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.
1. FUTURE OF THE LEFT | "The Peace & Truce of Future of the Left" LP
Five albums in and Future of the Left are still finding new ways to combine scathing cynicism, sardonic wit, and their own brand of hilariously misanthropic cultural outrage with crushing rhythms and infectiously abrasive melodies. Andrew Falkous aka Falco and company stopped caring what anyone thought of them a while ago, and lucky for us, these days it seems no one is safe. The dismay toward, well... just about everything is as rabid as ever, as Falco takes aim at celebrities, the military, the overprivileged, gluttony, and our ever impending societal doom. While this type of outrage could be considered a downer in the hands of most bands, Future of the Left have mastered the art of transforming the horrendous to the hilarious. While Falco may be the ring leader, Future of the Left's force lies in its ever incredible rhythm section, Jack Egglestone (drums) and Julia Ruzicka (bass), pounding out an unrelenting cavalcade of jagged minimalism and raw "dance punk" grooves. Falco's guitar tones and general agitated vocal howls scrape like rust over the dense low end. Scathing and deranged, Falco's lyricism never quite takes anything too seriously, and yet I can never help but feel that he couldn't be more serious about it.
Future of the Left (and the much beloved Mclusky before them) are one of the most important bands of our time and while they may have decided to stop playing the music industry's games of promotional campaigns and marketing gimmicks, their bark remains as ferocious as their bite. The trio have quietly released one of the best records of their exceptional career. There's a lot to grasp on The Peace & Truce of Future of the Left, from Falco's razor-sharp lyrical brilliance to the blistering gut-punch riffs, but as with any FOTL album, repeat listens are rewarded in spades. When all is lost, trust in Future of the Left.
2. LADY BONES | "Weight"
Lady Bones are a product of their environment. The Boston band proudly carry the torch for their scene but for all the influence their peers have imparted upon the trio, the band is evolving. Terse, the band's upcoming EP, set for release on April 29th via Midnight Werewolf Records, finds Lady Bones coming into their own, heavier, more confident, and as dynamic as ever. It's been less than a year since the band released their full length debut, a fantastic introduction to their brand of dirty indie punk, but apparently Dying was just the beginning. Lady Bones spent much of last year touring, tightening their sound and skimming away any excess in the process.
"Weight," the first single from the band's EP finds the band doing what they do best, weaving together cavernous rhythms that shift with subtle complexity and a raw soulful twang emanating from both Sean Gilston's vocals and chord structures. There's an understated patience to Lady Bones' slow burning stampedes. Rather than an all out decimating fury, the band build upon uneasy structures that rarely sit still, reinforcing melodies through pummeling rhythms as they work their way through winding tension. Lady Bones' inescapable rhythms and dark front-porch melodies have made them one of Boston's best young bands and they're only getting better.
3. DEFTONES | "Gore" LP
It seems as though every time Deftones release a new album, there are some folks that are shocked by... to put it in simple terms... just how damn good it is. While much of that hesitation may be derived from the peers the Sacramento quintet emerged with back in the nu-metal days of yore, Deftones have continuously demolished boundaries and expectations, creating records of undeniable depth and texture for over two decades. Gore sounds like a Deftones record, which means at it's worst it's still very good. Picking up where Koi No Yokan left off, Chino Moreno and the boys continue to mine the more ethereal sonic landscape. Spacey and atmospheric at it's core, we are still talking about Deftones and even the most beautiful of passages are met with riffs both punishing and inventive. Careful to balance the band's signature melodic beauty and brutality, the record is at it's best when floating between the two as on stand-out tracks "(L)Mirl" and the album's viciously seething title track, "Gore".
Potentially less immediate than the band's best known records, Gore is layered and nuanced, loaded with lush guitars and the always phenomenal drumming of the one and only Abe Cunningham (a drummer whose name deserves mention in any "best modern drummer" conversation). It's been over twenty years and Deftones still sound hungry as they push the envelope ever further. Don't call it a comeback.
4. CULTURE ABUSE | "Peach" LP
Is it too early to talk about "summer records" when it's April and still cold enough to snow? Probably... but I'll be damned if Culture Abuse's full length debut, Peach, isn't one of those records. Every song on the Bay Area sextet's album is bursting with warm guitar tones and thick-as-syrup hooks. It's immediate in every regard, a real Peach of uncompromising earworm punk hooks and revved up power-pop. While the band's previous releases relied on raw debauchery and hardcore punk influences, Culture Abuse have embrace pop in a big way and the results are overwhelmingly positive. It's a rare feat when a band reliant on primal noise, deranged shouting, and scuzzy aggression can tame down their sound without losing a step (we're talking pot of gold at the end of a rainbow rare), but they've done it and they're happy to prove it, track after track.
