolord), Septage, Fabi Reyna, AKTHESAVIOR & sagun, Rage, Harmless, Peel, Arushi Jain, Sarah King, Magana, Sematary, J-Hope, the Puscifer, Primus, & A Perfect Circle EP, the Rico Nasty & Boys Noize EP, the fanclubwallet EP, the Stan Lee & Valee EP, the surprise Liv.e EP, the Saya Gray EP, the Good Kid EP, and NTS’ funk​.​BR – S​ã​o Paulo comp.

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

Roc Marciano – Marciology
Pimpire/Marci Enterprises

There’s something to be said for possessing the type of consistency that Roc Marciano does. You know a new Roc Marciano album is gonna mean a hefty helping of eerie boom bap production and sinister bars that sound straight out of mid ’90s New York City, but just because the style is predictable doesn’t mean the songs won’t surprise you. Over beats from Alchemist, Animoss, Roc Marciano himself, and more, Marci leaves you hanging on every word of Marciology, with punchlines that knock you out on first listen and continue to endure with repeated ones. He gets help from fellow ’90s devotees Flee Lord, Larry June, Jay Worthy, CRIMEAPPLE, Knowledge the Pirate, T.F., and GREA8GAWD, who all sound great here, and probably all of whom have Roc Marciano to thank for keeping this style of rap alive before its recent widespread revival kicked in. At this point, Roc Marciano is just about as much a veteran as Mobb Deep and Nas were when Roc was first starting to break through, and he still raps like he’s trying to win you over. He still makes every syllable count.

VIAL burnout

VIAL – burnout
Get Better Records

burnout is VIAL’s third album but it feels like a new beginning, and part of that is just because of the weird world we’ve been living in. The Minneapolis indie-punk band released their 2019 debut album Grow Up when they were primarily playing local DIY shows and on a rise that could’ve been halted by global lockdown months later. But VIAL weathered that storm and actually got bigger than ever thanks to the power of social media and their great 2021 sophomore LP LOUDMOUTH. When live music returned, all of a sudden VIAL were overwhelmed with tour offers, and they hit the ground running, diving into a constant grind that partially inspired the title of their third record, burnout. It’s the first album they’ve made as a full-time touring band, and you can feel the difference. It’s tight, strong, and just whips by with the adrenaline rush of a great punk show.

The album tells the story of a person losing a relationship, and it’s filled with the range of emotions that come with that, from the anger of the album-opening punk rager “two-faced” to the sadness of “broth song” to being okay with not being okay (“just fine”) to the humor of the “Stacy’s Mom”-esque “ur dad” to the self-evident album closer “apathy.” With influences that include Nirvana’s Bleach, Turnstile’s Glow On, and current indie/DIY stuff like Sidney Gish and illuminati hotties, burnout‘s musical range is as wide as its emotional one. It goes from aggressive punk (“two-faced”) to pop punk (“falling short”) to brat punk (“ur dad”); from dreamy, jangly pop (“bottle blonde”) to power pop (“just fine”); and it goes out on its most towering note with the darker, grungier “apathy.” Maybe it’s just the proximity of their releases, but the particular range of this album pairs really well with the new Mannequin Pussy, and if you’ve been as into that album as we have, I can’t recommend this one enough.

For more on VIAL, listen to our new podcast episode with the band.

Beyonce Cowboy Carter

Beyoncé – Cowboy Carter

Beyoncé’s don’t-call-it-a-country album features Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Miley Cyrus, and Post Malone, covers of Dolly’s “Jolene” and The Beatles’ “Blackbird,” an interpolation of The Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations,” and more, and it’s an album that wants you to rethink the way you think about genre. Read my full review for more.

NO MAN Glitter Spit

NØ MAN – Glitter and Spit

Reviews of NØ MAN albums will probably point out that three of the band’s four members were also in the influential screamo band Majority Rule and vocalist Maha Shami guested on Majority Rule’s “Packaged Poison” from their 2003 split LP with pageninetynine (like I am doing right now), and even though NØ MAN are six years and three albums in at this point, but if you didn’t know any better, you might mistake Glitter and Spit as the work of a rising new band. NØ MAN sound as fired-up on this LP as Majority Rule did over 20 years ago, and it registers as one of this year’s most impactful punk records regardless of any context beyond the music itself. Maha, the daughter of Palestinian refugees, fuels the album with anger directed at the violence that her family escaped–particularly on the show-stealing “Can’t Kill Us All”–as well as various other political, social, and economic systems put in place to fuel moral and ethical corruption. Her fury is palpable, and she delivers it with concise gut-punches that are impossible to hear and not scream along to.

