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 list is in alphabetical order and we sincerely recommend checking out all the music we've 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 top-notch quality too.
ANNA MCCLELLAN | "Yes And No" LP
As proven over and over again, I have a very hard time articulating about how amazing Anna McClellan's music is to me. Post-Trash contributor Drew Boston did a great job, but I'll try and take another shot at anyway, because this is one of the year's best albums, hands down. McClellan's voice is one of my favorites, a natural presence that's so strong yet fragile, emulating the grandiosity of the singers from the 50's and 60's, but the earnest cracks and trills are explicitly modern (and expressively personal). Her analysis of relationships mixed with the mundane and scattershot thoughts is brilliant, effective, and easy to relate to. We all have a galaxy of thoughts in our heads, only a fraction of which we ever choose to articulate, but throughout Yes And No, McClellan lets us into her mind, pulling at sentimental moments with a deadpan sense of humor. Except no substitutes, Anna McClellan forever. - Dan Goldin
BAMBARA | "José Tries To Leave"
Brooklyn's Bambara have always been a good band since their days of blistering wall of sound shoegaze and noise rock. Their transition into the Nick Cave indebted sound of western post-punk however brought them from being a very good to an undeniably great band with 2016's Swarm. "José Tries To Leave," the first single from the upcoming Shadow On Everything (the band's first for Wharf Cat Records), shows that they are only getting better. The single is a narrative masterpiece, Reid Bateh's low vocals embellishing a dark tale of twangy freight and endless night. The rhythm section (Blaze Bateh and William Brookshire) sounds impossibly tight, setting up a staggering framework, jostling and galloping with an incredibly flexible density, ramping up the intensity to match the deranged howls of the vocals as they (and the narrative) head toward the dirt. - Dan Goldin
BETHLEHEM STEEL | "Finger It Out"
As someone who never actually has to go on tour, the idea of being on tour always seems amazing. Sure you're often sleeping on floors, but it's also like an extended vacation of sorts with some of our best friends (in theory). Sometimes I get to tag along with a band for a couple days, but for the most part I have to live my touring dreams through the time honored tradition of tour videos. Bethlehem Steel bassist Patrick Ronayne captured lots of footage on the band's US tour last fall and together with the help of Isabella Mingione (Baked), they set it to one of Party Naked Forever's many highlights, "Finger It Out" (a song we've featured a few times now). The clip shows the band playing shows, taking in the sites and natural their natural surroundings, and Becca Ryskalczyk gets a bunch of dipping sauces. I must say, it looks like a great time. Catch them out on tour again in March together with Washer and Yazan. - Dan Goldin
CZARFACE & MF DOOM | "Nautical Depth"
For five years running, Czarface, the collaboration between Wu-Tang's Inspectah Deck and 7L & Esoteric, has been the champion of underground hip-hop, at least in the circles we're concerning ourselves with. Like some sort of "boom-bap" miracle, the group has announced a new record together with the one and only MF DOOM. Yes, that's correct, two of the best MCs the world has ever known (and Esoteric ain't too bad either) are teaming up for a full album with 7L and The Czar-Keys handling production. If "Nautical Depth" is anything to go by, this could just be a new hip-hop classic. Combining the knock-out punch of The Rebel I-N-S and Esoteric's hard-nosed delivery with the abstract glory of MF DOOM's lyrical magic, this one is ripped straight from the comics, a perfect union of true hip-hop legends. All three MCs go in, offering a taste of their individuals personalities and strengths over a sinister low-end heavy beat. Your move GhostDOOM. - Dan Goldin
DRINKS | "Real Outside"
