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. NOTS | "Entertain Me"
NOTS are getting ready to release their sophomore album Cosmetic in early September and if the first single is anything to go by, they've created another blistering album of exceptional southern garage punk. Unlike their debut however, this is no quick blast of balled up aggression but an explosive seven minutes (nearly double the length of any track on their debut). In the tradition of Goner Records' tightly wound and reckless garage punk, NOTS are making some of the best music the genre has to offer. There last album is one of our favorites and it would seem this one could be even better.
2. HAPPY DIVING | "Holy Ground"
Bay Area (and beyond)'s Happy Diving are back with their sophomore album Electric Soul Unity next month, an infectious and instantly gratifying blast of fuzzy indie punk with hard hooking melodies and more riffs than you'll know what to do with. It's true audio bliss from one of our absolutely favorite bands on the West Coast. On the record's lead single the guitars crumble and crackle as Matt Berry's vocal melodies pops with sticky sweetness. This will be one of the year's best albums.
3. HELMS ALEE | "Tit To Toe"
There's no one that does it quite like Helms Alee. Thankfully, the Seattle based trio are back with their upcoming fourth full length Stillicide. It's business as usual (and business is good) on first single "Tit To Toe" as the band combine their unique sludge metal and cathartic howling death punk with gorgeous haunting indie rock and jagged time shifting rhythmics. There's so much to love within their gargantuan sound. Every member brings so much to the band from their impeccable musicianship and each of their unique vocals but it's the culmination of the three that makes one of rock's absolute most unique bands. Don't try to categorize them, it's a waste of time. Just listen and enjoy,
4. DEERHOOF | "The Devil And His Anarchic Surrealist Retinue"
Deerhoof just released one of their best albums of the past decade, which says a lot for a constantly creative and productive band. In case you weren't already enamored with the new record and it's opening track "The Devil And His Anarchic Surrealist Retinue," the song now has an incredible stop motion video that features both The Devil himself and plenty of anarchic surrealism. It's demonic and yet lovable... ritual sacrifice is rarely this fun.
5. JUNE GLOOM | "URL"
June Gloom is the nom-de-plum of DC's Jesse Paller and after releasing two great EPs last year, he's getting ready to release his full length debut Fake Problems later this month. Handling all of the instruments, production, and mixing, the record is full of lush indie pop and emotive slacker rock in the vein of Elliott Smith and Modest Mouse but its Paller's songwriting that shines throughout. On first single "URL" he sings about internet personas and the disingenuous nature of people. It's all gorgeous and sincere as Paller's soft vocals pair with a terrific permeating guitar riff and a rhythm that slinks back and forth between calm and chaotic. It's a gentle ripper, but a ripper none the less.
6. FITS | "Crush"
Sometimes all a song needs is a verse, a hook, and an instrumental bridge to feel complete and sometimes that can all be achieved in about 50 seconds. Fits understand this and they're not about to waste your time. Their first single "Crush" is a rapid paced power-pop gem full of repetition and numerous hooks... yep, repetition and deep catchy hooks... all in under a minute. It's pretty damn brilliant in execution and Nicholas Cummins (guitars/vocals) is only getting started with their new band. Fits' side of their recently released split cassette with Pittsburgh's Yes Yes A Thousand Times Yes is three songs that clock in just over three minutes and each one is as astonishing dynamic and infectious as the next. Gnarly bubblegum punk in 50 seconds, guaranteed.
7. BIG BUSINESS | "Blacker Holes"
I caught Big Business live last week, and similar to every other time I've seen them, I was thoroughly blown away. Drummer Coady Willis is absolutely unbelievable, blasting out from behind his kit like a stampede of wild elephants, forever focused and relentless pummeling. "Blacker Holes" opens with a polyrhythmic beat played on a set of blossom bells, ringing in spastic beauty as Jared Warren's bellows along in a mantra like state. Before long the song's psych prog intro is ripped open like an earthquake and the duo roar into an impossibly dense procession of storming low end and bellowing melodies as only they can. Big Business, now with extra nuance.
8. JJ DOLL | "JJ Doll" EP
JJ Doll, a new project from former members of NY hardcore band Ivy just released their official self-titled debut EP following a promising demo. Picking with the same lo-fi burn, JJ Doll has a ruthless intensity, shoving and spitting with a constant forward momentum and hard locked tempos. It's big, brooding punk rock, and it doesn't give a fuck about how you might feel about it. Catchy and accessible with sharp vocals yelped over corrosive riffs, JJ Doll are quickly becoming one of the underground's favorite new punk bands... and they're onto you.