Frail Body Artificial Bouquet

Frail Body – Artificial Bouquet

It’s been a long five years since Frail Body took the screamo world by storm with their back-to-back 2019 releases–their debut LP A Brief Memoriam and a four-way split with Infant Island, Massa Nera, and dianacrawls–during which time guitarist/vocalist Lowell Shaffer was also busy with Crowning, but now Frail Body are finally back with their sophomore album and it’s a very clear step up. Like Infant Island did on this year’s Obsidian Wreath, Frail Body are really leaning into the black metal side of screamo with Artificial Bouquet, and these songs are the heaviest, most beautiful, and most jaw-dropping this band has ever sounded.

Wristmeetrazor Degeneration

Wristmeetrazor – Degeneration

Wristmeetrazor’s expansive sophomore album Replica of a Strange Love found them moving into a unique middle ground between metalcore, goth, and industrial that stood out from all of their peers, and new album Degeneration goes even deeper into that distinct territory. They’ve had some lineup changes since the last LP–founding guitarist Jonah Thorne was replaced by Nate Billmyer, and new bassist Userelaine joined so Justin Fornof could move to just vocals–and they made this one with producer Randy Lebeouf (The Acacia Strain, Dying Wish, etc), after working with Knocked Loose’s Isaac Hale on its predecessor. Justin’s described Degeneration as loosely a concept album about a man driven mad by the injustices enforced by religion and morality in American society, and the dark themes pair perfectly with the music. It’s a more overtly aggressive and heavy record than Replica of a Strange Love, and it feels like Wristmeetrazor are leaning a little more into their electronic side on this one too. It’s becoming more common to see the metalcore revival bands leaning more into the melodic, accessible stuff lately, and Degeneration has a little of that, but for the most part, this is a band that zigs when their peers zag.

Shabazz Palaces Exotic Birds of Prey

Shabazz Palaces – Exotic Birds of Prey
Sub Pop

Roc Marciano isn’t the only remarkably consistent rapper with a new album out today; Shabazz Palaces remains in a universe of his own with Exotic Birds of Prey, his second mini album in five months, following October’s Robed In Rareness. Like its predecessor, Exotic Birds finds Shabazz making futuristic, outer space rap music that hardly engages with planet earth, let alone other rap music, and it also has a noticeably different mood than Robed In Rareness. It feels more guest-heavy, with Shabazz leader Ishmael Butler often taking a backseat to one of the album’s several guests, some of whom’s identities seem a little mysterious and/or hard to Google (Purple Tape Nate, Stas THEE Boss, Irene Barber, Japreme Magnetic, Cobra Coil, OCnotes, and Lavarr the Star), and the instrumentals often seem even more far-out than usual for Shabazz Palaces. Sometimes it feels more like experimental electronic music with some rapping than rap music with electronic production. Whatever you call it, it’s a total trip.

gglum - The Garden Dream

gglum – The Garden Dream
Secretly Canadian

After a string of singles and a couple of EPs, London-born singer-songwriter Ella Smoker signed to Secretly Canadian for her proper debut album, The Garden Dream. It has her stepping beyond the bedroom pop of her previous work and exploring a bunch of different styles, from the bold, percussive “SPLAT,” to the shoegazey “Late,” to the poignant, pared back folk of “Pruning 2” and “Honeybee,” to the distorted electro blips of “Easy Fun,” to “Eating Rust,” which recalls stomp-clap folk with its driving rhythms. Smoker drew inspiration from a series of “graphic and violent” nightmares on these songs, which really comes across on the eerie and very effective “Pruning 1,” but also doesn’t feel out of place next to “Easy Fun,” which is just plain catchy. She also was inspired by The Microphones’ The Glow Pt. 2, which she says was “in the forefront of my mind the whole time” while writing. The two albums don’t have much in common sonically, but it does set up an intriguing possibility for where gglum could go next; with all the ground she covers on The Garden Dream, it’s just one possible direction of many. [Amanda Hatfield]

Read Indie Basement for more new album reviews, including Ride, Chastity Belt, Holiday Ghosts, High Llamas, Reyna Tropical, and Dent May.

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 VIAL.

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.

And, if you haven’t already, subscribe to the new BrooklynVegan digital magazine for free! Issue 1 is out now with cover stars Mannequin Pussy.

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