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.
OCTOBER 30TH TO NOVEMBER 5TH
1. BETHLEHEM STEEL | "Finger It Out"
From the first time I saw Bethlehem Steel’s Becca Ryskalczyk play “Finger It Out” together with a puppet, I’ve been obsessed. The song is filled with an existential sort of dread, but not for oneself, but knowing that your loved ones can and will die. It’s a dark statement on love, but a beautiful one nonetheless. It’s the centerpiece of the record, a song concerned with mortality and Ryskalczyk sounds brilliant, her voice rising with the crushing guitars and building anxiety, howling out in primal bursts and dizzying progressions. Sometimes the panic that surrounds what we love most is the realist. By the time she reaches “if I sit still, I can feel myself dying,” it’s impossible not to feel something. - Dan Goldin
2. OH SEES | "Nite Expo"
Just in time for Halloween, Oh Sees are sharing a hand animated video for “Nite Expo,” a hypnotic kraut/prog exploration from Orc, one of the year’s best records and one of Oh Sees’s brightest moments. While the band never dwell on a record for too long, the “lifespan” of Orc felt extra short as Oh Sees became OCS and announced another record the Monday following its release. “Nite Expo” and it’s fun medieval quest video are a great example of what makes Orc the sure footed masterpiece it is, with the band’s double drum quartet line-up fusing together to embrace both the garage punk of the band’s past and push it way into a crushing realm of progressive sludge. It’s still quintessential Oh Sees, but the walls built around them have been destroyed. - Dan Goldin
3. DARK MTNS | "Up Above This Cloud" LP
4. SUN ORGAN | "Your Doomed" LP
5. FLIGHT HABIT | "Glorified Hill Myna" LP
The collective of musicians associated with Philadelphia’s Dub Sum imprint dumped seven new releases onto their Bandcamp page last week, among them new records from Dark Mtns, Sun Organ, and Flight Habit (fka YCIB). While the simultaneous release of these albums may prove to be overwhelming to process all at once, these core bands and records are more than worth your while. Separation becomes difficult thanks to their unified release, but each record stands as its own remarkable listen. Dark Mtns’ Up Above This Cloud is brilliantly pastoral, taking the formula of lush acoustics, fuzzy atmospheres, and slow dripped melodies from their debut and expanding it to include some experimental pop. It’s as warm and comforting as a record gets, a reminder of better days and long nights. From the stunning slowcore bliss of “Silver” and lo-fi shoegaze of “Sun” to the molasses sprawl of “How Did You Know,” Josh Mackie and Zack Robbins’ band continues to flirt with tonal perfection.
Equally brilliant is Sun Organ’s Your Doomed, the latest from Tim Jordan (ex-Spirit of the Beehive) which features the help of friends including both members of Dark Mtns, Dan Angel (Gunk, Ugh God), and more. Calming and otherworldly, Jordan’s gentle blends of experimental indie structures, swelling distortion and woozy fuzz pop take both a decidedly heavier and more tranquil approach this time around. Balancing between the ethereal drift and blurred layers with aggressive distortion and crushing walls of guitar. It’s a stability that suits the band, another reminder that they wont be one of Philly’s best kept secrets for much longer.
Then there’s Flight Habit (fka YCIB), a project the Dub Sum collective have been touting up for quite some time. The debut, Glorified Hill Myna is led by the reclusive Timothy Schmeid and brought to life by the five piece band (also featuring both members of Dark Mtns). A twangier affair than it’s peers, Flight Habit flirt with the same lush atmospheres are blankets of guitar absorption, but their vocal approach and songwriting is more immediate with a gentle approach. Built around somber lyrics that explore depression and natural emotion. Schmeid uses his feelings to create texture, rather than use texture to create feelings. - Dan Goldin
6. CONVERGE | "The Dusk In Us" LP
By now it’s relatively clear that Converge doesn’t make bad records. Some may dip in quality, at least relatively, but they never falter in full, always exploring some other facet of their sound. The Dusk In Us proves that once again, which manages to feel tightly focused while still managing some genre experiments. At times the album best recalls 2006’s No Heroes, with songs like “Arkhipov Calm,” “I Can Tell You About Pain,” and “Cannibals” matching that album’s rabid intensity, while tracks like “Under Duress” and “Reptilian” once again hint at the band’s sludgier moments. There’s even a bit of a Jesus Lizard homage with “Trigger,” a song that shows Kurt Ballou knows the intricacies of how to craft a guitar line that serves more as an accent than a lead instrument. Perhaps the only real issue with The Dusk In Us is Ballou’s production, as his status as the go-to producer in heavy music makes the album sound akin to the myriad other bands he’s produced this decade, but it’s a minor quibble. The songs are there, and with Converge there’s no doubt that they always will be. - David Anthony