We're happy to be welcomed back into the world of DRINKS, the collaborative duo of Cate Le Bon and Tim Presley. The two have continued to work closely since their debut Hermits On Holiday, a criminally overlooked album blending eerie post-punk minimalism and softer edged psych pop songs. The combination of Le Bon's experimental folk sensibilities and Presley's swirling lo-fi jangle works together perfectly, creating a detached sheen built on both repetition and lilting melodies. For anyone nervous the project was a one-time thing, fear not, the band has announced a sophomore album, Hippo Lite, duo out on Drag City in April. Lead single "Real Outside" is hypnotic and tightly wound, structured with an off-kilter groove and discordant melodies that sound delightful under Le Bon's gloriously cool vocals. - Dan Goldin
FRANKIE COSMOS | "Being Alive"
"Being Alive," the second single from Frankie Cosmos' upcoming album Vessel (the band's Sub Pop debut) could just be the most "punk" song the band has ever released. Its most definitely strange to call anything the New York band does punk, but then again, Frankie Cosmos has continuously been pushing their sound since the release of their "studio debut" Zentropy. While there have been hundreds of bedroom pop replicants in the years since, Greta Kline and company remain the best, a testament to Kline's effortless and relatable lyricism. Weaving songs of heartbreak and the tribulations of simply being alive with calming pop softness and brilliant melodic phrasing, the band are able to shift between an anxious punk stampede and their usually dreamy twee perfection. The video has awesome puppets and live footage that looks as though they really are having a great time. We can't wait to hear the rest of this record. - Dan Goldin
HOT SNAKES | "Death Camp Fantasy"
Following the propulsive energy of "Six-Wave Hold Down," Hot Snakes are treating us to "Death Camp Fantasy," the second single from the band's highly anticipated return album, Jericho Sirens. If the introductory single was proof that Hot Snakes are aging like a fine wine, "Death Camp Fantasy" shows that the band still have some new tricks up their collective sleeves. Roaring with a chugging groove amid a near-krautrock disciplined beat, the songs runs like a freight-train tearing down the tracks with a snide hypnotic burn. It's sharp and ragged, but refined and melodic, Rick Froberg's usual shouts tempered to a snarl. There's even gang vocals! The anticipation grows. - Dan Goldin
ILSA | "Long Lost Friend"
Last year was sort of a "metal awakening" for me. I've always enjoyed a select few doom and metal bands, but in 2017 I expanded my palette in a big way and I feel pretty great about it. With that, forgive me for being so late to the ILSA "party" (if you can call something this bleak and disdainful a party), I am now fully on board. The DC based band have been creating an uncompromisingly heavy mix of blackened doom metal for about a decade and their new album Corpse Fortress has them sounding more filthy than ever. Having spent the past week digging deep into the band's discography, the band retain their signature sludge and primordial fury, generally delivered at a crawling pace, but there's an extra sense of depravity this time around... the times, right? "Long Lost Friend" plays on Satanic themes (y'know because... metal) with a colossal sludge riff that absolutely demolishes everything in it's path. Filth you can love, ILSA are the nightmares of your dreams. - Dan Goldin
KAL MARKS | "Universal Care" LP
Kal Marks has always made ugly music, and I mean that in the best way possible. In the same way that Unsane utilized painfully claustrophobic music to build sonic onslaughts, Kal Marks has done the same, and while Universal Care still sounds like sheet metal being forged, it’s also the most beautiful thing they’ve ever made. The record oozes with a kind of fervor that the band has always had and captures perfectly here, with songs that push them in new directions without losing sight of their ultimate goals. It’s the kind of album that consumes you and makes you want to revisit because so few bands dare to be as uncompromising as Kal Marks. - David Anthony
MIKE DONOVAN | "Sadfinger"
