by Dan Goldin (@post_trash_)
Welcome to FUZZY MEADOWS, our weekly recap of this week's new music. We're sharing our 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 written in the early hours of the morning and semi-unedited... but full of love and heart. The number rankings are arbitrary and we sincerely recommend checking out all the music included. There's a lot of great new 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 our countdown 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 of "countdown" quality too.
1. BAD HISTORY MONTH | "Self Help Sundae"
Sleeper Records, a new label based out of Philadelphia just released Six Weeks of Winter, a compilation with all proceeds going to the American Society for Suicide Prevention. Packed with beautiful lo-fi, experimental bedroom pop, and generally twee-leaning rock bands, the collection plays well in its entirety with many standout moments including Girlpool's Cleo Tucker (who really shines as a solo artist), Baby Mollusk, Tall Friend, gobbinjr, Brittle Brian, Blanket, and the centerpiece of it all, Bad History Month.
"Self Help Sundae" is the first new recording Bad History Month has released in nearly three years and he sounds as incredible as ever. One of my all time favorite songwriters, Bad History Month mine the depths of depression with a soul crushing beauty and a sense of knowing humor deep at its core. "Self Help Sundae" is a reminder just how badly the world needs Bad History Month, a warm and sharp examination of self-loathing and the desire for change (no matter how out of reach it may be). While the song opens with cutting defeat, "I scream for ice cream and when it comes I feel sick, with guilt and regret for throwing a fit, I bit the tit of the world but still got fed" but by the end it seems as though the clouds have parted (at least temporarily) as he sings "I'm lucky, I see there's plenty, there's more than enough for me / go ahead help yourself, it's free. Go ahead help yourself, good luck / There's more than enough". Bad History Month (and Fat History Month before it) stand in a class of their own and I couldn't be more thrilled to hear new music from the one and only Jeff Meff.
2. CADDYWHOMPUS | "Decent"
Caddywhompus have the gift of being forever unbelievable. The duo have been blowing the minds of all who have come across their sound for nearly a decade, working as a symbiotic pair that sounds more like a band of five or six members. Three years after the well received Feathering A Nest, the band return with their most focused and mature album yet, a record of jagged art pop, jazzy structures, and unbelievably kinetic energy filtered through an array of hooks. Truthfully, there’s no one quite like Caddywhompus, a magical whirlwind of a duo that warp shimmering psych and math rock into heavenly mutated pop. While past records have let the intensity of their musicianship run away at times, Odd Hours and lead single “Decent” bring out their catchy pop accessibility even in the most complex forms and shifting structures. It’s flat out glorious and they've never sounded better. Odd Hours is the classic record they have been hinting at and "Decent" is only the beginning. Welcome back Caddywhompus.
3. BAKED | "Them"
One of two near perfect "dusty country" ballads from Baked's upcoming sophomore album Farnham, "Them" is all twang and mellow vibes, a front porch anthem that commits itself to the underdog. It's a feel good song and a bummer all the same, as RJ Gordon sings "it don't seem right / it seems like every time I try, it gets a little worse / but now i'm fine / it just took a little time to figure out, and i'll get by / wish I could say the same for my friends". A dreamy outlaw lullaby for the detached, "Them" is fuzzy country perfection but just one of the many fine pieces that make up the Farnham puzzle. Don't let their lackadaisical attitude fool you, Baked have never sounded so focused (thanks in part to Adam Reich and Amar Lal) as they expand their sound in new directions with cohesion and grace.
4. ONCE & FUTURE BAND | "Once & Future Band" LP
Once & Future Band's self-titled debut makes me feel like a kid who just discovered the majesty of classic 70's prog rock and psych for the first time... all over again. Having listened to this record countless times since it was first sent my way (with an enormous grin or my jaw slightly dropped), I can say it only gets better with repeat listens. I'm working on an album review (my first in many years, for what thats worth), so I'll keep this brief: Once & Future Band have made one of the finest (if not the finest) progressive rock album since the 70's. There's a mastery in their musicianship, an intelligence in their songwriting, and a spark in the unflinching commitment to a genre that is about as un-hip as they come. I still remember the first time I heard albums like King Crimson's In The Court of the Crimson King and Pink Floyd's Meddle, captivated by their enormity and rigged focus, a feeling I can't escape when listening to Once & Future Band. Sure, it's not punk... hell, it's pretty damn far from punk, but this record is essential listening from start to finish from the sweeping bliss of "Hide & Seek" to the otherworldly brilliance of "Tell Me Those Are Tears Of Joy".
