Notable Releases of the Week (8/18)

It’s been another eventful week in the world of music. For the first time ever, it seems like maybe a Talking Heads reunion is possible? But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s get to this week’s new albums. I highlight seven below, and Bill tackles more in Indie Basement, including Osees, Diners, Stephen Steinbrink, and Panda Bear & Sonic Boom‘s dub album with Adrian Sherwood.

On to of those, this week’s honorable mentions include Quavo, Shamir, Draag Me (Spirit of the Beehive), Margaret Glaspy, Rhiannon Giddens, Godthrymm, EST Gee, Mr. Greg & Cass McCombs, DJ Sabrina the Teenage DJ, Mary Jane Dunphe, Anitta, Key!, Fran Lobo, DannyLux, Movements, Spirit Adrift, The Sleeping, Supershy (Tom Misch), Giggs, Killah Priest, Lil Zay Osama, Bearings, Arnold Dreyblatt & The Orchestra of Excited String, Mapache, As Friends Rust, Big Bliss, Dizzy, Kipp Stone, Nathan Mongol Wells, Caroline Cotter, Piss Me Off, Vines, Gregory Alan Isakov, PJ Western, ¿Téo?, Karina Rykman, Grace Potter, Hozier, Jon Batiste, Russ, The Xcerts, the Hell Beach EP, the Witness Chamber EP, the Miso Extra EP, the cumgirl8 EP, the Minor Conflict EP, the two Mangolia Park EPs, the live album of Sonic Youth’s final NYC show, the Anna Tivel live-in-a-living-room album, King Khan’s soundtrack for The Invaders, and the DeYarmond Edison / Justin Vernon box.

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

Fiddlehead – Death Is Nothing To Us
Run For Cover

It might seem hard to believe now, but when Fiddlehead formed in 2014, none of them thought they’d be a consistently active band with three full-lengths nearly a decade later. At the time, it was just one of many bands that vocalist Pat Flynn was doing after the breakup of Have Heart, including Clear, Wolf Whistle, Sweet Jesus, and Free, the latter of which also featured Have Heart/Fiddlehead drummer Shawn Costa. Not to mention Pat also remains busy with his full-time job as a high school history teacher. Guitarist Alex Henery, meanwhile, had just re-activated his band Basement that year for their biggest shows ever, and they’ve been mostly active since. Fiddlehead would regroup for their first full-length, Springtime and Blind, in 2018, and the following year Have Heart would reunite for their biggest show ever. Then COVID hit, and when shows opened up again, Fiddlehead re-entered the world with an energy that they’d never had before. Springtime and Blind became a sleeper hit, and I think most fans would agree that their expectations were exceeded on the even better Between the Richness in 2021. Now, they release their third album Death Is Nothing To Us, which completes a thematic trilogy that Fiddlehead never even originally intended to write. “his album sort of rounds out some of the stages of grief that weren’t addressed previously,” Pat says, “especially this feeling of stickiness that a depressive attitude can have.”

As always, Pat’s lyrics are profound–with observations on life and death and references that hold literature, philosophy, and hardcore/punk culture in equal regard–and the songs are Fiddlehead’s strongest yet. Their music continues to be rooted in a long history of post-hardcore and melodic hardcore that spans from the late ’80s Dischord era to the mid 2010s Run For Cover era, and at this point, Fiddlehead have come up with a version of that sound that always stands out as their own. You know it’s Fiddlehead as soon as you click play, and these are their most melodic, hook-filled songs yet, and also some of their hardest-hitting. Expectations were even higher for this one than they were for its predecessor, and once again, I think fans will agree that Fiddlehead have exceeded them.

Pick up our exclusive pinwheel vinyl variant of the album.

Genesis Owusu

Genesis Owusu – Struggler

Genesis Owusu is a multi-genre artist, but he’s less about breaking down barriers between different genres and more about finding the common ground between them. The three most prominent ingredients in the Ghanaian-Australian artist’s sophomore album Struggler are post-punk, hip hop, and funk, and Genesis hones in on the thing that all three of genres share: energy. More than anything else, “energetic” is the best way to describe this album, and Genesis’ excellent, must-see live show. (He’ll be on a North American tour this fall.) His rhythms are driving, and everything is loud. He’s got a beautiful singing voice, but so often he chooses to yell instead. And his yelled moments are some of his catchiest; at the end of the day, he’s using all of those various styles of music to create pop music. The album gives you a respite from all the fervor with two chilled-out R&B/soul songs (“See Ya There” and “Stuck to the Fan”), but then Genesis turns right back up to 11. Struggler is a reminder that creative, artistic, boundary-pushing music and fun music don’t have to be mutually exclusive.