9. BIG NECK POLICE | "Guy Named Justice"
What can be said about Big Neck Police's latest single isn't really the right question... what needs to be said about "Guy Named Justice" is really more like it. If you've listened to the track, the answer is not a whole lot. The band's mutant structuring, free jazz noise freakouts, and experimental scraping, manipulation, and manic layering at every turn pretty much speaks for itself. It's a tornado of improvised punk weirdness that's over and gone before you know it and all that's left in the end is the aftermath and a general state of impressed confusion. Drums skitter around in dizzying patterns, shifting outward and holding the song together in chaos as guitars squeal, input jacks are tested to their limits and the band overload your senses with deviant repetition. Art punk with a focus on art and a much welcome lack of focus on pretty much anything in the way of "conventional" ideas.
10. GIRL BAND | "In Plastic"
Girl Band make uneasy music for uneasy times. The entire band play in rhythmic bursts and the mounting tension is constantly growing to inconsolable heights of mania. Just when the pressure is enough to cause a mental breakdown, all breaks loose and the cathartic release splatters in waves across the room. "In Plastic" never really relieves the tension however, it swarms toward collapse, but the breaking point never arrives. It's truly a sight to be seen live, but it works wonders in video form as well. The band are back with yet another clip from last year's Holding Hands With Jamie, a tense, uncertain, and surreal video for the aforementioned single that's equal parts uncomfortable and intriguing.
JACKAL ONASIS "Big Deal Party" EP | DINOSAUR JR "Tiny" | DEERHOOF "Pour Some Sugar On Me" | EX-CULT "1906" | CHALK "You've Fallen Into That Trap" | THE COATHANGERS "Down Down" | VHS "Art Decay" | OMNI "Wednesday Wedding" | CREATIVE ADULT "Charged" | KINDLING "Weightlessly" | COMET CONTROL "Center of the Maze" LP | VATS "Melting Culture" | FOOZLE "Letterman" | HEATERS "Elephant Turner" | SERE "Hazy" | PRIMETIME "Anyway" | THE LEES OF MEMORY "Any Way But Down" | HEAVY DRAG "Leave It Alone" | NASSUA "Hoss" EP | ALL PEOPLE "Slow" | JAPANESE BREAKFAST "Jane Cum"
1. ANGEL OLSEN | "Shut Up Kiss Me"
Angel Olsen’s My Woman, the follow up to absolute masterpiece Burn Your Fire for No Witness, is set to be a giant joke. It’s also my most anticipated album of the year by a considerable distance. Olsen started off June by donning a tinsel wig in a knowingly tacky video for the album’s facetious yet beautiful single “Intern,” and ended the month by reviving this silver-haired character for a more explicitly hilarious video. “Shut Up Kiss Me” sees Olsen intentionally acting over-dramatically at all turns, seething with sarcasm and exaggeration as her mystical character both pouts and asserts herself in a park, a bar, an ice hockey rink, a bathroom, and a parked car.
The video’s riveting parody of music video tropes enhances this fantastic song’s inherent humor. “Shut Up Kiss Me” sounds amazing specifically because, just as its video does, it identifies everything that the more accessible rock artists have done since the 1990s and stretches these trends to such extremes it veers on irony. Quietly overdriven intro that swells into a distorted, raucous chorus? Check. Slowed-down bridge? Check. Lyrics about a love lost? Check. Surface-level lyrics and vocabulary about said topic? Check. Olsen is masterful at fashioning established styles into undeniable anthems; some might see this song and video’s seemingly elementary traits as detrimental, but Olsen makes them feel unprecedented. Better yet, she’s winking as she writes these new songs: the last thirty seconds of this video sees her giving the camera excessive attitude, blowing it a kiss, and breaking character with an infectious smile. Her joy ensures that this previously trodden territory sounds – and looks – better and fresher than anything else released so far this year. - Max Freedman
2. THEE OH SEES | "Live In San Francisco" LP
We said it when we shared the band's live version of "Web" from this record but Thee Oh Sees are one of the best live bands there is and their energy stands in a constantly revved up league of their own. The Live In San Francisco series has always been exceptional (and this coming from someone who doesn't think much of live records) and Thee Oh Sees' addition to the series is as good as it gets. It's the Oh Sees at their most freaked out and spastic diving headfirst into psych punk dirges and krautrock grooves with their recent double drummer line-up pounding away.
