Welcome to FUZZY MEADOWS, our weekly recap of this week's new music. We're sharing our top ten favorite releases of the week in the form of albums, singles, and music videos along with the "further listening" section of new and notable releases from around the web. It's generally poorly written and totally unedited... but full love of heart. The number rankings are fairly arbitrary and we sincerely recommend checking out all the music included in this feature. There's a lot of great music being released. Support the bands you love. Spread the word and buy some new music. *Disclaimer: We are making a conscious effort not to include any artist in the top ten on back-to-back weeks in order to diversify the feature, so be sure to check the "further listening" as well because it's often "top ten" quality too.
1. THIS BECOMES US | "Big Hitter" (feat. Billy Mason-Wood)
Future of the Left bassist Julia Ruzicka is getting ready to release her debut solo album under the name This Becomes Us and she's brought along a slew of friends with her to handle the vocals. The album was announced with lead single "Painter Man Is Coming," a collaboration with Pixies' Black Francis (more on that in this very countdown). A few days later, Ruzicka shared "Big Hitter," her song with none other than Billy Mason-Wood of Blacklisters. Perhaps the best noise rock band of the past few decades, his utterly devastating vocal howls set the tone to primal. There is no one who does it quite like Mason-Wood (aside from maybe David Yow in his prime), and he sounds as insane and chaotic as ever over Ruzicka's enormous throbbing low end. It's a match made in heaven.
2. SWEET WILLIAMS | "Please Let Me Sleep On Your Tonight" LP
Over the years, the UK's Sweet Williams have specialized in droning post-punk that keeps the pace forever crawling, but their latest album Please Let Me Sleep On Your Tonight shifts the direction. Built around unpredictable left turns, squalling noise punk, and moody abrasions, Sweet Williams are just as apt at knuckle dragging experimental punk, as they are fuzzy dirges of post-hardcore scorn and indie-tinged doom. It's an engaging listen from start to finish, filled with minimalistic brutality and the most impeccable of seasick repetitions. One of the year's best kept secrets, this album is not to be missed. Simply listen to the blood curling hypnotic fury of "Ex-Circus" and then start the album over from the beginning, like a good and proper listener.
3. TREDICI BACCI | "Give Him The Gun" (feat. JG Thirlwell)
If you're not already familiar with Tredici Bacci, here's hoping you soon will be. The 14 piece Brooklyn based ensemble play Italian pop music of the most epic variety, a nod to the elaborate work of Ennio Morricone and his orchestral music and spaghetti western soundtracks. Led by the classically trained former Guerilla Toss bassist Simon Hanes, the experimentation of his former group is alive and well in Tredici Bacci, but his passion for enormous orchestrated flourishes and mesmerizing crescendos capture the past together with the present. The band are getting ready to release Amore Per Tutti in November and lead single "Give Him The Gun" features guest vocals (in English, a Tredici Bacci rarity) from Foetus' JG Thirlwell. It's swelling and cinematic, engaging in everything from post-punk, orchestrated funk, and lush orchestrated grooves, perfectly executed and impeccably interesting.
4. AXIS: SOVA | "(Like An) Intruder"
The new Axis: Sova album absolutely shreds... in every manner of speaking. It's one enormous shredding guitar boogie into the next, a rough and riotous record for those who love noisy guitar glory. His new album Motor Earth is due out next week via Ty Segall's God? Records (if that feels like a sign... it is) and he's once again diving headfirst into the blistering psych punk and garage rock landscape. "(Like An) Intruder" is nasty rock 'n' roll built on cavernous fuzz riffs and harsh distortion ripped solos and it's only but a taste of the hard charging warped psych throughout the album.
