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"The Post-Trash 60" | Our Favorite Albums of 2019's First Half (A Mid-Year Report)


by Dan Goldin (@post_trash_), Erin Bensinger (@babybluet), Kris Handel (@khandel84), Joel Parmer (@cup_of_joel), and Matt Keim

Here we are, another half a year older, and another half a year wiser… if you’re willing to believe that. While 2019 continues to be another tough year for world affairs, it is once again a great year for new music, for those of us who are willing to look for it. “The Post-Trash 60” is a guide to some (60 to be exact) of our favorite releases so far with a diverse range of rock music and it’s many sub-genres and hip-hop, from extreme metal to lo-fi bedroom pop and all that falls between. We’ve got “buzz bands” worth the buzz, self-released Bandcamp hidden-gems, all the weird international post-punk and noise rock you could ever want, and of course all the artistic punk influenced indie we know and love.

I’ve mentioned the collapse of music coverage in every one of these and the crumble continues at an alarming rate, but we’re doing all we can to shine on a light on important releases you may or may not already be aware of. Don’t look at this feature as a checklist to validate your own lists, but as an introduction to everything you may have missed or a collection of albums to revisit. So without further ado, please check out "The Post-Trash 60" followed by our “further listening” section. I hope you enjoy and most importantly, I hope you find something new. - Dan Goldin

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AUSMUTEANTS | “The World In Handcuffs”

Anti Fade Records

Of all the “egg punk” bands popping up over the past few years, there’s always been two that stand out from the pack, Minneapolis’ Uranium Club and Melbourne’s Ausmuteants, a scrappy band whose members are involved in countless projects (Alien Nosejob, Cereal Killer, School Damage, etc) but their combined efforts of twitchy futuristic and bitingly sarcastic post-punk is on a level all its own. It’s been three years since the great Band of the Future LP, but the band are back with Ausmuteants Present: The World in Handcuffs, a scathing concept album written from the deranged point of a view of a cop out for blood. It’s everything you hate about the police and law enforcement distilled into first person narratives of “justice,” with a massive heaping of sardonic scorn and tongue in cheek agitation. Tightly wrapped and warped around discordant synths and wonky rhythmic structures, the record is brilliantly dizzying. - DG || LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify

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One Little Indian Records

Much like the past Bad Breeding records, Exiled, is brutally pissed off punk, with an aim at the political side of unrest. With things the way they are across the world, the Stevenage, UK band sound more pissed than usual, and it’s well justified. In the past four years the band has been making consistently great hardcore that’s both blunt in its delivery and dense in composition. Exiled hasn’t changed the formula but rattled it into something more corrosive and combustible. The frantic songs peel through distortion and chaotic saxophone skronk, the noise balanced only by their aggression and disdain for those in control. There’s no calm before the storm and hardly a moment to breath as Bad Breeding flood your senses with no-wave influenced hardcore and keep punching until the dust has settled. - DG || LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify

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Buzzhowl Records

The full length debut from Leeds trio Beige Palace could be the first truly great surprise for me this year. Entitled Leg, it’s a gift that simply keeps on giving with each repeated listen, an onslaught of minimalist abrasiveness. The band work prolonged progressions and feedback stretched beyond recognition into the mud, the slowly evolving mud that only seems to delight the more deranged it gets. In the tradition of incredible noise rock bands from the UK, both old and new (Mclusky, Kong, Blacklisters, Irk), Beige Palace achieve their charm in a menacing way, diverting expectations and bludgeoning just when you’ve been caught off guard. The album is dynamic and full of great atonal melodies and thick rhythmic thuds that work against each other in a perfect dirge. - DG || LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify

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BIG | BRAVE | “A Gaze Among Them”

Southern Lord Records

Set to release their latest album, A Gaze Among Them, via Southern Lord, BIG|BRAVE’s music is a special kind of indescribable, the heavy kind that sounds like pieces of all your favorite bands, but reconfigured in a way you’ve never heard before. Their album has elements of post-metal, doom, and eerie drone, but their sound is far prettier than it is heavy (at least in the traditional sense of the word). It’s as heavy as slow pouring concrete, but more in the emotional heft, than any pummeling. BIG|BRAVE do it with atmosphere and extended structures but the key to the minimalist menace is the gorgeous vocals of Robin Wattie, her voice carrying through the dust and desolation as the band rip and contort through serene landscapes and tension filled dirges (think Scout Niblett meets Aaron Turner… yep, that good). I’ve never heard anything quite like it and I’m now officially obsessed. - DG || LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify

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BIG BUSINESS | “The Beast You Are”