As Peach unwinds and their outsider blend of punk, power-pop, indie rock, psych, "college rock," and traces of hardcore swirl deep into your subconscious it becomes apparent that Culture Abuse's sound hasn't shifted quite as dramatically as it may appear. Sure, the band are experimenting with new (pop) ideas, sticky sweet refrains, positive mental attitudes (a reaction to adversity and personal loss), and a *clean new sparkle* but at the end of the day it's still Culture Abuse and pop songs or not, the band continue to rip through their riffs with a reckless abandonment. The aggression, filth, and chaos has been scaled back but despite the sonic cleansing, the band sound more focused and energized than ever before. Peach is a triumphant record of shimmering hooks and caterwauling guitars, so whether you want to call it pop or punk really doesn't matter, and Culture Abuse certainly don't care either way.
5. SOLIDS | "Blank Stare"
Do you live somewhere? There's a good chance Solids have played near you and an even better chance their set absolutely ripped from start to finish. The Montreal duo have toured tirelessly since the release of their 2014 full length debut, Blame Confusion, a record built on roaring fuzz and crushing riffs that created an unavoidable comparison to fellow Canadians, Japandroids. The similarities were there, sure, but witnessing Solids in a live capacity laid waste to the idea of the band looming in anyone's shadow. These guys go in. There is a sweaty madness to witnessing the band live, one that continues to get impossibly better with every show.
Solid's debut was good, but Else, the band's forthcoming EP on Topshelf Records is great. The raged fuzz punk of their debut has been replaced with a spaced out "slacker punk" vibe (and it's heavy on the vibes) but Solids are anything but slackers. There's nothing lazy about the duo as they fill out a massive sound, but I use the word "slacker" not to describe their work ethic, but their voyage into the unknown, a relaxed, easy going, and simply impeccable listening experience. Else delivers as much in it's heaviest and most dazzling moments as it does in the band's wide open spaces and weed enhanced atmospheres. Enormous harmonies and distorted melodies collide with massively pounding drums and intricate fills, as Solids keep the momentum forever moving forward. Time on the road has done the boys good and word on the street is they've recently expanded to a trio. One can only imagine. The band are on tour again (of course, forever and always), including a run of dates with Stove and Clique, so be sure to catch them near you.
6. BETHLEHEM STEEL | "Klonopinterest"
This week the fine folks at Steakhouse Records and DBTS released BS3, the third installment of their ongoing compilation series collecting "demos, bedroom recordings, b-sides, and more from friends, family, and Steakholders of David Blaine's The Steakhouse" and we were lucky to share the premiere. The focus on BS3 and the collective of musicians that surround the DBTS community tends to be a knack for songwriting... true, honest, and gorgeous songwriting, and without exception each and every submission to BS3 delivers in that regard. Post-Trash contributor Niccolo Dante Porcello wrote beautifully about it via the premiere and all the proceeds of BS3 will be donated toward Planned Parenthood, so be sure to donate if you can.
At the center of BS3 comes "Klonopinterest," an incredible "stripped down" new song from Becca Ryskalczyk, better known as Bethlehem Steel. While the band work on their full length debut (following last year's most awesome Docking EP), Ryskalczyk shares a glimpse into what's to come, and it's flat out incredible. Opening with the gorgeously sparse guitar introduction and haunting vocals, Ryskalczyk sings "please, just a little more time, to let my insides, be my outsides / no, I haven't been sleeping, how could I be dreaming, about a better life". The guitar's intensity roars and shutters from quiet to loud but it's the inescapable vocal harmony that truly steals the show. Raw and powerful, Ryskalczyk's vocals often double, highlighting her natural sense of harmony in a haunting way. "Klonopinterest" is a sad song, but it's hard not to be excited while listening to it. Bethlehem Steel have never sounded better and we can't wait to hear more.
7. BLESSED | "Waving Hand"
Blessed are a new band from the great art punk producing white north, aka Canada, and if we've learned anything from listening to "Waving Hand," the band's first single from their upcoming self titled EP, it's about time to pay attention to what these guys are doing. The Vancouver based punk band’s debut is filled with knotted riffs and crushing dynamics, haunting vocals, and some pretty damn glorious rhythmic shifts. Skittering between loud and soft moments of jagged post-punk, "Waving Hand" is filled with non-traditional hooks around every turn. It's dark, it's creepy, it's that art-punk slime the world needs and most of all, it's utterly catchy. Primal chord progressions are pushed with unique math rock tendencies by complex rhythmic patterns. Trust us, listen to this one on repeat. There's something new to discover with each listen. Recorded by Curtis Buckoll of Rain City Recorders (White Lung, Japandroids, Baptists), Blessed claim influences from Ought and Interpol to Radiohead and Can, forward thinking bands with nothing to prove but everything to gain. Catch them on a massive Canadian tour this Spring and look for them to continue touring all year. Until the wheels fall off.
8. POLONIUM | "Seraphim" LP
Before there was The Austerity Program, there was Polonium. Same members, same brutal attention to detail, same devastating aggression... different band name and well, may a touch more devastation. This record is heavy, unrelenting, and continuously pounding, because let's face it, drum machine's "arms" never get tired. The unavoidable comparisons to Big Black will forever follow their music, whether it's Polonium or The Austerity Program, but the dirge of Seraphim carries as much in common with the Melvins as it does anything in Albini's catalog... and is it really so bad to bred from the influences of the Melvins and Big Black? Not in the slightest.
