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. PILE | "Leaning On A Wheel"
Just when you thought you knew all of Pile's tricks along comes "Leaning On A Wheel" and you are simultaneously reminded: a) you don't know shit b) never underestimate the majesty of Pile. "Leaning On A Wheel" lives and breathes on dynamics, it's a song that evolves in the rawest sense; blooming into existence through peaks and valleys. Equally destructive and contemplative from the quiet moments of introspection to it's most blistering heights. It's a song that places as much significance on tone, texture, and structure as it does Rick Maguire's gorgeous lyrics, the dizzying guitar progressions or Kris Kuss and Matt Connery's understated rhythmic glory. As Maguire howls "we're all giving ourselves head, each in our own way," we're reminded that It doesn't get much better than this.
2. WALL | "High Ratings"
Post-punk poster band WALL are getting ready to release Untitled, their full length debut in late April, a record that once again proves the New York band to be among the best of the genre. First single "High Ratings" is all snarl and aggression, a quick and cynical look into social networking and the need for instant validation. It's tightly wound and undeniably determined, a song with razor sharp focus and fiery disdain. "High Ratings" continues a flawless run that began last year with the band's self-titled EP, another bruising glimpse of the band's post-punk gold.
3. BIG WALNUTS YONDER | "Raise The Drawbridges?"
The tag "supergroup" usually translates roughly to "well known musicians come together to make something forgettable". Big Walnuts Yonder are here to change that. The undeniably "super" group of Mike Watt (The Minutemen), Nick Reinhart (Tera Melos), Greg Saunier (Deerhoof) and Nels Cline (Wilco) combines four musicians whose imagination and creativity are matched only by their collective ability. It’s a wacky group of extremely talented minds and while they’ve been teasing this record for years (in all fairness, it’s a pretty busy group) first single “Raise The Drawbridges?” was worth the wait.
The question so often with these so called “supergroups” is which member will take the lead and will the songwriting reflect the members individual talents or something altogether new and freaky? Big Walnuts Yonder aims for the wilder end of collaborations with each member flying brilliantly off the handle… in unison. Watt takes on lead vocals, barking out a sociopolitical song that captures the tension of untrustworthy law enforcement as Reinhart, Saunier, and Cline all shred with a possessed and slightly improvised intensity around Watt’s dense bass line. It’s an unrelenting preview of the unholy union and I can’t wait to hear what the rest of the record holds in store.
4. OPERATOR MUSIC BAND | "Koma"
Operator Music Band make futuristic noise pop with a nod to the past. Built on surging synths, analog effects, swirling guitars and tightly locked in rhythms, the band embrace elements of post-punk, krautrock, and psych pop without bending too far in any direction. It’s rock music for the space age, full of eerie electronics and mounting tension. “Koma” embraces the chaos of uncertainty, the perfect soundtrack to for a ride in an escape pod hurtling toward an unknown fate. One of the Brooklyn band’s heavier songs, “Koma” rings with well crafted distortion, fading into Dara Hirsch’s near robotic precise verses. As the synths permeate your attention and cloud your thoughts, Hirsch is gone and Jared Hiller’s dreamy vocals appear. The two continue to trade off between quakes of drifting fuzz, joining together to count “1.. 2… 3… destruction”.
5. CADDYWHOMPUS | "Waiting Room"
Caddywhompus elicit a certain degree of instant happiness in me. There’s something about their tonality, their unpredictability, and their ability to make you suspend belief that is just feels good. Breezy and complex, the duo make the impossible possible (and seemingly effortless) with “Waiting Room” a song that balances unnatural complexity with sharp hooks at every corner. Caddywhompus have been teasing the moment of perfect symbiosis between their technical ability and the knack for writing “a damn good song” and well… the time has come. “Waiting Room” is practically power-pop if it wasn’t collapsing all around itself with shifting time signatures, elastic structures, and jagged bursts of spontaneous combustion. It’s a roller coaster ride you never want to end, a pop song at it’s absolute most defiant. If you’re gonna spew, spew to this.
6. FERAL OHMS | "Teenage God Born To Die"
Bay Area trio Feral Ohms create "caveman psych" (their words, not mine) an apt description if there ever was one. The sound of the band's upcoming self-titled debut is the perfect combination of primitive and corrosive. Led by Ethan Miller (Comets on Fire), the trio pound at maximum velocity, fuzz soaked blues, psych, and "acid rock" unfurls with reckless intensity like an avalanche hurtling down a mountain. Second single "Teenage God Born To Die" is all brutal grit and cosmic soul, a song that shreds with every last howling breath. It's rampant and untamed, a slab of dangerous rock 'n' roll from the mind of a modern psych legend. The song's thick groove is balanced by blistering noise and a constant stampede on your senses. It just rips so damn hard, you really can't afford to miss this one.
7. DAMAGED BUG | "Bunker Funk" LP
The expression “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” probably rings true to John Dwyer. This past week he released Bunker Funk, the third Damaged Bug record In the past three years… which isn’t anything too crazy but he’s also the mastermind behind the indefatigable Thee Oh Sees (who have released five albums in those same three years). Productivity aside, Damaged Bug, his synth punk odyssey of a solo project just keeps getting better. Dwyer’s commitment to oozing psych weirdness and sci-fi post-punk structures is unwavering on Bunker Funk, an album that uses blends both natural sounds and digital manipulation together in disorienting landscapes of both horror and zany fun. It’s all a bit unnerving but as the title suggests, there’s an element of “funk” to be found as well, a balance that feels something like an infestation of skin crawlers… skin crawlers just looking to get weird and have a great time.
