by Dan Goldin (@post_trash_)
Welcome to FUZZY MEADOWS, your home away from home where we recap the past week in 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. 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 one 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.
1. LEAPLING | "Hey Sister"
Leapling aren't really a band known for shredding guitar solos and hazy fuzzed out riffs, but you'd be best to leave your expectations at the door when it comes to the band's upcoming Suspended Animation LP. Sharing the album's second single "Hey Sister" this week, Dan Arnes and co. continue to prove to be at their most comfortable when coloring outside the lines, blurring expectations, and firmly embracing the radiance and immediacy of hard charging power-pop. "Hey Sister" is a balancing act, evenly providing the perfect amounts of thoughtful lyricism, delicate pop structures, and unpredictable waves distortion courtesy of an earth shattering guitar solo that would make Crazy Horse proud. Suspended Animation is a truly triumphant record that swirls between lush orchestration, gritty power-pop distrotion, and anxious soul. Leapling have loosened their grips since Vacant Page and all bets are off.
2. METZ & SWAMI JOHN REIS | "Caught Up"
The pairing of Metz's enormous pummel and Swami John Reis' signature post-hardcore garage surf riffs is a match made in Heaven; the collaboration we've always been waiting for, whether we knew it or not. Lucky for us, Reis (Drive Like Jehu, Hot Snakes, etc) knew it and when Metz had some time off from a recent tour in San Diego, he invited them to spend the day recording with him, collaborating on a pair of songs that were released together for this year's Record Store Day. Sometimes when two or more beloved entities come together all you want to hear is that it's more than a sum of it parts... but in this case, it sounds exactly like the sum of its parts, and it couldn't be better for it. I've always enjoyed Metz to varying degrees, but together with John Reis, they've never sounded better. Sometimes all you need is a little Swami in your life. One can only hope this is only the beginning.
On a side note, it would seem that despite RSD's declining relevance, both Metz and Reis' Swami Records have "won" this year. Together with this collaborative 7", Metz are also offering a split 7" with the legendary Mission of Burma, as both bands take a crack at covering one another. On the Swami side of the things, the aforementioned single joins new releases from the label's own Mrs. Magician (the a-side of which is featured in the "further listening" section) as well as a new compilation dubbed Hardcore Matinee featuring new and unreleased music from Hot Snakes, Pinback, Octagrape. The Sultans, Rob Crow, Plateaus and more.
3. PETITE LEAGUE | "Annie"
Petite League's sound is about as immediate as they come. There's not a great deal of space or subtlety to their songs, or so it appears upon first listen. Dig deeper into band's jangly garage pop though and you'll soon discover the duo have more than a few songwriting tricks up their sleeves. Last year the band quietly released Slugger, a fantastic introduction to the band's lo-fi bliss. The record was filled with fuzzy guitars, warm melodies, and cavernous hooks from both the vocals and riffs, extending their infectious grasp at every turn. No Hitter, the band's still baseball themed follow-up, is even better. If the last album had them in the playoffs, the band are making a run for the World Series this time.
"Annie" is the album's first single, a bright and energetic pop song that blends together garage punk fuzz, shimmering power-pop, and a swarm of undeniable charm. The duo's sound is full and textured, led by Lorenzo Gillis Cook's joyous guitar tone as he bounces between pop splendor and casual shredding in short ecstatic bursts. The sugary sweet sound is deceptive though as "Annie" doesn't exactly come across as the type of girl you fall in love with. Cook compares his longing for the titular character to A Nightmare on Elm Street, sweetly offering a reminder, "you could have killed me in my sleep". Nightmares come and go, but "Annie" will stick with you.
