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.
JUNE 26 - JULY 02
1. TALL FRIEND | "Small Space"
In another era, Tall Friend would have easily found a home on K Records. That’s not to say that Tall Friend’s sound is a relic—as indie-pop can never truly go out of style—but the trio has a way of making its songs feel casual, like they were just a natural outgrowth of three friends hanging out. “Small Space” is a perfect example of what the band does so well, falling in line with the kind of twee-leaning punk that offers an instant sugar rush. Tall Friend’s debut album is packed full of songs that mimic this. But if you’re not already on board, “Small Space” is a great place to start. - David Anthony
2. MILKED | "Death On Mars" LP
With every repeated listen of Milked's Death On Mars, I love this record more, and we've reached seemingly impossible heights where I'd go so far as to call this album a masterpiece. I didn't always feel this way though, a testament to the importance on familiarity with the album. Kelly Johnson (formerly of Geronimo!) has crafted a record packed to the brim with pop-hits soaked in fuzz and soaring distortion. The song structures are radio friendly with enormous hooks and even bigger riffs, the type of guitar and vocal melodies you'll be singing in your head for weeks on end. It's a complete record that deserves to be listened to in full (and on repeat). Also we'd like to "give the drummer some" because Matt Schwerin (also formerly of Geronimo!) absolutes pummels the rhythms throughout. This record is destined to be discovered one of these days... let's make that today. - Dan Goldin
3. WIDOWSPEAK | "Dog"
The always beautiful, always haunting, and perpetually wonderful Widowspeak are back with a new record called, Expect The Best, so naturally we're our expectations are high. The first single "Dog" is everything we know and love from the duo, blending together atmospheric haze, twangy acoustics, and most importantly Molly Hamilton's undeniably beautiful voice. Adding in texture as the song unfolds, it's quintessential Widowspeak, drifting in all the right directions with layered nuance and gorgeous affect. - DG
4. SHE KEEPS BEES | "Our Bodies"
The second half of a split inspired by the disgust brought on by our current presidential administration, "Our Bodies" is She Keeps Bees' battle cry in favor of health care for all, and it captures the band at their best. The duo's skeletal recordings rely on the strength of Jessica Larrabee's songwriting and her consistently powerful voice, both of which are radiant as the song winds through moments of delicate thought and fiery soulful spirit. - DG
5. SKYDADDY | "Three Little Stinkers" EP
Skydaddy, the trio of Alec Cakebread (EIS), Zaddy Benham, and Alex Molini (Jackal Onasis, Stove), have released their second EP in about half a year, a blistering batch of fuzz punk songs that draw upon Ovlov’s thick melodies and dense distortion, while creating their own dynamic structures. Each of Three Little Stinkers’ songs work with a different design, reshaping their blown-out pop songs into some seriously awesome melodies and crushing hooks. There’s enough ear candy in these three songs to keep you listening on repeat, shredding every bit of the way. Sure I work together with Cakebread on EIS, but I barely like Molini and I still genuinely love these songs. - DG
JULY 03 - JULY 09
1. BORIS | "Dear" LP
