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Fuzzy Meadows: The Week's Best New Music (May 8th - May 21st)

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. TWO INCH ASTRONAUT | "Can You Please Not Help"

There are given facts in life that can't be denied. What goes up must come down, people get older, and Two Inch Astronaut will never disappoint. “Can You Please Not Help,” the title track from their upcoming album is quintessential Two Inch Astronaut at their finest, a song with sharp hooks and elastic polyrhythms, an impenetrable swirl of bent pop and explosive punk. Built around themes of "kindly expressed displeasure," Two Inch Astronaut embrace their Shudder To Think influences, digging into post-hardcore rhythmic contusions and sharp jagged riffs while retaining a pop sensibility at every turn. Can You Please Not Help is truly one of the year's best albums, and the singles are only the beginning (as two of the album's finest moments have yet to be revealed).

2. MELVINS | "Christ Hammer"

Part of the joy that comes with being a Melvins fan is the idea that you never know what might come next. Following the announcement of A Walk With Love & Death, the band's first double album (including a complete film score) and guest appearances from members of the Pixies and That Dog, it would seem this album could be a more gentle Melvins affair, and given current bassist Steven McDonald's (Red Kross, OFF!) continued involvement and glam punk influences, the first single "Christ Hammer" follows suit in the name of "rock 'n' roll." It's an enormous song that brings the Melvins charm to a classic but still menacing boogie. Buzz Osborne howls his signature deep bellow over a slinky rhythm, commanding the band's circus of sludge and demented blues. I like it more with every listen... and I've had quite a few. Only time will tell what the rest of the record offers.

3. PALEHOUND | "If You Met Her"

Just when I thought "Room" would be the shinning moment of Palehound's upcoming sophomore album, along comes "If You Met Her," one of Ellen Kempner's most gorgeous songs to date. The song is full of heartfelt mourning and reflection, a gentle look back at relationships and past lives. Kempner's guitars sound absolutely gorgeous, layered between a slow winding riff and arpeggiated chords, complimented by doubled vocal harmonies and warm production. The accompanying video was created entirely by the teens of the Real to Reel Filmschool, Raw Art Works, and they did an exceptional job to match the song's emotional dissonance. 

4. BLESSED | "Endure"

Sounding a bit like Vancouver's bold answer to The Fall, Blessed pushed the scope of art rock and post-punk into their own carefully calculated contortions on their latest EP, II. "Endure, " the record's conclusion, is tangled and elastic, shifting tempos without a care in the world only to snap back moments later. The video captures someone who finds happiness at home in a big blown up latex mask (he kinda looks like a mylar balloon)... doing his thing and trying to adapt into everyday life, making the necessary adjustments to fit in. Ultimately, like Blessed's music, he's happier getting weird, and if everyone isn't on board, it's their loss. Catch them on their extensive US tour (coming to Brooklyn on June 15th at The Gutter). I've said it before and I'll say it again, Blessed are undeniably one of the best up-and-coming bands Canada has to offer.

5. GIRLPOOL | "Powerplant"

Girlpool's new record has me pretty stunned. While I considered myself a casual fan of their debut EP, the addition of drums and a deeper dive into somber songwriting on their sophomore album Powerplant is near perfect. There's still a minimal sensibility, yet everything sounds full, capturing the band's signature harmonies without making them work so hard to be the constant focus. Songs like "Soup" and "Corner Store" are among the best I've heard this year and the album's title track is another of the record's many stand-outs. The bowling alley video is equally great. The alley doesn't look to have changed since the 70's and neither does much of the clientele. As an adorable couple waves to the camera the production of the video takes a change into meta art and the tension dissipates as everyone decides to have some fun with it, despite the snippy directors wishes.

6. NOPES | "Steady"

Barely over a minute in length, "Steady" packs in the filth, exploding from the very first second until it's last, peeling back the manic shouts and blistering riffs periodically to highlight the band's low end groove and the kinetic chemistry between Kevin Sweeney (bass) and Gabe Simmons (drums). A song about the steady regression of culture and society (kicked up a notch since the past election), Nopes tear into their wild noise soaked punk by toeing the line between decisive control and reckless endangerment. Eagret Hansen's brilliant guitar leads thrash with a deceptively twangy fury like the hopped up mutant child of Greg Sage and Duane Denison, blistering over dense rhythms and deafening destruction. It's the song these times deserve, an ugly dose of primal catharsis.

7. DAVID NANCE | "Negative Boogie"

The "Negative Boogie" is a blistering good time and the guitars will not be held down. Scraping like rusty chainsaws, David Nance gets loud and weird as his hypnotic charge builds and builds throughout, only to explode in the hook as he commands "do the negative boogie, do it, do it." We better listen, he means business. The drums pound like a pulse, never shifting, never flinching, just one propulsive beat to let Nance and company's freak flag fly proud. This is garage punk without the sheen; just raw, simple, scuzzy rock 'n' roll.

8. GUERILLA TOSS | "The String Game"

Surprise! Guerilla Toss are back with GT ULTRA, a brand new record that seems to come from the joys or lysergic acid, or so the album's artwork would have you believe. Trickling their way closer to their own manipulated disco sound, first single "The String Game" continues down the path started on Eraser Stargazer by staring directly into the pop void but remaining just strange enough to avoid any real contact. Guerilla Toss are a long way from their spastic experimental noise punk roots, but they haven't lost their knack for creating interesting music amid dynamic rhythms and thick unfiltered grooves. The band sound free in spirit and free of restrictions, moving in whatever freaky direction they please, proving their unpredictable sound offers just as much pop nuance as it does heady (and muscular) absurdist convulsions.