Horrendous – Ontological Mysterium
Season of Mist

Horrendous were doing “old school death metal revival” long before it became a major trend, and they branched out from it before it became a major trend too. Their 2018 album Idol pushed genre in all kinds of new, exciting, and unpredictable directions–it remains one of the best death metal albums in recent memory. In the years since then, a whole crop of bands have been picking up where Horrendous’ earlier releases left off, and now Horrendous make their long-awaited return with an album that pushes the envelope even further than its predecessor. “Our sphere of influences is ever expanding as we evolve as music listeners,” says drummer Jamie Knox, and that very much comes through on Ontological Mysterium. The current definition of “death metal” is often so narrow and specific that I wonder if talking about Ontological Mysterium in terms of that genre is underselling it. There are moments that are powered by an arena-sized Judas Priest/Iron Maiden gallop and there are tripped-out moments that sound like Pink Floyd. Dissonant, technical riffage goes right up against wailing, heroic solos. Harsh growls make way for creepy clean vocals. Ontological Mysterium manages to feel like Horrendous’ weirdest and catchiest album yet, and at this point, I really can’t think of many bands doing anything like this.

Mick Jenkins

Mick Jenkins – The Patience

Mick Jenkins is tired of being patient, and that feeling informs his fourth full-length album. Some of the lush jazz-rap that informed his last two albums is present here, like with the fluttering keys of penultimate track “Guapenese,” but the Chicago rapper tends to favor a harder, more ominous backdrop on this one that matches his newfound urgency. He recruits fiery spitters like Freddie Gibbs, Benny the Butcher, and JID, and he stands tall next to all of them. As ever, he’s a masterful rhymer, an out-of-the-box thinker, and he has an ear for melody. On The Patience, he applies those familiar tricks in new settings and proves to be more versatile than ever.


Oldsoul – Education On Earth
Counter Intuitive

Massachusetts indie rock band Oldsoul put out their sophomore album You Were Overwhelmed in February of 2020, right before you-know-what happened, and Oldsoul have come out of lockdown looking a little different. They’ve downsized from a four-piece to the duo of Jess Hall and Tom Stevens, though now-former members Sam Checkoway (drums) and Chance Wells (bass) did contribute to the recording of their new album Education On Earth, but they’ve clearly managed to persevere, and perseverance is a big theme on this record as well. Produced by Zach Weeks at God City, the album’s 10 songs range from driving indie-punk to synthy dream pop to horn-fueled indie rock, and Jess’ gritty, powerful voice always takes them to the next level.


Creak – Depth Perception

Prosthetic Records has been on fire with up-and-coming metalcore bands lately. They’ve recently given us remarkable new records from Pupil Slicer, Death Goals, Thotcrime, and .gif from god, and today brings the debut LP from UK band Creak. It follows their 2020 debut EP Bitter Picture, and as promising as that EP was, this full-length feels like a big step up. In the spirit of bands like Code Orange and Vein, it’s metalcore with a futuristic sheen that borrows from nu metal and industrial, and with no lack of raw chaos. Like the EP, it was produced by former Loathe guitarist Connor Sweeney. Vocalist Jack Dunn wrote the album while dealing with an array of emotions fueled by his mother’s journey with cancer, and you can feel a sense of real devastation coming through in his caustic shrieks. His delivery makes for a record that can feel intimate and relatable even when it sounds larger than life.


Ringworm – Seeing Through Fire
Nuclear Blast

Ringworm just do not quit. It’s been 30 years since they helped invent metalcore with their 1993 debut album The Promise, and they continue to make absolutely furious records that toe the line between metal and hardcore in a uniquely-Ringworm way. Seeing Through Fire is their ninth, and this one features the return of Mike Lare (who played bass on 2007’s The Ninth Circle: The Venomous Grand Design and 2011’s Scars) on guitar, alongside founding vocalist Human Furnace, longtime guitarist Matt Sorg, and bassist Ed Stephens, the last of whom made his recorded debut with Ringworm a decade ago this year. Voivod’s Daniel Mongrain also lends a guitar solo to “Death Hoax.” Ringworm aren’t usually the type to fix what ain’t broke, and nothing about them is broke. Their consistency might make it easy to take them for granted, but if Seeing Through Fire was a new band’s debut or the first Ringworm album in 20 years, people would be losing their minds for it. In a just world, that’ll happen regardless.

Read Indie Basement for more new album reviews, including Osees, Diners, Stephen Steinbrink, and Panda Bear & Sonic Boom‘s dub album with Adrian Sherwood.

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 Norman Brannon (Texas Is The Reason, Thursday, Anti-Matter).

Green Day