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. CHRISTIAN FITNESS | "Slap Bass Hunks" LP
Following two straight weeks of promising singles, Christian Fitness, the one-man band that is Andrew Falkous aka Falco (Future of the Left/Mclusky), released yet another single and a day later, the band's entire new album... because marketing plans are for weenies. Slap Bass Hunks isn't just a great title, it's an undeniably great album, and a contender for Falco's best work in recent memory. The title track has a sing-a-long melody that buzzes with raw agitation, offering a pop sheen and bouncing-ball-subtitled lyrics that deadpan into the hook of "they made all our money, so fuck you". The eternally pessimistic and scathing wit Falco spurns with each clever barb is in rare form throughout with tracks like "Other Men's Wives" and "Pea (Super)" changing the pace with less of a rhythmic onslaught and an attention to the melodic unease that brings a groove to Falco's sting. - Dan Goldin
2. ANNA ALTMAN | "American Gothic"
It’s easy to confuse Anna Altman for being a solo project, as the nondescript name implies it’s the product of a single person. And while the songs are lo-fi and minimalist—only adding to that possibility—they are built on the dynamic between Lucia Arias and Christian Billard. Together, Arias and Billard make up Anna Altman, and as “American Gothic” shows, they play well off one another. While the song quickly establishes a groove, they explore the options they’ve left open, allowing the song to skitter nervously at the top and slowly build until its boisterous conclusion. Even if the song’s built around just a couple riffs, the way Arias and Billard use the energy between them keeps you hanging on every subtle change. It’s a stunning song, clearing up any lingering confusion in the process. - David Anthony
3. ART SCHOOL JOCKS | "Catdog"
Describing themselves as “existential basement pop,” Art School Jocks certainly sound like they’ve spent some time with the K Records catalog. “Catdog” is a song built on a mood, never diverting from its path as much as trying to create an ethereal space to get lost in. The song is built on a constant stomp, allowing for the guitars to twirl in countless different directions, spinning off little leads that are alluring because of how they feel like the product of sheer happenstance. But that’s what makes Art School Jocks special, as each one of these moments are clearly the farthest thing from accidental. It’s a pop song, sure, but it’s one you have to analyze, noticing all the small details that can just as easily breeze past on your first listen. - David Anthony
4. FOND HAN | "New Alright" (Pallet Session)
Fond Han are that special kind of band that really make you believe. Seeing them live is like watching their songs evolve from metamorphosis and while their sound is both experimental, raw, and carefully constructed, the band are clearly having a good time getting wacky with it. During the band's recent tour with Options, the trio (with Nnamdi Ogbonnaya filling in on bass for Kira McDonald) recorded "Fanged," "Ughed," and "New Alright" for Pallet Sessions, three songs that show the large scope of Fond Han's freaked out art-punk. Probably the easiest entry point into Fond Han's music, "New Alright," slowly unfolds, opening with fuzzy guitars and Tom Baumann's gorgeous vocal melody before the eventual jittery collapse. There's no one else quiet like Fond Han, one of the brightest young bands I've ever known. - Dan Goldin
5. BIG HEET | "Yellow Badge Demos" EP
Following the untimely demise of Tallahassee's Ex-Breathers, David Settle (guitar/vocals), one third of the beloved post-hardcore band, formed Big Heet, a new project that carries on the EXBX spirit while staking it's own sound. Last May saw the release of their first demo, a strong collection of songs that we called "raw and heavy punk with ambitious post-punk tendencies". Those same post-punk tendencies are now at the forefront on the band's latest, Yellow Badge Demos. "Suitandtie Skin" and "Yellow Badge" are both venomous tracks that thrash out against our administration, greed, and hatred, with the later a reflection on the parallels between today's rising antisemitism, Islamophobia, and xenophobia and the yellow badge's of the Holocaust. The EP is rounded out with a cover of The Nerves' "Paper Dolls". It's brash and frenzied, surging with energy and howling force. Look out for Big Heet's full length debut later this year (and keep an eye out for new music from Ex-Breathers' Jack Vermillion too). - Dan Goldin
6. ANXIETY | "Wild Life" EP
The beauty of Anxiety’s music is that the recordings feel like a means to an end. The songs are there, and the band is clearly talented, but it seems to have an innate understanding that what sucks the life out of hardcore is overthinking it (and overproduction). On Wild Life the band turns in four tracks that bludgeon eardrums, subverting the thick, distorted guitar sound found on most hardcore records for the kind of cold, jagged jangle found on post-punk records. In essence, it returns to the early days of barely-produced 7-inches and demos, capturing a band in a borderline feral state and merely documenting it instead of trying to gussy it up. - David Anthony