The duo of Justin Foley (guitar/vocals) and Thad Calabrese (bass), together with their trusty drum machine, have become one of noise rock's most consistently engaging bands and it's no surprise to hear their earlier work is exceptional as well. Polonium hits like a ton of bricks, lurking in the depths of humanity and ready to kick in all your teeth. Seraphim feels like a dangerous album and that just might be it's biggest strength. Written between 1993-96, the band took the time to re-record all of it between 2013-2015, offering the benefits of the band's continued recording knowledge, driving the blunt force of one two punch "Kitchen" and "Kids On Top" to a whole new level of abrasive. Polonium may be a look into The Austerity Program's past but their crushing unease rings as true today as ever. If you find catharsis in punishing noise rock, welcome to nirvana, and may all your dreams come true.
9. NIGHT BEATS | "Sloop John B" (Beach Boys cover)
The Beach Boys' iconic Pet Sounds turns 50 this year and to commemorate the occasion Brian Wilson is playing the album in full at a handful of shows, the most of exciting of which is undoubtably Austin's Levitation (fka Austin Psych Fest). As one of our countries consistently best curated festivals (exhibit a: Sleep, Ty Segall, Slowdive, Courtney Barnett, Royal Trux, Ween, Black Mountain, Parquet Courts, La Luz, Nots, etc), it's safe to say that Pet Sounds has helped shape the collective interests of the folks behind the festival and the bands that play it (well... maybe not Sleep). The influence of The Beach Boys' symphonic pop experiment knows no bounds and fifty years calls for further celebration than a mere few shows. Enter The Reverberation Appreciation Society, the record label responsible for Levitation and an ever reliable source for all your modern psych needs. The label commissioned their own Al Lover to curate and produce A Tribute To Pet Sounds, paying their respects to Brian Wilson’s legendary album.
Featuring many of psych pop's finest bands both big and small from The Black Angels and The UFO Club to Morgan Delt and The Shivas, A Tribute To Pet Sounds includes covers of the entire record as the sounds of modern psych swirl with together with The Beach Boys' timeless songwriting. We've already heard contributions from Holy Wave and Shannon & the Clams (exhibit b) and now we've been graced with Night Beats' impeccable "Sloop John B" cover. The Seattle trio have emerged over the past five years as one of the best modern psych bands (exhibit c), mixing garage rock, punk, and deep fried blues together into something kinetic and free of restrictions. Fresh off the release of their highly recommended third album Who Sold My Generation? this past January, Night Beats tackle one of The Beach Boys' biggest hits, adding their own brand of acid soaked reverb and lo-fi jangle. The song's weary surf pop charm blisters in the hands of Night Beats, staying true to the original while bringing their fare share of menace, building the song to new noise inflicted heights before rolling out with the tide.
10. GLAND | "Cram It"
New Orleans' Gland are the latest addition to Community Records' expansive roster, a punk band ready to fight for their respect and take it if that's what it comes down to. On "Cram It," the first single from the band's upcoming album Neurotica, the band lock into a hypnotic riff and pummeling rhythm and plow forward, bulldozing any obstacles in their path. Void of shifts in tone, tempo, or dynamics, "Cram It" is a single minded vision, a mantra of sorts, offering a big ol' fuck you to the naysayers. The band's rhythmic chants of "I'm not crying, anymore / I come to say I'm always fucking right / and if you try to talk to me I'll fight" says it all. Gland don't mince words. Get down or get out of the way.
PARQUET COURTS "Human Performance" | USELESS EATERS "Moist Cuts" | MOTHERS "Tiny Desk Concert" | AUTOLUX "Soft Scene" (Live)" | PSYCHIC HEAT "In Two" | HONEY "Monk" | SAVAK "Drop The Pieces" | DAVID BOWIE "I Can't Give Everything Away" | THE COATHANGERS "Perfume" | KING GIZZARD & THE LIZARD WIZARD "People-Vultures" | LEGGY "Kick The Habit" | INSTITUTE "Touch Me" (The Doors cover) | SUUNS "Brainwash" | EAGULLS "Skipping" | ROB CROW'S GLOOMY PLACE "Oh, The Sadmakers" | BOYFRNDZ "Ghosted" | KIDS HAVING KIDS "Shitstorm Armageddon" EP | SUMMER CANNIBALS "Full Of It" | MELVINS "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" | PJ HARVEY "The Orange Monkey" | CELEBRATION GUNS "The Me That Used To Be" EP | PORCHES "Trying Your Luck" (The Strokes cover) | YUCKY DUSTER "Gofer" | AND THE KIDS "Kick Rocks" | THE LEES OF MEMORY "Squared Up" (Demo) | LASER BACKGROUND "Jawbreaker" | CULT OF LUNA & JULIE CHRISTMAS "Mariner" LP | SWANS "The Glowing Man" (Excerpt)