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. J&L DEFER | "Johnny, Dream"
J&L Defer continue to make audio magic, one track at a time (and just wait til you hear the album in full) and "Johnny, Dream," the record's peaceful doom odyssey is the perfect drift for these long end of Summer days. It's doesn't get a whole lot better than this. The song’s analog synth pulse leads the song into silky guitars and warm haunting vocals. It’s truly the type of song to shut out the outside world and just let yourself be at one with the music. I have a hard time "turning off" and J&L Defer is the perfect gateway into tranquility for me. The patient song unveils new textures as it goes with omnichord bubbles, reverberating harmonies, and noisy drifts of guitar, offering momentary relapses of beauty in the song’s dark hypnotic path. Like a stunning film score, the track uses one motif and wanders from there into sonic recesses of layers much like a John Carpenter creation. - Dan Goldin
2. CHRISTIAN FITNESS | "Bad Boys Die In The Bath" + "Happiness Is Not For Amateurs"
Our hero Falco, last seen releasing the incredibly overlooked but exception new Future of the Left album, The Peace and Truce of Future of the Left, returns with the first singles from Christian Fitness' upcoming third record, song about well... discarded seed (to put it as politely as we can) and an impeccably sour and sardonic pursuit for happiness. For those unfamiliar, Christian Fitness is Falco's "one man band" (not a solo project), and while I may have no idea what the distinction between the two is, it's really not all that important anyway. What is of the utmost important however, is the fact that Falco's untarnishable wit is back and as biting as ever.
While details around the album are scant at this point (heck, the artwork hasn't even been completed yet), it's clear that Falco is excited about it as "Bad Boys Die In The Bath" was released immediately following the record's completion and "Happiness Is Not For Amateurs" was released just three days later. The recordings sound bigger and bolder than Christian Fitness' previous lo-fi efforts and there's drums from Falco's longtime rhythmic counter-part Jack Egglestone, all of which is to say, this is no small matter. These songs deserve further elaboration, as do most of Falco's lyrics, but I leave that for wittier folks than myself. Embrace the sordid and angry world of Christian Fitness, it's the kick in the head of decency we've all been waiting for. - DG
3. FOND HAN | "ID/DV"
“ID/DV” captures the tangled beauty and jagged punk at Fond Han’s core, walking a fine line between calming and complex, the song swelling with interlocked riffs and jazzy drums as Baumann’s warm layered vocals introduce the song’s spiraling melody. A massive wall of sound builds upon mathy diversions and sharp sputtering grooves before the song’s sudden conclusion. It’s a testament to Fond Han’s control, the band keep their cards close to the chest, sweeping you in before gradual chaos takes hold. It’s catchy as hell and the perfect introduction to Fond Han’s record and the band’s naturally shifting songs. - DG
4. THE HECKS | "The Hecks" LP
Chicago trio The Hecks shared their first single "The Thaw" back in June and we were instantly floored. Then they kept us waiting without another single until the full album stream... and it's safe to say the record is every bit as great as we hoped it would be. The band's tangled post-punk sound and experimental indie jangle is reminiscent of bands like Women and Wire, but the band aren't afraid to take hard turns into ambient noise, atonal clamor, and complex psych. The Hecks often pit the band's duel guitarists against one other, intricately weaving melodies into abrasive walls of sound, repetitive rhythmic freak outs, and squealing distortion... and its all pretty miraculous. The Hecks' full length debut is a wondrous record that unwinds over the course of it's ten songs, ripping through chaotic blasts of tension (often without release), harsh minimalism, and incredibly tight post-punk precision. This record is a must hear. - DG
5. WAREHOUSE | "Simultaneous Contrasts"
Warehouse’s career feels like one long cover of Sonic Youth’s Daydream Nation classic “’Cross That Breeze,” but it’s been a good trip so far. Super Low drops Sep 30, so it remains to be seen if the high will last; new single “Simultaneous Contrasts” suggests the fun won’t stop. One of Warehouse’s peppiest songs to date, it comes to the world via a Frankie Cosmos-directed video helmed from footage of their joint tour. Watching a bunch of kids have fun on the road is an appropriate feel for the bounce and clip of this song, the second taste of the upcoming sophomore LP. Crisp guitar lines and sneering vocals shifted to a more pop-friendly context suits a tour video expertly, and fits the narrative of Warehouse’s continued growth just as well. - Max Freedman
6. ANGEL OLSEN | "Sister"
No matter how increasingly big Angel Olsen gets, the DIY community will likely always love her. From her earliest tape-quality solo recordings all the way through 2014’s Jagjaguwar debut, the full-band Burn Your Fire For No Witness, there’s been a rough edge to Olsen’s sound that resonates with the world’s lo-fi lovers. Or maybe it’s her fierce independence and complete control of her recordings that make her so compelling to the community. My Woman, Olsen’s fantastic third album, ditches the grit somewhat and repositions Olsen as a bandleader, so it might separate her a bit from the DIY world, but she’s been making up for this distance with the album’s music videos, particularly “Sister.”