4. HOVVDY | "Taster" LP
Hovvdy's full length debut Taster was released just two days ago but it would seem I've used up my free "listens" on Bandcamp already. For me, it's the type of album you hear and then instantly need to hear again. The Austin duo capture an experimental warmth and lo-fi beauty throughout the album, built around a slow pacing, fuzzy melodies, delicate harmonies, and a nuanced attention to detail and tonality. This is late night music. It's early morning music. It adapts itself to your listening needs, and shines resiliently for all occasions. Much like Horse Jumper of Love's spectacular debut earlier this year, Hovvdy tread a similar territory using muscular compositions and fuzzy layered distortion that often feels gentle and clean. At its most straightforward, the album is a stunning lesson in subdued beauty, and at it's most adventurous, it's a rattled celebration of well placed noise and patchwork layered guitar tones. With slow dripping tempos, hazy blankets of reverb, resigned lyrics, and tape manipulated sound, Taster has all the makings and charm of a bedroom pop classic.
5. HORSE LORDS | "Bending To The Lash"
Baltimore's Horse Lords are making experimental music fun again. Sure, their mix of avant-garde krautrock, psych punk, free jazz, and math rock is challenging, but it's challenging in a mind expanding way, accessible to anyone willing to let it in. New single "Bending To The Lash" has the band locked in together like an impenetrable vault, so tightly wound around their own snaking bass line and tangled rhythms it's genuinely amazing. Guitars and saxophones spiral out of control into a vortex as the song's hypnotic nature begins to offer the sense of being abducted by aliens or getting sucked into another dimension. There's an otherworldly quality to it all and things may never be the same again afterward. Horse Lords' latest is wildly experimental and infinitely engaging while dance floor ready grooves... the perfect out of body soundtrack, whenever you might need it. Their sophomore album Interventions is a the type of trip that will have seeing colors and hearing sounds you never knew existed. See you on the other side.
6. WEAVES | "Candy"
Everyone loves Weaves... at least everyone who knows them. It's safe to say that by the end of this year, everyone will know them... which brings me back to my first point, everyone loves Weaves. Those who have had the opportunity to see them live are already converted. It's a special experience and by the sound of the band's first two singles from their upcoming full length debut, they've captured those fireworks in the studio. The band's sound is as deeply routed in skronky art punk as it is in buoyant outsider pop, and "Candy" makes it impossible to discern where one starts and the other ends. It's damaged and noisy while infectious and hooky. Weaves' warped chaos squeals and squawks with moments of fleeting rage but the song is nothing if not accessible. Auditory candy from one of Toronto's most promising bands. Resistance is futile. Weaves are the band you love to love.
7. GUIDED BY VOICES | "Please Be Honest" LP
Guided By Voices are back together... well, sort of. The Dayton, OH indie legends are back with a new album, a new line-up, and new tour dates. Please Be Honest, their upcoming album however isn't really a "band" effort at all, but another solo recording from Robert Pollard, one that he felt sounded like GBV. It's hard to determine the difference at times... hell, I think his recent solo efforts Of Course You Are and last year's exceptional Faulty Superheroes sound more like GBV than Please Be Honest does... but at this point I think Pollard has earned the right to call his projects whatever he'd like. It's a Pollard record for sure, and a strange one at that. Built around the signature Pollard songwriting you know and love (check out standouts "Kid on a Ladder," "I Think A Telescope," and "Glittering Parliaments"), Please Be Honest is another batch of strong GBV songs (at twenty two GBV albums in we might add) though Pollard doesn't hesitate to get weird. Experimenting with a new array of lo-fi clatter on "The Grasshopper Eaters," warped vocal processing on "Sad Baby Eyes," and the bizarre drugged out vibe of "Hotel X (Big Soap)," Guided By Voices' latest is an interesting listen from start to finish with moments of brilliance scattered throughout.
