by Dan Goldin (@post_trash_)
Welcome to FUZZY MEADOWS, 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. FUTURE BIFF | "I Crashed Your Car" EP
Like we mentioned last week, the former Geronimo! guys have been busy. We recently featured Ben Grigg's solo project Whelpwisher, a lo-fi home recorded project, and now we have Future Biff, a fully realized new band that features all three members of Geronimo! in addition to Meat Wave drummer Ryan Wizniak. Yes, that's right... two drummers, and yes, it's amazing. Grigg handles all the vocals (with some help from Suzy Erin on the fantastic opener "Built to Last") and the band's infectious shoegaze inflected post-punk is truly something to behold. Colossal riffs skid and wrap themselves around the syrupy sweet vocal melodies as the rhythm section remain fully entrenched in "crush everything in sight" mode. Drummers Matt Schwerin and Wizniak work extremely well together, pounding out complex beats in unison as Grigg and guitarist Kelly Johnson dive into brilliantly distorted riffs that scream and claw their way into your memory.
There's always a hope that when one of your favorite bands break up that there next project will be even better (the Minor Threat: Fugazi principle), but it rarely comes to be. While it is most certainly way too soon to say that Future Biff are a better band than Geronimo!, we like the direction they're heading in and their debut EP is pretty much guaranteed to be one of the year's best kept secrets. Fuck secrets though, spread the word.
2. LEAPLING | "Suspended Animation" LP
What can I say about Leapling's new record Suspended Animation that I haven't said yet? We've featured all four singles, "Alabaster Snow," "Hey Sister," "One Hit Wonder," and "You Lemme Know," a collection of songs that all take a different approach to Leapling's longing yet mature sound through fuzzy indie rock, soul, power-pop, and post-punk. Now the album is available to listen to in full and while the singles present a wide variety of styles and sounds, the record as a whole is even more dynamic in scope, opting for heartbreaking ballads ("Good Morning (Its Ok)") and swooning orchestral movements ("Suspended Animation"). It's a brilliant record with radiant energy from front to back with striking moments of clarity and stark (yet gentle) disillusionment, but it's a fun album through and through and one that truly gets better as time keeps tickin'.
3. WALL | "Milk"
WALL's debut EP feels destined to be a New York post-punk classic and "Milk" finds the band's tightly wound and brooding senses at their most surreal as they give into the "two thousand feline mistresses" and milk falling from the sky. Six months after the record's release the band have made an equally surreal music video to accompany the track complete with children who seemingly murder for deserts, a shifty eyed cat, and a lot of questionable judgement. The moral of the video (from what I can gather)... Don't leave your band out around Girl Scouts, but if you do, just let them eat the donuts and maybe, just maybe, everything will be okay.
4. FOND HAN | "The Special Without Brett Davis"
New Jersey's Fond Han recently played a pair of new songs on The Special Without Brett Davis, a sneak peak of sorts of the band's upcoming full length debut (one of the tracks is on the record, the other an upcoming single). Performing as a duo, the band use a pre-recorded drum track (although the video attempts to lead you to believe otherwise) and samplers to create a whirring backdrop for their math punk skronk on "ID/DV" before bursting into something far more chaotic as the song unfolds. It's fairly unpredictable and every bit as urgent because of it. "Ughed" opens on a somber note, highlighting vocalist/guitarist Thomas Baumann's songwriting before warping into manipulated effects while carrying the song's emotional heft to enormous heights. While these songs offer a glimpse into the future, we can fully promise that Fond Han's debut is one of the most unique and engaging records you'll hear this year.
5. MORGAN DELT | "I Don't Wanna See What's Happening Outside"
It's been a while since the announcement that psych pop perfectionist Morgan Delt was joining Sub Pop, but "I Don't Wanna See What's Happening Outside" comes with the announcement of the band's sophomore record Phase Zero. Picking up where he left off, the new single traverses the same dreamy wandering psych he's become known for, bristling with inflections of swirling guitars and far out harmonies. Morgan Delt creates a world of calming tranquility, but there's a lot to take in within the layers of hazy pop bliss. We're looking forward to getting lost in this record come late August.
6. VIDEO AGE | "Throwing Knives"
Native America shifted from a trio to duo and changed their band name to Video Age but aside from that, it's business as usual for the New Orleans duo of Ross Farbe (guitar/vocals) and Ray Micarelli (drums). Renowned for impeccable pop songwriting, Video Age make their debut with "Throwing Knives," a track taken from their upcoming album Living Alone. Their breezy garage pop is still filled with unexpected hooks at every turn and their new single has a surfy jangle that builds and bursts like crashing waves. Video Age relies on an understated punk charm hidden beneath their wistful pop, adding shades of nuance to their already sweltering summer vibes. It's a new age... a Video Age. Get ready, something tells me this record is full of hits.
