by Dan Goldin (@post_trash_) and Hayden Sitomer
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 | "Cali Cruiser"
Fond Han is that band you really need to be listening to and Sham Cloud is that record you're going to be saying "damn, I can't believe I missed this, this is incredible" about later on if you don't start paying attention. “Cali Cruiser,” a song that admittedly has nothing to do with California and everything to do with living in New Jersey, is one of the record's many highlights, a track that rattled between gentle melodies and chaotic destruction. It features guest vocals and guitar from Steve Hartlett (Ovlov/Stove) and some keys from Alex Molini (Jackal Onasis/Stove) but it's Fond Han's core duo's unpredictable nature and detached art-punk devotion that make this one of the year's finest. Fond Han are a rare breed. Don't miss the boat. - Dan Goldin
2. PEAER | "Third Law"
We shared the premiere of "Third Law" last week and surprise, we still love the song! To repeat words written while exhausted but utterly in love with Peaer... the song's sweeping melody winds itself around heavenly swelling choruses, tightly doubled vocal harmonies that drop in and out, an understated glockenspiel phrase, and a colossal performance from drummer Max Kupperberg. As Peter Katz's song wraps itself around one fleetingly gorgeous moment to the next, "Third Law" moves in perpetual motion, forever building in an impeccably natural way, from the sparsest moments of the introduction to the crushing finale, every moment feels earned and intuitive. - DG
3. MELKBELLY | "Mount Kool Kid"
Chicago rockers, Melkbelly’s, most recent release, “Mount Kool Kid,” is a genre busting track that introduces itself with a jarring screeching to serve as a fair warning for listeners, hinting at the thrashing noise rock their ears are about to be consumed by. This song creates an interesting dichotomy: haunting instrumentals are opposed by singer Miranda Winter’s unwaveringly calm vocals and then complemented by a guitar line that is equally as steady. When listening to “Mount Kool Kid,” we can’t help but picture ourselves head banging along with our fellow show-goers the next time Melkbelly is in town. - Hayden Sitomer
4. MANNEQUIN PUSSY | "Romantic"
The loud dramatically shifts to quiet and then back again on Mannequin Pussy’s newest song, “Romantic,” in a sort of rollercoaster-esque fashion, melodically mirroring both the high and low points of most relationships while simultaneously putting on display the immense versatility of this Philly-based punk outfit. Tumultuous guitars alternate with delicate vocals, which escalate to ultimately meet up and create a thrashing and fervorous rock endeavor complete with lyrics vivid enough to inspire a visceral reaction. This latest release for Mannequin Pussy’s is as defiant as ever and reminds us about all of the best parts of this intensely inventive group. - HS
5. ESP OHIO | "Lithuanian Bombshells"
Robert Pollard and Doug Gillard have done it again. ESP Ohio, their latest band (rounded out by the ever lovable Travis Harrison and Beech Creeps' Mark Shue), finds the two picking up from their finest era. It sounds like Guided By Voices, naturally, but it sounds like a refreshed GBV (somehow, not sure how one can be "refreshed" when constantly releasing music... but hey, that's what it sounds like), but this is ESP Ohio, and the difference is... primarily in the title. It's big and anthemic and you instantly feel like you've been listening to it for years, quintessential Pollard. We're really looking forward to ESP Ohio's debut, Starting Point of the Royal Cyclopean, due out in November. - DG
6. SUN ORGAN | "People In The Distance In The Dark" LP
Last year Philadelphia's Sun Organ aka Tim Jordan quietly released Wooden Brain via RANCH Records, one of the year's best "underground" indie rock releases. This year Sun Organ returns with People In The Distance In The Dark, another incredible lo-fi album of fuzzy chords, instantly memorable songs, and textured levels of slacker pop that remind us bands like Gunk and Spirit of the Beehive, two bands Jordan has either played in or recorded with. There's elements of shoegaze, dream pop, and jangly surf punk within the album, but it's Jordan's cohesive blend of the genres that creates the unique fuzz of his sound. His songs are warm and inviting, filled with stunning tonality and nuance that takes multiple listens to fully grasp, but the immediacy of his songwriting is undeterred. Sun Organ is one of Philadelphia's best new bands and damn, they really do need to be heard. - DG
