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. WASHER | "Bass 2"
You don't have to know a great deal about Washer to understand they have a masterful approach to writing melodies. Every song the duo has ever released features at least one raw hook of ear-worm brilliance. It's a real gift alright. The band also understand wonky math rock and they deliver it amidst their signature mix of skate punk and slacker garage to create something that's always just a bit more complex than it seems at first glance. With "Bass 2" though, Washer's Mike Quigley continues to prove his merit as an exceptional lyricist. While he might be a little hard on himself (an understatement), Quigley's vision of self-loathing isn't unique to him, but a worldwide feeling among a certain crowd. As the song progresses, the hook shifts, beginning with falling asleep while trying to achieve, to going to sleep with a sense of defeat, and eventually, medicating yourself to sleep from a life left mentally numb. It's bleak, but it's amazing. - Dan Goldin
2. OCS | "Memory of a Cut Off Head"
Just days after Oh Sees released Orc, a psychedelic ripper of a record, John Dwyer changed the band’s name to OCS and announced Memory Of A Cut Off Head. While these changes in naming conventions can seem arbitrary from the outside, this one makes a good deal of sense. OCS was an early moniker of Dwyer’s, and aside from bringing Brigid Dawson back into the fold, the record’s title track sees him revert to the style of freak-folk he was operating in back in the OCS days. While it’s not as lo-fi and distorted as his prior work, it harkens back to the days in which Dwyer strove for The Kinks instead of garage-punk riffs and Can-inspired drumbeats. It’s a harsh shift, but it’s still Dwyer. And no matter what name he’s working under, that’s really all that matters. - David Anthony
3. PILE | "Texas"
The day after announcing a tour supporting Boston hardcore legends Converge, Pile released the video for “Texas,” which was the first single from their excellent album A Hairshirt Of Purpose. Despite having spent oodles of time with the track already, this video gives “Texas” a heightened sense of doom and dread. Already an anxious, nervy track, here “Texas” feels even more foreboding, as cartoon characters run away from destructive forces that are always nipping at their heels. It’s the type of video that builds upon the song’s mood instead of constructing a narrative, and it works well by never distracting from Pile’s force, playing into it instead. - David Anthony
4. FITS | "Ice Cream On A Nice Day"
Father/Daughter Records is already having a banner year, but the announcement of Fits’ debut album All Belief Is Paradise adds another stellar record to the pile. “Ice Cream On A Nice Day” lasts just over a minute, but it darts in a handful of directions in that time. It’s a buzzy pop song that’s darker than the music—or the track’s title—leads on. And while it plays a bit like Joyce Manor in its early days, it’s significantly more nuanced than that kind of maximalist pop-punk. It’s a song that rewards repeat listens, as it offers new flavors with each and every bite. - David Anthony
5. NNAMDI OGBONNAYA | "hOp Off"
To list off Nnamdi Ogbonnaya’s resume now feels trite. He’s made a name for himself in seemingly every arena, and DROOL stands out in a catalog full of notable releases. And while he’s an adept video director in his own right, the choice to just star in the video for “Hop Off” shows interesting in the most mundane locations. Whether he’s riding his bike, shopping for groceries, or just mowing the lawn, it’s impossible to not be rapt by his every move. It shows that Nnamdi commands attention no matter where he’s at or what he’s doing, and I can’t imagine that’ll change anytime soon. - David Anthony
6. ALL PIGS MUST DIE | "A Caustic Vision"
All Pigs Must Die, arguably the world's most brutal "supergroup," are set to return once more with new album Hostage Animal and the timing is perfect. Shit has hit the fan throughout the country and in these stressful days there's nothing quite as cathartic as a dose of vicious and crusty metallic hardcore. Formed by members of Converge, Hope Conspiracy, Bloodhorse, and now Trap Them, APMD have come together once more to create a single-headed monster, crushing buildings and damn near all civilization in their path. "A Caustic Vision" pulls their collective grinding destruction into a furious burst of volitile riffs and shotgun rhythms, a pummeling show of intelligent force and dynamic chaos. There's no tiptoeing around this one, turn your speakers way up and let it unfurl... it just might bring a smile to your face. - Dan Goldin
7. FLORIST | "Understanding Light"