The narrative surrounding Dear is that it shouldn’t exist. After a tour that saw the now legendary Japanese band playing the entirety of Pink in full, it seemed as if Boris was ready to hang it up. It’s easy to understand that impulse, as Boris has covered an impressive amount of ground over the past 20 years. But that tour revitalized the band, and Dear proves it. While it’s overly-simplistic to describe any Boris record as operating in a single mode, Dear leans on the band’s doom and drone compositions, building tracks that are massive in both ambition and scope. A track like “The Power” perfectly encapsulates what Boris is so good at, as guitars tear forward like chainsaws, leaving piercing walls of feedback in their wake. Dear shares a title with the band’s debut, and for good reason. While this isn’t a new sound for Boris per se, it does feel like a rebirth. Or at least a renewed commitment to a band that the world is better off for having. - DA
2. SPEEDY ORTIZ | "Screen Gem"
This new-old Speedy Ortiz song was released as guitarist Devin McKnight (Grass Is Green, Maneka) announced his departure from the band. And, for as bittersweet as that is, “Screen Gem” is a hell of a note to end on. Even though the song is two years old, it feels like a testament to the chemistry between the band’s members. McKnight and guitarist-vocalist Sadie Dupuis were perfect foils for one another, able to gleefully ping-pong riffs back and forth without ever losing sight of the song’s main hook. All proceeds from the song go to #CLOSERikers, in case you needed any additional reason to check it out. - DA
3. TUNDRASTOMPER | "O"
O is undoubtedly progressive, reconstructing elements of jazz fusion, psych, bubbling dream-pop, beachy math rock, and slacker punk into something that's both dizzying, explosive and still reserved in temperament. There are enough peaks and valleys to make anyone a bit queasy, but Skyler Lloyd's (vocals/guitar) melodies create a consistent calm, a balance to the sonic splendor crashing all around them, leveling the madness. Tundrastomper's songs unfold and unravel, built around Andrew Jones (bass) and Max Goldstein's (drums) jaw dropping rhythms, a constant spark of energy without limits, bursting with radiant colors and unpredictable dexterity. - DG
4. JAPANESE BREAKFAST | "Road Head"
For the second Japanese Breakfast record, Michelle Zauner crafter a work that isn’t just an extension of Psychopomp, it’s a massive, intergalactic leap forward. “Road Head” retains the vestiges of the Psychopomp, with a fluttering guitar line backing Zauner’s soaring vocal melodies and arresting lyrics. But it’s everything surrounding it that makes “Road Head” shine, with all the bells and whistles of an arena-sized pop song. It’s danceable and emotive, feeling slightly alien but distinctly human. - DA
5. NASSAU | "Risin' Sun"
Brooklyn’s Nassau take a different approach to DIY than many of their peers, opting to create serene folk music that counteracts the bustling city around them rather than embrace it. Their songs are clam and gentle, offering a quiet respite to the chaos around us and new single “Risin’ Sun” picks up where last year’s fantastic Hoss EP left off. There’s an experimental sense to their Americana drifts, fusing together elements of psych, lo-fi country, and beautifully balladry and “Risin’ Sun” ups the ante with brilliantly placed reverb, a haunting refrain, and some front porch twang, all balanced and constructed with a natural ease. - DG
JULY 10 - JULY 16
1. MELKBELLY | "Kid Kreative"
Chicago’s Melkbelly are getting ready to release their full-length debut Nothing Valley this October and spoiler alert, it’s one of the best albums of the year… hands down. No one balances the disarmingly heavy and the sticky sweet quite like they do, blending crushing rhythms with larger than life hooks, Miranda Winter’s vocal melodies weaving in and out of the band’s blistering feedback and colossal shifts. They’re one of the best live bands I’ve seen in a long time and their recorded output is every bit as amazing. Combining the spirit of Speedy Ortiz with the ferocity of Lightning Bolt, Melkbelly create destructive pop at its very best. Consider them your new favorite band. - DG