5. TALL FRIEND | "Tawl Friend" EP
Sometimes it's hard to put into words exactly why a band is so special to you. I suppose as a "music writer" (I term a use lightly when referring to myself) it's a terrible quality, but maybe, just maybe it's a certain magic the band possesses that sets them apart from their peers. In the world of soft spoken "twee" influenced rock, there are no bands quite like Tall Friend. Between the song's sparse compositions and Charlie Pfaff's incredible voice (seriously, that voice) you can feel the heartbreak as though it was your own. There's a youthful innocence to it, feelings pushed and pulled by crushes, friendships, and self reflection. It's hard not to feel personally invested in Pfaff's songs. They have a way with vivid imagery, relatable symbolism, and impeccable pacing. Tawl Friend achieves more pure emotion in twelve minutes than some do in as many years. The closing sentiment of "Guts" truly does say it all, "you will always be nothing but magic to me".
6. OPERATOR MUSIC BAND | "Creative Tube Bending"
Operator Music Band, Brooklyn's best krautrock / psych-wave band are back with "Creative Tube Bending," the first single from their upcoming full length debut Puzzlephonics I & II. Their latest single takes the band's hypnotic grooves in a new direction, opting for a funkier post-punk vibe deeply reminiscent of David Byrne thanks to Jared Hiller's soulful croon and the song's upbeat hook. The band continue to blend past and future with mesmerizing clarity and focus, dropping in momentary splashes of harsh guitars, layered synth noise, rattling percussion, and razor sharp harmonies. Hiller and Dara Hirsch lock perfectly in to place as they sing "we care about nothing til we're part of something, but now it seems it's to late". It's never too late to witness the mechanical perfection of Operator Music Band. If it hasn't clicked for you yet, just keep listening.
7. LIQUIDS | "More Thana Friend" EP
Indiana's Liquids play loose and reckless punk. It's fast, careless, and exceedingly lo-fi, but above all else, it's full of raw, blistering, shredding abandon. While the band shares members with fellow basement dwelling punks The Coneheads, Liquids' sound is a bit less Devo informed (but only a bit) and a bit more like a ragged young Meat Puppets (but only a bit). There's a twang buried beneath all that fuzz balanced with twitching post-punk and an endless barrage of retro garage rock melodies. Liquids' latest EP More Thana Friend is in a constant state of attack, a buzzsaw of agitated punk and high splattered energy. The lo-fi as hell, warts-and-all recording is primitive and well adapted for their jittery yet infectious brand of crispy fried punk.
8. THEE OH SEES | "Gelatinous Cube"
National treasures Thee Oh Sees released two of their best albums, A Weird Exits and it's companion piece An Odd Entrances last year (not to mention the essential Live in San Fransisco) featuring the quartet's now well-oiled new line-up featuring the double drums of Ryan Moutinho and Dan Rincon (though Moutinho has since left and been replaced). The albums are filled with psych textures and raw nuance, but they weren't without the band's usual garage punk intensity a la "Gelatinous Cube," a standout from A Weird Exits that thrashes and twitches itself into oblivion before submerging into periodic krautrock grooves. Now with a fantastically strange animated video that captures a spaced out odyssey from worker drone to what seems to be supreme being, Thee Oh Sees' latest albums are like a gift that keeps on giving.
