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.
AUGUST 7TH TO AUGUST 13TH
1. WASHER | "Dog Go Bark"
Washer’s “Dog Go Bark” ends with an explosion, with the duo pushing the song into a combustive, scream-laden coda. But it’s what happens right before that moment—the calm before the storm, if you will—that makes it feel earned. Over some light, ballad-esque guitar picking, Mike Quigley states his case for not falling in line, “And I walked away before / Sat down at my desk and two years turned to four.” It’s this fear of becoming caged in, locked in a life of joyless routines, that begets this explosion. He walks away, allowing himself to scream, “Get away / I don’t wanna” as if it were a therapeutic release. It’s downright contagious, inviting you to walk out and bask in the sun before it’s too late. - David Anthony
2. FUTURE OF THE LEFT | "Arming Eritrea" (Live)
For those of us living in United States, we don't get a lot of opportunities to see Future of the Left live anymore since the band's highly-productive independent era began, but their new live album, Live at Highbury Garage, is the next best thing. Capturing all the fury, sardonic charm, and piss and vinegar the band has built their reputation on, they blast through a career spanning setlist, including Travels With Myself And Another highlight "Arming Eritrea". The instantly explosive song opens with the corrosive guitar introduction before tearing itself apart at Falco's agitated howl, "C'mon Rick!" The band sounds tight and focused, diving into the blistering rhythmic stampedes, leaving room for Falco to go a bit nuts, the way we can only hope he might. - Dan Goldin
3. TALL FRIEND | "Safely Nobody's" LP
Highly personnel and wrought with emotional tension and twee lightness, Tall Friend's full length debut Safely Nobody's is the sound of exercising demons and coming to grips with the hand that's been dealt. Charlie Pfaff describes it as "a documentation of me packing up and unboxing many, many years of hurt." Pulling at your heart strings in quick yet efficient surges of bedroom pop and well constructed indie rock minimalism, Pfaff's lyrics are a constant focus, but it's the tangled progressions and ominous childlike phrasing that set Tall Friend apart from the pack; embracing the darkness while continuously moving toward the light. - Dan Goldin
4. OLD IRON | "Bog Witch"
If you name your song "Bog Witch," it better be pretty damn menacing. Old Iron get that and they more than live up to their end of the deal on a song that lurches with doom and primal post-metal catastrophe. The Seattle trio drags their way through colossal sludge and apocalyptic grind as bellowing vocals and rusty guitars slowly blanketing their sound in a fine filth. Welcoming the end of days with throat lacerating urgency and a crawling attack, Old Iron shift the tempo into a tornado of toppling drums and Sabbath doom, only to tread back into the molasses thick dissonance, like a good slow kick in the teeth. - Dan Goldin
5. MACULA DOG | "Natural Dog" EP
The bizarre world of Brooklyn duo Macula Dog is expanding yet again, still brilliantly damaged and triumphantly strange. Their latest, Natural Dog EP, is another deconstructed blast of outsider punk and experimental electronic pop, twitching and grooving with layered beats, noise, bloops, bleeps, and rapidly dissolving guitar lines. Sounding like Devo's demented younger cousin, Macula Dog's vision may be twisted but it's just that... visionary. Bouncing between funky synth modulation and clipped disco punk vibes, Macula Dog is undefinable in nature, a band that let's the chaos spill out with cartoonish complexity, squiggling through acid soaked circus melodies every step of the way. - Dan Goldin
AUGUST 14TH TO AUGUST 20TH
1. CONVERGE | "Under Duress"
Where “I Can Tell You About Pain” was distilled ferocity and “Eve” a lumbering, lonesome track, “Under Duress” splits the difference. The chugging guitar work of Kurt Ballou recalls his most pulverizing material on the metal-leaning No Heroes, and bassist Nate Newton’s thunderous shouts of the song’s title certainly match it. But it’s how the song develops, moving from the mid-tempo chugging into an unsettling end, where drummer Ben Koller begins slowly escalating the pace with increasingly offsetting cymbal crashes, that recalls the band’s disquieting moments captured on You Fail Me. “Under Duress” shows Converge mining disparate parts of its past to forge a new path forward. - David Anthony
2. MELKBELLY | "Middle Of"