5. TRUE WIDOW | "Avvolgere" LP
True Widow have done it again, just like we knew they would. Without straying too far from their "doomgaze" formula, the ever consistent Texas trio's latest album captures their magic and reminds us why they've become the past decade's best "slowcore" band. It's slow and heavy, combining filthy guitar tones with perfectly bleak production and gorgeous melodies. The duel vocals of DL Phillips and Nicole Estill captivates as always, each offering their own characteristically stoned detachment over unnerving sonic bliss and fuzzed out monoliths. The band pick up the pace without deviating their sound, adding nuance while offering wavering adjustments of bad moods and downtrodden beauty. When in doubt, there's always True Widow.
6. LVL UP | "Return To Love" LP
LVL UP have created another flawless record but the band are simply re-treading past territory as Return To Love opts for nuance over earworm pop. Let's not get carried away though, it's just as catchy and infinitely re-playable as anything you've come to love from the Brooklyn based quartet, but this time around they've expanded their writing, sprawling out in new directions, and stretching the song's capabilities to new heights of sonic exploration. No one does it quite like LVL UP and the boys sound creatively fired up from start to finish.
7. GREYS | "Fresh Hell"
Greys have spent much of this year proving that everything you thought you knew about them is simply the beginning. Earlier this year they released Outer Heaven, a politically conscious record that traded in the bands "noise rock" tendencies for slick pop centric punk that teetered between dreamy emo, pop-punk, and post-hardcore. The results are mixed (depending on your personal tastes) but their ability to push boundaries is radiant. Which brings us to "Fresh Hell," a new single from the now released Warm Shadow, a companion album that has Greys digging into their most experimental sounds; delving into tape loops, Liars-esque art punk, and lo-fi fuzz rock. "Fresh Hell" rips with repetitive throbbing rhythms and blistering intensity and well... it could just be my favorite Greys song released to date.
8. BLESSED | "Waving Hand"
Sometimes an interesting song gets an interesting video... and sometimes that video contains a bicycle seat huffing addiction. We've been obsessed with Blessed's music since their self-titled EP was released earlier this year, and now we have this... which makes me wonder if I've been living right all these years. It's hard to say if the video really "compliments" the song, but it really doesn't matter. Both are great in their own right and we thoroughly believe Blessed are one of the year's best new bands.
9. THURSTON MOORE | "Chelsea's Kiss"
Slowly building, "Chelsea's Kiss" picks up where Thurston Moore's surprisingly great solo album The Best Day left off, pulling elements of dreamy slowcore together with warm expansive post-punk and of course a bit of noisy guitar shredding. Political in nature, the song and it's lyrics focus on the campaign to free U.S. Army Private Chelsea Manning who has been jailed for leaking classified information regarding the horrors of our military. It's a heavy subject that Moore approaches with his usual poetic fragments.
10. THIS BECOMES US | "Painter Man Is Coming" (feat. Black Francis)
In an unprecedented "Fuzzy Meadows" move, we're including two tracks from a single artist in this week's countdown, and here's why... It's safe to say at this point that the Pixies most likely will never release another great album... hell, I have my personal doubts they'll even do something that qualifies as "decent". This Becomes Us gives us hope though. Julia Ruzicka's (Future of the Left) solo debut finds her pairing up with the aforementioned Pixies' Black Francis, and together they have created the greatest Pixies song (albeit not by the actual Pixies) since 1991. Perhaps all they need (other than Kim Deal) is Ruzicka's always impeccable bass playing. Or maybe we'll just have to embrace this song (because it really is exceptional) and remember the good days.