9. KING CRIMSON | "Starless"
King Crimson's "Starless" isn't a new song by any stretch of the imagination. Released back in the fall of 1974, I'd venture to guess the song is older than anyone writing for or reading this site. We've included "Starless," the epic finale to Red in memory of the late, great, John Wetton who passed away on January 31st, 2017. Wetton first joined King Crimson in 1973 as bassist and vocalist for Larks Tongues' In Aspic, Starless and Bible Black, and the uncompromising Red, the band's last album of the 70's before going on a seven year hiatus. Red as a record was unpredictable and "Starless" is the smooth as eggs, ominous crooning apex of it all. A winding triumph that snaked its way from cosmic lounge delights into complex avant-garde arrangements and back again with the greatest of ease, "Starless," remains as vital today as it was over forty years ago. Oh, and Wetton also wrote Asia's "Heat of the Moment" which will always remind me of this.
10. BONNY DOON | "What Time Is It In Portland?"
Detroit's Bonny Doon are fantastic songwriters. The band make indie rock with a nod to Americana, folk, and alt-country without over stepping any lines. Their sound is organic and honest, their lyrics relatable and inviting, and their latest single "What Time Is It In Portland?" rings true to anyone who has ever lived in a transitory city. Reflecting on the ever changing Detroit, Bonny Doon understand that friends come and go and the "scene" is forever in flux. Bobby Columbo sings "I act like I don't know what to do, but only fools fight when they know they're gonna lose". It's a sad yet beautiful thought, a sentiment that Bonny Doon thrive upon.
11. VAGABON | "Minneapolis"
Vagabon's upcoming full length Infinite Worlds is a dynamic record in every sense. Embracing the title in both sound and scope, it's a personal record and a reflection of Laetitia Tamko's ability to adapt and to explore. Both strong and gentle, there's a balance to the album, a powerful reminder that every day is a new experience. For every notion of heartbreak, there's a stronger notion of empowerment. While no stranger to "emotionally heavy" songwriting, Vagabon's latest single "Minneapolis" is just plain "heavy". A beast of a different nature, to put it real basic terms... it rips. Built on a crushing polyrhythmic beat and shifting rhythms, Tamko and co. explore progressive tendencies with a loose feel and an enjoyable sense of catharsis.
12. PARLOR WALLS | "Play Opposites"
After two promising EPs, Brooklyn's Parlor Walls are set to release Opposites, their dark and twisted full length debut next month via Northern Spy. The band's disorienting take on no-wave, post-punk and what they call "trash jazz" has never sounded better than it does on "Play Opposites," the record's first single. Opening with an ominous minimalism, Alyse Lamb's warm yet commanding vocals, and an immovable sense of tension, the band contort melodies with a (most welcome) queasy disregard. A caustic anthem for change and upheaval, Parlor Walls embrace their unhinged nature as Kate Mohanty's saxophone swerves in and out as the melody slowly devolves around it.
13. ALEXANDER F | "Call Me Pretty"
Often the best albums are the ones you have to work for. The records you don't like so much on first listen but have that sneaking to desire to come back and give another shot. Other times, it's as immediate as an explosion. Alexander F's self-titled full length debut most definitely falls into the later category, an album that is bursting with demented pop hooks at every turn. It's not exactly a pop record in the truest sense, but the band's balance of disjointed power-pop, tangled garage punk, and sugary melodies is as infectious as they come. Following the fuzzy bliss of "Swimmers" and the warped groove of "Soft Coffins," Alexander F have shared "Call Me Pretty," a hard pressed post-punk voyage that warbles its way into a bubblegum-sweet hook. Tightly wound and filled with joy, the Kimbra assisted song is a welcome reminder: fun ain't dead just yet.
14. WE CAN ALL BE SORRY | "Itch"
Boston's We Can All Be Sorry are back with Down The Hall, a new EP (supposedly out today) on Super Wimpy Punch and they're picking up right where last year's criminally underrated Weekend Sorry left off. With a knack for slightly askew indie songs, the trio mix slacker punk, math rock, and discordant pop into a shimmering blur of tangled melodies and tight shifts. "Itch" is full of earworms from the nimble yet dirgy riffs to the sing-along vocals. It's a song that prides itself on clever ideas, quick refrains, and the ability to create *real pop charm* while constantly dropping the bottom out from underneath. With We Can All Be Sorry continuing to prove themselves as one of Boston's "best kept secrets," we're looking forward to hearing just what's lurking Down The Hall.