2. PROTOMARTYR | "A Private Understanding"
Since their earliest days, Protomartyr have been an unstoppable band, pushing the border between post-punk and garage rock with their Detroit sensibilities and sparse songs. They’ve changed a lot since I was first blown away by No Passion, All Technique but they’ve remained consistently engaging, Joe Casey proving time and time again to be rock’s best detached lyricist and poet for the bleakest of times. “A Private Understanding,” the first single from the band’s upcoming Relatives in Descent LP is a perfect brooding example of his dark urban poetry, tension mounting in the shadows as the band skirt between demolishing intensity and slurred restraint. - DG
3. SHILPA RAY | "EMT Police and The Fire Department"
Holy hell! Shilpa Ray is back and absolutely bursting on “EMT, Police, The Fire Department,” the first new single from her new album Door Girl, a concept album about Ray’s long-running tenure working the door at NYC venue Pianos, a special circle of hell to many or a hot nightlife spot depending on who you ask. The song opens with a simple spoken narrative, a depraved night in the Lower East Side, where things got a bit out of hand… but as the song unfolds Ray explodes like we’ve never known, diving into a hardcore influenced bark, shouting out harsh melodies that would make Pissed Jeans and The Birthday Party proud. As she shouts “they’re charging 8 bucks to go to hell, straight up the stairs” all I can think is “Shilpa Ray, we love you.” - DG
4. SPACE MOUNTAIN | "White Light"
"White Light" is the first single from Space Mountain's new album Supermundane, a poetic and subtly twangy ballad that bubbles beneath Cole Kinsler's low croon, pairing acoustic guitars together with fuzzy distortion. As we ponder the depths of our galaxy and the truths of the natural world, Space Mountain builds upon a front-porch charm, embracing DIY's folkier roots with layered synths and a driving melody that squirms through the heart of Kinsler's sun-soaked bummer pop. There's a delicate balance to the gloom and his thoughtful expanse, a lush calm and warm aura. - DG
5. CLUB NIGHT | "Rally"
“Rally,” the first song from Club Night’s upcoming tape Hell Ya, doesn’t repeat much of anything. Lyrics flow out like a stream of consciousness manifesto, and aside from a set of rolling toms, it rarely loops back to any part after it’s initially introduced. But there is one line that pops up multiple times” “You were young once.” That refrain is the backbone of Club Night. The Oakland band has a youthful exuberance that pervades “Rally” and is utterly intoxicating. It’s a track that makes you want to dance with your best friends in some dingy basement, dripping sweat and singing along even if you don’t know the words. “Rally” is a hot mess of emotion and ambition, and what is that if not a perfect analogy for what it’s like to be young? - DA
JULY 17 - JULY 23
1. WASHER | "Your Guess Is As Bad As Mine"
One of the most undervalued aspects of a punk band is how effortlessly they can slow down and chill out. On “Your Guess Is As Bad As Mine,” Washer does exactly that, establishing a simple rolling groove and sticking with it for its duration. The song never explodes, and it never feels particularly agitated. Instead, it has a dusty southern feel, like if Tom Petty was putting out lo-fi demos of his early works—the repeat of “I won’t back down” at the top of each chorus driving that point home. If this is what Washer has in store for us with its new album, we’re in for a treat. - DA
2. FLAGLAND | "Two Brothers and a Ghost" LP