Joyful Noise Recordings

The almighty Big Business never disappoint and yet they never really get the credit they deserve as one of the best gotdamn bands on the planet. It hardly needs to be said and at the same time should be shouted from the mountaintops. The colossal duo of Jared Warren and Coady Willis (a match nearly too perfect) have done it again with The Beast You Are, another stampeding testament to the band’s unique art-sludge sound, one that continues to expand into more melodic territory without abandoning any of the howling ferocity and utterly enormous rhythms that make the two-piece band sound more like an oncoming army. Big Business have always sorta sounded like the light shining on a new post-apocalyptic day, and the enormity of their six full length continues to find new ways to crush skulls and blow minds while digging further into accessibility in a way only these two can. - DG || LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify

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BLACK MIDI | “Schlagenheim”

Rough Trade Records

As a certifiable *buzz band,* the hype around Black Midi has grown to a size that left me skeptical prior to the release of their album. From the singles released in the build up (most of which are not on the record itself, which they delayed the release of the track list), there were more than a few head scratching moments, but flashes of brilliance could certainly be found at times, and others, less so. Hailed as the rock’s new experimental saviors (here at Post-Trash we know rock doesn’t need saving), the young and the weird UK quartet finally released their full length debut, Schlagenheim, and well… we are firmly onboard. The fact that this band who blend heavy prog rock tendencies with post-punk, krautrock, noise rock, avant-jazz, and wondrously strange vocals can become a buzz band at all is encouraging, and songs like the cut throat “Near DT, MI” (a song seemingly about Flint’s water crisis) are stunning examples as to the ingenuity and cohesion in their free-form sound. I’ve been thinking about this record since I first heard it - each weird nuance and jittery expression - and every listen offers a new chance to untangle the unbridled madness at the album’s core. - DG || LISTEN: Spotify

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BLESSED | “Salt”

Self Released

Blending together fractured shards of garage punk, krautrock, post-hardcore, and experimental no-wave, Blessed’s sound is laser-beam focused and expanded further in every direction on their first attempt at album length exploration. Consistently pounding and pulsating with rhythms that feel near mechanical but shift without notice, Blessed swerve around intricate beats, their guitars and synths swarming like an infestation that grows between each tightened groove. It’s an uncanny ability to be both hypnotic and wildly divergent, keeping an audience transfixed despite an avalanche of sharp changes and knotted progressions. Songs like “Pill” and the immersive “Zealot” pride themselves in keeping expectations off balanced, never settling into place as the band follow their own warped rabbit hole downward into a vortex of unbelievably locked in and spaced-out punk brilliance. - DG || LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify

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BOOJI BOYS | “Tube Reducer”

Drunken Sailor Records

At the point of adding Booji Boys latest album Tube Reducer to this list, it has only been out for about 24 hours. While I generally frown on such an addition, it’s Booji Boys… and from first (and second) impressions, this one seems to find the band digging further into the blown-out power pop that has always been presented just below the blistering punk core. The recordings remain as filthy as ever, so lo-fi they essentially act as part of the band’s make-up, it’s hard to imagine them in a proper studio without sounding like a different band. The guitars are shredding and the rhythms are ramshackle, but the hooks are catchy and everything feels as lively as can be. Quick bursts of inescapable melodies and blown out garage punk careen together in an amateur kinda way that always seems to work in Booji Boys’ favor. - DG || LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify

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CATE LE BON | “Reward”

Mexican Summer Records

The legendary Cate Le Bon hardly needs our help spreading the word about her record, Reward, out now via Mexican Summer, but we love her music and can’t sit by any longer. Taking a notedly different direction than 2016’s Crab Day and 2017’s Rock Pool (as well as her collaborations with Tim Presley as DRINKS), the songs from Reward peel back some of the “strange” from those records and while we love it weird, Le Bon’s songwriting still shines in every way, opting for something less abrasive but equally free and imaginative. Reward finds Le Bon in a wandering and contemplative mood, drifting around almost jazzy structures that slink with damped grooves and a beautiful piano backdrops, completing her Welsh accent that is, as always, the highlight of any Cate Le Bon composition. - DG || LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify

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CAVE IN | “Final Transmission”

Hydra Head Records

Last year the world lost the inimitable Caleb Scofield of Cave In, Old Man Gloom, and Zozobra, one of heavy music’s greatest forces and a musician that helped form so much of my collective musical tastes. Just before his untimely passing, Scofield and the rest of Cave In had met to record demos for a new album, their first since 2011’s incredible White Silence (a genuine classic). In honor of his memory, the remaining members decided to use those demo recordings for the new album, fittingly titled, Final Transmission. The record recalls the Jupiter era of the band’s sound, heavy as a ton of bricks but warped with “space rock” guitars and dizzying melodies that float over the dense low end quake. They’ve never stayed in the same place for long and yet Final Transmission feels like quintessential Cave In. - DG || LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify

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CHEEKFACE | “Therapy Island”