Last summer The Peacers released Introducing The Crimsmen, a exceptional record that found Mike Donovan and his cohorts somewhere between the lo-fi warble of his past (Sic Alps) and the unedited charm of Guided By Voices. It was a sleeper hit for me that ended up as one of my favorite albums of the year, due in no small part to the infectious "Staying Home". Less than a year removed, Mike Donovan returns with his second "official" solo album, How To Get Your Record Played In Shops. "Sadfinger," our first taste of the album, is a fractured piano ballad, adrift with affected vocals and a simple composition that works together with Donovan's wistful voice. The sparse recording and delicate melody resonate with the project's solitude, a desolate and beautiful reminder that sometimes it's the empty spaces that speak the loudest. - Dan Goldin
NNAMDI OGBONNAYA & SEN MORIMOTO | "It Takes Time"
Ahead of his upcoming record, Sen Morimoto paired up with Nnamdi Ogbonnaya for a new track, which brings two of Chicago’s most innovative musicians together for a song that feels like a should-be hit single. While both rappers skew toward the absurd—and occasionally the uncomfortable—here they let loose, showing their ability to work around a hook in a way few would ever dare. While the beat occasionally deviates, the song’s driven by Ogbonnaya’s constant vocal shifts that give the track the illusion of constant movement, baking in hooks at every turn. - David Anthony
RATBOYS | "GL" EP
The follow-up EP to last year’s great GN, GL is the next logical extension for the band. These songs don’t reinvent what the band does best, but it does show how masterful the Chicago bands has become in just a few years. The riffs to “You’ve Changed” are some of the best the band’s ever crafted, and their ability to take these ethereal country compositions and transform them into something bigger than their component parts. While EPs don’t get as much play as they once did, GL is proof that some bands are able to make a fully realized statement in just a few songs, and Ratboys is no exception. - David Anthony
RENATA ZEIGUER | "Wayside"
Brooklyn art-pop extraordinaire Renata Zeiguer's new album Old Ghost is a work of true visionary beauty. Navigating between disparate genres and tonalities, Zeiguer's music paints portraits in broad strokes of color; vivid compositions that pull psych-pop and R&B together with indie rock and dreamy folk in unpredictable ways. "Wayside," one of the many stand-outs, is both gentle and explosive, led by a soulful rhythm, warm guitars, and Zeiguer's unbelievable voice. The verses collide with the comparatively mountainous hooks, slowly building into the a quick dash of distorted bliss. When the verse returns it's slightly amplified (and joined by what might be an omnichord), a stunning yet subtle inflection that highlights the devout attention to details in all of Zeiguer's brilliant new record. Add to that an awesome animated video and it just doesn't get much better. - Dan Goldin
SHELL OF A SHELL | "Already There" + "To Disappear"
Last year found Nashville's Chappy Hull pretty busy. Gnarwhal, his long standing post-hardcore duo, released the incredible Crucial, a crushing collection of experimental math rock songs that suspend all belief of what two people are capable of. He also joined Pile as their new second guitarist, spending a good majority of the year out on tour. At some point it seems as though he had some downtime, and with that, Shell Of A Shell was born as a "proper" band, fleshing out the home recorded demos and songs Hull had been working on. "Already There" and "To Disappear," the album's first singles are rippers (as one might expect) but its a different approach than Gnarwhal's bludgeoning virtuosity. Burning with vibrant guitar grooves reminiscent of John Reis' finest work, the songs twist through wiry verses and spiked melodies, Hull's voice commanding yet casual, opting for a near-spoken intimacy on the former and a gorgeous ease on the latter. Spoiler alert: it works. Hell, you could argue he's never sounded better. - Dan Goldin
SNAKESKIN | "Limbless"
New York-via-New Jersey's Snakeskin have quietly released an early contended for "best kept secret" of 2018 in the way of their new mini LP Hangnail, an impeccable collection of seething indie rock buoyed around the songwriting talents of guitarist/vocalist Shanna Polley. Hopefully I'm wrong and that *secret* is spoiled because this album really is incredible, from the lyrics to the avalanche of guitars and saccharine beauty buried just beneath the towering distortion. Album opener "Limbless" is a sprawling seven and a half minutes that feels like a quick breeze, digging into fuzz and winding melodies, taking the surge of their indie, punk, and shoegaze forbearers (think Screaming Females, The Breeders, Sonic Youth) and turning them outward. The song is a full blown sonic assault with infectious guitar melodies, deeply gorgeous vocals, and their own shifting structural phrasing, and it's only the first track on a pretty flawless record. - Dan Goldin