HOPE SANDOVAL & THE WARM INVENTIONS "Let Me Get There" (feat. Kurt Vile) | CHRISTIAN FITNESS "If No Keepers Play" | TONY MOLINA "Hung Up On The Dream" | TONGUES "I Really Have To Get My Life Back On Track Before I Cut All My Hair Off" LP | THE COATHANGERS "Perfume" | FORTH WANDERERS "Slop" | TREADLES "Doctor Blind" | OPTIONS "Maxed Out" LP | DAVID BOWIE "The Gouster" LP | SAM EVIAN "Dark Love" | WHITE LUNG "Sister" | PEELING "Magic Eye" | SAD13 "Less Than 2" | FAKE PALMS "Heavy Paranoia" EP | IDIOT GENES "Oof Bonk" LP | THE ROYAL THEY "The Royal They" LP | GIRL TEARS "Cold Thoughts" | DARK BLUE "Never Wanted To Hurt You" | THE POWDER ROOM "Sycophant" | VOMITFACE "Dramamine" | HOLY SONS "Robbed & Gifted" | MERCHANDISE "Lonesome Sound" | RESIDUELS "Hurricane" EP | CINEMECHANICA "Cinemechanica" LP | EMMA RUTH RUNDLE "Real Big Sky" | NEVER YOUNG "Soap" | JAPANESE BREAKFAST "Everybody Wants To Love You" | CLOUD COVER "Mirror Me" LP
1. PILE | "Untitled"
Pile will never let you down. I'm not going to say they are the greatest band of all time... but they could be the greatest band of all time. Throughout the band's undeniable catalog of rattled post-hardcore, noisy indie punk, and introspective yet twisted folk, Rick Maguire has established himself as one of our generation's best songwriters. It's a bold statement, but I believe it with every ounce of my being. Last summer while writing demos for the band's upcoming album, Maguire decided to release the mysterious First Other Tape, a non-digital collection of solo recordings and ideas in a similar vein to the band's earliest material, Demonstration. The songs contain no titles, the tape's artwork and packaging contains no text, but the music speaks volumes.
Set for re-release ahead of the band's UK/EU tour, Pile are sharing the video for one of the record's finer moments, an exceptional song that balances twangy blues with fuzzy vocals and an utterly infectious melody that's impossible to escape. The video, directed by the one and only Adric Giles, captures a good deal of "the essence" of Pile as Maguire eats cereal (with water), smokes cigs, goes for a nice walk, and eventually makes a pie in about the most deranged way possible. It's a great video for a great song that deserves a lot more attention.
2. PEAER | "Peaer" LP
Peaer's self-titled album is pretty much a modern indie rock masterpiece. It's full of dynamic pop songs that sound simultaneously bleak and sunny thanks to Peter Katz's warm melodies and honest lyrics. The record strives in the details, splashing in bursts of harmonies, fuzzy guitar riffs, and dropping them back out without warning, adding texture within the record's beautiful layers. We've been saying Peaer are one of the most important new indie bands for quite sometime and their new record is one of the year's best breakthrough albums.
3. SUPER UNISON | "Broken"
We're late on Super Unison, but damn, we're in love. This band (wonderfully named after a great Drive Like Jehu song) is making some of the best seething post-hardcore we've heard in quite some time. It's violent and abrasive but delivered with a razor sharp precision and focused attack. The Oakland based trio dive headfirst into the depths with a fiery rage, digging and clawing at every jagged turn. Meghan O’Neil Pennie howls as the band thrash in tightly wound eruptions. There's nothing like discovering a great new band. Thank you Super Unison.
4. CZARFACE | "Two In The Chest"
It's official, Czarface are the first hip-hop group to make the "Fuzzy Meadows" countdown and we're pretty thrilled to include them. I'm very picky when it comes to hip-hop, especially of the past decade. You could call me close-minded or perhaps call me an old man out of touch with "the youth". I don't care. I stay forever devoted to the sounds of the '90s and the "boom-bap" elements of hip-hop's golden era. Wu-Tang is forever and Inspectah Deck (one of the group's best and most under-appreciated lyricists) is keeping the dream alive in Czarface together with his new partners in crime, 7L and Esoteric. After two flawless albums of hard hitting Brooklyn gangster rap glory, the trio are back for another record. "Two In The Chest," the record's first single captures the group doing what they do best... bringing us back to the good days as "The Rebel I-N-S" and Esoteric go in with a multitude of shifting flows over 7L's grimy production. Free of hooks, this is raw MCing from two of the current best.
