by Dan Goldin (@post_trash_)
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. FOND HAN | "New Alright"
Good grief. Fond Han have arrived and I'll be damned if they haven't created one of the year's absolute best albums in Sham Cloud. Hold on to your socks, it's a wild ride and the unpredictable nature of the duo's music is also one of it's best assets. One of many fine assets. One of raw distinction and rare weirdness aka punk brilliance. First single "New Alright" sets the tone for the album, staggering beauty met with spastic outbursts, dynamic musicianship, and the ability to warp perception without a moments notice. There's a great deal to take in within the layered madness (just listen to all the vocal tracks) and the results are nothing short of amazing. Don't sleep on Fond Han. This is one of those underground classics, let it be known.
2. STOVE | "Is A Toad In The Rain" EP
Stove have returned. It's been less than a year since the release of their debut, Is Stupider, and we've been graced with Is A Toad In The Rain, a new EP of home recordings that capture a different side for the quartet (Steve Hartlett, Jordyn Blakely, Alex Molini, and Mike "Boner" Hammond). With Stove set to record their sophomore album later this Summer, their latest EP veers from their debut with a fuzzier lo-fi vibe, recorded in Molini's bedroom with programmed beats, soft melodies, and layered guitars, synths, and harmonies. It's not all sweet and gentle though, there are rippers... we are after all talking about Stove here (the Devin McKnight assisted "Mrs. Robertson" is a true doozy). The record is full of shoegaze tones and dreamy atmospheres, with layered textures working together to bring the recordings to life. Expand your mind, dude.
3. ARAB ON RADAR | "Piggin' In The Pumpkin Patch"
I never imagined in my wildest of dreams I'd have a chance to write about new music from Arab On Radar and yet... here we are. Sometimes in this crazy world, life is good, for at least three and a half minutes or so. To clarify, "Piggin' In The Pumpkin Patch" (previously released on The Stolen Singles anthology) isn't exactly "new," but it's new to us... and it's glorious (wonderful title and all). The song, a b-side from the Yahweh Or The Highway sessions is classic AOR through and through. Skronky no-wave guitars stab and squirm over a ragged bass line and spastic beat, skittering forward together in chaotic beauty (or squalor, depending on how you like to view these things). Arab On Radar were one of the 90's best "weird punk" bands and their jagged convulsions of art rock, noise, and jazz inflected punk remain as vital as ever before.
4. PROTOMARTYR | "Born To Be Wine"
Protomartyr and Adult Swim, two entities we love, together at last. As part of the later's yearly summer singles series, Protomartyr are sharing an incredible new song, "Born To Be Wine" and once again prove why they're one of the best current bands in the world. I've been thoroughly obsessed since No Passion All Technique blew my mind back in 2012 (seriously, "Jumbo's" is a perfect punk song) and in the years since, the Detroit band has not only shown they're willing to experiment and evolve, they remain flawless in the process. "Born To Be Wine" is no exception, even their "compilation singles" are impeccable. Joined by a pair of percussionists, a pair of saxophones, and a dulcimer player, Protomartyr travel further down the no-wave rabbit hole than ever before, but it's not without the band's infectious post-punk charm. It's tightly wound and wildly explosive, dark and ominous, yet sarcastic and cynical. While the band continue to progress their sound in new directions, "Born To Be Wine" still feels like quintessential Protomartyr. Except no substitutes.
5. PURLING HISS | "Fever"
If the thought of Purling Hiss and ultimate guitar shredding aren't synonymous in your mind at this point, you've been missing out. The Philadelphia band are known to tear through riffs amid a sea of distortion and on new single "Fever" they're back at it yet again. This is big dirty rock 'n' roll with blistering guitar solos and washed out walls of sound and strong psych influenced hooks. The song opens with "I asked for fever / you gave me cold" reverberating over the pummeling layered guitar attack, delivered as a hazy repetitive melody. Purling Hiss keep the song afloat thanks to the vocal's retro pop core, maintaining focus even under the harshest of shred.