SPEEDY ORTIZ | "Lucky 88"
It's been three long years but Speedy Ortiz are back with a new record, Twerp Verse, and lead single "Lucky 88". Adopting some of the synth pop elements of both Foil Deer and Sadie Dupuis' solo effort Sad13, their latest single pushes new textures to the forefront, but it's still undeniably Speedy Ortiz, built on clever lyrics and sweeping hooks. Dupuis' lyrics take slight twists whenever possible, offering expected lines and lyrical cliches in jest, pulling away at the last minute and subverting meaning and context to her whim. The music video, directed by Emily Yoshida finds Dupuis living a life based on our culture's instant gratification, and the while a mysterious ooze grows, eating her friends and bandmates. There's some great acting going on here (shout out to Darl Ferm who continues to play even after he's been turned to a skeleton) and the video adds a welcome element to song's kinetic poptimism. You may be asking why doesn't the slime consume Dupuis? Is it a manifestation of something toxic? The bad sushi? Who cares... it's a fun video and a catchy song. - Dan Goldin
STAY ASLEEP | "Misanthrope"
For a while, it seemed like Stay Asleep’s debut album was never going to come. But now, with “Misanthrope,” the Chicago trio springs back to life, showing that they’d been waiting for the right moment to unveil themselves again. As “Misanthrope” shows, the band is more than capable of blending hardcore and metal in a way that feels more inventive that most, as the song is propelled by constant changes in tempo without it ever feeling jarring. The riffs blur into one another, creating a nonstop flurry of aggression that rushes by while remaining totally memorable. - David Anthony
SUPERTEEN | "Over Everything" LP
Having spent the past five years releasing increasingly great albums, perfecting their vision of tattered indie rock with sharp stabs of post-punk, psych, twangy hardcore, and their own unique go at jangly art pop, Over Everything, is a sweeping collision of opposing forces, a menacing blend of explosive dynamics and infectious melodies. Opening with the blur of "On Dogs," the picture slowly comes into focus, disorienting your senses before exploding into a sugary sweet melody on top of increasingly shaky ground. SUPERTEEN prove once again to expect the unexpected. There's a disarming sense of calm when their songs are slow to unravel, but they do so with a majestic fury. Stinging guitars and stuttering polyrhythms crash around the doubled vocals of Sam Robinson and Meryl Schultz, their voices working together in ragged harmony and spastic abandon. From there, the carnage ensues, a sound that SUPERTEEN do better than most - like a tornado running through a small town and everyone just shouting rather than taking cover. - Dan Goldin
TRACE MOUNTAINS | "Cary's Dream"
Fans of Dave Benton’s work in LVL UP won’t be totally shocked by the sound he’s embraced with Trace Mountains. Benton’s vocal melodies have always felt unique to him, as he elongates phrases in a way that shows his ability to evoke a mood through a sustained syllable. “Cary’s Dream” is a perfect example of what Benton can accomplish outside of his main band, as it feels close enough to LVL UP to fit within that band’s canon, but features a lo-fi bedroom-pop approach that suits him just as well, as hooks pour out effortlessly toward a tense bridge that ultimately doubles back on itself for one last cathartic build. - David Anthony
WRONG | "Culminate"
