by Dan Goldin (@post_trash_)
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.
BEIGE PALACE | “Illegal Backflip”
The band’s first single “Ketchup Dirt” was sinisterly hypnotic and bare bones - until you get to the vocals, and everything you expected is shaken and deranged. It’s not particularly aggressive as Beige Palace can knock you off your axis without overt chaos, but it’s the small decisions and no-wave tendencies that really shine through the sludge. On their second single, “Illegal Backflip,” the trio slink through a similarly sparse and desolate rhythm, dragging itself forward with mangled guitar tones and a polyrhythmic beat delivered with a stuttered pacing. There’s a degree of Slint, a touch of June of 44, and even maybe a few Kong references in the slow sprawl and detached progressions, but Beige Palace create disorienting punk in their own primal way. Kelly Bishop’s (vocals/keys) words don’t exactly float over the mix or between the empty spaces so much as they stretch and stick like super glue, pulling every syllable to its breaking point, as the band’s tightly wound carnage coils beneath.
BLESSED | “Rolled In Glass”
Set to hit the road for another massive batch of tour dates, Blessed are sharing the third single from Salt, the album’s ever shifting opener, “Rolled In Glass.” In the cold and mechanical vein of FACS and Liars, the song snakes its way between dark shadows, evolving in a haunting manner, pushing and pulling the level of intensity with it in the process. The pounding rhythm is quick and tight, a constant agitated pulse that only recedes during a momentary lapse of tangled dreamscapes (by moving over to the hi-hats), before cranking itself back into a motorik groove as mesmerizing as it is expansive. The band use the pulse to build a harsh atmosphere, vocals are both barked out and drifting, re-settling as they slide between hypnotic psych dirges.
CRUMB | “Part III”
Following two great EPs, Brooklyn’s Crumb return with “Part III,” a new single that we’re hoping is part of the band’s heavily anticipated full length debut. The band’s blend of wistful psych pop and experimental indie sounds ever so slightly faded, washed just under a thin layer of retro-fuzz, adding a spacey effect that would make Broadcast proud. Half way through the song there’s a major shift, the rhythm slows to a halt and the kaleidoscopic nature of the synths and guitars takes creates new shapes and colors, reaching deeper into their delicately woven and pastoral sonic bliss.
FURBIE | “Skiball“
Furbie, led by Annie Burns and Mercedes Webb (Slow Mass) together with Sean Hallock (Rozwell Kid) and Liam Burns make an instant impact with the slow and detached twin guitar line of the intro, a gorgeous tone that you could almost call sludgy if it weren’t so damn pretty. According to their wonderful single-sentence bio, Furbie are heavily influenced by both pot and marijuana, and you can hear it in the molasses dripped groove. Burns and Webb’s duel vocals kick in with thickened harmonies after about thirty seconds, the lyrics a call back to a child-like era when things were good, when a high score in skiball was enough for happiness. The band wind their way into a heavier thud without much of a shift in their bent melodies, but things get weirder and wonderful(er) as they sing “Hey man, do you want a hug, from someone who’s screaming? Let’s rub on a rug, ‘til our skin is peeling. Fill me with fuzz, ‘til there’s no room for feeling.” Then it all erupts. From there the ground gives out and the band launch into a colossal dirge of distorted guitars and a glorious fade back to the calm.
MIKE DONOVAN | “Digital Dan”
In years since the dissolution of Sic Alps, Mike Donovan has been keeping himself busy performing both as a solo artist under his own name and with The Peacers, While his last solo album, How To Get Your Record Played In Stores, was released less than a year ago, Donovan is back with Exurbian Quonset, a blown out noise-pop influenced garage album. Built on feedback and caterwauling guitars, led single “Digital Dan” is a stark contrast to the gentle sound of his previous album. Here Donovan goes all on aural assault, with guitars that leave chemtrails in their wake, a take no prisoner kind of amp worshiping permeation (though it’s not exactly a sign of what to expect from the record as a whole). He continues to amaze and create nuanced lo-fi in his own way, warts and all..