The time has finally arrived. Flagland’s long awaited prog punk masterpiece Two Brothers and a Ghost was released this week via the tragically defunct band’s own Bandcamp, a conceptual album that truly must be heard in full. Enormous in scope and unbelievable in visionary calamity, the album snakes around in every direction, jerking hard in opposite directions, blending warbly indie punk with grandiose prog and making it seem natural in a way that only Flagland could, freaked out and unsettled every step of the way. Album opener “The River” sets the tone early, pairing unpredictable shifts, propulsive rhythms, and virtuosic madness as Kerry Kallberg’s cautionary tale unfolds in the wake of the multi-movement storm. Hearing is believing and this one needs to be downloaded to be heard (it’s not streaming in full), so get those wallets out, you’ll be glad you did. Long live Flagland. - DG
3. NINE INCH NAILS | "Add Violence" EP
Nine Inch Nails... you've probably heard of them. They hardly need our help spreading the word about Add Violence, their latest EP but I'll be damned if it's not some of the best music they've released since The Fragile (which says a lot as I'm a big fan of Year Zero). While opener "Less Than" and it's 80s synth punk sound recall the up-beat programming of With Teeth's massive radio hits, Add Violence is all somber and grim from there. If Not The Actual Events borrowed pieces from each era of NIN's uncompromising career, Add Violence remembers the times Trent Reznor was truly at the bottom of his spiral, at least sonically speaking. Songs like "The Lovers" and "Not Anymore" recall the glitchy depths of Year Zero, putting emphasis on "the depths" without the aggression, peeling layers of black and greys amid grinding guitar noise that sets tone rather than mood. "This Isn't The Place" is the record's unequivocal highlight, a slow burning song that rises from the haunted ashes of "Something I Can Never Have," sprawling with a similar claustrophobic piano line and frail vocals that will have your hairs standing up as Reznor softly laments "I thought we had more time". - DG
4. HELVETIA | "Sun Chasers"
One of the greatest and most perpetually overlooked bands of our generation, Portland's Helvetia released a new single "Sun Chasers," the title track to their new beach towel accompanying EP. Forever led by the brilliant Jason Albertini (Duster/Built To Spill), his understanding of guitar tones, melody, and divergent structures are among the best there is. "Sun Chasers" is loose ramshackle pop, pulling infectious melodies from layers of passing sound: splashes of distorted guitar noise, handclaps to deride the rhythm, squiggly fuzz, and mellow psych that shines in the dimmest of lights. Helvetia punctuate their faded colors with warped production and mesmerizing pop values, reconfigured in the thick summer heat for the fever dream of a lifetime. - DG
5. PARDONER | "Uncontrollable Salvation"
There’s a desperation that pervades Pardoner’s “Uncontrollable Salvation.” Not only does the band sound manic, starting out with a propulsive stomp and only getting wilder from there. It’s mimicked in the lyrics, as boredom turns to frustration and, next thing you know, you’re texting everyone in your phone to see if they want to do something—anything. It’s a nervy blast of post-punk that will resonate with every worker bee watching the clock and aching for some excitement. “Uncontrollable Salvation” is the musical equivalent of a smoke break, a few minutes of precious freedom in the midst of unending drudgery. - DA