5. WALL | "Last Date"
WALL are post-punk's next great hope. The buzz continues to swarm off the strength of their debut EP (released back in January) and the Brooklyn quartet continue to breed new life into the release with a video for the tight yet unhinged "Last Date," a song built on primal minimalism and rhythms that pull in every direction just enough to avoid snapping. The video matches the song's minimal nature with chaotic seizure pushing cuts of the band in stark black and white. We're eager for the band's next release, but there's still life yet in their debut.
6. WAREHOUSE | "Super Low" LP
Leading the pack of Atlanta's most awesome indie rock awakening, Warehouse's long time coming sophomore album Super Low is everything you could ask for. We were floored when the band first self-released Tesseract a few years back, and all the touring they've done since has only made the impossibly tight band impossibly tighter. Super Low squirms in new directions with complex free-jazz inspired moments of punk, R&B spirited rock 'n' roll, and the restraint of post-punk. Warehouse stretch out their capabilities like a growing forest of dense beauty and eternal springing life.
7. OOZING WOUND | "Diver"
Chicago experimental thrash punks Oozing Wound are releasing a new album called Whatever Forever, an indifference that doesn't reflect their sound. The band create crushing and unapologetic metal with the quickest of speed and the most agitated brutality. Their riffs are inventive and their triumphantly insane vocals spew with bile and reckless charm. While I'm not much of a "metal" fan in the traditional sense, Oozing Wound and their brainy destruction cannot be denied. Things get pretty psychedelic for an obsessed fan in the video for "Diver," a hilarious look into the world of Oozing Wound's most dedicated audience with space cats, an ode to Twin Peaks' Black Lodge, and a few unfortunate casualties.
8. FAKE LIMBS | "An Inconvenience"
Slurred and demented, Fake Limbs have been making the Chicago noise rock scene proud for the past four years, carrying the torch for the Touch & Go elite for a new crowd. Raw and punishing, Fake Limbs turn their attention toward some of the disgusting parts of modern life: police shooting innocent black men and inherent racism that plagues so much of country. Fake Limbs won't stand for it and neither will we. Blow off some stream with a wonderfully harsh noise punk stampede that should have David Yow smiling proudly.
9. FUCKED UP | "This Mother Forever"
While perhaps not popular opinion, Fucked Up are at their best when making the sprawling record length songs of their Zodiac series. The generally 15+ minutes of post-rock experimentation works its magic on the Toronto band's otherwise punchy "indie hardcore" and the results generally feel as though they've transcended simple genre categorization. While "This Mother Forever" is not part of the aforementioned series, it is indeed sprawling, built around a massive soundscape intro and outro with a blisteringly ferocious center. This is the calm before the storm, the eye of the hurricane, and the rainbow that follows.
10. RADIOHEAD | "Ill Wind"
In case you've forgotten, Radiohead put out a new album this year called A Moon Shaped Pool. It's a good record and the internet noticed. Now, they have a b-side and it's time to rejoice again, or you know, give it a listen. It would appear the song has since been pulled from the internet... and while I don't exactly remember what it sounded like, I'm pretty sure it was good to great and I remember thinking it reminded me a bit of In Rainbows. Happy hunting on this one. Maybe it will be released again in a big spectacle in the months or years to come. Hooray!