7. BIG NECK POLICE | "A Gringo Like Me"
We first heard "A Gringo Like Me" back in December when Big Neck Police were kind enough to include it on our inaugural compilation but the recent premiere of it calls for extra excitement as its paired with the announcement of their upcoming record Don't Eat My Friends. The reckless no-wave and experimental noise punk trio have been missing in action over the past year as they focus on other projects (Palm, The Cradle, etc) but there's nothing quite like the discordant magic and free form carnage of Big Neck Police. "A Gringo Like Me" rips and twitches with unnerving scrapes of guitar and jittery rhythms, it's nearly jazz in structure if it weren't quite so unhinged and deranged. The song slowly grinds from one bizarre flourish to the next, offering a sense of improvisation to their orchestrated madness. Long live Big Neck Police, we're thrilled for Don't Eat My Friends, out next month on Ramp Local and Feeding Tube Records.
The band are celebrating their release show on July 8th at Shea Stadium with Palberta, Sexual Jeremy and Signal Break.
8. PALEHOUND | "Cushioned Caging"
Once upon a time, Wu-Tang were for the children... and all was good. Time passes though and children grow up and now, thankfully, Palehound is for the children and the world can rejoice once more. Directed by Boston area kids at Real to Reel Filmschool, Palehound's "Cushioned Caging" gives some young filmmakers a chance to shine... and break some stuff in the process. The video opens to a waiting room with a general unease (as waiting rooms tend to have). As patients are called in, the room anxiously waits but the mood lightens as patients return with giant smiles and embraces before the big reveal... (spoiler alert) sometimes you just need to unwind, and smash some porcelain objects. "Cushioned Caging" is like watching catharsis in real time... and lord knows we need it this week.
9. WEAVES | "Tiny Desk Concert"
The inescapable Weaves! It's their Summer, we're just living in it. The Toronto art punk quartet continue to be everywhere imaginable (we warned you) and it continues to be awesome. They bring their excitement and chaotic pop fun to NPR's Tiny Desk Concert series, and we see them up close and personal as they play album cuts "Coo Coo," "Shithole," and "One More" with a restrained intensity fit for an office space. Weaves are impeccable performers on stage and in studio (or next to desks...) and we're happy to watch the rise of a truly special band in any capacity.
10. THE BLACK SPARKS | "The Black Sparks" LP
The Black Sparks are young as hell, but don't let that fool you and don't let that define them, this is no gimmick. These kids are the real deal and their self-titled full length debut is true DC punk, loose, heavy, and agitated within its surroundings. While the band's beginnings earned them a hardcore tag, they've expanded their sound into post-punk, sludge, and whatever else suits them at any given moment. The local Dischord scene and Fugazi's earliest records in particular loom large in their music but this is a new generation of punk, free of any confines and careful not to take itself too serious. They are teenagers making punk music among friends, and well, they are really good at it. The album was recorded by Hugh McElroy (Black Eyes) and Kevin Erickson (who previously teamed up for Priests’ Bodies and Control and Money and Power) at Inner Ear Studios, the mecca of DC punk and you can hear the lineage running through the band's crushing rhythm section and seething duel guitar attack. While life may take them in other directions, the world will always have The Black Sparks, a definitive statement that maybe the future of punk isn't so grim after all. The kids are alright, it's the old people we should be weary about.
SPOOK THE HERD "App Tofu" | WEAVES "Black Box Sessions" | GØGGS "Needle Trade Off" | THEE OH SEES "Gelatinous Cube" | THE CRATERS "Kids Can Tell" EP | MUSEYROOM "Ranges" | DEERHOOF "Acceptance Speech" | DEERHOOF "Model Behavior" | PSYCHIC HEAT "Elixir" | CHEENA "Car" | THE STONE ROSES "Beautiful Thing" | HELLRAZOR "Songs In The Key of Shit" | MUUY BIIEN "Audiotree Live Session" | EAGULLS "Velvet" | COURTNEY BARNETT "Paid To Smile" | IN SCHOOL "Cement Fucker" EP | THE GOTOBEDS "Cold Gold (LA's Alright)" | WIMPS "Old Guy" | BEN GRIGG "Deadbeat" | BEN GRIGG "Soft Blame" | MAIL THE HORSE "Assisted Living" | WEI ZHONGLE "Peeping Tom" | IGGY POP "American Valhalla" | SAM COOMES "Stride On" | LESS WIN "Where You Lay Your Hands" | TOUPÉE "Mommy is a Mummy" | COMET CONTROL "Criminal Mystic" | PINK MEXICO "Forgetting Everything" | BORZOI "Worry Wart" | ODONIS ODONIS "Pencils" | MILO+STOVE "Oceanography" | MERCHANDISE "Flower of Sex" | THE CULT OF DOM KELLER "Broken Arm of God" | LITHUANIA "Kill The Thing You Love" | HEAVY DRAG "Kinda Slow"