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. OPERATOR MUSIC BAND | "Realistic Saturation"
The always dazzling Operator Music Band are back with a new EP, Coördination, set for release in December, their second release of 2017 (following Puzzlephonics I & II). Spoiler alert, they're still one of the best bands, continually pushing the boundaries of art-pop experimentation, dreamy psych and krautrock grooves. An upbeat motorik rhythm sets the pulse, a crisp backbone that allows the band's synths and guitars freedom to explore, coming and going, layering and twisting together Dara Hirsch's vocal melodies, constantly shifting but tethered to the relentless beat. Stop talking about "year end lists," this one isn't out 'til December.
2. BIRTHING HIPS | "Droplet"
Unique and highly capable musicians, Birthing Hips' sophomore record is manic and free, both more spastic and polished than it's predecessor. First single "Droplet" is as detached as they get, opening with a stuttering rhythm that sounds resolutely broken, Carrie Furniss' lyrics adding to the feeling, "don't break it or you'll have to buy." The heavy discordant shifts are met with violently tangled guitars and polyrhythmic outbursts, shaking the jagged hypnosis into one great festering knot. Just when it feels as though Wendy Eisenberg (guitar), Andres Abenante (bass) and Owen Liza (drums) are playing in different time and space, the band snap back into their deranged groove, and this all before the monolithic refrain brings Birthing Hips to their most majestic. A grandiose collision of brilliantly freaked out pop and unadorned noise, and they do it all simultaneously in a way all their own.
3. EXHALANTS | "Democore" EP
Last year Austin trio Carl Sagan's Skate Shoes released their self-titled album, a staple of modern post-hardcore, and one of last year's best records. Shortly after that however, they called it quits, but all hope is not lost. Introducing Exhalants, a band formed by CSSS' Steve Pike (guitar/vocals) and Bill Indelicato (bass), together with new drummer Tommy, and well, their demo is about as great as they come. Indebted to the brilliance of Unwound and Drive Like Jehu, Exhalants capture the raw spirit of those bands and ride it down to its noisiest breaking point. Democore is rooted in a resonant filth, build on scathing twists and turns; as heavy as it is intelligent. The home recording sounds claustrophobic and brutal yet immediate and essential. Meet Exhalants, your new favorite band.
4. SHILPA RAY | "Morning Terrors Nights of Dread"
People love a good "New York" album, records that detail both the wealth of opportunity the city can provide and the sense of exhaustion and depravity that are never far behind. Shilpa Ray's latest, Door Girl, could be the quintessential NY album of our time, a record reflected from her long-standing post as the door person at Lower Eastside venue Pianos... which if you've ever been to, you'll quickly understand her "charging eight bucks to go to hell, it's straight up the stairs" line. "Morning Terrors Nights of Dread" is another stand-out from the album, and the video brings the concept to life. Opening with a string of shitty people looking to get into a show without paying, Ray, an angel at the pearly gates (an improvement over Pianos), is not amused. From there, things get worse, filled with crippling trust-fund entitled yuppie nightmares, and eventually... hell. Door Girl is soul crushing in its honesty (and brilliant for it), but Shilpa Ray is still having a good time.
5. FITS | "Hot Topic"
Fits' Nicholas Cummins can make a melody feel elastic. Their short bursts of power-pop are always expanding in new directions, far beyond initial impressions, just as one hook seems to be the focal point, another creeps in, eschewing common structures to present ideas in quick succession, void of repetition but complex and engaging while fully rooted in pop accessibility. "Hot Topic" is a prime example, a song that worms through shifting dynamics, with a melody that unfolds in a variety of ways, Cummins' guitar work threading it together with the greatest of ease.
6. WHELPWISHER | "Notice To Airmen" EP
Whelpwisher is about writing songs for the sake of writing songs. There's no press campaigns. There's no live shows. There's no social networks. It's an outlet, a chance for Ben Grigg (Future Biff, Geronimo!) to record the music he wants to record, and release it when he wants to release it. The thing is, it's really good. Grigg has spent over a decade making fuzzy pop, punk, and post-hardcore songs and his latest, Notice To Airmen, could just be his best solo collection yet. Thick with fuzz and sludgy power-pop guitars, there's a stinging distortion that blankets his work, but the melodies shine through. Much like pals Ovlov and Milked (which Grigg plays in live), the in-the-red guitars and trails of noise only strengthens his inescapable pop, packing in the hooks in every space imaginable.