New Professor Music

After a full year of releasing singles every few weeks like clockwork, Los Angeles' Cheekface released their debut album, recreating slacker post-punk in their own bohemian image. The trio, led by New Professor Records’ own Greg Katz (guitar/vocals), takes a stab at the genre through a minimalist approach and a sarcastic bite that is utterly of this time and generation. The songs are all wordy in a way that has given to more than a few Pavement comparisons, crammed with sharp wit and some amazing thoughts on our culture, collective anxiety, and societal collapse, but they make it funny without being over the top “goofy” in their approach. Hypnotic and pulsating rhythms (cowbell included) and guitars that absolutely sting with every ounce of it's distortion lead the way for tension that relies on the sunnier side of things. The clever lyrics find no shortage of outlets to put under the microscope, frying each one in the sun. - DG || LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify

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Father/Daughter Records

There’s an immediacy to Christelle Bofale’s voice that hits from the opening moments of her debut EP, Swim Team. Soulful and deeply personal, her inflections come from a place part R&B, part indie pop, part old jazz, and entirely full of passionate resolve. Her songs deal with mental health, relationships, and family, but it’s the sweeping structures and the way Bofale choses to unfold her music that really capture the essence of her words, ebbing and flowing with nuanced songcraft that never plays all its cards at once. Reminiscent of Gemma or even the funk odyssey of D’Angelo’s latest masterpiece, there’s a neo-soul heart in the center of an album that plants its roots in indie rock while it’s branches swing free in the breeze. - DG || LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify

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CHRISTIAN FITNESS | “You Are The Ambulance”

Prescriptions Music

Christian Fitness have released their sixth album, You Are The Ambulance, and we’d be damned if it isn’t one of the best records we’ve heard so far this year. The project of Andrew “Falco” Falkous (Future of the Left, Mclusky) have outdone themselves yet again with a collection of songs that return to “form” with jerky punk anthems that can be shouted along to with increasingly insane delight. It’s sardonic and sharp tongued as ever, but there are more than a few enormous hooks, usually where you’d least expect them. Tracks like “Hey Dave, Don’t Date Yourself” and “Getting Stuck Is Funny Sometimes” continue the experimental aspects of last year’s exceptional Nuance - The Musical, subverting the formula while remaining undeniably within Falco’s unique strengths. - DG || LISTEN: Bandcamp

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THE COATHANGERS | “The Devil You Know”

Suicide Squeeze Records

Every time The Coathangers have a new record I find myself saying something along the lines of “even as the band continue to refine their sound, the magic of their garage punk bliss only grows, with nuance and melody stronger than ever.” Well, it’s true and they’ve done it again, taking another giant leap further into sweetened studio pop, but retaining the bite and the ramshackle jittery nature that puts the spark in their fire. The new record is prettier than usual, with bouncing beats and bright vocal swoons driving in earworm hooks that kick up a bit of dust, contrasting and pairing well the hypnotic essence of their songs. - DG || LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify



Disposable America

Community College is a brilliant lo-fi collective led by Horse Jumper of Love’s own John Margaris together with his brother, Dan Margaris (drums) and Dimitri Giannopolous (bass, also of Horse Jumper). The band occupies a similar space as their main act, offering detached pop songs with surreal yet relatable lyrics and earworm melodies tucked just under the fuzzy presence of the room. After nearly five years of sporadic activity, Community College released their debut album Comco. Opening tracks “Karaoke” and “Novocaine” are a pair of slow burners that slip in the most colossal of melodic nuances when you’re least expecting it. The songs over the course of the record are short but the fragile in nature and intricate pacing that works to its advantage, fleshing out distinct sections in short gasps. The drums rattle in loose stuttered rhythms as the guitars wander further down into the depths of depressive expression, each note ringing out in its own glacial pace. There’s a feeling of broken time, where everything stands still and nothing is quite right, but that’s maybe the beauty of it all. - DG || LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify

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CONTROL TOP | “Covert Contracts”

Get Better Records

There’s no question about it, Philadelphia trio Control Top’s debut rips from start to finish. It’s irate and infectious, a perfect combination of cultural disdain and post-punk sensibilities, raging against those that would keep the marginalized down in fiery bursts. Ali Carter’s lyrics are finely tuned and directly pointed, screaming out with an intensity that feels genuine, an airing of grievances that isn’t so much for entertainment so much as something she needs to exorcise, captured in perfect on the quick and to the point highlight of “Office Rage,” as she sings, “Service with a smile? Eat shit.” The band rip and twist from one volatile post-punk song to the next, their intensity never waining and the record never sputtering. It’s wall to wall noise inflected pop bliss, each song packing its own well-directed punch to the throat. - DG || LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify

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CRUMB | “Jinx”

Self Released

The meteoric rise of Crumb is something special. It’s all happening (seemingly) organically and on the band’s own terms, and it’s well deserved as their specific blend of artistic psych pop has been radiant since their debut EP. With Jinx, their full length debut, the anticipation continued to build with immediate earworm singles that are as direct as we’ve heard from the band. The gorgeously disorienting record delivers on all their promise, slinking into a laid back jazzy grooves that sways with the incredible vocal melodies and the swirling blissed out whir of guitars and textural synths. Just as you’ve become transfixed (it happens pretty much instantly), the album is over, every moment tightened to perfection, demanding to be replayed over and over again. - DG || LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify

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CZARFACE & GHOSTFACE KILLAH | “Czarface Meets Ghostface”

Silver Age Records

In 2018 the trio of Czarface (Inspectah Deck, 7L, & Esoteric) teamed up with MF DOOM to release what I consider last year’s best hip-hop album, the critically underrated Czarface Meets Metalface. Keeping the theme of that collaborative record alive, the group are pairing up again, this time with fellow Wu-Tang Clan legend, Ghostface Killah. Czarface Meets Ghostface is quintessential Czarface, bringing the boom-bop of the early 90’s back with hard-edged beats, soul samples, and the crackle of the tape. Inspectah Deck, Ghostface, and Esoteric continue to bring classic line-for-line verses that only serve as a reminder that the veterans remain at the top of the game. For fans of what I’m going to call the “golden era” of hip-hop, the early 90’s, there is none more consistent these days than Czarface and adding the manic energy of Ghostface only makes things better. - DG || LISTEN: Spotify

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DAN FRANCIA | “Come Back To Life”

EIS Records

The thing about Dan Francia’s full length debut is that you’ve never heard anything quite like it. Come Back To Life is a singular vision in its compositional construction, but it's a thousand ideas coming together from a cast of near 40 musicians. Everyone plays their part (both big and small) to carry out Francia’s cinematic world of freak jazz, fractured twee, warm acoustic rock, and jerky punk. It’s unpredictable from song to song and from verse to verse within those songs. Anything can and will happen, thanks to guests like Emma Witmer (gobbinjr), Ani Ivry-Block (Palberta/Shimmer), Luke Chiaruttini (Bueno), and of course one of Brooklyn’s finest bassists, the man of hour, Dan Francia himself. - DG || LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify

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DRAHLA | “Useless Coordinates”

Captured Tracks

After a string of great EPs and singles, Leeds trio Drahla released Useless Coordinates, their full length debut via Captured Tracks. The band play a kinetic blend of post-punk, no-wave, and wiry minimalist punk, drawing as much from This Heat, The Fall, as early Yeah Yeah Yeahs and maybe even a bit of Lithics. The record is fantastically discordant, bouncing around in your ears from side to side (try some headphones for this one) as they divert sounds and structures with a steely precision. It’s all steeped in shades of gray, but the guitars stab at random and the rhythms glide with a slew of ever shifting short repeated patterns. Luciel Brown’s deadpan vocals speed up and slow down with a poetic focus and cultural disdain that culminates in a perfectly disingenuous “it feels fine” on single “Stimulus for Living.” - DG || LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify

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DUST FROM 1000 YRS | “Born To Itch”

So Hard Young Boy Records

After nearly fifteen years of records, it’s amazing to see that Boston’s Dust From 1000 Yrs continue to get better and better. Last year’s A Sweet Thing Turns Sour made the case as being the best album Bone has done to date, a release that was rooted in bad times-folk and sincerely nuanced songwriting. Less than a year later Dust is back with Born To Itch, a new full length out now via Bone’s own So Hard Young Boy imprint. After playing some stunning banjo on Puppy Problems’ album, he’s picked it up again for his own record, paying homage to outlaw country and the great wide open West with a dampened twang, gothic folk, and an eerie resolve. The rattling atmosphere and arpeggiated chords are still very much Dust From 1000 Yrs, and the personal tension is as heavy as ever. - DG || LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify

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EDITRIX | “Talk To Me”

Self Released

Talk To Me, the debut EP from Western Mass trio Editrix is the record we’ve all been waiting for, we just didn’t know it was coming. A new band formed by the incomparable Wendy Eisenberg, it marks her return to the wildly unpredictable punk format (since the untimely demise of Birthing Hips), following a pair of avant-garde guitar albums released toward the end of last year. While those records were fascinating in their own right, with Editrix, Eisenberg (guitar/vocals), Josh Daniel (drums), and Steve Cameron (bass) are shredding their way through post-hardcore and noise punk songs with a pop-centric core that sticks in sweet melodies and syrupy hooks. The playing is wild and technical at times and straightforward at others, a perfect balance of freaked out revulsion and pointed lyrics that take aim at shitty male behavior and unwanted sexual advances. Get very excited, this band is amazing. - DG || LISTEN: Bandcamp

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EERIE WANDA | “Pet Town”