9. GLAND | "The Velvet Glove of Self Love"

New Orleans' favorite new punk band Gland released their full length debut, Neurotica, last year and the quartet are back with the Is A Conspiracy EP (due out June 2nd via Community Records) and if lead single "The Velvet Glove of Self Love" is anything to go by (and it should be), then we're all in for a treat. The band's raw post-punk and fuzzy rusted distortion swirl together to create something minimal and infectiously abrasive. The band have built a reputation for their brash songwriting and their "self love" anthem doesn't shy away. It's an important message and one that Gland are happy to drag through blistering riffs and a slow pounding rhythm. It's been said that you can't love someone else until you love yourself... so why not start somewhere.

10. WET HAIR | "Dear Danae"

After a five year absence, Wet Hair are set to release their new album The Floating World this summer via Wharf Cat Records. The first single "Dear Danae" is packed with retro futurism psych, bursting with synths, warped vocals, and a stunning groove. Sounding like the band have been simmering out in the hot sun since their last effort, their signature fuzzy synths lend perfectly to the band's expanding interest in disorienting psych. Moving away from the immediate post-punk influences of Spill Into Atmosphere, the band are embracing a new vision led by a colorful density and some really exceptional drum fills, Wet Hair have returned to the outer realms of synth punk to create a new voyage directly into the sun.


FURTHER LISTENING:

BORIS "Absolutego" | DEATH STUFF "Nymphs" | MILK "Lord, Don't Take Me To Prison" | TOBIN SPROUT "A Walk Across The Human Bridge" | ELF POWER "Halloween Out Walking" | SPENCER RADCLIFFE & EVERYONE ELSE "Enjoy The Great Outdoors" LP | PAT KEEN "Wannabes" | RATBOYS "Elvis In The Freezer" | JASON LOEWENSTEIN "Machinery" | DUST FROM 1000 YRS "Cowardly Heart" | SO STRESSED "Holy Spirit Is Evidently At Work" | CHASTITY BELT "5am" | THURSTON MOORE "Aphrodite" | CENDE "Don't Want To" | SHEER MAG "Just Can't Get Enough" | ZULA "Try It" (Blue Room Session) | BIG THIEF "Shark Smile" | AYE NAKO "Audiotree Live" EP | GREAT DECEIVERS "Some" EP | THE STICKS "Why Bother" LP | THE BUILDERS & THE BUTCHERS "No Grave" | KEW "Typical Me" EP | CRAG MASK "Sleep Eater" | FISHPLATE "Make Out Scene" | MOGWAI "Coolverine" | EATERS "Eaters" LP | GOLD DIME "Shut Up" | PINK FROST "Bare Roots" | SLOWDIVE "30th June"

DREAM MACHINE "The Illusion" LP | USA NAILS "Sell Sell Sell" EP | GRACIE "Heat of Sunday Morning" EP | PALM "Shadow Expert" | COURTNEY BARNETT "How To Boil An Egg" | PUFF PIECES "Born 2 Die" | BLONDE REDHEAD "3 O'Clock" | TERRY "Take Me To The City" | RACHEL FANNAN "Don't Worry Baby" (Beach Boys cover) | CENDE "#1 Hit Single" LP | FRUITS & FLOWERS "Out of Touch" | BEN GRIGG "Double Dude" | PALLAS "Pallas" LP | RIPS "Delay" | DANGER MOUSE "Chase Me" (feat. Run The Jewels & Big Boi) | ART SCHOOL JOCKS "Nina" | THICK "Anymore" | FAT SPIRIT "Dagger" | SUPER THIEF "I Don't Know About You or Your Band" | SWEET BABY JESUS "Lyres of Ur" LP | TIM DARCY "Tiny Desk Concert" | RED FANG "Cut It Short" | WOLF DIAMOND "Halloween" | NO JOY "Hellhole" | JOEY AGRESTA "Don't Be Sad" | THE BUILDERS & THE BUTCHERS "The Spark" LP | ERIC SLICK "No" | GREAT GRANDPA "Fade" | GRACE SINGS SLUDGE "In Spite of Doom" | BLOODCLOT "Kali" | PROFESSOR CAVEMAN "Vol. 3" EP | MARDOU "The Enemy" | DUMP HIM "Venus In Gemini" LP | BEACH FOSSILS "Social Jetlag" + "Tangerine" (feat. Rachel Goswell) | BEN KATZMAN'S DEGREASER "We Bled To Shred" | SLEEPY SUN "Seaquest" | USA/MEXICO "Possum Trot" | MUTOID MAN "Bandages" (feat. Chelsea Wolfe) | ELDER "Staving Off Truth" | AMBER ARCADES "Wouldn't Even Know" | HUNDREDTH "Suffer" | WREN KITZ "Cheese Whiz Salad" | GHOST FUNK ORCHESTRA "Fluorescent" (feat. Razor Honey & Mike Noordzy) | FRIENDSHIP "Rich Man"