7. TALL FRIEND | "Audiotree Live" Session
Tall Friend's Charlie Pfaff writes beautiful songs, taking something personal and intimate and letting it wander with imaginative grace. The pictures and characters they create are often strong by necessity, creating a restorative innocence in its wake. Getting to see or hear the band live captures both the fragile honesty of Pffaf's lyrics and the resulting strength that drives them. The trio set mood and tone with slow woven pop songs, heavy on tangled yet minimalist progressions, but anchored around Pfaff's gorgeous vocals and the unwavering importance of their words. They give a pretty great interview too.
8. LITTLEFOOT | "Feel Better"
The second single from Littlefoot's upcoming Lavender EP is two divergent sounds fused together: the breezy charm of reverberating surf pop, and the floating atmospherics of dream pop. The flawless pairing of the two is light and fluid, blending tropical rhythms and plucked guitars with thick waves of echoed chords and Erica Sutherland's comforting vocal melodies. There's an Eastern influence to the surf guitar's progression, eventually fading into swarms of of uplifting synths, pairing together to remind you that the darkness won't last an eternity, things will get better. Lets hope so.
9. TY SEGALL | "Meaning"
From album to album, you don't really know what you're going to get out of Ty Segall. He's proven capable of shifting between overblown garage rock (Melted), fuzzy doom (Slaughterhouse), glam (Emotional Mugger), sun-fried folk (Sleeper), and beyond. "Meaning," a new stand-alone single (though it sure feels like a new album is coming) is yet another side of Segall, an unpredictable one that blends a radiant krautrock groove, cowbell and all, with discordant stabs of guitar that squiggle their way in the hypnotic either... and then the song crashes head-on into a wall of primal hardcore fuzz. Shifting away from the care-free groove, he's joined by Denee Segall on vocals, as she shouts in agitation about freedom or the lack thereof. The song's dynamics are extreme but complimentary, the calm before and the storm itself.
BIG HEET "On A Wire" LP | THANK "Sexghost Hellscape" EP | PHILARY "Bummer." EP | THANKS FOR COMING "Found On My Computer While Looking For Space" EP | VINCENT VOCODER VOICE "Drown Gently" | BIG K.R.I.T. "Keep The Devil Off" | FURNSSS "Roll With It" | BIB "Freedom" | COLD SWEATS "Saw It Comin'" | ALL PIGS MUST DIE "Hostage Animal" LP | DATENIGHT "Too Good" | DATENIGHT "Another Thing To Do" | SCREAMING FEMALES "Glass House" | SLEATER-KINNEY "Here We Come" | CONTRIBUTORS "It's A Natural Low" | THE COUNTY LINERS "Walkin' Out" | PEAER "Audiotree Live" Session | DANIELE LUPPI & PARQUET COURTS "Milano" LP | HOVVDY "Audiotree Live" Session | FLORAL PRINT "Mirror Stages" LP | KINDLING "For Olive" | KING GIZZARD & THE LIZARD WIZARD "Crumbling Castle" | THE SOFT MOON "Burn" | THE GOTOBEDS "Annette's Got The Hits" | CASPER SKULLS "Primeval" | THE SHE'S "Ashes" | ODONIS ODONIS "No Pop" LP | RED DEATH "Formidable Darkness" | RED DEATH "Parasite's Paradise" | POPE "Slice" | RATBOYS "Light Pollution" | GROOMS "End" | JAPANESE BREAKFAST "The Body Is A Blade" | SLIGHT "Dark Mind" | RADIATOR HOSPITAL "Play The Songs You Like" LP | CHELSEA WOLFE "Spun" | SLEEPING IN "Let You In" LP | CCFX "Venetian Screens" | RYAN POWER "They Sell Doomsday" LP | AND SO I WATCH YOU FROM AFAR "The Endless Shimmering" LP | GOON "Chaka"