In an early write-up about Melkbelly, the band was described a cross between The Breeders and Lightning Bolt. And while that statement may be met with skeptical expressions in return, listening to “Middle Of” shows it’s totally apt. Here, drummer James Wetzel turns in his best Brian Chippendale, rarely settling into a standard beat and instead opting to continually shuffle his way around the kit for the bulk of the song. But, as always, it’s Miranda Winters’ ability to insert a flowing vocal melody that gives “Middle Of” the illusion of being one big chorus. Over the past few years, Melkbelly has been developing into one of the most inventive bands working in the indie-rock tradition and “Middle Of” shows it’s only getting better at it. - David Anthony
3. PROTOMARTYR | "My Children"
There are few bands as consistently brilliant as Protomartyr. Since the Detroit quartet's full length debut (and even the EP that proceeded it), the band have been developing their tightly sophisticated post-punk and Joe Casey hard-nosed poetry. Relatives In Descent, the band's fourth album (and first for Domino Records) is another nuanced masterpiece of art and expression, Casey's longwinded lyrical rants placed firmly in their nervy focal point. "My Children" is a perfect example, a song that opens with the near preacher like determination of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, evolving into a twisted tale of childhood indiscretions. Discordant guitars scrape against the clasutrophobic atmosphere and widescreen rhythm, the perfect sonic maelstrom for Casey's howling discontent. - Dan Goldin
4. DUDS | "Elastic Feel"
"Elastic Feel" isn't just a clever title. The first single from Duds' upcoming full-length debut, Of A Nature Or Degree, is jittery and expansive, a welcome sign of the album to come. The Manchester quartet play post-punk in the vein of Wire and The Fire Engines, the type where every noise is intentional, and the whole thing is as biting as a shark attack. "Elastic Feel" is focused and sharpened, diving forward with a melody of sneering punk disregard, galloping rhythms and caterwauling guitars; cutting between saxophone outbursts and dense skronks of distortion that materialize without warning. - Dan Goldin
5. BIG FRENCH | "My Angel"
"My Angel," the record's closer, opens with whirring effects, plucky strings, and a bedroom-softened rhythm, adapting together with an onslaught of spiraling guitars and sporadic bass lines, coming and going without warning. Fizzles of melody burst and fade like fireworks, their shimmering effect leaving it's mark on Quentin Moore's earnest songwriting. Pairing gentle folk that would be radiant on its own with twitchy noise-pop that appears and disappears in the blink of an eye, it's this balance and vivid experimentation that really put Big French in their own league. The video, directed by label/tour mate and kindred spirit Joey Agresta, pairs together triumphantly low quality computer animation with a certain emoji brought to life and seemingly longing for a companion... or a haircut, maybe even penguins... hard to say really, but it works. - Dan Goldin
AUGUST 21ST TO AUGUST 27TH
1. OH SEES | "Orc" LP
Every Oh Sees record is better than the last, an incredible statement to make for a band that has been around for twenty years with nineteen albums in the process, and yet it rings true. After the impeccable combo of last year's A Weird Exits and An Odd Entrances, the band pick up right where they left off on Orc as the current line-up fuse together like Voltron to create the most fully realized album in the band's impenetrable catalog. Orc takes the progressive flourishes and spaced out wisdom of An Odd Entrances and rushes it headfirst into the proto-metal and garage punk heaviness of A Weird Exits, creating a massive mix of the band at both their most crushing and explorative. Everything is in its place, working together to create an album that evolves through intelligent instrumentals, vibrant hypnotic punk, and berserker melodies. Orc could be a genre-defining moment if it wasn't a genre-defying moment, but I'm convinced it's one of the year's best albums. - Dan Goldin
2. MANEKA | "Power" + "Dracula" (feat. Katie Capri)
We've always known Devin McKnight to be an amazing guitarist. It only takes one listen to Grass Is Green to understand what he's capable of, and he's proven it time and time again in each of the bands he's been a part of and played with. Maneka however is his first attempt at fronting a band, writing, recording, singing, and arranging the parts on his own (with studio drumming from Michael Thomas III), and hot damn, it's incredible. Is You Is is an alien post-punk odyssey, built on discordant chord progressions and enormous swirls of shoegaze inspired guitars, McKnight creates something both abrasive and infectious.
