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. BUENO | "I Got Your Back"
“I Got Your Back” is certain to draw Bueno tons of Pavement and Velvet Underground comparisons – already happening – but this parallel overlooks how lively, fun, and exciting this first taste of upcoming album Illuminate Your Room is. A jovial piano beat pops under jangly, sunlit guitars and beckoned-sung vocals that recent bands like Nap Eyes and Parquet Courts have brought back into focus. It’s an approach that makes no attempt to hide its influences, yet sounds novel and refreshing. “You can’t wait to get me out of your head,” we hear Bueno sing before a frizzy guitar break; they’re probably well aware that exactly the opposite is true with a song this prone to incessant replays. - Max Freedman
2. PETITE LEAGUE | "No Hitter" LP
When life gets you down there's always Petite League, a guaranteed pick-me-up for anyone that loves the feel good vibes of power-pop, brash fuzz soaked riffs, and jangly garage pop. The Syracuse duo's sophomore album is a relentless blast of sun-soaked vibes and surfy feedback happy punk brilliance. It's clamorous and catchy, surging with energy and clever lyrics, vibrant and mesmerizing in the simplicity of its glowing presence. Quick pop songs that permeate with neon colored hooks are built around deceptively sad lyrics and a fleeting sense of youthfulness coming toward a close. The juxtaposition of the upbeat jangle and the darker lyrical content works like magic throughout the record, each song offering a new inescapable earworm melody. This is pop bliss. This album is the light we all need from time to time.
Petite League's songs are about as immediate as they come and yet there's a lot to take away from repeat listens. This is one of our favorite records of the year so far and the title track says it all, "there ain't no crying in petite league, no / it's a perfect game, no hitter boys / one, two, three and I'll go down swinging / it's the only way to end a winning season". - Dan Goldin
3. MELKBELLY | "Elk Mountain"
"Elm Mountain" places Melkbelly in sludgy post-punk territory, opening with a hypnotic rhythm and a tangled surf punk guitar riff that drips with echo while spoken vocals layer on top one another. Without warning the bottom drops out beneath itself and a haunting vocal melody drifts above a dense doom progression before an immaculate drum fill nearly swallows the track whole. Just as quick as it enters, it disappears, and the song starts a new with a simple riff that builds toward a blistering crescendo until all hell has broken loose. It's quintessential Melkbelly, which is to say that it's all rather incredible.
Catch them on tour this Summer including a stop in Brooklyn on July 13th at Alphaville with Washer, Rips, and Ubetcha (featuring members of Glueboy and Flagland). Melkbelly are not a band to be missed. RSVP Here. - DG
4. JACKAL ONASIS | "You Should Listen To Your Nurse (No Sleep)"
While the first two Jackal Onasis singles, “The New Ron” and “Big Deal Party”, featured the band’s drummer Jordyn Blakely on vocals, “You Should Listen To Your Nurse (No Sleep)” is the first single with guitarist Alex Molini on lead vocals and well… its pretty awesome. Having lent his talents as a guitarist, bassist, keyboarist, and songwriter/engineer to bands like Stove, Big Putts, Trespasser, and Dirty Dishes, Molini takes “center stage” for the first time over a dissonant sludgy blast of fuzzy space punk. Much like Blakely’s delivery, Molini offers a dazzling melody that brings a calm to the band’s musical chaos, riding out the vicious clatter with a casual charm as Jackal Onasis tear through tangled chords, stampeding rhythms and harsh distortion. Joyously blistering eardrums with noise pop perfection that ends all too soon, it's heavy in the spine tingling sense but the melodies cut with razor sharp precission. - DG
5. THE HECKS | "The Thaw"
The Hecks is a great band name and from what I can tell, a great band too. Before last week I had never heard The Hecks. Hell, I'd never even heard of The Hecks... but what the hell do I know. I'm very happy that has changed however, as the band's first single "The Thaw" has made me a fast believer in the Chicago band. The band's single is most definitely built on a time-tested post-punk sound, and yet it's so much more than that. Where most bands take these influences in a primal direction of stark minimalism and harsh clamor, the chaos of The Hecks is overblown and layered with nuance. A trio built upon a twin guitar attack, the band keep things fairly simple on the first single from their upcoming Trouble In Mind Records debut, but there's a syrupy lushness to their hypnotic punk as the tangled guitar riffs work together to create something bright and infinitely repeatable. I truly can't wait to hear this record. Heck, I'm on pins and needles. - DG
6. BORIS | "SOFUN"
Last month we mentioned that Boris, the world's finest Japanese experimental metal band, are getting ready to reissue Pink with another album's worth of unreleased songs recorded during that time. We shared "Are You Ready?" and now we've got another taste by way of the relentless "SOFUN," a song that opens with warning shouts and howls before it absolutely explodes. High energy is probably an understatement here... "SOFUN" rips in a league of its own. While the rhythm section grinds and rages with their own furious groove, the guitars are locked into an absolutely colossal solo from start to finish. Play this one at full volume. So fun, indeed. - DG