6. CHEENA | "Lost My Way"
I didn't choose to love Cheena, but things happen. There I was, just minding my own business when I heard them... the perfect mixture of punk, sludge, glam, and fuzzed out indie rock. I was hooked. All joking aside though, the band gained attention due to the fact that its comprised of members of Hank Wood & The Hammerheads, Crazy Spirit, and Pharmakon, but it's all irrelevant when you listen to their music. There's nothing particularly brutal about them, and that's okay. It's sleazy punk rock at its finest and Cheena embrace the grease and grime of the city around them like a medal of honor. "Lost My Way" is tangled surf punk and brutish glam warped into heavy dive bar bliss. The single is great and the album, Spend The Night With... is exceptional.
7. LOST BOY ? | "Goose Wazoo"
Brooklyn's Lost Boy ? returns (get it...) with Goose Wazoo, a crime caper of joyous garage pop and cartoonish indie rock. Over the years, Davey Jones has been known to write perfect little warped pop songs full of fuzz and wonderment, and "Goose Wazoo," the title track to Lost Boy ?'s upcoming album is no different. Built around a theme song for the titular character, it's the best psychedelic kids shows that never existed. Jones pack hooks in every aspect of the song from start to finish. It's pure unadulterated Lost Boy ? fuzz and sunshine melodies.
8. NINA RYSER | "Slip Through"
As one third of Palberta, Nina Ryser knows a thing or two about incorporating the bizarre with the brilliant. On her first solo record for Ramp Local Records she brings the same magic that makes her band so thrilling to watch to a new level. The production is crisp as Ryser skitters between manic post-punk jumbles and gentle electronic ballads. She balances chaos and dreamy pop without concern. "Slip Through" blends her knack for hyper active layering with ominous beauty as Ryser sweetly sings "you were not hungry for words" over top a gentle yet jagged backdrop of buzzing and bubbling bloops and lo-fi recorded keys,
9. ANIMAL LOVER | "Caramel Again"
Animal Lover's upcoming album Stay Alive is an expansive record, void of limitations and free of inhibitions. A shapeshifting effort built on art-punk fusion with elements of post-hardcore, cryptic jazz, noise rock and experimental indie. The band are excited to share the album's first music video for "Caramel Again," one of the album's most concise moments. The song’s discordant melodies and jazzy rhythms are calm yet complex, reminiscent of Argument era Fugazi, only bleaker and grittier. “Caramel Again” is one of many highlights, a creeping song with a folky sense of cool and subtle tangled beauty.
The video captures a shadowy and warped figure in grainy black and white, a fuzzy visual accompaniment that only adds to the stark charm of the single.
10. THE NUMERATORS | "Chencho"
"Chencho," one of the surfier moments from The Numerators' new album Strange is well... a breakout dance hit. We didn't see it coming either, but one view of their new video and it's impossible to argue. The video, directed by Lee Jennings & Kelly Gibson, captures the record's unflinching sense of fun with about half a dozen people dancing throughout the state of Texas to the song's warped groove. No matter the time or place, it always feels right as the dancer's edge forward to the song's countrified punk clamor. It's infectious and who knows... you might just want to get up and dance along too as you're watching. We wouldn't blame you.
CARL SAGAN'S SKATE SHOES "Speak" | GOBLIN COCK "Island, Island" | TURNIP KING "The Ho_se" | PILL "Fetish Queen" | VARIOUS ARTISTS "Start Your Own Fucking Show Space" LP | WARTHOG "Culture?" | LITHUANIA "Holy Water" | KID CONGO & THE PINK MONKEY BIRDS "La Araña" | EX-CULT "Attention Ritual" | MORGAN DELT "Some Sunsick Day" | CLEARANCE "Are You Aware" | JEFF THE BROTHERHOOD "Heavy Damage (live)" | JEFF THE BROTHERHOOD "Roachin" | WEI ZHONGLE "Nice Mask Over An Ugly Face" LP | IDIOT GENES "Junkin" | DUMB NUMBERS "Unbury The Hatchet" | MAIL THE HORSE "Backlash" | COOL GHOULS "Spectator" | DUCHESS SAYS "I Repeat Myself" | PLEATHER "Cherries / Love In Lusts Cup" | CROCODILES "Telepathic Lover" | VOMITFACE "Senior Pictures" | PSYCHIC ILLS "Another Change" | EYES OF LOVE "Love Possession" | NOMAD STONES "Nomad Stones" LP | SAT. NITE DUETS "Two Birds"