Gone are the beloved silver tinsel wig and the blatant sarcasm of the two My Woman videos before it; “Sister” is as intimate as a short film quickly shot on a hand-cam, showcasing minimal visuals such as Olsen wandering the streets of LA, living through regrets and tears in a gorgeous backyard, and struggling to find comfort in the bottom of a swimming pool. It’s an introspective video to match the song’s devastating reflections, but it doesn’t entirely ditch the humor. The video ends with Olsen emerging from her pool in a swimsuit rather than the day clothes she entered in, and her rise from the water, combined with the wide-eye grin on her face as she breaks the surface, is “Stacy’s Mom” done all over again. But this isn’t actually how the video ends: a minute or so passes between the song’s dramatic close and an outtake in which a fan excitedly stumbles upon Olsen filming. She embraces her new friend with open arms; maybe it’s this down-to-earth nature that keeps her in the arms of DIY lovers at large. - MF
7. THE CRADLE | "Why's The Light Off?"
The Cradle is the hyper-prolific solo project of Paco Cathcart (Big Neck Police). Over the past few years, he's established a frantic recording pace, releasing over twenty albums of varying sound experiments, some more song focused than others, some a bit more on the experimental side, all of which undeniably interesting (if nothing else). Over the past few releases however, Cathcart's songwriting has begun to delve further into the psych pop and indie rock spectrum, refining his ability to create experimental recordings that sound accessible, all the while keeping that unique The Cradle charm firmly in tact. "Why's The Light Off?" is built on a blanket of warm buzzing orchestration, allowing Cathcart the freedom to explore blissful melodies, cutting rhythmic pulses, electronic manipulation, and lush psych with a layered and dreamy focus. There's a lot going on in the song's challening composition, but the brilliant use of space and textures keep things radiant and deceptively gentle. Cathcart creates art rock with an expanded conciousness. Whether channeling folk, world music, dream pop, punk, post-hardcore, ambient soundscapes, or noise rock, his vision remains uncluttered and limitless. - DG
8. VIOLENT CHANGE | "Unit A"
"Unit A" is the first track we’ve heard from the upcoming third LP from San Francisco’s Violent Change, which is fittingly entitled VC3. It opens with heavy distortion reminiscent of My Bloody Valentine before the heaviness dissipates into a more melodic (yet still extremely distorted) verse and chorus. It’s a track that is immediately captivating and invigorating, while still toeing the fine line of the ultimate question: “should I play this song in the car with my mother.” It sounds like a band that you would see opening for a headliner at a house show, but whose performance and music would stick in your head while the headliners slowly made their way toward the back. - Zach Gelfand
9. SHELL OF A SHELL | "To Disappear"
I don't know much about Nashville's Shell of a Shell aside from the band counting Gnarwhal's Chappy Hull among its members, and that's enough for me. Over the course of nearly six minutes, this song builds slowly. With vocals low in the mix, the instruments really take precedent here. The drums move the track along the spectrum from sludgy self-proclaimed “chowdercore” to a pause, then shift straight into heavy grunge driven by sweeping guitar lead. It is simultaneously melodic and atmospheric, continuing to evolve until the last notes ring out into a cacophony of feedback. - ZG & DG
10. GOBLIN COCK | "Your Watch"
I’ve always thought of Rob Crow as X, the independent variable. Is the mathematical function defined, undefined or tending to infinity? X’s value decides to its whim. In the domain of Goblin Cock, Rob becomes Lord Phallus, periodically creating a stoner output. Sometimes it smoulders, other times it emanates like a Cartesian Well. "Your Watch," the newest single off Necronomidonkeykongmicon, veers from rock drones to subdued screams. Never sludgy enough to drift into a loamy oblivion, never tender enough to allow you to lower your guard. “I just want to lie down.” Oh, Rob Crow. You promised to quit music, but then you said it was the only thing you couldn’t quit. Take as many naps as you need, we’ll bang our heads in the meantime to Goblin Cock. - Samuel J. Valdes Lopez
SPACE MOUNTAIN "Big Sky" LP | NO AGE "Separation" | IAN SWEET "#23" | TURNIP KING "Rosy's On Safari" | THEE OH SEES "Dead Man's Gun" | NOUN "Fame and Famine" | ZULA "Grasshopper" LP | HORSE LORDS "Encounter I / Transfinite Flow" | MOTHERS "The Heat Is On" | PSYCHIC HEAT "Stranger / Starve" | DJ SHADOW "Nobody Speak" (feat. Run The Jewels) | CLEO TUCKER "Looking Pretty At The Wall" EP | MUUY BIIEN "Another Chore" | CLEARANCE "Room For Error" | LA FONT "Don't Smile" | THE CONQUERORS "Wyld Time" LP | BABY BIRDS DON'T DRINK MILK "Droopy McCool" LP | OMAR RODRIGUEZ-LOPEZ "Tell Me What I Did Wrong" | BEEKEEPERS "Undertaker Bee" | BLACK THUMB "God Fearing" | PORCHES "Water" LP | DEAD GAZE "Easy Travels" LP | SAD13 "Get A Yes" | GRAPE ROOM "Instant Flame" | VOMITFACE "Hooray For Me" LP | ODONIS ODONIS "Needs" | POWER ANIMAL "3 Months And A Week" (feat. Eskimeaux) | HOLY SONS "It's My Feeling" | THE '94 KNICKS "Don't Worry" | DEKCED 1988 "Stepping Inside Your Head" LP | SLOW MASS "Treasure Pains"