3. MELVINS | "Hideous Woman"
I don't know what the Melvins are trying to say with their latest video, and if I had to put my money on it I'd be willing to guess nothing at all, but the tripped out clip is utterly insane, hostile, and often pretty damn disturbing in a goofy kind of way. There's feet covered in mustard, a magical soul trapping basketball and enough strange visuals to make you wonder what in the world you're watching. Then you remember it's the Melvins and you go on about your day without questioning it.
4. PARQUET COURTS | "Human Performance"
There's something very tender about watching Parquet Courts in puppet form in the video for their latest album's title track. Sure, we can see all the puppeteers, but maybe it's a conscious decision to allow us a peak into who is "pulling the strings" behind the clip. It's an anxious portrayal of relationships and the human condition... but it's fun... because they're puppets and the video matches the tone of the song to perfection.
5. FREIND | "I Said / Ossature"
The two song pair of Freind's I Said / Ossature takes a step forward from their already compelling sound. “I Said” finds the group falling into a sprawling, understated groove. Daud’s airy vocals float over spacey synths and chugging drums. Subtle guitar lines and electronic flourishes carry the song out into an extended jam. It’s a nearly five minute long track that still makes every second count. “Ossature” is a shorter, dreamy track not without it’s own beautiful details that warrant a close listen (or several). - Cole Kinsler
6. SLEEPER KEY | "Set The Bone" EP
Tallahassee's Sleeper Key came and went in a flash of the eye, The trio released their debut EP Set The Bone on July 1st and called it a day as members moved to new locations. So why should you care? Well, because that one EP they released happens to be great. Featuring former members of Buffalo Buffalo, Ex-Breathers, and beyond, the spirit of Tally DIY is represented in good fashion on the bands set of anthemic radio friendly college rock and post-punk undercurrents... something like Jawbox meets Pavement. Sometimes a few great months is all you need.
7. TURNIP KING | "Carsong"
Not quite as abrasive as Laika's lead single, Turnip King show that they're still masters of modern shoegaze with the subtle and gorgeous "Carsong" and it's fun and grainy music video. The grit and noise of their guitars at their most overblown is tempered but still prevalent and the band show that even the "safer sides" of shoegaze that have infiltrated the so-called "revival" can be done well in the right capable hands.
8. FUTURE BIFF / MILKED | "Tape Split" EP
We've talked a bit about our love for Future Biff already (and dear lord do I love this band) and now it seems their stellar debut EP has a proper physical release on a split with Milked, the solo project of Geronimo! and Future Biff's Kelly Johnson, as well as an additional Future Biff song... bonus! Both sides of the tape compliment each other, Future Biff's packed with radiant hooks and immediate fuzz pop while Milked's side is nuanced, oscillating between catchy garage pop jangle and easy riding, classic rock influenced, atmospheric synth explorations that boogie with the feeling of another time and place. Which time and place that is isn't relevant, you're gonna feel good listening to this split EP.
9. SNAIL MAIL | "Thinning"
"Thinning," the first single from Snail Mail's latest EP Habit (out now on the consistently wonderful Sister Polygon) is the perfect introduction to those unfamiliar with the Baltimore band. The song's lyrics are sad but there's a sense that things will get better, a sentiment echoed in both the bright lo-fi poptimism of the music and the opening verse, "Haven't felt right in a week / And I'm thinning out / And it hurts bad / I gotta get back". That feeling when things seem to be at their worst... yeah, we've all been there, but it's important to remember to "get back". Let Snail Mail be your guide.
10. BUCK GOOTER | "Stainless Steel Mirrors"
Buck Gooter are a band's band. They spend incredible amounts of time on the road. They play a unique style of noise punk built on minimal blues, harsh industrial and dark post-punk, and they stay constantly busy with a work ethic to admire. In April the band missed a great new album (one of their best yet) Stainless Steel Mirrors via the experimental breeding ground Feeding Tube Records, a pounding and pulsating album that's delightfully rough around the edges and grizzly as can be. The band are sharing a video for the title track and I'm sure there's something deep to say about clay masks and molding your face to the world... but I'll let you enjoy it for yourself.