15. WEED | "Favourite Hate"
Vancouver's Weed return with their final album Born Wrong Love due out this April on Smoking Room and yes, their recordings remain gloriously in the red. Since the release of Deserve, it's always been pretty amazing to hear how the trio blend uncompromising wall of sound guitars with syrupy vocal melodies that trail forever behind. "Favourite Hate," the record's first single, continues the signature Weed formula with a teetering balance of colossal amp desolation with just enough space in the cracks for the vocals to seep through and slowly permeate your thoughts from deep within the mix. It's a true gift and a balance that few have mastered. We're going to miss this band a lot when they call it quits, but they're not done just yet.
BAKED "Danelectroladyland" | TY SEGALL "Ty Segall" LP | MEAT WAVE "Dogs At Night" | WOMEN "Group Transport Hall (Alternative Version)" | OBNOX "Baby Godmother" | SNEAKS "Inside Edition" | SO STRESSED "Old Hiss" | SUUNS "Native Tongue" | WIRE "Short Elevated Period" | OMNI "Fever Bass" | GUIDED BY VOICES "Hiking Skin" | NNAMDI OGBONNAYA "Don't Turn Me Off" (feat Mal Devisa & JD aka ThrashKitten) | SLEATER-KINNEY "Live In Paris" LP | ANGEL OLSEN "Pops" | TIM DARCY "Still Waking Up" | HOLY SHEBOYGAN "Hecate" | TONSTARTSSBANDHT "Sorcerer" | CRYSTAL FAIRY "Crystal Fairy" | MEW "Carry Me To Safety" | ELLIOTT SMITH "Angeles (Live)" | SNAIL MAIL "Thinning" | ODDISEE "Like Really" | JIM AND THE FRENCH VANILLA "Back Home" | BAND PRACTICE "I Wanna Die Like Elvis" | PARQUET COURTS "Human Performance" | MEATBODIES "Haunted History" | DICAPRIO "I Went to the Mall Yesterday and I Got Sick" LP | KINDLING "Claims Nonexistence" | MASTODON "Sultan's Curse" | ANDERSON .PAAK "Am I Wrong" | FAMILY SCRAPS "Too Pure" 7" | UROCHROMES "Night Bully (Boy Harsher Remix)" | BOSS HOG "Formula X" | NO JOY "Califone" | L.A. WITCH "Brian" | MOUNT EERIE "Real Death" | KING WOMAN "Deny" | EMMA RUTH RUNDLE "The Distance" | LUNCH LADIES "Pick Yourself Up" | LILITH "Lean" | LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT "The Plane 2" | JUNIUS "The Queen's Constellation" | WREN KITZ "Crown Jewels" | THE PROPER ORNAMENTS "Memories" | OCEANATOR "Nowhere Nothing" | SLOTHRUST "Horseshoe Crab" | TRAVIS TREVISAN "Slow Fade"
DARK MTNS "Dark Mtns II" EP | THE COATHANGERS "Parasite (Live)" | PC WORSHIP "River Running Sideways" | HAND HABITS "Wildly Idle (Humble Before The Void)" LP | MEAT WAVE "Bad Man" | RAEKWON "This Is What It Comes Too" | MEGA BOG "Happy Together" LP | SHARKS' TEETH "Unpack" | AQUARIAN BLOOD "Parasite Inside" | GOBBINJR "BB Gurl" | RAILINGS ") (" LP | BEEEF "Dogshit Paradise" | CIRCUS DEVILS "Crucified By The British Press" | MOON DUO "Cold Fear" | RETAIL SPACE "Tide Tables" | CAL FISH "Cassette Traveler" | POPPIES "Mistakes" | KEEPING "Wrapped Up" | GLASSINE "Day 1" | HALFSOUR "Land of Discarded Ideas" EP | LILITH "Apology Plant" EP | LOOSE TOOTH "Roach Motel" | CRYWANK "Part 2" | ENTRANCE "Always The Right Time" | HOLY MOTORS "Sleepryder" | BLEACHED "Can You Deal?" | TURN TO CRIME "Secondary" LP | GIRL SCOUT "I Don't Like It" | CITRIS "Little Scars"