Notable Releases of the Week (6/14)

It’s been a very eventful week in our corner of the music world. NYC’s biggest annual festival Governors Ball returned this past weekend, where, among other things, I caught an awesome set from Chappell Roan, who’s been making so much noise on the festival circuit this year that she was moved to a bigger stage at Bonnaroo this coming weekend (which is streaming live), and who will be back in NYC this September for the just-announced, first-ever NYC edition of the All Things Go festival. While GovBall was happening on our home turf, the opposite coast hosted the first-ever No Values festival, a new punk fest from Goldenvoice that had rare sets from the Misfits, Power Trip, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Power Trip, The Jesus Lizard, Iggy Pop (playing almost all Stooges songs with members of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Armed, Zwan, and more in his band), and more, plus Jello Biafra popping up during bands’ sets for surprise Dead Kennedys songs. I wasn’t at that one, but the videos made it look like a blast.

Two days after GovBall, I caught Charli XCX’s first proper Brat show, celebrating the release of the album from last week (that got three more songs added to it this week) that no one in my social media feeds can stop talking about. Those songs have been stuck in my head all week too, but if you want some new non-Brat music in your life, you’re in luck because this week is just as stacked as last week was. I highlight 12 new albums below, and Bill tackles another 12 in Bill’s Indie Basement.

On top of those 24 records, honorable mentions this week include Moby, RJD2, Fu Manchu, Sideshow, Raveena, Fana Hues, Fax Gang & Parannoul, Crypt Sermon, salvia palth, Sadler Vaden, Stand Still, Staples Jr Singers, Me First & the Gimme Gimmes, JasonMartin & DJ Quik, Guilty Simpson & Kong the Artisan, Homeboy Sandman, Moneybagg Yo, Don Toliver, Fr1th, Lucki, James Vincent McMorrow, $uicideboy$, Skee Mask, Sea Girls, Jess Cornelius, Liz Lamere, Balwezo Westijiz, Laika Songs, Eichlers, KRM (The Bug) & KMRU, Earth Tongue, Hockey Dad, Mike Campbell & The Dirty Knobs, Blvck Hippie, Black Country Communion, Pride Month Barbie, the Drysocket/Body Farm split LP, the Tove Lo & SG Lewis EP, the Praise EP, the School Drugs EP, the Immersion EP, the Hundred Waters EP, the Jeffrey Silverstein EP, the Snõõper/Prison Affair split, the Diamanda Galás live album, the maassai album of unmixed/unmastered songs, and the Monsters of Folk 15th anniversary reissue.

I’d also be remiss not to mention that the new NxWorries album (aka Anderson .Paak & Knxwledge) album that I reviewed last week surrounding the physical release date is now also out digitally and streaming everywhere.

We also launched the third issue of the BrooklynVegan digital magazine this week, with a Jessica Pratt cover story. Sign up with your email to read (it’s free) here.

With all that said, read on for my picks this week. What’s your favorite release of the week?

The Decemberists – As It Ever Was, So It Will Be Again
YABB Records

Last we heard from The Decemberists, they were fueled by synths and tackling Trump-era despair on 2018’s I’ll Be Your Girl, an album that was a welcome change of pace and a palate cleanser for the long-running band. Six years later, they’ve returned to form with As It Ever Was, So It Will Be Again. Change is nice, but so is familiarity, especially when it’s done as well as The Decemberists do on this album. It finds them back in the warm, organic universe of indie folk, with bits of progressive rock, twangy alt-country, Latin jazz horns, psychedelia, Beatlesque piano pop, R.E.M.-esque jangle pop (R.E.M.’s Mike Mills also plays on the album), and more. And then it ends with the 20-minute “Joan In The Garden,” a prog rock suite in the spirit of The Tain, “The Island,” and The Hazards of Love that treks through folk rock, sludge, drone, and more before going full Iron Maiden at the end. (Colin Meloy’s iconic warble over Maiden worship is a match made in music geek heaven.) It’s a double LP split into four distinct sides and the longest Decemberists album yet, but you might not realize that if you didn’t know it going in; all things considered, this album flies by. From the ornate arrangements to the old-timey literary tropes, it’s classic Decemberists and it’s an album no other band could’ve made. Maybe it doesn’t sound as fashionable today as the band were throughout their aughts-era rise, but in hindsight, it’s kind of hard to believe that The Decemberists were ever “fashionable” in the first place. They’ve been making proudly uncool music for over 20 years, and they continue to be really fucking good at it.

