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. MANEKA | "Tiger Baby" (feat. Jordyn Blakely)
With Maneka, Devin McKnight (Grass Is Green, Speedy Ortiz) bucks back against expectations. Having come to be known for his knotty guitarwork, the first thing you hear on “Tiger Baby” is the cold, cacophonous clank of a drum machine. While McKnight still inserts some loping guitar leads, they blend in with the rest of the track, creating a wall of sound that pulsates in slow, deliberate thumps. It shows that Maneka is eschewing tradition in order to create a vivid new form. - David Anthony
2. CONVERGE | "I Can Tell You About Pain" + "Eve"
After five years of relative inactivity—and no new music—the Massachusetts hardcore institution Converge returns with a two-song single that makes the wait for their forthcoming album a little bit easier. What makes Converge special is that they never repeat themselves, always finding a certain space they’ve never explored and using that as the basis of their new material. And while you can certainly say that about both “I Can Tell You About Pain” and “Eve,” they feel familiar in a way that harkens back to the Axe To Fall era. “I Can Tell You About Pain” is an absolute scorcher, never downshifting, while vocalist Jacob Bannon repeats that titular phrase like a wounded animal. On the flip side is “Eve,” a track that embraces Converge’s ability to go long, turning in a nearly eight-minute piece that recalls the very best of their assorted side projects. Bassist Nate Newton’s thunderous bellow is utilized perfectly, serving as another melodic layer against which Bannon can spit his bile. It’s proof that, nearly 30 years into their career, Converge are still untouchable. - DA
3. TERA MELOS | "Don't Say I Know"
It's been four years since X'ed Out, but Tera Melos are back and up to their usual spastic brilliance with more than a few new tricks to boot. Trash Generator's lead single "Don't Say I Know" is a tangled web of the band's signature blend of mind-bending post-hardcore and elastic psych, diverting expectations with prolonged instrumental wonkiness and a typhoon of aggitated shifts and disjointed chord progressions. Nick Reinhart's ability to put sticky sweet melodies to the chaos is never anything less than amazing, and "Don't Say I Know" is a shinning example. - Dan Goldin
4. COVE SAUCE | "Science Class"
"Science Class," the first single from Cove Sauce's upcoming tape, captures everything that was great about the band's demo and runs with it. The band burst through tangled riffs, sporadic distortion, yawped vocals and dense rhythms, creating something strikingly simple but vividly layered. There's a general reckless kind of vibe that works together with the song's jangly melody while simultaneously working to destroy it. "Science Class" is full of textures colliding together with loose disregard, but their splattered guitar tones and focus remain unfettered, pushing forward as the walls collapse around them. - DG
5. ALVVAYS | "Dreams Tonite"
What makes Alvvays songs work is that every line feels like the best hook you’ve ever heard until, second later, when a new one tops it. Go figure, that’s the case with “Dreams Tonite,” a song that slowly builds throughout, new layers introduced every few measures. Starting simply enough with Molly Rankin’s vocals front and center, the band keeps introducing new elements every few seconds, be it some swirling guitar, backing vocals that produce a gooey countermelody, or even the gently plucked acoustic guitar in the bridge. By the end of the song, it all congeals into one celebratory motion, like a palmful of confetti tossed into the air. It’s further proof that Alvvays is one of the best pop acts going, and it’s only a matter of time before they have arena-sized crowds dancing along with them. - DA
6. CRUEL SUMMER | "Dusted"
"Dusted" is one of the many stand-out moments on Cruel Summer's latest album Ivy, a great introduction to their distorted bliss. Thea Chacamaty's vocals rattle on top of dreamy guitar surges and sharp rhythms, stripped of its edges and melted into a soupy delight. Her lyrics are pointed ("nothing's changed, all your friends are moving on") as she deals with changes to familiar surroundings ("my city is a flower wilted now, and turning into dust"). It's fuzz at its hypnotic pinnacle, both raw and untamed yet focused and inescapably melodic. Ivy is like a masterclass in texture and wavering noise pop, an album that blurs guitar lines together with soft focus and disorienting aplomb. - DG
7. RYAN WONG | "Good Lovin'"
Cool Ghouls' Ryan Wong is a fantastic songwriter capable of making jangly pop at its best together with his band, and now on his own as well. Set to release More Milk, his solo debut, Wong continues to set himself apart from his Bay Area garage scene peers on the merits of his memorable songwriting, creating genuine pop tunes that stick with you beyond a tidal riff and hypnotic rhythm. "Good Lovin'" is a welcome introduction to his solo work, a song that relies on a disorienting melody and quick vocal couplets that pair together power-pop and surfy Americana. Wong's in a way that recalls everything from The Beach Boys to a subtle knack for tangled two note bliss. While I'm still hooked on Gord's Horse, I can't wait for More Milk. - DG
8. CLOAKROOM | "The Sun Won't Let Us Go"
For a band with a propensity for bulldozing everything in their path, Cloakroom is able to quietly ruminate in a way that few of their peers rarely even attempt. There’s always been the softest hint of Americana undercutting the band’s music, and “The Sun Won’t Let Us Go” is a full embrace of that. After all, this is the band on Relapse Records that can cover Songs: Ohia’s “Steve Albini’s Blues” and offer new insight into the classic source material. It shows that Cloakroom is establishing a place in the world of heavy, aggressive music that, like bands like True Widow, can feel delicate and spacious at the exact same time. - DA
HELVETIA "Sun Chasers" | TY SEGALL "Big Man" | CHELSEA WOLFE "Vex" | SPACE MOUNTAIN "Godhead" | BLACK BEACH "Cluttered Head" | LOMELDA "Out There" | APOLLO BROWN & PLANET ASIA "Panties in a Jumble" | MOUNTAIN MOVERS "Angels Don't Worry" | PLAX "Night Watch" | PALEHOUND "Healthier Folk (Slab Sessions)" | WHIMM "Town Hall" | HONEY "Dream Come Now" | SLEEPING BAG "Here I Am" | LADY PILLS "Old Song" | FITS "Crush" | STONE TEMPLE PILOTS "Sex Type Thing (Demo)" | ACTION BRONSON "The Chairman's Intent" | VARIOUS ARTISTS "Love Oakland - A Benefit for Those Affected by the Ghost Ship Fire" LP | SWEET APPLE "World I'm Gonna Leave You" (feat. Mark Lanegan & Robert Pollard) | FRUIT & FLOWERS "Audiotree Live" EP | JACK COOPER "Gynn Square" | CLUB NIGHT "Well" | TINKERBELLES "Cannibal Tokyo Rainbow" | BR'ER "Leaves Traces" | LOW FLYING HAWKS "Smile" (feat. King Buzzo) | SHANNON LAY "The Moons Detriment" | AFGHAN WHIGS "You Want Love" | LUBEC "Cosmic Debt" | FAKE PALMS "Glass Walls" | NO FRIENDS "No Friends" LP | KENDRICK LAMAR "Loyalty" | DARTO "I Am" | TETON "Gay Honey" | PAWNS "The Gallows" LP | VARIOUS ARTISTS "Glassnote Records: Noteworthy 01" LP