His brilliant songwriting goes beyond guitar heroics, it's his dynamic lyrics and melodic structuring that has me utterly floored. "Dracula" and "Power," both featuring guest vocals from Fern Mayo's Katie Capri, is the perfect one-two punch; the former a disorienting wall-of-sound swarm a la the Swirlies, and the latter a dirge-soaked harmonic hook-fest that could just be the best song this summer. "Power" could just be my favorite song of the summer. By the time "Dracula" dips into the metallic bridge and subsequent call and response between McKnight and Capri, Maneka has proved capable of more on their debut than many bands ever live to achieve. - Dan Goldin
3. SPEEDY ORTIZ | "Indoor Soccer" (Live at Shea Stadium)
Recorded in the nascent days of Speedy Ortiz, this live version of “Indoor Soccer” shows how much power the band had right out of the gate. There’s a magic in this performance, as the band offers up one of their best early tracks and you can almost feel the warmth of the crowd’s reaction. This version of “Indoor Soccer” is a confident stride from a band that was continuing to develop at a rapid clip, capturing a crucial moment in the band’s evolution in one of the most beloved DIY spaces in recent memory. - David Anthony
4. ONCE & FUTURE BAND | "Rolando"
Once & Future Band's first ever music video "Rolando" was made by Andy Puls using "magical hardware" that does not include any computer interference, fitting for a band that released the best progressive rock album since the mid 70's. It's been a busy year for the Oakland based quartet since the release of their self-titled album in January, one that found them supporting Tool on a sold-out tour (points for anyone that ever bet on a Castle Face band opening for Tool) and has seen them tirelessly expanding their audience through shows and festival appearances. Their album remains one of the year's finest, accented by their pure devotion to prog's best moments. "Rolando" is all joy and bliss, a song that comes alive with space-aged jazz, synth fuzz, and a steadily warping rhythm pulsating in rich technicolor. Once & Future Band are the truth, a return to prog glory for one and all. - Dan Goldin
5. TERA MELOS | "Trash Generator" LP
For a band that’s never truly fit in with any one scene, Trash Generator might be the most freewheeling work in Tera Melos’ discography. Here, the trio is not content to simplify its approach, instead opting to create songs that dart across genre lines with seemingly no regard for such things. The album’s title track, as well as “Warpless Run,” are basically the band’s mathy take on hardcore, whereas “Don’t Say I Know” borders on a crossover pop-rock anthem. It’s a thrilling listen, one that shows that Tera Melos is constantly pushing the bar a little higher simply by chasing whatever inspiration floats their way. - David Anthony
6. CLUB NIGHT | "Hell Ya" EP
Club Night is a giddy mess, rushing from one idea to the next without second-guessing it. And while that could just as easily read as a backhanded compliment, it’s what makes Hell Ya worth returning to over and over again. These songs eschew verses and choruses all together, just bearing forward until the band’s run out of ideas or energy. It means that, at any point, any one of the band members can be the star of the show, dashing in ideas that ensure these songs are the farthest things from mundane. This is a record that effortlessly blends pop, kraut, new wave, punk, and math-rock into something that feels both avant-garde and instantly pleasurable. - David Anthony
AUGUST 7TH TO AUGUST 13TH