Carly Cosgrove The Cleanest of Houses Are Empty

Carly Cosgrove – The Cleanest of Houses Are Empty
Wax Bodega

Philly emo band Carly Cosgrove may have kind of a goofy exterior (their band name, many of their song titles, and some of their visuals are, after all, references to Nickelodeon’s iCarly [and, in light of recent news, their mantra is now “Fuck Dan Schneider”]), but their sophomore album The Cleanest of Houses Are Empty couldn’t be more serious. Singer/guitarist Lucas Naylor wrote the album after going through a year-long depressive episode and being diagnosed with a personality disorder in the summer of 2022, and the resulting LP is essentially a highly personal concept album detailing that experience. It’s an album that’s emotionally devastating on multiple occasions, but also an album that’s upbeat, energetic, and very fun to listen to. Picking up where their 2022 debut LP See You In Chemistry left off, Carly Cosgrove deliver the kind of scrappy, melodic indie/emo/punk hybrid that bands like Modern Baseball, Joyce Manor, and Tigers Jaw helped shape in the previous decade, and they sound even louder and tighter on this LP. They made it at Studio 4 with Justin Bartlett (who Lucas knew from his time at Temple University and who’s since gone on to work alongside Will Yip), and drummer Tyler Kramer says says the idea was to make “a big, very live-sounding record” that harnesses the energy of their live show. If you ask me, that’s exactly what they’ve done.

For much more on the themes of this LP, Lucas walked us through the entire thing, track-by-track, and you can read that here.

Ulcerate Cutting the Throat of God

Ulcerate – Cutting the Throat of God
Debemur Morti Productions

Ulcerate simply do not miss. If you’re already on the Ulcerate train, you can probably skip reading about this album and jump straight to listening to it, because Cutting the Throat of God gives you everything you’ve always wanted from an Ulcerate album. For the uninitiated, the New Zealand band are long-running makers of experimental death metal that defies easy categorization and has so much widespread appeal that I’d recommend it even if you don’t really listen to death metal. The hyper-specific world of metal subgenres will have you know that Ulcerate’s death metal is “technical,” “dissonant,” and “atmospheric,” and it’s definitely all of those things, but trying to fit Ulcerate into narrow boxes doesn’t do them any favors. It’s mind-bending, mesmerizing heavy music with a real transportive quality to it, and I think it’d be pretty difficult to listen to this album and not feel moved by it.

This Is Lorelei - Box For Buddy, Box For Star

This Is Lorelei – Box For Buddy, Box For Star
Double Double Whammy

Nate Amos may currently be best known as one half of Water From Your Eyes, but he’s been releasing music as This Is Lorelei since even before that band formed and has tons of releases on Bandcamp. However, he hasn’t attempted to make a proper full-length This Is Lorelei album until now, with Box for Buddy, Box for Star. His solo work has veered in different sonic directions, and this time he’s fully in singer-songwriter mode, especially on “Two Legs,” which recalls Elliott Smith. There’s also a little of Neutral Milk Hotel’s urgent folk on “An Extra Beat for You and Me” and album centerpiece “Where’s Your Love Now,” with its repeating line of twinkly keys. “I’m All Fucked Up,” another highlight, is indie rock at its most satisfying, while “Perfect Hand” and “Dancing in the Club” bring in synths and drum machines. Nate’s songwriting is infectious and there’s a lot to chew on in his lyrics; Box for Buddy just gets better the more you hear and unravel it. [Amanda Hatfield]