7. PALM | "Pearly"
Palm will likely never shake the math-rock tag, but each new releases shows the band can do something completely different inside that framework. “Pearly,” the first single from Rock Island, sees Palm write their version of a straightforward pop song. It’s still got plenty of twists and turns, but welcome. Where the Shadow Expert EP saw the band at its most aggressive, “Pearly” shimmers, allowing itself to become one of the most melodic offerings in the band’s ever-expanding discography. - David Anthony
8. BOOJI BOYS | "Sister"
Though “Sister” first appeared on this summer’s Sweet Boy EP, the re-recorded version found on Booji Boys’ sophomore album, Weekend Rocker, highlights how quickly the band has evolved. The songcraft remains in tact, but where the earlier version was a fuzzy, lo-fi ripper, the new version retains those charms but increases the production value ever so slightly. The guitars are chunkier, the drums a little clearer, and the leads sit nicely above the racket without obfuscating the vocal melody. It’s a simple, effective punk song, and that’s something that can never go out of style. - David Anthony
9. KINDLING | "Better World"
While many shoegaze revivalists are content to let their effects pedals do the talking, Kindling is in the business of writing riffs. “Better World” opens with one for the ages, ripping the song right open and allowing them to dash in soaring leads that bisect the song. While the band is able to lay back and create a mood, they are just as quick to crack it open, allowing themselves to go into expansive spaces indebted to the best alt-rock records of yore. - David Anthony
10. STEF CHURA | "Speeding Ticket"
I am inexcusably late to Stef Chura and her incredible Messes album. Released way back in January on Urinal Cake Records (the label responsible for introducing Protomartyr), the album is set to be reissued by Saddle Creek, and if nothing else, I used this as a reminder that I’d been meaning to check out her music (because as we always say, it’s never too late). Her debut is a great mix of unconventional indie rock, full of Chura’s unique charm and brilliantly vibrato yelp. Her songs feel like photographs, glimpses into personal moments captured through time. “Speeding Ticket” and it’s new video are a great example, a song that radiates a close intimacy, capturing Chura’s voice in delicate croons, mending fractured relationships and finding a peace in separation. - Dan Goldin
11. PINEGROVE | "Intrepid"
It’s easy to say that Pinegrove came to prominence quickly, but that understates how long the band had been working at its craft. A song like “Intrepid” shows they function as a unit, with each performer working in tandem, giving the song the ability to rise and fall subtly. Where the songs on Cardinal connected because they were pointed and direct, “Intrepid” shows a different kind of mastery all together, one that doesn’t do away with the simple pleasure of a hooky melody, but instead manipulates them in ways that are both adventurous and fulfilling. - David Anthony
NOVEMBER 6TH TO NOVEMBER 12TH
1. KAL MARKS | "Adventure"
For the duration of their existence, Kal Marks has rarely been palatable. Pulling ample influence from a deep well of noise rock bands, the trio hasn’t so much crafted songs as they have bludgeoned them from all directions. That’s still true of Universal Care, but as “Adventure” shows, Kal Marks is capable of transitioning into something softer without losing intensity. The song is less claustrophobic, reveling in the open space they’ve afforded themselves, and it offers not just a new sound for the band, but a new avenue that retains all the power the band has always possessed. - David Anthony
2. EXPLODED VIEW | "Summer Came Early" EP
When Exploded View shared Summer Came Early's title track last month we mentioned their debut, calling it "a darkened contusion of krautrock, no-wave, post-punk, and industrial, that sounded evolutionary, a skronky mix of impassioned howls and clamoring electronics". Upon our first taste of the new EP we said it "picks up from the band's experimental debut while shifting into a brighter, more digestible, direction" and that remains true throughout. Sounding like a detached and tripped out Cate Le Bon, Annika Henderson and co. sound incredible as they blend avant-garde compositions with deviant post-punk and a blanket of warm psychedelic atmosphere. An exceptionally full EP, Exploded View have once again created experimental magic that's infinitely listenable.