SHIMMER "Shimmer" LP | COVE SAUCE "Cove Sauce" EP | ICE BALLOONS "Fiesta" LP | L.A. WITCH "Drive Your Car" | QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE "The Evil Has Landed" | KING KHAN "It's a Lie" | SEAN PRICE "Negus" (feat. MF Doom) | THANKS FOR COMING "Bad At This" EP | THE EFFECTS "Back and Forth" | STANLEY "Brewin' Up" | CRAIG WEDREN "Adult Desire" | CLOAKROOM "Concrete Gallery" | PLAX "Clean Feeling" LP | DOG "Cyborg Messiah" | WATER FROM YOUR EYES "Feels A Lot Like" EP | THE MAD DOCTORS "Yuengling Malmsteen" | WAND "Bee Karma" | FLORIST "Glowing Brightly" | AMANDA X "Paperweight" | BIG BILL "Underwater" | BONZO "Team" | BAT ZUPPEL "The Witch" | BIG HUSH "Spirit / Wholes" LP | ORB "You Are Right" | CLUB NIGHT "Shear" | CHERRY "Under The Sun" | FAUX FEROCIOUS "The Big Kahuna" | DARKWING "Saves" | MAUNO "Helah" | SLOTHRUST "Milking The Snake" | MOGWAI "Party in the Dark" | SAM LEIDIG "A Quarry Log" | LILY AND HORN HORSE "Next To Me" | HEATERS "Thanksgiving II" | VOMITFACE "Mad Sugar" | LEA "Lea Is Here" LP | FOOTINGS "Vibration, Too" | THE BRONX "Two Birds" | BANNY GROVE "Cars In Control" EP | 1970S FILM STOCK "Birds" LP | DEL SUR "Palm Lines"
AUGUST 14TH TO AUGUST 20TH
OLD IRON "Lupus Metallorum" LP | PARDONER "Pivot Fakie" | WIDOWSPEAK "The Dream" | KMD "True Lightyears" (feat. Jay Electronica) | ALVVAYS "Plimsoll Punks" | SHILPA RAY "Shilpa Ray's Got A Heart Full of Dirt" | LINA TULLGREN "Red Dawn" | LINA TULLGREN "Fitchburg State" | THANKS FOR COMING "Missed Connections" | BLACK BEACH "No Place For Me" | DASHER "Audiotree Live" | LOMELDA "From Here" | BIG FRED "Swimmer" | QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE "The Way You Used To Do" | HOPE SANDOVAL & THE WARM INVENTIONS "Sleep" | SAM EVIAN "Need You" | GRIZZLOR "Fruitloopville" | AMANDA X "Giant" LP | HONEYRUDE "The Color Blue" LP | WHO IS SHE "Top 8" | WHIMM "A Stare Ajar" | BOON "There's No Saving This House" LP | LUBEC "Right Supply" | AT THE DRIVE-IN "Call Broken Arrow" | CHELSEA WOLFE "16 Psyche" | A GIANT DOG "Roller Coaster" | SOFT FANGS "Honey Colony" | PETITE LEAGUE "Pocketknife" | DEATH FROM ABOVE "Never Swim Alone" | RAMONDA HAMMER "The Man Who Sold The World" | CLOAKROOM "Time Well" LP | JOSEPH CHILDRESS "Footsteps"
AUGUST 21ST TO AUGUST 27TH
TERA MELOS "Your Friends" | SNAKEHOLE "Good Conversation" | QUICKSAND "Illuminant" | WIDOWSPEAK "Expect The Best" LP | WU-TANG CLAN "People Say" (feat. Redman) | DOOM "Doomsayer" | FLORAL PRINT "Morning With Ophelia" | HELLRAZOR "Ants Vs. Dragons" | BECK "Dear Life" | STANLEY "Daylight Sun" | THANKS FOR COMING "Missing Out" LP | METZ "Mess of Wires" | STRANGE RELATIONS "LIN" | THE LENTILS "Loaves of Oblivion" | HAND HABITS "Carpenter's Daughter" | ACTION BRONSON "9-24-7000" (feat. Rick Ross) | OMNI "Southbound Station" | MIAMI DOLPHINS "Fluoride" | CHELSEA WOLFE "Offering" | BLACK LIPS "Crystal Night" | THE JESUS & MARY CHAIN "The Two Of Us" (feat. Sky Ferreira) | MR. MUTHAFUCKIN’ EXQUIRE “Bebop And Rocksteady” (feat. Meyhem Lauren) | NO WARNING "In The City" | ACID BABY JESUS "Me & Panormita" | ABSOLUTELY FREE "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore" (Frankie Valli cover) | UNSANE "Aberration" | DEAD STARS "Smarter" | GIRL RAY "Don't Go Back At Ten" | RIDE "Cali" | NASSAU "Champagne" | BONZO "Leaper" | LASER BACKGROUND "Francine" (Blue Room Session) | MOURN "Color Me Impressed" (The Replacements cover) | HONEY "New Moody Judy" | JACK COOPER "A Net" | MASTODON "Steambreather" | FAKE PALMS "I'm Not There" | WEAVES "Walkaway" | YANKEE BLUFF "Yanked" EP | MAUNO "How Long" | BR'ER "Devotional" | BR'ER "Diaspora" | POPPIES "Devin" | THE FLAMING LIPS "Almost Home (Blisko Domu)" | PUP "Old Wounds" | PAPERHAUS "Nanana" | BAT ZUPPEL "Something Else" | AD.UL.T "Put It In Me" | MOGWAI "Eternal Panther" | WARM BODY "Cold Summer" | WEIRD OWL "You (Sometimes Not You)" | AND SO I WATCH YOU FROM AFAR "A Slow Unfolding Of Wings" | CULTS "I Took Your Picture"