7. CENDE | "What I Want"
Joined by Greta Kline of Frankie Cosmos, the second single from Cende’s debut LP furthers the gulf between the band’s current sound and that found on its debut EP. Make no mistake, that shift toward melodic, sunbaked fuzz isn’t a bad thing. In fact, the way the band diversifies its approach is what makes Cende so engaging. “What I Want” deals almost exclusively in understated moments, never jumping out and grabbing you but letting a million tiny things suck you in. Whether it’s Kline’s vocal line, the strings layered in the background, the bounce of a well-placed drum machine, or the fact it still has the propulsive nature of its mile-a-minute debut, there’s plenty here to grab you. And, if anything, it shows that Cende is capable of slowing down without losing any steam. - David Anthony
8. SPENCER RADCLIFFE & EVERYONE ELSE | "Smoker's Paradise"
Now with a backing band called Everyone Else, Spencer Radcliffe’s new record expands upon the sounds found on 2015’s Looking In. “Smoker’s Paradise” is at once grandiose and ragged, lush with instrumentation but having these instruments always feel like they are shoving their way into the conversation. It’s in these moments that show Radcliffe’s songwriting is finely detailed, allowing a song like “Smoker’s Paradise” to feel like it’s being run off the rails only to have it snap back into place just as quickly. It’s evocative stuff, at times feeling like what Neil Young could be achieving today if he wasn’t so preoccupied with yelling at Monsanto. - David Anthony
9. USA NAILS | "Interchangeable Sister"
London post-hardcore quartet USA Nails released their last album No Pleasure in the closing moments of 2015, and they've been busy ever since with shows, singles, and recording the upcoming Shame Spiral. Set for release in June, the first two singles, "University Home" and "Interchangeable Sister" pick up where the previous album left off, with brute force and brilliantly bent guitars capable of peeling the paint from the wall. "Interchangeable Sister" is barely a minute long but the song packs a serious punch with a bass line as thick as bricks, a stampede of syncopated drums, and Steven Hodson's near spoken vocals (think a slightly less aggravated Falco). The song is dense and tangled as the guitars ride the distortion into the red over a whip smart rhythm, snaking in out of chaotic noise and pummeling grooves. - Dan Goldin
10. WAXAHATCHEE | "Silver"
The beauty of a Waxahatchee song is how Katie Crutchfield wrecks you with her bittersweet songs but keeps you coming back for more. As expected, “Silver” is no exception. Even as the track establishes itself as a slick alt-rock number, it only adds to the power Crutchfield wields. Few singers are capable of turning a line like “You can walk all over me” into something that feels like something you want to scream at the top of your lungs, but she does it here and goddamn if it doesn’t feel good. - David Anthony
11. TRICOT | "Melon Soda"
God bless Topshelf Records. For years now the label has been doing its part to bring some of the best Japanese art-rock bands to the states. Much like Toe and Mouse On The Keys before them, Tricot has been releasing incredible records that have yet to get their due appreciation stateside. A single listen to “Melon Soda” shows Tricot’s ability to take math-rock musicianship, position it as ‘80s pop, and have it congeal in a way few bands could. When everything drops out and the song comes rushing back in the last minute, Tricot once again proves they are one of the most underrated bands in the world. But here’s hoping 3 changes that. - David Anthony
FOND HAN "Ughed" (Pallet Session) | BLESSED "II" EP | TY SEGALL "Live on KEXP" | USA NAILS "University Home" | PROTOMARTYR "Pontiac 87" (Live at Pickathon) | AIR-SEA DOLPHIN "Exploding" | HONEY RADAR "Spillman was a Motorhead" | PRIESTS "Early Recordings" LP | BUILDINGS "Mouth Gift" | OBNOX "Hardcore Matinee" | DOUG TUTTLE "Only In A Dream" | RIPS "Malibu Entropy" | ZULA "Scared New York Boy" | J. ZUNZ "Circle of Time" | OTOBOKE BEAVER "Love Is Short" | WHITE PISCES "Free Time" | CROWN LARKS "Population" LP | BIG BOI "Kill Jill" (feat. Killer Mike & Jeezy) | KENDRICK LAMAR "DNA" | PAT KEEN "Indigo" | WALL "Charmed Life" (Half Japanese cover) | BIG FRENCH "I Wanna New Rome" | DASHER "We Know So" | GREAT DECEIVERS "Basic Facts" | THANKS FOR COMING "Ball Out Forever" LP | THE PEACERS "Haptic Chillweed" | RUBBER MATE "Cha Boi" | MARK LANEGAN BAND "Beehive" | VARIOUS ARTISTS "GRLMIC: Vol. 1" | CUZ LIGHTYEAR "Pots N Pans" (feat. Killer Mike) | L.A. WITCH "Ain't Comin' Home" | OUTSIDE "Outside" LP | CRAG MASK "Blue Snoot" | PLEISTOCENE "Your New Life" | DION LUNADON "Howl" | MEAT WAVE "Bad Man" | DUMP HIM "What's Yr Deal With Kim?" | NAS "Systematic" | SLEEPY SUN "Crave" | EATERS "No Secret" | SOFT FANGS "Split" EP | PSYCHIC TEENS "Hex" EP | ERIC SLICK "Palisades" LP | PORTUGAL. THE MAN "Live on KEXP" | DAVE CATCHING "Bought and Sold" | AFGHAN WHIGS "Arabian Heights" | LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT "Los Angeles Police Department" LP