8. LASER BACKGROUND | "Hymnals"
Laser Background, the solo project of Andy Molholt, are set to release Dark Nuclear Bogs (and the award for best anagram title goes to..) late next month, picking up where last year's Correct left off, floating through cosmic realms of warped psych pop and kaleidoscopic indie experimentation. The record is full of sugary hooks, dynamic production (courtesy of Ava Luna’s Julian Fader and Carlos Hernandez), and tripped out splendor. It’s weird and wonderful, a hazy look into Molholt’s subconscious world where anything is possible and nothing is off limits. Jittery and built on lush tension (always pulling in divergent directions), "Hymnals" is quintessential Laser Background, brilliantly skewed pop that relies on slight hooks and delightful sonic manipulation... and is that a kazoo lead?!?! We trust in Laser Background, (potential) kazoo "riff" and all. Molholt may introduce the song by singing "you've been a dime a dozen / not unremarkable but certainly not unforgettable" but this is certainly a rare breed.
9. CASPER SKULLS | "Nighthawks"
Toronto's Casper Skulls released Lips & Skull, their debut EP last October, a record that has really stuck with me, only getting better with each repeated listen. Ahead of their new tour dates (including our own Post-Trash BBQ for those at SXSW), the band are sharing the tense and energetic "Nighthawks," a b-side from the "Mink Coats" sessions. It's a song that tears against the monotony of the night life, bracing down and exploding in all the right moments. Play it cool and "step into the light" together with Casper Skulls.
10. WICCANS | "Automaton"
Texas hardcore/punk luminaries Wiccans have returned. It's been five years since the band released their sophomore album, Field II, but if new single "Automaton" is anything to go by the band haven't lost a damn step. Full of gnarly shouted vocals and a barrage of rapid fire shredding (there's a lot of riffs crammed into this one), Wiccans spew bile at breakneck speed. The lyrics are pretty indecipherable but you can really feel the agitation with every mangled howl and dynamic riff. It's ugly as it gets in the best of ways with guitars that fell like the equivalent of "stadium hardcore". We're looking forward to the new album, out later this year on Dull Tools.
BE YOU ME "Be You Me" LP | BONNY DOON "Bonny Doon" LP | SNEAKS "Hair Slick Back" | DAMAGED BUG "Unmanned Scanner" | THELMA "Thelma" LP | MOTHPUPPY "Basketball Court" | A DEER A HORSE "Statue Sea" | ALEX G "Bobby" + "Witch" | FERN MAYO "Live Bodega Session" | DREAM MACHINE "I Walked In The Fire" | WIRE "Diamonds in Cups" | VEINY HANDS "Veiny Hands" EP | THURSTON MOORE "Cease Fire" | DION LUNADON "Fire" | SHARKMUFFIN "Space Glow" | LOOSE TOOTH "Fish Boy" | LUNCH LADIES "Lazy" | CLOAK/DAGGER "I Want Everything" LP | KEEPING "Ruin Value" LP | THE FUNS "Suncoat" | SIX ORGANS OF ADMITTANCE "Adoration Song" | DREAMDECAY "YÚ" LP | DEHD "Holding" | GYMSHORTS "Copy Cat" | STEADY LEAN "Live at Bridgetown DIY" | BEACH FOSSILS "This Year" | THE BUILDERS AND THE BUTCHERS "Older Than Sin" | HARMONY TIVIDAD "Heaven" | JOHN ROMANO "Ballad For Satan" | FORTH WANDERERS "Caramel Emotion (Allston Pudding session)" | LILITH "Lean (Sound It Out Session)" | THE FLAMING LIPS "There Should Be Unicorns" | KISSING IS A CRIME "Kids"
TY SEGALL "Black Magick" | SPECTRES "Condition" LP | COLD SWEATS "Chew" | SELF ESTEEM "War / Golden God (Demo)" | THE CRATERS "I Was Around" | FUCKED UP "Year of the Snake" EP | CHASTITY BELT "Different Now" | THE SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE "Twenty First Road Trip" | THE CAIRO GANG "That's When It's Over" | SAFELY NOBODY'S "83" | VUNDABAR "Shuffle" | BAD BREEDING "The More The Merrier" | SLIMY MEMBER "Ugly Songs For Ugly People" LP | A DEER A HORSE "Backswimmer" EP | GUIDED BY VOICES "Dr. Feelgood Falls Off The Ocean" | BLONDE REDHEAD "Golden Light" | YUCKY DUSTER "Elementary School Dropout" | B BOYS "Energy" | VOX AND THE HOUND "Worn" | FEATURE "Reeling" | XETAS "The Future" | FLASHER "Winnie" | PARLOR WALLS "Opposites" LP | PETITE LEAGUE "Pulling Teeth" | ARC FLASH "Divination" | DINOSAUR JR "Knocked Around" | BLACK PUS "High Tide" | CAITLIN PASKO "Glass Period" EP | ERIC SLICK "The Dirge" | CENTURY PALM "Meet You" LP | THE AFGHAN WHIGS "Demon In Profile" | MOON DUO "Lost In Light" | GIRLPOOL "123" | AYE NAKO "Spare Me" | VAL HOLLIE "The Man Who Has Dreams" | WARM SODA "This Changes Everything" | MARK LANEGAN BAND "Beehive" | JOEY BADA$$ "Land of the Free" | DECORUM "Dead Wait" | DEAD GAZE "Song For Marc" | FREDDIE GIBBS "Crushed Glass" | FRAIDYCAT "Fortune Cookies" | PONTIAK "Tomorrow is Forgetting" | BOSS HOG "Ground Control" | THE SEA LIFE "Red Eyes" | LUNCH LADIES "Down on The Sunset Strip" LP | MASTODON "Andromeda" | UV-TV "Glass" LP | GREATEST CHAMPION ALIVE "Friend" | PLATINUM BOYS "Lord Knows"