by Dan Goldin (@post_trash_)
Welcome to FUZZY MEADOWS, our weekly recap of this week's new music. We're sharing our five 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 five 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 five" quality too.
1. OVLOV | "Little Elephant Session"
It's been over two years since Ovlov have released any new music and nearly four since since their full length debut. When (and if) the world will hear another record from the band is anyone's guess but thankfully the Connecticut based quartet continue to play shows and continue to write new music. Recently the band recorded their second Little Elephant session which included two new songs ("Halfway Fine" and "Cheer Up Chihiro") and a certified classic ("Ahhehuah") and it's about as great a live session gets. While the future of Ovlov is forever a shaky mystery, the band's new material sounds better than ever, with engrained guitar hooks, blistering distortion, syrupy melodies, and Theo Hartlett's heavy thudding rhythms and dense fills. Regardless of what comes next, we'll forever have this Little Elephant session and that's reason enough to be excited.
2. THE SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE | "Ricky (Caught Me Tryin')"
The Spirit of the Beehive understand the warped pop aesthetic better than most. Since the release of their self-titled debut album, the Philadelphia based band has been blending shoegaze, art rock, and lo-fi pop under a blank of detached and dissonant melodies that often feel as though the dial is skipping. Pleasure Suck, the band's second full length is due out this March via Tiny Engines, and the record's first single "Ricky (Caught Me Tryin')" is pure disorienting pop brilliance and infectious hooks. With a vocal melody that's as infectious as they come, "Ricky" is a pop song in disguise. Spirit of the Beehive work with weird open-ended structures and layers of blissful clamor, fusing divergent ideas together in perfect harmony. The video, directed by the one and only Nnamdi Ogbonnaya (perhaps as great a director as he is a musician), is full of psychedelic collage based animation, a gorgeously strange compliment to the band's own sonic collage.
3. BAKED | "Stay"
Just when you think you know someone your whole world can be upended. Baked explore that idea in more ways than one on "Stay," the second single from the Brooklyn quintet's upcoming album Farnham. "Stay" is a special song in the Baked catalog as it marks Isabella Mingione's (keys/vocals) official lead vocal debut, and it's a bold one at that. Built on slow twangy guitars and Jeremy Aquilino's deep grooving bass line, Mingione's vocals ripple with a soulful confidence as she reflects on the sudden change that endings bring. As the song swells, Baked's whirlwind of twin Jazzmasters swirl together to form a thick wall of sound with the rhythm section locked in place, steadily lurching forward and keeping it all from collapse. "Stay" is a timeless example of Baked's attention to detail, shifting dynamics and classic songwriting. They've never sounded better than they do throughout Farnham, a record that feels like a genuine masterpiece from start to finish with a great deal of texture to unveil in between.
4. PLUM PROFESSIONAL | "Spooky Action at a Distance"
"Spooky Action at a Distance" is one of the many highlights from Plum Professional's triumphant full length debut Employee Handbook. Luke Csehak's (The Lentils, ex-Happy Jawbone) wiry guitar grooves blend seamlessly with Michael Chadwick's (ex-Laser Background) electronic touches, combining together to create a sound somewhere between cosmic funk and garage-soul. As the duo (joined by Weyes Blood aka Natalie Mering on background vocals) let their trip evolve and squirm in disjointed glee, the boogie soars into a realm of untapped bliss and fuzz soaked splendor. Plum Professional's video captures that vibe with kaleidoscopic animation built on psychedelic shapes, patterns, and a few sets of Sesame Street inspired peepers. It's a video that genuinely adds to the song's psychedelic vision, so clear your head and let Plum Professional warm your soul.
5. ANGEL OLSEN | "Fly On Your Wall"
Angel Olsen had a fantastic year last year. MY WOMAN was unanimously one of the year's most essential records (and well deservedly so) and "Shut Up Kiss Me" was a genuine smash hit. She continued to do her thing and everyone was up for the ride. It's 2017 now and we have a terrible, pathetic, disgraceful excuse of a human being as our "president". Which brings us to Our First 100 Days, an ongoing compilation set to raise profits for a variety of organizations working on the front lines of climate, women's rights, immigration and justice issues. Day one belongs to Angel Olsen and she. just. keeps. getting. better. "Fly On Your Wall" drives on a slow heavy acoustic strum, marching in time with the thick rhythmic beat, pushing forward in opposition as her vocals melt all around. It's a powerful song about the sinking feeling of our harsh reality but hot damn... Olsen keeps the hope alive. "Fly On Your Wall" is among her best work, and that says a lot.
6. PINBACK | "Some Voices"
Okay... so this one isn't really new, but thanks to Some Offcell Voices, a new compilation record that combines Pinback's much beloved EPs (Some Voices and Offcell), it's been remastered and "Some Voices," one of the band's earliest songs is given new life. "Some Voices" is quintessential Pinback from the start, a smooth and brooding song of distorted pop and pulsating downer electronics. Lush and full of layered nuance, "Some Voices" digs into the band's spaced out grooves and detached charm, balancing razor tight rhythms with warm acoustics and a swarm of repetitive samples. It's all a bit disorienting but Pinback never let you fall too deep, constantly shifting and evolving, dropping in and out of focus as the walls are closing in around them.
TALL FRIEND "Termites" | TALL FRIEND "Guts" | NNAMDI OGBONNAYA "Audiotree Presents Far Out" | PRIESTS "Nothing Feels Natural" LP | TY SEGALL "Break A Guitar" | AQUARIAN BLOOD "Asshole In The Castle" | PARQUET COURTS "Outside" | FEATURE "Schedules Align" | CUZ "Pots N Pans" (feat. Killer Mike) | BLANK SQUARE "Empty My Head" | VARIOUS ARTISTS "Battle Hymns" | UNIFORM "The Killing of America" | KING GIZZARD & THE LIZARD WIZARD "Sleep Drifter" | DAMAGED BUG "Bog Dash" | MEGA BOG "London" | SLEATER-KINNEY "What's Mine Is Yours" | SOUNDGARDEN "Beyond The Wheel (Early Version)" | PALBERTA "Sick" | RETAIL SPACE "Blue Jeans" | JOEY BADA$$ "Land of the Free" | CASS MCCOMBS "I'm A Shoe" | BOOSEGUMPS "Happy" | MUUY BIIEN "Moral Compass" | CAL FISH "Autobiography #4" | UNKLE "Sick Lullaby" | PULLED APART BY HORSES "The Haze" | LILITH "Nothing 2 U" | EMMA RUTH RUNDLE "Forever, As The Setting Son" | BARDO POND "Crossover" | GUN CONTROL "City Of No" | LGHQ "Le Déjeuner Sur L’Herbe" | GOON "Let Me In" (R.E.M. cover) | ENTRANCE "Not Gonna Say Your Name" | SLAM DUNK "Fucking Around" | VARIOUS ARTISTS "Don't Stop Now: A Collection of Covers" | JAPANDROIDS "Near to the Wild Heart of Life" LP