3. DOVE LADY | "Ferbalicious"
The mystical Dove Lady released One, their official full length debut, back in June via DZ Tapes and Inflated Records, and the Washington, DC duo are still breathing new life into the release with a video for "Ferbalicious". The album's shortest song is still full of the wonders the band have become known for, mixing genres-at-odds with the greatest of ease, from Eastern influences to warped prog and experimental pop, the song bubbles and weaves, sliding melodies into dissonance and establishing a tight groove only to watch it dissolve without warning. The video is part performance, part spiritual journey, and it all feels so right. - Dan Goldin
4. BEE BEE SEA | "This Dog Is The King of Losers"
It would be easy to mistake Italian fuzz punk trio Bee Bee Sea as a band from California. They share more than a few resemblances to the Castle Face Records roster, from Thee Oh Sees and White Fence to recent additions DUDS and Flat Worms, which is to say that Bee Bee Sea rip at pretty much all times. From a small town in the North of Italy, the trio are burning through vivid krautrock and psych punk at its finest. Shredding over dense motorik rhythms, "This Dog Is The King Of Losers" is hypnotic and anxious, pulling you into its web with pop charm and dropping out into the wild. It's blisteringly odd and jarringly catchy, a blended puree of Devo, Can, and Oh Sees influence.
5. LOST BOY ? | "Enter Sandman"
If Lost Boy ?'s new single "Enter Sandman" sounds like a lost classic, its because it is and it does. Enter Sandman, the Brooklyn band's limited Cassette Store Day release is a collection of songs recording back in 2011 around the release of USA USA but never previously released... until now. First single and live staple "Enter Sandman" is quintessential Lost Boy ? with enormous power pop riffs and Davey Jones' high pinched melodies creating an auditory party. There's a brilliant cartoon quality to the song's fuzzy tale and its infectious good times. This one is pure joy. - Dan Goldin
OCTOBER 30TH TO NOVEMBER 5TH
BAD HISTORY MONTH "Dead And Loving It: An Introductory Exploration of Pessimysticism" LP | LARS FINBERG "Benevolent Panic" | VV TORSO "LPVV" | RYE PINES "Spiderback Boogie" | CONVERGE "A Single Tear" | TERA MELOS "Warpless Run" | THE GOTOBEDS "Definitely Not A Red Kross EP" | MARK LANEGAN BAND "Emperor" | CCFX "The One To Wait" | STATIK SELEKTAH "Put Jewels On It" (feat. Run The Jewels) | TERRY "Gun" | ODDISEE & GOOD COMPNY "Like Really" (Live) | APOLLO BROWN & PLANET ASIA "Deep In The Casket" | DJ PREMIER "Our Streets" (feat. A$AP Ferg) | THE COUNTY LINERS "Love Letter" | SUNWATCHERS "Silent Boogie" | FURNSSS "Divine" | CONTRIBUTORS "Dome" | HOOKWORMS "Negative Space" | BIG BOI "In The South" (feat. Pimp C & Gucci Mane) | MEATBODIES "Creature Feature" | BAT FANGS "Wolfbite" | OUGHT "These 3 Things" | RIDE "Pulsar" | THANKS FOR COMING "More" EP | THE HUMAN FLY "What Do You Want?" | VAMPYRE "Cutting Teeth" | GODFLESH "Post Self" | THE SHE'S "Lie Again" | HIGH PONY "Afraid To Leave" | DRUG CHURCH "Weed Pin" | FIRE IS MOTION "Ringside" | CASPER SKULLS "Lingua Franca" | ROZWELL KID "Audiotree Live" | GINGERLYS "Let Down" | CULTURE ABUSE & WAVVES "Up And Down" | WALTER ETC. "Lighthouse"
NOVEMBER 6TH TO NOVEMBER 12TH
BETHLEHEM STEEL "Party Naked Forever" LP | YOURS ARE THE ONLY EARS "Saturn" | QUICKSAND "Interiors" | BEE BEE SEA "Sonic Boomerang" | HIS ELECTRO BLUE VOICE "Crystal Mind" | NOTS "In Glass" | SHYA "Big Car" LP | BEVERLY TENDER "Big Snake Song" | WIDOWSPEAK "Harvest Moon" (Neil Young cover) | ANGEL OLSEN "Sans" | LINA TULLGREN "Audiotree Live" | LOST BOY ? "Mister Dribble Drabb" | LOST BOY ? "Down On My Knees" | POSSE "Horse Blanket" LP | TY SEGALL "My Lady's On Fire" | ALEXANDER "Today/Tomorrow" EP | ONEIDA "Town Crier" | PARLOR WALLS "Another The Letter" (Wire cover) | HIGH PONY "Cushion To Come Down" | MUSEYROOM "Sleight of Hand" LP | NOUVEAU "Rue Force Tube" | TARANTÜLA "Weird Tales of Radiation and Hate" EP | EDGAR CLINKS "Surfboard" | GREG JAMIE "This Life" | NADINE "Ultra Pink" | THE SHE'S "Sorry" | HOLY TUNICS "Victoria" | CUP "Apparition" | SUPERCHUNK "What A Time To Be Alive" | BLUSH "Fantasy" (Mariah Carey cover)