It’s easy to have Emily Sprague’s songs slip right past you. With Florist, she makes songs that give the illusion of being genteel on first blush, but repeat listens unveil a subtle, all-consuming darkness. “Understanding Light” is a prime example of what makes Florist so powerful, as it takes simple plucks on a guitar and transforms it into a borderline ambient piece. Sprague’s voice guides you throughout the track, as she ruminates on the nature of desire and passion, how those feelings burn, flicker, fade, yet never fully extinguish. It’s a song about endings, but the ones that don’t feel definitive. - David Anthony
8. AMY O | "Lavender Night"
In a perfect world, Amy O's "Lavender Night" would be a smash hit. The type of song you can't escape. It has that kind of songwriting quality, from the melody to the unshakeable charm of just how direct it is. The hook is so immediate it's almost alarming. There's a thick syrupy harmony, a quick and simple beat, and a bridge that disorients everything for a brief moment... and it's all delivered in under two minutes with sweet sweet perfection. It's the type of song you just want to be friends with. The video's simplistic images of Amy Oelsner and her band in the woods doesn't add a great deal, but it doesn't need to... we know a smash hit when we hear one. - Dan Goldin
9. VV TORSO | "Boy"
Led by the slurred poetics of Natty Morrison, his bark is reminiscent of David Yow, while his lyrical bite owes more to Protomartyr's Joe Casey and Nick Cave. The focal point of VV Torso's often hypnotic, often abrasive, and always filthy choice of guitar tones and dense rhythms, lies in Morrison's deranged howl. Built with melodic tension at every turn, "Boy" is a decidedly softer song than those on their debut, a calm before the storm. Where the record's tone is dragged through the dirt, "Boy" is clear and present, an immediate song that asks the tough questions, "what's it feel like to be a boy, my boy? what's it feel like to be a goddamn coward?" The song winds with a circular riff and a vibrant bass line, a smooth piece of post-punk sheen that rings and thrashes with a pop sensibility to keep it grounded. - Dan Goldin
10. CASPER SKULLS | "You Can Call Me Allocator"
With each successive release, Toronto's Casper Skulls continue to adapt their sound, fine tuning their shoegaze influenced post-punk toward it's best self. Last year's Lips & Skull EP was a big step in the right direction and judging by Mercy Works' first single "You Can Call Me Allocator," things are steadily getting better. The song's tight rhythm is paired with slurred vocals and a paint peeling guitar tone that fills every last space. The hook has the band locked into a blissful harmony, a definite shift in focus, and just a hint at all they are capable of. - Dan Goldin
11. DEAD RIDER | "The Ideal"
Dead Rider are sort of like a shooting star. They don't come around all that often but getting to witness them (or simply hearing their records) is always a magical experience. The Chicago band, led by US Maple's Todd Rittmann, are set to release their latest album, Crew Licks, later this month via Drag City and second single "The Ideal" is loaded with their triumphant and unclassifiable art-rock/funk weirdness. The video opens with an extended intro of ambient noise and whirring soundscapes that would make David Lynch proud, eventually tearing into the detached fabric of Dead Rider, built on Prince-influenced vocals and a rhythm that is pulled in ten different directions at once. It's a big groove that challenges every step of the way. - Dan Goldin
MANEKA "Is You Is" LP | DOOM "Notebook 03" | THE COATHANGERS "Perfume" | A. SAVAGE "Wild, Wild, Wild Horses" | THANKS FOR COMING "Nonsense (Distant Ambient City Noise)" EP | LIARS "Cred Woes" | ALVVAYS "Antisocialites" LP | ESCAPE-ISM "Almost No One (Can Have My Love)" | COURTNEY BARTNETT & KURT VILE "Over Everything" | BLACK BEACH "Nothing's Golden" | BIG FRED "Oh Hi Hello" LP | NIXON MASK "Defection" | CHRIS "Under The Weight" | MAXIMUM MAD "Unmanned" | SICK FEELING "Sure, OK" | KING WOMAN "Manna" | ODONIS ODONIS "Check My Profile" | TOADIES "Mama Take Me Home" | TOADIES "Broke Down Stupid" | SHELL OF A SHELL "WXNA Session" | BUCK GOOTER "I Don't Talk To The Dead" | MAGIC MOUNTAIN "Zodiac" | ACID BABY JESUS "Guide Us In" | PETITE LEAGUE "Rips One Into the Night" LP | THE RURAL ALBERTA ADVANTAGE "Brother" | NEIL YOUNG "Hitchhiker" LP | CHERRY "Cherry" | MILK "Television (Live at WMBR)" | BODY ORIGAMI "Fan Dance" | THE WILLOWZ "All The Same" | THE DISCUSSION "European Tour EP 2017" | MERSO "Serial Killer" | RIPPED GENES "Beautiful Girl" | RAMONDA HAMMER "Destroyers" | LILY AND HORN HORSE "Scumbag's Apprentice" | DEATH FROM ABOVE "Holy Books" | MASTODON "Toe To Toes" | SAM LEIDIG "Romance Language"