7. LVL UP | "Spirit Was"
Brooklyn mainstays, LVL UP, are at it again with another infectiously sludgy rock song sure to play the role of a trusty commiserate in the battle against your end-of-summer blues. On the band’s newest track, “Spirit Was,” fuzzy guitars guide us along a path ridden with vividly dark lyrics depicting what once was, delivered by deep and persistent crooning vocals. Ever since announcing their signing with Seattle heroes over at Sub Pop, LVL UP’s releases have been more electrifying and consistent than ever before, proving that they are more than ready to break out of the Brooklyn bubble and share their emotional rock jams with the rest of the world. Their upcoming record, Return to Love, comes out on September 23rd and we can’t wait to hear what these dudes are about to roll out next! - HS
8. SURFACE TO AIR MISSIVE | "Time Being"
The elusive Surface To Air Missive is back with "Time Being," the first single from his upcoming third album, A V, due out this November. The Georgia-via-Tallahassee based Taylor Ross sounds further down the rabbit hole than ever before. "Time Being" is psychedelic to the core, bursting with paisley charm and warped pop bliss. This is everything we've ever wanted from sweet sun soaked acid pop. Organs, jangly guitars, and an ever tight rhythm bounce along in a daze with Ross' undeniably sharp melodies and the whimsical video is perfect accompaniment to it all. Forget your cares, listen to more Surface to Air Missive. - DG
9. GOBBINJR | "Firefly"
Let’s be real, gobbinjr sings about emotions we never even knew we wanted to express before we listened to the band's one part dreamy, other part dark, kitschy bedroom pop tunes. On their latest release, gobbinjr, whose mastermind is Brooklyn, NY’s Emma Witmer, backs a tale of wanting to be something so much simpler than a member of the human race (in this case, a firefly) with an Omnichord-produced organ melody, both of which combine to create a perfectly angsty hymn. On "Firefly," Witmer has a way of turning the eerie cheery with bright synth melodies to momentarily distract us from dark lyrical realness she's laying down, bringing listeners on an aural journey that is mysteriously ethereal from beginning to end. We are expecting more of this sparkling musical angst on the band's forthcoming EP Vom Night out this November. - HS
10. THICK | "Anymore"
"I got an apartment in Bushwick and now I'm poor” - Brooklyn-based jammers, Thick's, newest jaunt, "Anymore," gives us a momentary glimpse into the mind of a millennial reflecting on her current situation and comparing it to the lives of those around her, coming at us in the form of a perfectly danceable alt rock tune. As the song progresses, we hear a tale all too familiar; friends whose romantic relationships consume their social lives, while the protagonist's own life remains static and sad, as well as the internal moral struggle of taking a job simply to have one. “Anymore” is an upbeat rock jam complete with enticing chord progressions courtesy of guitars, a driving bass line that keeps the song rushing forward full force, and some slamming drums that keep it all together. The lack of sugar coating with which the band presents their lyrical ideas results in a thrilling and emotional modern day rock n' roll diary entry. - HS
IAN SWEET "All Skaters Go To Heaven" | CHRISTIAN FITNESS "Your Favourite Band Wants You Dead" | NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS "I Need You" | CROSS COUNTRY "Alone" | TURNIP KING "Laika" LP | THE CRADLE "Can't Recall The Good Times" | ZACH DE LA ROCHA "Digging For Windows" | FRANKIE COSMOS "Young" | MRS. MAGICIAN "Adult Swim's Fish Center Session" | FRANCIE MOON "West Virginia" | HELMS ALEE "Audiotree Live Session" | RED FANG "Shadows" | PAINTED ZEROS "Love Triangle (I Was Jolene)" | KERRY CHARLES "Jenny's Out of Town" | DUST FROM 1000 YRS "Spring" LP | EARL SWEATSHIRT "Death Whistles" | MERCHANDISE "Lonesome Sound" | IDIOT GENES "iScratch" | HALFSOUR "Ten Year Tenure" | PUPPY PROBLEMS "Comfortable (Boxfish Sessions)" | PREOCCUPATIONS "Memory" | DJ KHALED "Nas Album Done" (feat. Nas) | HARMONY TIVIDAD "Costume Jewelry" | CASPER SKULLS "Devotion" | ROBOT PRINCESS "Claudia" | SLOW MASS "Treasure Pains" EP