7. IAN SWEET | "Slime Time Live"
If ever there was a reason to be concerned, the first line of IAN SWEET's "Slime Time Live" is it. Jilian Medford sings "your ice cream is melting" and right away we know this is no joking matter, you have our attention. The Brooklyn/Boston based trio are getting ready to release their full length debut via Hardly Art later this fall and "Slime Time Live" is a perfect introduction to their skronky math pop and joyously rattled punk charm. The band balance their sunny melodies and quirky innocence with stunning musicianship and lyrics built from desperation. Don't get it confused though, there's nothing mopey about IAN SWEET. The trio take their angst out in vivid hooks and avalanching rhythms that bounce in perfect time with the twitchy guitars. Slime Time never had us quite so enamored. - DG
8. LIGHTNING BOLT | "The Metal East (live)"
Remember when Lightning Bolt slammed all our unprepared faces with this monster of a song in early 2015, just about a month before their first new LP in five years? Turns out this live version rips just as hard. It’s the final track from upcoming 25-song compilation Start Your Own Fucking Show Space, which gathers live recordings from the artists who played Brooklyn DIY venue Death By Audio’s final shows in late 2014. Its placement at the end of the compilation must be intentional: I’ve heard very few live recordings with this much primal power, and ending the album like this feels like an unmatchable peak. Listening to this version, I feel like I’m in the room, in the pit, having my body tossed around by means other than my own voluntary movement. Brian Chippendale’s known to beat the shit out of his drums whenever possible, and you can feel the violence seething from his kit here. Just as terrifyingly, Brian Gibson tears the room apart with his militia of bass guitar shredding. Although I’ve yet to actually see Lightning Bolt live, now I feel like I have. - MF
9. BLONDE REDHEAD | "Big Song"
Blonde Redhead have been making exceptional records for over twenty years now. What once began as a blistering no-wave indie punk band that manipulated structures and conventions of rock music with a free jazz abandonment eventually evolved into the trio's experimental brand of dream pop and delicate shoegaze. They've accomplished so much over the past two decades that it's fitting time for a look back and who better to present us that look than the archival specialists Numero Group. Set to release Masculin Féminin on September 30th, the box set collects the band's first two full length albums (Blonde Redhead and La Mia Via Violenta) in addition to early singles, demos, and radio sessions.
Ahead of the release the band are sharing "Big Song," a track pulled from a rare early single, and it's not just a clever name. The raw crunch of guitars and lack of vocal refinement are reminiscent to Sonic Youth, a landmark influence of the band's earliest years. It scrapes and shreds, with piercing distortion spiraling in every direction, but there's a focus to the noise as it barrels forward. Repetitive yet wholly unpredictable, the repeated vocals offer a semblance of a hook (regardless how harsh they may be), balancing the dirt and menace of the band's wall of guitar feedback. It's safe to say that Blonde Redhead were great from the very beginning. - DG
10. SPOOK THE HERD | "The Small Wins EP"
A great way to get people listening to your band in 2016? Tell them you’re an offshoot of Palehound, and then bring the riffs. This is what Spook the Herd, the pet project of Palehound drummer Jesse Weiss, does on new Exploding in Sound release The Small Wins EP. The six songs comprising this EP roar and strike with overdriven guitar hooks and driving garage rock rhythms. Save closing ballad “Running in Place,” The Small Wins EP tosses around six-string grit like a Frisbee. This force forms the basis for power pop glory on the unbearably catchy “Slurpee Surf” and its partner in crime “Beg to Differ,” and builds a home for a more brooding, post-hardcore sound common in fascinating EiS bands such as Two Inch Astronaut and Pile. Throughout the EP, vocalist Abe Kimball sings in a calm, collected manner that ensures even the most dissonant jams here retain a touch of pop. Although the six songs here barely span 16 minutes, they already forecast a bright future for what this band can achieve over a full-length. - MF
WEAVES "Weaves" LP | WEAVES "Tick" | NO JOY "XO (Adam's Getting Married)" | VHS "Gift of Life" LP | G.L.O.S.S. "Trans Day Of Revenge" EP | PREOCCUPATIONS "Anxiety" | TERRY "Chitter Chatter" | SAM EVIAN "Sleep Easy" | GRAPE ROOM "Heart of Gum" LP | TOBY COKE "Never Be Alone" | CREEK BEDS "Taco Truck" | LITTLER "The Key Studio Sessions" | TIERGARTEN "Magnificent Desolation" EP | LEA "The Duck House Single" | VOMITFACE "Senior Pictures" | NATURAL CHILD "Now and Then" | PINK MEXICO "Fool" LP | PARAKEET "Monsoon" | COMET CONTROL "Dig Out Your Head" | THE BLIND PETS "Big Kids" | ANTIPHONS "VHS Sessions" | NIGHT SCHOOL "Blush" EP | DUMB NUMBERS "Girl On The Screen" | COACHES "What The World Needs Now (Is Love)" | YEESH "World Building"