Julie Christmas Ridiculous and Full of Blood

Julie Christmas – Ridiculous and Full of Blood
Red Crk

Julie Christmas’ output pace has slowed down since her days fronting Made Out of Babies and Battle of Mice in the 2000s, but her quality control has never weakened. Since releasing her 2010 debut solo album The Bad Wife, the Brooklyn native teamed up with Swedish post-metal greats Cult of Luna for the 2016 collaborative album Mariner, and now she releases her second solo album and first project since Mariner, Ridiculous and Full of Blood. Cult of Luna’s Johannes Persson is again involved (he’s on guitar and contributes some piercing screams), and her band also features bassist/producer Andrew Schneider (KEN mode, Unsane), guitarist John LaMacchia (Candiria), drummer Chris Enriquez (Spotlights, On the Might of Princes), and keyboardist Tom Tierney. The band delivers sludgy, hard-hitting instrumentals, and Julie tops it off with some of the most haunting, soaring, attention-grabbing wails of her career. She’s been doing this for about 20 years, and as she said in a press release, “Right now I’m stronger and LOUDER than I have ever been… Time doesn’t make you softer, it makes you harder.” That’s very true in Julie Christmas’ case; she bucks against any expectation that she’d soften over time, and she sounds hungrier than ever. Her mix of heavy guitars and powerfully ethereal vocals has been echoed by a handful of prominent artists over the years, and with Ridiculous and Full of Blood, she once again sounds like she’s leading the charge.


Temporary Residence Ltd

It can be a little bit of a cop-out to compare post-rock to classical music, but MONO are a band where the comparison really lands. The four-piece rock band were joined by a full orchestra for their twelfth album OATH, and it sounds like something that’s just as well-suited for Carnegie Hall as it is for Roadburn Festival. It’s a 71-minute album that earns every second, and it overwhelms the senses and conveys so much emotion even without lyrics, like the best post-rock always does. It was recorded and mixed with longtime collaborator Steve Albini, who became most famous for loud, dirty rock but always had a knack for delicate music like MONO too, and now we know this will go down as one of the last albums that the late Albini ever worked on. It’s worth celebrating that MONO and Albini’s last album together is such a gorgeous one.

Normani Dopamine

Normani – Dopamine

June is shaping up to be a very good month for former Fifth Harmony members. Camila Cabello has been rolling out some very appealing singles from her upcoming album C,XOXO (due 6/28), and Normani just finally released her long-awaited debut solo album. She confirmed the album and started releasing solo singles back in 2018, and the album kept getting pushed back again and again, and the tracklist presumably changed too–the only song on Dopamine from before 2024 is closing track “Wild Side” with Cardi B (which we named one of the best R&B songs of 2021). In any case, Normani’s album is now here and the finished product is a very good one. It was primarily produced by frequent Victoria Monét/Ariana Grande collaborator Tommy Brown, and aside from Cardi B, it has two guests: Atlanta rapper Gunna is on “1:59” and James Blake brings some woozy co-production and his unique croon to “Tantrums.” Outside of some disco/synthpop on “Take My Time,” Dopamine mostly finds Normani in airy, hip hop-infused R&B mode, with nods to Kendrick, OutKast, and Mike Jones included. It’s blissful and sensual but it’s got an edge to it too, and Normani knows just how to deliver a hook that you can’t stay away from.

Zsela Big For You

Zsela – Big For You
Mexican Summer

Brooklyn native Zsela follows her 2020 EP Ache of Victory with her first full-length, Big For You, and she says the idea for this LP was to push herself outside of her comfort zone. To help her do so, she brought in producers Daniel Aged (Frank Ocean, Kelela) and Gabe Wax (The War On Drugs, Soccer Mommy), and the album also features contributions from Marc Ribot, Nick Hakim, Casey MQ and Jasper Marsalis (Slauson Malone 1). The result is a moody art pop album with everything from gentle acoustic guitars to sweeping strings to romantic ’80s-style synths and beyond, all topped off with Zsela’s deep, moving vocals. She’s cited both Kate Bush and Joni Mitchell as formative influences, and you can hear how Big For You orbits somewhere in the vast middle ground between them.