BIG BUSINESS "Command Your Weather" LP | HAPPY DIVING "Head Spell" | IAN SWEET "If You're Crying" | GØGGS "GØGGS" LP | PILL "100% Cute" | LIÉ "Failed Visions" | VIDEO AGE "Dance Square" | OMNI "Deluxe" LP | CHAIN & THE GANG "Experimental Music" | HELIOTROPES "Wherever You Live" | PORCHES "Car" | BLOODY KNIVES "Cystic" | FITS / YES YES A THOUSAND TIMES YES "Split" EP | TIERGARTEN "Aeons (Infinity Glow)" | GZA "The Spark" | THE LUNCHTIME SARDINE CLUB "Baltimore" | R.L. KELLY "Mad" | EXTRA MEDIUM PONY "Further Along" | SAT NITE DUETS "TAFKA Salieri" | NOMAD STONES "Dead Batteries" | THE CULT OF DOM KELLER "Shambala Is On Fire" | TOTAL SLACKER "Turn On The Lights"
1. BUENO | "Eye On The Cards"
Bueno’s second single from upcoming album Illuminate Your Room differs drastically from smiling lead single “I Got Your Back.” Post-punk guitar clatter, rather than sunlit jubilance, guides this brief art-rocker across two glorious minutes. “I pick up the weights and I put them down/my body is fit and my eye is sound/I keep one eye on the cards,” vocalist Luke Chiaruttini narrates with a stoic gaze as he analyzes a life that replaces meaningful interactions with card games, namely poker. His distant tone and his band’s ghostly rattle result in a harrowing tale that needs not even two minutes to imposingly instill anxiety about the strangeness of the gambling world. “Eye on the Cards” is a great example of achieving a lot with just a few instruments in a short amount of time, a talent Bueno displays throughout Illuminate Your Room. - Max Freedman
2. CARL SAGAN'S SKATE SHOES | "(I)"
Carl Sagan's Skate Shoes are getting ready to release their self-titled debut album on August 19th via Super Secret Records. Their music blends the raw attack and reckless approach of Scratch Acid and Sonic Youth to bands like Unwound and Shellac with their own destructive spin on noise roc. I’ve been absolutely blown away by this record since I first heard it. The band capture the Am Rep sound to perfection, turning it on its head with a Southern twang that digs deep into burly rhythms and enormous dirges of blistering guitars setting the perfect dust ridden chaos for Steve Pike’s howling vocals. First single and album opener “(I)” is as rough as they come, a bold introduction into their menacing fury as Pike shouts "I’ll bury you in the desert with a mouthful of sand,” firmly placed in the band’s sun-fried swampy twang.
3. MUSK | "Wet Brain"
Musk are undoubtably one of the noise punk scene's filthiest and most underrated bands. The Bay Area based quartet sound more depraved than ever on their upcoming sophomore album Musk 2: The Second Skumming (what a title). Set for release next month on the ever consistent 12XU label, the band are sharing the album's first single "Wet Brain," a wild ride through the mud that yelps and pounds in all the right ways. It's chaotic and primal, barreling forward with little concern for hooks or subtleties.
4. SLEEPIES | "Genetic Cousin"
Sometimes life takes unexpected turns. Things can't stay the same forever, but after one listen to Sleepies' new record it's abundantly clear, we sure as hell missed them these past few years and their return couldn't be more welcome. The band's so called "nice-kid freak-punk" (their words, not ours) is tightly wound and bugged out. It's harsh and boisterous yet fun and inviting. There's an unblinking sense of cool to their swirling blend of agitated post-punk, slacker pop, and blistering indie fuzz. The songs are rooted in pop with a scuzzy layer of punk blanketing hyper aware melodies and bright distortion. It's Sleepies as only they can do... and yet better. Natural Selection was recorded all the way back in December 2014 by Patrick Higgins (Zs) at Hudson, NY's Future Past, mixed by the band's own Thomas Seely, and mastered by Ben Greenberg (Uniform, Pygmy Shrews, The Men). We've waited patiently... and the wait is over.
5. GOBLIN COCK | "Something Haunted"
After seven years, Rob Crow (aka Lord Phallus) returns to his undeniably awesome stoner pop outfit Goblin Cock for a new record, the wonderfully titled (and tricky to type) Necronomindonkeykongimicon for September. If the band and album name somehow didn't tip you off, Crow has a lot of goofy metal jabbing fun with this project and it's clear that his good times and ours are soon to become one and the same from lead single "Something Haunted". His trademark vocals remain ever so sweetly melodic and paired with sludgy doom metal inspired riffs, he rarely sounds better. All hail Lord Phallus. *Fun fact: Goblin Cock are playing Brooklyn the same night as my wedding, but I hope my friends will still come to the wedding.