ULTIMATE PAINTING "Dusk" LP | DELUXX FOLK IMPLOSION "Cavalcade of Death" | VANISHING LIFE "The Realist" | KERRY CHARLES "Two Cozy Rooms Vol. 1" EP | SOFT FANGS "Birthday" | SAM EVIAN "Premium" LP | JAMES CHANCE & THE CONTORTIONS "Melt Yourself Down" | MUUY BIIEN "Bitter Blessings" | FRANK WEYSOS "Cry Baby" | LOU BARLOW "The Breeze" | KESTRELS "Kestrels" LP | FAKE PALMS "Holiday" | LOWER DENS "Maneater" (Hall & Oates cover) | EMMA RUTH RUNDLE "Marked For Death" LP | VOTARIES "Succumb"
1. SLIP DISCO | "Come Clown" EP
Slip Disco is the latest solo project from Two Inch Astronaut's Sam Rosenberg. Much like Mattress Financial, the songs are primarily acoustic, and find Rosenberg is a more sensitive mood than much of Two Inch Astronaut's more bombastic songs. It's stripped and gorgeous, full of nuanced songwriting in its simplest form. It's hard to believe radio-friendly pop rock gets this good, but in this case, it sure as hell does. With guest appearances from Jesse Weiss (Grass Is Green, Spook The Herd, Palehound), Sadie Dupuis (Speedy Ortiz, Sad13), Matt Gatwood (Two Inch Astronaut) and producer extraordinaire Mike Siegel, Slip Disco's soft spoken songs open into lush melodies and gentle harmonies, revolving around heartbreak and scenes from the indie underground. Rosenberg is an incredible songwriter and the airy nature of Come Clown captures his vulnerability in brilliant form.
2. REALLY BIG PINECONE | "Chorus Girl"
Holy mole! We're so glad Really Big Pinecone are back. We recently featured "W.I.S.A.T.P.," a great new track from their upcoming EP on the ever so lovely Babe City Records, but nothing could prepare us for "Chorus Girl" and Zannie Owen's gorgeous vocals and the incredible arhythmic composition. This one is a dazzler, plain and simple. Really Big Pinecone contort pop into their own mutant delights and they sound as their most radiant with Owens leading them through the delicate contusions and the songs unpredictable crescendos. "Chorus Girl" is a very special song.
3. GREYS | "Warm Shadow" LP
If you scroll up just a bit, you'll find our inclusion of Greys' latest single "Fresh Hell" in the countdown from two weeks ago where we called their new album Warm Shadow, "a companion album that has Greys digging into their most experimental sounds; delving into tape loops, Liars-esque art punk, and lo-fi fuzz rock". We stand by that description, but what we failed to mention is that it's really really awesome, and the record, while essentially "bonus material," is my favorite release the Toronto quartet have recorded to date. Is no mere filler, but rather a chance for Greys to get weird, dig into their more experimental itches, and come out with a set of songs that are raw and loose but filled with excitement and sonic brilliance. I can't recommend this one enough.
4. SNEAKS | "Tough Luck"
Sneaks take post-punk to its absolute most minimal. Her music is as raw, stripped, and primitive as they come, but the video for "Tough Luck" brings the energy of the song to life with awesome, twitchy, animation. Comprised of bass, drums, and vocals, Eva Moolchan keeps it simple and the dancing cartoons follow suit. It's a fantastic visual for a fantastic song, raw, rhythmic, and kinda gross but undeniably engaging.
5. Aa | "Trash Hits"
Aa break our format for capitalization on these here countdowns, but we'll allow it because changing the case of their name, changes their name (Big A little a) altogether. Getting past that... we're so damn glad Aa is back with a new record, and the first single "Trash Hits" is a great sign of things to come. You can never have enough rhythmic force in an Aa song, a fact the Brooklyn based band know all too well. Piling on layers of enormous drums, haunting synths, and rippling melodies, "Trash Hits" sounds otherworldly, and the invasion will be spectacular.
6. UNIFORM | "Ghosthouse"
New York noise punk duo Uniform released their debut album, Perfect World, last year, a harsh and unforgiving record of dense landscapes and dour sentiments. It's blistering and unrelenting from start to finish and yet it would seem they've upped the ante on "Ghosthouse," the first single from their upcoming EP. Riotous from the very beginning, the seven and half minutes roar by with a wall of noise that absolutely demolishes everything in its path. Crushing and hypnotic, Uniform may not be for the faint of heart, but their destructive noise is relatively accessible for adventurous listeners.