REZN Burden

REZN – Burden
Sargent House

When REZN recorded their 2023 album Solace (which Deedee from MSPAINT called one of his favorites of that year) at the iconic Earth Analog studio (owned by Hum’s Matt Talbott), they actually also recorded a whole other entire album too. They then signed to Sargent House and now they make their label debut with that very album, Burden. The band says each one has its own theme and “emotional timbre,” and each one stands tall as its own distinct piece of work (though they’re definitely two sides of the same coin). This one boasts a guest guitar solo from Russian Circles’ Mike Sullivan on “Chasm,” and it finds the band going all in on trippy psychedelic rock, sludge metal guitars, and alluring melodies. For me, it fills a void that’s mostly been empty since Kylesa broke up, and if you’re a big a fan of that band as I was, you should check this out.

Martha Skye Murphy Um

Martha Skye Murphy – Um
AD 93

UK artist Martha Skye Murphy has lent her distinctive voice to songs by Nick Cave and Squid, and on her debut studio album (which follows her opera Postcards Home and a slew of EPs and singles) she uses it to establish a mood. She assembled Um‘s atmospheric art rock over five years, bringing in Claire Rousay, Roy Montgomery, and producer Ethan P. Flynn to achieve her singular vision. The resulting songs are haunting and evocative, cinematic in scope. It’s summer in NYC, but listening to Um, you can feel an eerie chill that has nothing to do with the weather. [Amanda Hatfield]

Annabel Worldviews

Annabel – Worldviews
Tiny Engines

A lot of the bands of the emo revival/fourth wave emo era started experiencing burnout towards the end of the 2010s, and Annabel were no exception. After putting out the Evan Weiss-produced Having It All and touring with their indie-emo forebears The Appleseed Cast in 2015, Annabel seemed like they were on the verge of their biggest breakthrough yet, but instead, they ended up slowing down almost to the point of hiatus. Guitarist/vocalist Ben Hendricks ended up realizing that he’d fallen into a long bout of depression that hindered his interest in songwriting altogether, but now Annabel are finally back and they sound more energized than they ever have. Worldviews is an album of sweet, bright, melodic emo and indie rock that brings to mind stuff like Jimmy Eat World and Nada Surf–bands that just know their way around a good, concise hook. It’s a fairly natural progression from Having It All, but nine years is a long time and you can really hear the growth and maturation that the band members have undergone throughout that time period. It feels more like a fresh start than a “reunion album,” and it sounds like that’s exactly what Annabel needed.

The Early November S:T

The Early November – The Early November
Pure Noise

When The Early November broke up after just two albums in 2007, you might not have realized they were about to become one of emo’s lifer bands, but that’s exactly what happened. After a four-year hiatus, they returned with their third album In Currents in 2012, and their second act has grown into something even more fruitful than their first. Today, they release their sixth proper album, which is self-titled and comes 22 years after their debut EP, and they still never falter or sound outdated. They’ve scaled their core lineup down to the duo of vocalist/guitarist Ace Enders and Jeff Kummer, but you probably wouldn’t guess it from listening; they sound big on this LP, which they also self-produced at Ace’s studio in Ocean City, NJ. Ace said via press release that part of the inspiration to make this album came from feeling left out of the emo nostalgia festival circuit that’s become so prevalent, and this record really reinforces that The Early November don’t need to rely on nostalgia anyway. After ditching emo entirely on their sophomore album The Mother, the Mechanic, and the Path and then breaking up right as the genre was reaching its height of popularity and cringe, The Early November’s second act has found them reconnecting with the version of emo they loved in the first place (there are a lot of Clarity vibes on this new album) and continuing to make it their own. This new album has beauty, atmosphere, good hooks, and undeniable energy, and it does not sound like a band resting on the laurels of something they made 20 years ago.

For a deeper dive into the LP, Ace has given us a track-by-track breakdown. Read what he had to say here.

Read Indie Basement for more new album reviews, including John Grant, John Cale, Kneecap, Been Stellar, Russian Baths, Cola, µ-Ziq, Mike Lindsay (Tuung, LUMP), Sam Morton, Kelley Stoltz, Anna Prior, and Swiftumz.

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 Saosin.

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! Our first three editions are out now, with cover stars Jessica Pratt, Mannequin Pussy and Paramore.

Jessica Pratt BrooklynVegan Magazine
cover photo by Renee Parkhurst