PALEHOUND | “Killer”
With “Killer,” Palehound has given the world the revenge fantasy theme song its been waiting for. While we await the band’s new album, this stand-alone single (which coincides with their Cherry Glazerr tour dates) is everything we’ve come to expect from Ellen Kempner’s terrific songwriting. “Killer” works a romantic angle as vengeance is served to abusive men (“I wanna be the one who kills the man who hurt you darlin’). There’s a Western twang in the riff that sits perfectly with Kempner’s gorgeous vocals, a soft but sure footed croon that serves justice to those in need of a swift ass kicking and moral reconfiguration. We can’t wait to hear what else the band’s been cooking up for their next record.
SHADY BUG | “Whining”
If I’m being totally transparent, I’ve been listening to Shady Bug’s new record for several months and well, I just don’t think it could be any better. While every song is a little piece of what makes the St. Louis band so perfect, their second single “Whining” is my personal favorite, a song that takes a slow build before it’s heavy shift, and focuses on the details, the twin guitars contrasting each other in dreamy twinkle and lonesome twang. Hannah Rainey’s vocals are delivered with an exaggerated inflection as she sings, “I grab a tuft of your hair, pull you close so I can stare, what are you hiding in there” in the most lackadaisical of ways. I’ve been hooked since the moment I heard it. The band eventually dig in with a storm of sweltering guitars and a brilliantly propulsive rhythm section. Don’t even question it.
SHARKMUFFIN | “Serpentina”
After the exceptional Tsuki LP, Sharkmuffin released a string of splits and b-sides, each better than the next, expanding the band’s energetic sound with added nuance and all the spitfire charm you’ve come to expect. Their upcoming EP, Gamma Gardening, is literally a whole new world for the trio (which now include’s Stove’s Jordyn Blakely on drums), a sci-fi concept album that’s built on equal parts work place boredom, genetic manipulation, and space dominatrixes. It’s a wild adventure that plays out in five art-punk songs that still manage to retain the band’s glam and garage rock spirit. Lead single “Serpentina” focuses on the titular character, the space dominatrix with a heart set on making a baby. The realities of her offspring’s tampered with DNA become overwhelming and things take a dark turn… but you’d never really know it from the riotous good time the band is having with bent chord progressions and the intricate rhythmic pummel that shifts from movement to movement.
SHE KEEPS BEES | “Coyote“
The always amazing She Keeps Bees are back with a new album, Kinship, and the record’s first single “Coyote” is amazing. What an incredible surprise, we nearly missed this one! The duo have been a favorite of ours since we first caught them back in 2010 opening for Craig Wedren (CMJ did once serve a purpose), and Jessica Larrabee’s stunning and soulful voice continues to melt our hearts. Together with drummer Andy LaPlant, the band’s music is stark and stunning, using bare bones techniques to address important issues from loss and love to environmental concerns, body images, and empowerment. There’s few bands that give me goosebumps the way She Keeps Bees do, Larrabee’s desolate guitar strums are the perfect balance to her delicate swoon and passionate howls. I have a deep seeded admiration for this band and couldn’t be more excited for their new record.
SQUID | “Houseplants”
On a week that’s jam packed with great new songs, none of them beg for repeat listens quiet like Squid’s new single “Houseplants,” a track that has made the band’s eventual full length debut one of our most anticipated. I’ve woken up each morning since the premiere of this song shouting “Houseplants!” in my head, and I hope it doesn’t end. With a serious post-punk groove that sits between no-wave and skronky funk, what starts in dance punk territory becomes increasingly unhinged, boiling way over the top until the band’s vocalist is pretty much shouting about houseplants as a sarcastic answer to wage issues and fears… and of course gentrification and rent increases (“kids are getting smarter but the rent ain’t getting cheaper”). If we catch one band at SXSW apart from our shows, let it be Squid.