MAL DEVISA "You Are My Sunshine" | BORIS "Memento Mori" | DALE CROVER "Hillbilly Math" | WAND "Plum" | WEEPING ICON "Warts" | SABA LOU "Waiting For The Bus" | CLASP "Clasp" LP | FAUX FEROCIOUS "Me and Jonny" | LIARS "Cred Woes" | SWEET WILLIAMS "Stay My Hand From The Machines (Home Recordings)" LP | ALL BOY/ALL GIRL "Troubleshooting" EP | FLESH WORLD "Destination Moon" | AMY O "History Walking" | BIG HUSH "Soft Eyes" | DEERHOOF "I Will Spite Survive (feat. Jenn Wasner)" | PILL "Aggressive Advertising" EP | COUCH SLUT "Company Picnic With Dust Off" | THE LOVEBIRDS "Filled With Hate" | A GIANT DOG "Bendover" | BUCK GOOTER "I Don't Talk To The Dead" | RATBOYS "GN" LP | KENDRICK LAMAR "Element" | SPACE CAMP "Bazooka The Venue" | SUPER THIEF "Liberosis" | DARK TONES "A Bed I Don't Want To Lie In" | FRUIT & FLOWERS "Drug Tax" | L.A. WITCH "Kill My Baby Tonight" | GREAT GRANDPA "Plastic Cough" LP | CULTURE ABUSE "So Busted" | HALF WAIF "Cary" | SOUL LOW "Chancin' It" | HORSE GIRL "Stagnant" | TEENANGER "Just Drop It"
APOLLO BROWN & PLANET ASIA "Dalai Lama Slang" | OMNI "Equestrian" | FLOWERS OF EVIL "City of Fear" LP | SPODEE BOY "Red State" EP | CAN "Vitamin C" | SPENCER RADCLIFFE & EVERYONE ELSE "Trust" | FAUX FEROCIOUS "Solvency" | RUN THE JEWELS "Don't Get Captured" | PLAX "Boring Story" | REESE MCHENRY & SPIDER BAGS "Painter Man's Blues" | EN ROUTE "I Am The Problem" | SHEER MAG "Need To Feel Your Love" LP | JOEY BADA$$ "500 Benz" | CAMORRA "Love & Economics" | SPOTLIGHTS "Learn To Breathe" | CULTS "Offering" | THUNDERBIRDS ARE NOW! "Outsiders" | COCA LEAF "Glaze"
MILKED "Goodbye Durango" | NINE INCH NAILS "Less Than" | OH SEES "Animated Violence" | LAETITIA SADIER SOURCE ENSEMBLE "Sacred Project" | A. SAVAGE "Winter In The South" | ALVVAYS "In Undertow" | DAVID NANCE "Silver Wings (Merle Haggard cover)" | SHE KEEPS BEES "Greasy Grass" | THANKS FOR COMING "Nothing Always Walks Away" EP | THANKS FOR COMING "Don't x2" EP | BEN GRIGG "The Ocean" | LOMELDA "Interstate Vision" | METZ "Cellophane" | WEEPING ICON "Eyeball Under" EP | OXBOW "Host" | REESE MCHENRY & SPIDER BAGS "Mexico City" | SPACE MOUNTAIN "White Light" | DOWNTOWN BOYS "Lips That Bite" | TUNIC "Boss" EP | HONEYRUDE "Flowers" | SOFT FANGS "Elephant Girl" | NAOMI PUNK "Cookie" + "Cardboard" | IMPALERS "Cellar Dweller" LP | WENDY EISENBERG "Postal Man" | LESS ART "Diana The Huntress" | ELF POWER "All Things Combined" | CENDE "Audiotree Live" | POUTY "Saint Mary of the Moods" | KING GIZZARD & THE LIZARD WIZARD "Invisible Face" | LILY KONIGSBERG & ANDREA SCHIAVELLI "Good Time / New Age Old Home" | THE LOVEBIRDS "Ready To Suffer" | HORSE GIRL "Been Better" EP | JOSEPH CHILDRESS "Virginia Bound" | GREED ISLAND "Can" | NO FRIENDS "Street Magic" | TALKING DOG "Resolution Loops" | TRUMANS WATER "Rations (Live in Oslo)" | DR. DRE "Gunfiyah" | NOAH GL "Palmtrees" (feat. Mal Devisa) | THUNDERBIRDS ARE NOW! "Outsiders" | JERKAGRAM "Room For Dessert" EP | MAIN "Dark"
THE PEACERS "Windy Car" | SHARKMUFFIN "Where's My Mimosa" | THE BRONX "Sore Throat" | TOADIES "Broke Down Stupid" | LINA TULLGREN "Asktell" | THANKS FOR COMING "Untitled I" | THELMA "Spool" | THE COWBOYS "I Hope She's Ok" | PALM "Shadow Expert" | OLD IRON "Gravewax" | GUERILLA TOSS "Skull Pop" | ALEXANDER F "Swimmers" | TUNDRASTOMPER "Myth of Slop" | WATER FROM YOUR EYES "Cold Stare" | MIAMI DOLPHINS "It Goes On" | GRACE SINGS SLUDGE "Everlasting Arms" | DEERHOOF “Your Dystopic Creation Doesn’t Fear You” (Feat. Awkwafina) | DALE CROVER "Bad Move" | DOG "Trash Temple" LP | JOCK GANG "Alma" | KILL ALTERS "Shrill Birdy" | AMY O "Spill" | BEN GRIGG "Kings Of City Progress" | FLORIST "What I Wanted To Hold" | BIG HUSH "Cough" | LEGGY "Audiotree Live" | BELIEFS "1994" | AMANDA X "Exquisite" | SUSPIRIANS "Nocturne" | BUCK GOOTER "100 Bells" LP | THE BLACK ANGELS "I'd Kill For Her" | ALEXALONE "Planet Dust" | CADET KELLY "Hot Model Lehigh" | RATBOYS "Audiotree Live" | PAPERHAUS "Go Cozy" | BANNY GROVE "Cars In Control" | DEAD STARS "Pink Clouds" | GREAT GRANDPA "No" | BADFELLOWS "Something Natural" | MORUS ALBA "Human Resources" | MAIN "Only You"