7. J MASCIS | "Waltz #2" (Elliott Smith cover)
There are a lot of Elliott Smith covers out there. I suppose there's something about the stark emotion and honesty of his music that lends well to covers, but rarely can anyone capture the emotion or add anything new that truly compliments the song. Say Yes! A Tribute to Elliott Smith was released this Friday with artists and bands like Yuck, Adam Franklin (Swervedriver), and Lou Barlow, but it's J Mascis who truly steals the show. I'm not going to say his cover of "Waltz #2" is better than the original but it damn sure is close. From his slow drawn vocals to his blistering guitar tone, Mascis plays it to perfection.
8. FORTH WANDERERS | "Know Better"
The second song off of Forth Wanderers’ upcoming EP Slop “Know Better” is the lilting reprieve after the extreme highs of “Slop.” A meandering guitar line anchors excellent work from the rest of the band, and Ava Trilling’s gentle power stands at the front of the track. “I hope I’ll know better/ how can I be there when you call my name” is a simple statement that takes on carnal gravitas when issued from Forth Wanderers, who seem to be only capable of making hits at this point. Their brand of clean, immaculately wrought pop is vital and yet humble, as if they know that it both doesn’t matter and matters a whole lot. Songs about being young and navigating relationships have rarely sounded as nice or felt as relatable as in the hands of Trilling and the rest of Forth Wanderers. - Niccolo Dante Porcello
9. NOCTURNAL HABITS | "Echophilia"
Justin Trosper of Unwound's latest project, Nocturnal Habits, is cleaner than his legendary's output in every imaginable away. The production is radiant and slick, there are no warts, there is no roughness. Once you move past that fact, you can enjoy the directional shift for what it is, a new exploration of rock music from within the studio from a group of musicians with no shortage of musical ideas. "Echophilia" is a dusty ballad of sorts, blending indie rock with electronic flourishes and shoegaze elements that recall dream pop without ever really committing down that tranquil road. It's an interesting listen and an intentionally different look into Trosper's songwriting.
10. CRYSTAL FAIRY | "Drugs On The Bus"
Last year the Melvins did a US tour or two with Le Butcherettes and each night ended up the bands joining together to cover Bikini Kill's "Rebel Girl". They had a lot of fun doing it (and it was awesome) and now, together with Le Butcherettes frequent collaborator Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (also of At The Drive-In, etc), they've formed a new band called Crystal Fairy. It's heavy and sounds like what you might imagine the Melvins fronted by Teri Gender Bender might sound like (ORL's presence is pretty downplayed). It's full of slow crawling Melvins style doom and sludge but their Crystal Fairy companions add a sense of dark psychedelic rock to Buzz and Dale's usual dirge.
A GIANT DOG "Jizzney" | SOUNDGARDEN "Rusty Cage" (Studio Outtake) | NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS "Girl In Amber" | THEE OH SEES "The Poem" | RADIOHEAD "The Numbers" | GOBBINJR "Manatee" | RED FANG "Living In Lye" | MANNEQUIN PUSSY "Denial" | DUCHESS SAYS "I Repeat Myself" | LE BUTCHERETTES "My Mallely" | HOPE SANDOVAL & THE WARM INVENTIONS "Let Me Get There" (feat. Kurt Vile) | SAFELY NOBODY'S "Demmys" EP | ANIMAL LOVER "Nathan's Nitrates" | SNAKEHOLE "Something To Become" | JACUZZI BOYS "Lucky Blade" | CROCODILES "Not Even In Your Dreams" | MENACE BEACH "Maybe We'll Drown" | K A G "EP A" EP | POTTY MOUTH "Smash Hit" | TEEN SUICIDE "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" | HALFSOUR "Ten Year Tenure" | COOL GHOULS "Animal Races" | CASPER SKULLS "Errands" | VOTARIES "Rainbow Death Revisited" | RESIDUELS "Whatcha Wanna Do?" | CLEO TUCKER "Call It Tie" | WILD PINK "4 Songs" EP | NIGHT IDEA "Audiotree Session" | EMILYN BRODSKY "You Read Me Wrong" | SLOTHRUST "Like A Child Hiding Behind Your Tombstone" | SLOW MASS "Portals To Hell" | THE DUE DILIGENCE "Yeah Uh"