USA NAILS | “Smile“
UK noise rock greats USA Nails have been releasing albums as a furious rate since forming (partly from the ashes of the much beloved KONG) and, in case you haven’t been paying attention, they’ve all been great. It’s one of those “too many good ideas to waste” situations. Following a busy year of touring (which even included the US), the band are set to release their fourth full length, Life Cinema, in May via Hex Records. First single “Smile” is a “corker” as they say, a bludgeoning avalanche of aggressive fills and piercing distortion that stings between thuds of rhythmic heft. The lyrics, barked manically and emphatically, reflect every day detachment and the idea of plastering on a fake smile as a sardonic means at complacency.
FEBRUARY 18 - FEBRUARY 24:ABSOL
ALL PEOPLE “Let’s Do This Again Tomorrow“ + “Dream of Love” + “Stay Here” | AND THE KIDS “When This Life Is Over“ LP | BLEU NUIT “Trou Noir“ | BUCK GOOTER “Finer Thorns“ LP | CLUB NIGHT “Village“ | COMMUNITY COLLEGE “Martyr“ | CRAIG WEDREN “2Priests“ | ELLIS “Something Blue“ | EMPATH “Soft Shape“ | FEELS “Post Earth“ | FLYYING COLOR “Paula“ | THE FRAGILES “Single“ | FREDDIE GIBBS & MADLIB “Flat Tummy Tea“ | GLUED “Fish Song“ | HAND HABITS “Placeholder“ LP | HELMS ALEE “Interachnid“ | HETHER FORTUNE “Sister“ | KIWI JR “Salary Man“ | LOW DOSE “Low“ | MUNYA “Benjamin“ | NEW IDEA SOCIETY “Now Is Here“ | NINA RYSER “Holding Them Up“ | OTOBOKE BEAVER “Don’t Light My Fire“ | POW! “Disobey“ | PRIESTS “Good Time Charlie” | RUSSIAN BATHS “Slenderman“ | SHANA CLEVELAND “Don’t Let Me Sleep“ | SNAKESKIN “Live at WPRB“ EP | STEPHEN MALKMUS “Rushing The Acid Frat“ | THELMA “The Only Thing“ LP | TOOTHBRUSH “An Ocean of Sulfur Will Run Deep Through Your Veins“ | TREDICI BACCI “Felicity Grows“ | VIDEO AGE “Is It Her?“ | VITAL IDLES “Break A“ | WANDER “Eveleth” | THE WIDEST SMILING FACES “Flower Song” | WINTERSLEEP “Into The Shape of Your Heart”
FEBRUARY 25 - MARCH 03:
ABSOLUTELY NOT “Glitch“ | ANNA BURCH “St. Adalbert“ | BIG BUSINESS “Heal The Weak“ | BIG THIEF “UFOF“ | CHRIS COHEN “Sweet William“ | THE COATHANGERS “Step Back“ | CONTROL TOP “Chain Reaction“ | THE COOL GREENHOUSE “Landlords“ | COUGHY “V“ | CROWS “Wednesday’s Child“ | DEAFHEAVEN “Black Brick“ | DUB TRIO “World of Inconvenience” (feat. King Buzzo) | EX HEX “Rainbow Shiner“ | GONZO “Put The Money“ | GUIDED BY VOICES “Angelic Weirdness“ | HONEYGOLD “I’ll Love U Just The Same” LP | JACKIE MENDOZA “Seahorse“ | THE KNEE-JERK REACTION “Blame It On Me” | LOMELDA “M For Empathy” LP | MAMALARKY “Hero” | MEAT PUPPETS “Warranty“ | NOTHING “Heavy Water / I’d Rather Be Sleeping“ (Grouper cover) | PIG DESTROYER “The Cavalry” | POTTERY “Lady Solinas” | POTTY MOUTH “Liar“ | PROTOCOL “Bloodsport” | RONNIE ROGERS “Denim Jacket Weather“ LP | SAM EVIAN “Cherry Tree b/w Roses“ | SEBADOH “Celebrate The Void“ | TRUPA TRUPA “Dream About“ | WAND “Thin Air“ | WAR ON WOMEN “The Ash Is Not The End“ | WINDHAND “First To Die“ | YUPPY “Love Handle”