8. ALL PEOPLE | "Plain Essential Language"
New Orleans' All People are a hard band to pin down and with every new release the quartet have shifted their sound in new directions... several new directions. It's only been a year since the band (comprised of Community Records founders Daniel "D-Ray" Ray and Greg Rodrgue) released their sophomore album but they're back with a new, self-titled full length, and the seeds of post-punk and synth pop they've previously hinted at have fully bloomed. To be clear, All People are still sonically all over the map, but their diverse influences are starting to gel. Merging disparate genres and temperaments, All People are able to sound simultaneously agitated and positive as they explore themes of depression with a focus on recovery rather than wallowing in the depths.
"Plain Essential Language" pairs Greg Rodrigue's slurred vocal drawl (imagine a cross between a subdued Guy Picciotto circa One Last Wish and Protomartyr's Joe Casey) with twinkling dream pop synths and a corrosive bass line. The synths and soaring moog strengthened hooks push the song further toward the alt-pop of Beach House or The Rentals than anything Dischord related, but it's in the fusion of the sweet and er, sour... that All People are truly at their finest.
9. HAYBABY | "Pig"
Sometimes a band uses an EP release to mark a transition in sound. Sometimes it's an opportunity to use songs that might not have fit within the framework of a record, and other times it's just a chance to have some fun and explore new ideas. Only time will tell which one of these options Haybaby's upcoming Blood Harvest EP falls under but it certainly sounds as though the trio are having a good time. "Pig" is sludgy and primal, it slowly claws at your senses, leaving the band's clever pop senses behind in a trail of ashes and destruction that favors crushing doom. The track's glacial pacing creates an unapologetically heavy atmosphere right from the beginning, ominously moving forward and absolutely decimating everything in their path as Leslie Hong's vocals howl into the sludge splattered void. Blood Harvest in an eclectic EP and what comes next is anyone's guess, but whatever it is Haybaby are getting into, it's damn well worth a listen.
10. PINKWASH | "Metastatic"
PINKWASH RIP. Enough said... but I suppose I'll elaborate. The Philadelphia duo always seem to be stuck in full throttle with a devout focus on crushing riffs and pounding drums... and we wouldn't have it any other way. "Metastatic," the latest single from the band's upcoming full length debut, Collective Sigh, is well, another enormous ripper. While the band deal with heavy subject matters often revolving around cancer, the loss of family, and the medical industry, they're thrashing it out as a cathartic release over blistering riffs and jagged rhythms that simply crush and crush until there's nothing left to destroy. Personal loss is never easy to deal with but the big pummeling avalanche of Pinkwash's sonic fury offers a momentary release. Pinkwash are always there for you (well, their music is) whenever you may need them.
LADY BONES "Ice Cream" | MRS. MAGICIAN "Eyes All Over Town" | SUPERMOON "Witching Hour" | EARRING "Dark Heart" | BAD BREEDING "Corrupting Fist" | WIRE "Nocturnal Koreans" EP | DEFTONES "Prayers/Triangles" | FLASHER "Flasher" EP | ESKIMEAUX "Year of the Rabbit" EP | PALEHOUND "Tiny Desk Concert" | PARQUET COURTS "Rough Trade Sessions" | CAR SEAT HEADREST "Fill In The Blank" | SPRAY PAINT "Burn Barrel" | HEAD WOUND CITY "Just One Fix" (Ministry cover) | SUUNS "Hold/Still" LP | THE FLAMING LIPS "Space Oddity" (David Bowie cover) | PJ HARVEY "The Hope Six Demolition Project" LP | THE BLIND PETS "Sharon Is Karen" LP | THE COATHANGERS "Nosebleed Weekend" LP | GREYS "Outer Heaven" LP | HONEY "MFLH" | BIG HUSH "Sifting" (Nirvana cover) | HOLY WAVE "Minstrel's Gallop" | HARMONY TIVIDAD "Josephs Dad" | NOTHING "ACD (Abscessive Compulsive Disorder)" | YOUTH IN BLOOM "Feed My Dreams (Demo)" | DAL NIENTE & DEERHOOF "Adam+Eve Connection" | WRITER "Neighborly" | PITY SEX "Pin A Star"