6. WAREHOUSE | "Reservoir"
About 12 seconds into “Reservoir,” a familiar sounds haunts the ears and demands attention. Warehouse’s peppy bassline here echoes David Bowie’s classic “The Man Who Sold the World,” a startling inclusion in Warehouse’s sneering jangle world. This riff is a moment of comfort from a band previously known for snarling through incisive, dissonant garage rockers that would make Kim Gordon smile. An infusion of pop into a garage rock dirge, the bassline of “Reservoir” emerges so strongly thanks to crisper production and hypnotic guitar work that contrasts the rough growl Warehouse is known for. Although these techniques represent newfound territory for this Atlanta five-piece, “Reservoir” is so well-crafted that it sounds like a long-time favorite. No wonder that legendary bassline fits right in. - Max Freedman
7. COURTNEY BARNETT | "Elevator Operator"
Everyone loves Courtney Barnett. You can try to hold out, but you'll be sucked in sooner or later, and it's not hard to see why. Barnett turns social anxiety and everyday struggles into a world where everything is cool... things will work themselves out so keep calm and just enjoy her songwriting. Her narratives work like a captivating novel, there's a lot to take in as she paints the very full picture, but you can't put it down and the story is always great. "Elevator Operator" is a star studded video that brings new meaning to the song and makes you love Barnett that much more. It's unavoidable.
8. NIGHT WITCH | "Tour Tape 2016" EP
Tallahassee hardcore/trash behemoths Night Witch are going on tour and surprise (!!) they released a new record in support of the dates. Essentially two separate EPs, the band split the effort between five new songs of unbelievable disdain and (well deserved) fury and five decidedly non-twee covers of Tallahassee's Naps. The new songs are brutal and vibrant as they demolish sexual predators and inexcusable behavior. There's enough violent rattling to keep you thrashing with cathartic bile for months to come. The Naps covers are considerably more lo-fi but the idea is fun and it certainly paints the songs in a whole new light.
9. BIG MAN | "Habitual Contempt" EP
Last year CT's COP released Render, a very awesome punk record with elements of both hardcore and indeed post-hardcore and then quickly ceased being a band. Two of their members have resurfaced in Big Man, a new band that picks up in very similar territory. Habitual Contempt is their snarling manic debut, a rough blast of corrosive riffs, stampeding drums and the drunken shouts of a lunatic. In short, it's good, real good. If you're looking for that kick to teeth EP of the summer, welp... this just might be the one for you.
10. SHARKS' TEETH | "Don't Touch My Feet"
Sharks' Teeth, the New Orleans based synth pop band is highly renowned in their city and their "official" full length debut It Transfers & Grows is sure to spread the world all over this summer about their infectious psych influenced pop. The electronic project has been insanely prolific since it’s inception with over 60 releases via their Bandcamp page, but It Transfers & Grows offers the project at its absolute best, a swirling blend of soulful grooves, dream pop, and seductive synths influenced by everything from New Order and Kate Bush to Yo La Tengo and Sufjan Stevens. Recorded using nothing but a room full of synthesizers and a keen sense for arranging rhythms from samples of just about anything. Up until this record, the past 16 albums, EPs, and various recordings were put together primary by Tyler Scurlock. Over the past two years however Sharks’ Teeth has grown to include the help of Devin Hildebrand, Emily Hafner & Shelby Grosz. Four band members, seven synths, infinite possibilities.
BORIS "Forbidden Songs" LP | CHEENA "Stupor" | OPPOSITE SEX "Supermarket" | SUUNS "Instrument" | CCR HEADCLEANER "Eat This Riff" | CREATIVE ADULT "Heal" | CROCODILES "Telepathic Lover" | SOFT FANGS "The Wilderness" | CIGARETTE "Warm Shadow" | SCOTT & CHARLENE'S WEDDING "Don't Bother Me" | LITTLER "Somewhere Else" | RETIRED "Remain (To Sleep Is To Escape)" | BIRTH (DEFECTS) "Demands" | BESTED "Waves" | CLEAN GIRLS / JAIL SOLIDARITY "Split CS" EP | VOMITFACE "Chew Toy" | COMMUNITY COLLEGE "Broken Back"