Let's get it out of the way, WRONG sound an awful lot like Helmet circa 1992-1994, and in no way are we upset about that. For the first half of the 90's Helmet were unstoppable, deriving their own mix of hardcore, punk, and melodic "alternative" rock that sounded thick as bricks and brilliantly aggressive. However, it's been 20 years since they released a good album (sorry guys), and it's time that sound is repurposed in capable hands, none more capable than WRONG. Set to release Feel Great, their sophomore album via Relapse Records, the Florida based quartet's first single "Culminate" is full of bludgeoning stop/start riffs, cavernous beats, and tight snapping howls. The thunderous groove parts for a twangy muzak styled interlude, only to dive back in for a touch of serious shredding. It's big, nasty, and direct as a bat to the skull. - Dan Goldin
FEBRUARY 5TH - FEBRUARY 11TH:
GIVING UP "Garner Cardinals" LP | ISS "ISS" EP | THE ROYAL THEY "Sludgefucker" (BTR Live Studio) | JACK "A Kick A Knife" | MIEN "Earth Moon" | DATENIGHT "Poor Exchange" | PALEHOUND "Carnations" | BIG K.R.I.T. "Big Bank" (feat. T.I.) | STEPHEN MALKMUS & THE JICKS "Middle America" | GOAT GIRL "The Man" | THE BREEDERS "Joanne" (Michael Nesmith cover) | FRIGS "Solid State" | GUIDED BY VOICES "That's Good" | GUIDED BY VOICES "Steppenwolf Mausoleum / Gold Star For Robot Boy" (Live) | BILGE RAT "Blind Moose Session" | SCREAMING FEMALES "No More I Love You’s” (Annie Lennox Cover) | OUGHT "Desire" | HARMONY TIVIDAD "Arrival Captive To Divine" EP | LARS FINBERG "Ambiverts" | FU MANCHU "Il Mostro Atomico" | EELS "Today Is The Day" | HOVVDY "Cranberry" LP | CITRIS "Driving Me Crazy" | NO JOY / SONIC BOOM "Obsession" | COOL AMERICAN "Focus" | SEAN MORALES "Call It In" | CAR SEAT HEADREST "My Boy (Twin Fantasy)" | PJ HARVEY "An Acre Of Land" | MARRIAGE + CANCER "Marriage + Cancer" LP | SIX ORGANS OF ADMITTANCE "Things As They Are" | BEACH FOSSILS "Agony" (Yung Lean cover) | KING TUFF "Psycho Star" | PALE KIDS "St. Theresa" | ITASCA "Morning Flower" EP | KOLB "Making Moves" EP | TITUS ANDRONICUS "Above The Bodega (Local Business)"
FEBRUARY 12TH - FEBRUARY 18TH:
ICEAGE "Catch It" | NNAMDI OGBONNAYA "Love To See" | ROSE MERCIE "Floating" | TUNDRASTOMPER "For Flies Only" | DR. OCTAGON "Octagon Octagon" | JERKAGRAM "Skull Trumpet" | LA LUZ "Cicada" | WINDHAND "Three Sisters" | MEDIA JEWELER "Motivate" | ONEIDA "Good Lie" | THE ARMED "Witness" | AMEN DUNES "Blue Rose" | MYTHLESS "PO" | COURTNEY BARNETT "Nameless, Faceless" | BUSH TETRAS "Red Heavy" | FORTH WANDERERS "Not For Me" | BONNY DOON "A Lotta Things" | NOT FOR YOU "It Can't See" | WEI ZHONGLE "The Operators" LP | A. SAVAGE "Frightened" (The Fall cover) | THE BODY "Nothing Stirs" | SIX ORGANS OF ADMITTANCE "Protection Hex" (feat. Meg Baird & Charlie Saufley) | NAP EYES "Dull Me Line" | HABIBI "Jam In The Van Session" | WAX CHATTELS "Stay Disappointed" | SUUNS "Make It Real" | ANNA BURCH "BTR Live Studio" | YEAH YEAH YEAHS "Spotify Studios NYC Session" | BLACK MILK "True Lies" | LOW "Let's Stay Together (Al Green cover) | GIFT WRAP "Either Way" | OLDEN YOLK "Cut To The Quick" | PREOCCUPATIONS "Antidote" | BICHKRAFT "Introducing Yourself" (feat. Sam York) | JOHANNA BAUMANN "Sleepy Song" | MOANING "Tired" | FUCKED AND BOUND "Suffrage" LP | SUPERCHUNK "What A Time To Be Alive" LP | CASSANDRA JENKINS "Red Lips" | DROWSE "Klonopin" | RUSSIAN BATHS "Poolhouse" | THE WIDEST SMILING FACES "Plaster" | SHAMIR "Room"
FEBRUARY 19TH - FEBRUARY 25TH:
RENATA ZEIGUER "Old Ghost" LP | PARQUET COURTS "Almost Had To Start A Fight / In And Out Of Patience" | THE BREEDERS "Nervous Mary" | MELVINS "Stop Moving To Florida" (James Gang/Butthole Surfers cover) | OTOBOKE BEAVER "Anata Watashi Daita Ato Yome No Meshi" | GUERILLA TOSS "Spider Heard / Dose Rate" | SCREAMING FEMALES "I'll Make You Sorry" | JACK "Anxiety" | HIT BARGAIN "Capitulate" | ED SCHRADER'S MUSIC BEAT "Seagull" | COREY FLOOD "Wish You Hadn't" EP | NONPAREILS "The Timeless Now" | VAGABON "Tiny Desk Session" | GRACE VONDERKUHN "Reveries" LP | THE FRITZ "Wasted on TV" | GOOD NEWS "Feed / St. Pete" | THE MEN "Killed Someone" | BLACK MILK "Laugh Now, Cry Later" | PORCHES "Goodbye" | THE MAD DOCTORS "Nerd Alert" (BTR Live Studio) | BICHKRAFT "Some People Have All The Luck" (feat. Elizabeth Skadden) | YOUNG JESUS "Green" | VUNDABAR "Smell Smoke" LP | WAR ON WOMEN "YDTMHTL" | GANSER "PSY OPS" | ILLUMINATI HOTTIES "(You're Better) Than Ever" | PARIUH "Who Am I Going To Talk To Everyday" | SLOPPY JANE "Bark Like A God" | QUEEN OF JEANS "More To Love" | EELS "Today Is The Day" | ERICA ESO "Love-gun" | MOUNT EERIE "Tintin In Tibet" | CLOUD "Two Hands Bound" | WAVVES & CULTURE ABUSE "Big Cloud" | ROBERT EARL THOMAS "Cryin'"