Joyful Noise Recordings

Netherlands trio Eerie Wanda’s sophomore album Pet Town was released via Joyful Noise in January, a record written by Marina Tadic during a period of isolation. The band recorded their individuals parts alone in different parts of the country to capture the feeling. “Moon,” the stunning first single most definitely carries that lonely vibe with it, the finger picked guitar and resonant bass notes so sparse and stirring you can feel them float through empty space. Each vocal line is delivered soft and clear, a blurring between reality and escape. The song’s drum machine produced rhythmic pulse is introduced in the second verse and while the tempo shifts ever so slightly, the dreamy euphoria remains blissful. The album’s second single presented a different side of the record, one less tranquil but every bit as captivating. “Sleepy Eyes” opens a repeated chord structure, sparse and somewhat grungy, and then the vocals hit with dazzling rhythmic quality, each word punctuated for stunning effect. With the rhythm fully established already, the introduction of the song’s percussion adds a great texture to the song’s cemented groove... and that’s before the sweeping keys bring the psych crescendo. From their the album shimmers with memorable songs that build upon one another, as welcome an escape as any. - DG || LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify

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The Flenser

Boston’s Elizabeth Colour Wheel truly don’t fit in to any preconceived genres, their sound uncompromising and unwilling to lend itself to restrictions. Pulling bits and pieces from shoegaze, black metal, drone, noise rock, and wailing avant-garde goth-pop, there’s nothing like it. After a few exceptional EPs (check out last year’s Queen Tired on Midnight Werewolf Records), the band released Nocebo via The Flenser, a welcome home for the dark and experimental. With only two tracks under the six minute mark, Elizabeth Colour Wheel take extended approaches to their sound, allowing room for each of their tendencies to breathe, adapting in time throughout their compositional tracks and never colliding head-on. “23,” the album’s first single roars open with a pounding wall of sound, their shoegaze pinnings pushed to the forefront. Midway through the song, following a blistering hook and sonic freak-out, the energy creeps toward a halt, slipping into something more serene as the vocals become ornate and haunting. Just as you’ve been falsely lulled, the band tear into a massive blackened post-rock crescendo… until it’s time to erupt yet again. It’s a roller coaster and every moment of the record is thrilling. - DG || LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify

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EMPATH | “Active Listening: Night On Earth”

Get Better Records

Philadelphia’s Empath are a band that live up the hype swirling around them. After a great debut EP and an equally great 7” single last year comes Active Listening: Night on Earth, the band’s full length debut. Out now via Get Better Records, the first two singles were reeling in their own hazy fog, built on guitar, drums, and a pair of synths that swallowed and augmented melodies into the fuzzier side of noise pop with an attack closer to punk. “Hanging Out of Cars” however rattled out of the speakers, with a corrosive blend of distorted keys and rusty shoegaze guitars for an immersive ride on their own sonic adventures. Midway through the song the noise breaks and the feedback resolves into something meditative and tranquil, an approach that makes you wonder just what happens next, a sentiment that carries over on the album itself. Their record is an unpredictable and vehemently loud reimagining of noise pop, constantly playing by its own rules, and succeeding in all its kaleidoscopic visions. - DG || LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify

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FLAT WORMS | “Into The Iris”

Drag City Records

Following the band’s exceptional Castle Face Records debut and a single on Famous Class, Los Angeles’ Flat Worms have moved over to Drag City for their latest EP, Into The Iris, building on their incredible framework and adding a bit more noise into the proceedings. Still riding fast tempos and hypnotic motorik rhythms, the band are pushing into new territory while tightening their already signature sound, making songs that songs that rip and shred but allow you to zone out in krautrock bliss at the same time. Textured with paint-peeling guitars and vocals that are yelped and often sarcastic, Into The Iris is constantly boiling over and exploding under pressure. If you like your beats fast and rigid with your guitars blistering and loose, except no substitution. - DG || LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify

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Keep Cool / RCA Records

Five years ago Freddie Gibbs & Madlib teamed up together for Piñata, a record that paired together one of this decade’s brightest hopes for modern hip-hop and the legendary producer responsible for Madvillainy and so much more. The results were pretty much every bit as good the collaboration would sound on paper, Gibbs crafting his own informed and worldly gangster rap over a variety of unusual and artistic beats that never loose focus even as the shapes shifted. The duo return together with Bandana, an album that continues to push their forward thinking hip-hop into new realms, with Gibbs’ steady flow proving he’s one of this generation’s best. A fish out of water in this era of trap and Soundcloud rappers, he’s someone who could rap circles around most and does so on every gloriously detached beat, running over everything Madlib offers with a hard-nosed ease. - DG || LISTEN: Spotify

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FRIED EGG | “Square One”

Feel It Records

Virginia’s Fried Egg released their full length debut, Square One, in February via Feel It Records (The Cowboys, U-Nix, Protruders), having established themselves as one of the DMV’s most exciting hardcore bands in the past few years. The album sounds both classic and innovative, a relentless barrage of riffs of stampeding rhythms, jostling around with a reckless tempo that contorts and expands without warning, the guitars joyously feeding back in response as the vocals are barked in rapid disdain. This one seriously shreds with a carnival like back and forth that pulls from the Devo catalog before the band spit into a sludgier, noisier territory, packing the last lumbering punch. It’s a record that spits and smolders all in its path and it sure is great to listen to while at work. - DG || LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify

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FRIENDSHIP | “Undercurrent”

Southern Lord Records

Friendship is sort of a misleading name for the monstrous Japanese metal / hardcore / grindcore band, their sound doesn’t necessarily recall images of good pals and light hearted fun. On the other hand, if your idea of a good time is music that pushes that lines on all manners of brutality, well, than Friendship’s sophomore album, Undercurrent, could just be one of the best heavy releases so far this year. The ten tracks dig through distortion and crusty monolithic howls (reminiscent of last year’s impeccable Erosion album) with rattling tempos and riffs that go from crushing to sheer decimation, turning your head to soup in the process. Ever since Post-Trash’s own Jonathan Bannister recommended this one, I haven’t been able to stop listening, the band’s intensity matched only their chops, playing rough and ragged but technically adept to shift at a moments notice from d-beat hardcore, to stampeding grindcore, and to skull shattering metal. Maybe Friendship isn’t for the faint of heart, but then again maybe it’s the catharsis we all need. - DG || LISTEN: Bandcamp

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FULL OF HELL | “Weeping Choir”

Relapse Records

There’s something very special about Full of Hell and their brand of extreme grindcore. Highly combustible and demonic sounding, the Ocean City, MD band could bring the apocalypse with them and we’d be too immersed in their utterly disgusting grooves to care. Weeping Choir, is a menacing swarm of vocals both croaked and grumbled, a sound like several nightmares personified at once, as the band absolutely destroy structural sensibility of the name of innovative chaos. It’s brutally fast and unapologetically heavy, but there’s a great deal of nuance in their convulsive destruction, howling with demonic fury in a variety of tones to appease the pickiest of grindcore fans. Weeping Choir is a repulsively explosive mix of grinding technicality and disgusted doom-like sludge. - DG || LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify

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FUMING MOUTH | “The Grand Descent”

Triple B Records

Massachusetts metal band Fuming Mouth’s full length debut, The Grand Descent, is real fucking heavy. The colossal terror of the band’s attack comes with no warning, no calm before the storm (unless you count the time before you hit play) and it’s that immediacy that plays a big part in their sound. Mixing together elements of grindcore, sludge, and hardcore, the band are at times reminiscent of gone-but-not-forgotten Trap Them, as they decimate with pummeling three chord grooves and freaked out rhythms. The brutality on The Grand Descent is unrelenting, forever burning the fires within, and pour out in bile and unparalleled fury. It’s no-nonsense metalcore, the kind that will appeal to Converge and Botch fans alike, with an intensity that’s matched by technical ability, without going over the top. - DG || LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify


GLUED | “Cool Evil”

Born Yesterday Records

St. Louis’ Glued have spent the past few years becoming one of the Midwest’s most exciting bands. Having released a string of increasingly great EPs, including last year’s Insides, the quartet’s songs are dense and unpredictable, shifting when least expected. While those EPs were all exceptional in short bursts, Glued released Cool Evil, their full length debut, in March via Born Yesterday Records. They’ve pulled back the fuzz and reverb that coated so much of their prior work, and every knotted guitar convulsion and snapped rhythm can be heard in clarity, the band sounding better than ever as the atmosphere crumbles around them. Much of the album is anxious and menacing, a deep dive into the post-punk and the progressive world Glued have made their own. Complacency kills and Glued know it, there’s a cynical bent to their lyrical hopelessness. As always with Glued, their instrumentals speak as loudly as the vocals, their tangled visions as brilliant as any. - DG || LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify

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HALFSOUR | “Sticky”

Fire Talk Records / Disposable America

As much as halfsour’s music emits a slacker rock aura, the group works at full blast. Singer/bassist Zoë Wyner, guitarist Matt Mara, and new drummer Travis Hagan have spent the last year hashing out Sticky. The album was self-recorded, but mixing and mastering duties were taken on by Justin Pizzoferrato and Jonathan Wyner. What’s great about Sticky is that not a single song lets you down. There’s plenty of variety throughout the record to keep you engrossed, without any track straying too far from the post-punk fused power-pop compositional blueprint halfsour has refined. On the whole, Sticky wrangles punk-fueled, post-grunge inclinations with leisurely ardent performances. Vocal parts are sharply pronounced and powerful. Bass lines are dependable and smooth, as they lock in with staunch, sometimes spastic drumming. There’s no shortage of massively memorable guitar scattered across Sticky. - JP || LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify



Run For Cover Records

We’ve waited patiently and at last, Boston’s Horse Jumper Of Love released their sophomore album, So Divine, in June. One of our favorite bands making music these days, there’s something special about returning to the world of HJOL, a slow dripped territory that feels majestic and surreal, where nothing is quite as it seems, but everything tends to amaze. Their new album, expectations and all, is stunning with little nuances and textures that radiate from the crawling tempos, every tonal shift accented in small bursts of brilliance as they paint the larger picture at hand. I don’t always know what Dimitri Giannopoulos’ lyrics mean, but that doesn’t make them any less spectacular as he offers glimpses into distant dreams and streams of conscious thought. - DG || LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify

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LOMELDA | “M For Empathy”

Double Double Whammy

Over the course of just sixteen minutes, singer-songwriter Hannah Read strums her way through a series of vignettes that delve thoroughly and unflinchingly into the heart of what it means to feel for another. Each track is brief yet perfectly measured, quiet yet self-assured, delicate yet unyielding; the album takes some of the more frequently discounted traits of lo-fi and spins them all into strengths, using the genre as a foundation on which she builds a masterpiece. Read’s latest release as Lomelda, M for Empathy, was recorded over a single weekend with her brother in their small hometown of Silsbee, TX, and released on Double Double Whammy in March 2019. Simply stated, it’s lo-fi bedroom pop in its most evolved form. The album’s short length and simple production allow Read’s skill as a songwriter to shine. - EB || LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify

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Epitaph Records

Ever since the early duo days of Mannequin Pussy, the band have always been pushing their sound into the next logical place, always moving forward and never looking back at what they’ve done. Its the band’s forward thinking that keeps them dynamic and their ability to shift from garage punk, to hardcore, to shoegaze, and into sticky bubblegum pop realms that keep them interesting. Patience leans falls pretty heavily on the pop-wave length but the band sound as radiant as ever, blending in their aggression when it fits and swooning with artistic accessibility when it doesn’t. Mixing together candy sweet pop and violent bursts of hardcore has always been a gift that only Mannequin Pussy can pull off, and they’ve done with vivid results this time around. - DG || LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify

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MEGA BOG | “Dolphine”

Paradise of Bachelors

Anytime is a good time for a new Mega Bog record and we’re pretty over the moon about their new album, Dolphine. Released in late June via their new home at Paradise of Bachelors, the record continues the majestic freewheeling psych folk, experimental pop, post-whatever sound explored on Happy Together. Erin Birgy and company are in sweeping form, their songs filled with wistful detuned guitars, mystical chimes, shakers, sprightly bass grooves, and Birgy’s ever enchanting vocals. The command she has on her voice is always mesmerizing as she lilts and deepens her melodies at a whim, accenting words and punctuating phrases as the music kicks up into a dusty space-aged twang. Mega Bog remains a national treasure. - DG || LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify

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MIKE KROL | “Power Chords”

Merge Records

The hooks throughout Mike Krol’s latest album loom larger than skyscrapers, his infectious fuzzed out jangle pop sticking each chorus like super glue. While the Los Angeles via Wisconsin songwriter has been using his sticky pop charm for nearly a decade, his music has never quite been so “hit” friendly as Power Chords, a focused gem of songs that instantly feel as though you’ve been listening to them your entire life, their first impressions as radiant as their tenth. There’s plenty of buzzing guitars and pounding rhythms, but nothing rings or pummels any more than it needs, the fuzzy riffs and deeply melodic hooks doing the heavy lifting in quick and catchy earmworm bursts. You’ll be shouting along in no time, it’s that kind of record. - DG || LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify

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MOCK IDENTITY | “Where You Live”

Self Released

DC’s Mock Identity are carrying the torch of their cities punk scene and making music that speaks for the downtrodden. It’s bold and brilliant, post-hardcore music that flexes more brains than it does brawn… but it most definitely rips as well. Last year the band released their full length debut, Paradise, to high praise from all who managed to come across it, and the quartet have followed it up with the clamoring Where You Live EP. Led by the stunning and commanding voice of Adriana-Lucia Cotes, their tightly knotted punk is rooted in a collective passion for “experimentation, social awareness, and a desire to disrupt the toxicity infecting society.” It’s a welcome interruption and a pointed fuck you to those that stand in the way of common decency. With unpredictable shifts and erratic rhythms, the band at time recall hometown heroes Shudder To Think, Bikini Kill, and even Mi Ami at times, a compliment we do not use lightly. - DG || LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify

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OOZING WOUND | “High Anxiety”

Thrill Jockey Records

With the release of Oozing Wound’s fourth album, High Anxiety, 2019 got a whole lot better. The Chicago trio known for their blend of trash, punk, and noise rock (without any genre posturing on their behalf), rip and shred with the best of bands. Balancing between speed and sludge, Oozing Wound create music that is steeped in dirt and a lyrical disdain for much of the bullshit that riddles the music industry and the world at large. They take aim at those who would use their popularity for toxic behavior, and Oozing Wound simply won’t stand for it, offering their own brand of crushing catharsis that kicks in the teeth of all that is shitty and privileged beyond consequence. Listening to High Anxiety is something like getting stoned with your friends and talking some well justified shit, personified in thrashy noise punk tinged metal. - DG || LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify

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OTOBOKE BEAVER | “Itekoma Hits”

Damnably Records

Otoboke Beaver are making punk music that actually feels dangerous. The all-female four-piece plays fast, starts and stops on a whim, and layers in an obscene amount of gang vocals. The overall effect is pure adrenalin, capturing the IDGAF that has always been the ethos of punk, but often seems missing. Their new album, Itekoma Hits, pushes its way into your head, shoulders past any intellectual thoughts, and batters itself senseless against your brain. The riffs and beats are a pandora's box of punk and hardcore from decades past, and the lyrics are either in Japanese or purposefully mispronounced English. Despite the difficulty parsing the lyrics, the rush of listening to four people pelt hell-mell through their songs having the time of their lives is such a high, that needing to understand what they're yelling seems very unimportant. - MK || LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify

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PALEHOUND | “Black Friday”

Polyvinyl Records

The evolution of Palehound continues on the exceptional Black Friday, a record that continues to find Ellen Kempner coming into her own, both in album structure and songwriting, but more so as an individual experiencing life’s best and worst moments, and reflecting upon them and growing as a result. Kempner has long been an incredible writer since the earliest of days, but the songs here are more open and personal, less veiled, and more immediate in their directness. It’s a vulnerable move that she’s made with a real strength, taking charge of everything she believes and battling against the demons that would prevent her from feeling anything but free. It’s a record that isn’t afraid to take chances and the results are all genuinely fantastic. - DG || LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify

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PATIO | “Essentials”

Fire Talk Records

Essentials is the first full length record from New York trio Patio and it follows the dark, brittle and fairly brilliant yet somewhat hesitant EP Luxury that was released in 2016. Patio tread in the ever-deep waters of post-punk and Northeast DIY scene and quite frankly stand out at near the top of that pack of bands which is quite an achievement. Loren DiBlasi and Lindsey Paige-McCloy handle the majority of the vocals and bring differing tones and shifting styles to the band that meld together in fantastic fashion. Luxury introduced Patio as knowing their way around unique songwriting and presentation from a young and fresh band, whereas Essentials brings forward a more steadfastly determined and assured presence. - KH || LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify

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PHILARY | “I Complain”

EIS Records

I Complain is sort of a second start for Alex Molini’s (Pile, Stove, Jackal Onasis) Philary project. After an emotional EP of moody and depressive songs, the full length debut takes a different path altogether, one that would rather decimate its feelings in sludge and enormous fuzzed out metal riffs, delivered in short bursts of anxiety and cathartic aggression. Quick and to the point, the songs on I Complain are ruthless in their approach, blistering at all times, and free of anything remotely “clean” in tonality. The colossal riffs dig in and leave a path of destruction in its wake. Molini’s vocals act as melodic counterpoint, a semblance of (occasionally screeching) pop on an otherwise unrelenting wave of noise. - DG || LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify

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PILE | “Green and Gray”

EIS Records

What can I really say about Green and Gray that hasn’t already been said? It’s a masterpiece, plain and simple, a meticulously constructed vision of commitment and perseverance that finds Pile at their best. From the impeccable “Firewood,” a song that feels instantly classic, and the brash unpredictability of “On a Bigger Screen,” to the mountainous shifts of “Lord of Calendars” (courtesy of Kris Kuss’ uniquely melodic rhythms), and the poignant bare bones of “No Hands,” everything is executed to perfection. Whether jarring or personal (or a mix of the two), Rick Maguire’s lyrics have opened up and the self reflection hits hard when faced inward and furious when pointed outward at the world we endure. It’s a wild ride that shimmers with insight and convulses with an incredible fury, and it proves why Pile are considered one of the best band’s of our generation. I could go on and on forever, but I’ve also been yelling this to anyone who will listen for the past eight years at EIS. - DG || LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify

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PINCH POINTS | “Moving Parts”

Roolette Records

Melbourne post-punk band Pinch Points have quietly released one of the year’s best albums, a statement I’ll happily defend come December. It’s really something else and I can’t stop listening to it. The spindly riffs and sharp rhythmic contusions are restless, jittering from moment to the next, but it’s the band’s ultra thick sarcasm and social skewering gymnastics that put them in a class all their own (right down to the fact they’ve been wearing matching Pinch Points shirts for the entire album run), so biting I nearly hesitate writing this and giving them easy fuel for their fire. That being said, they bring their sardonic sprawl to perfection with a never ending wave of tight shifts and impeccable gang-vocals and harmonies. The lyrics, delivered deadpan and often doubled (and tripled) are offered with such articulation that you’re not going miss a word, as they cut through the fat and roast everything in sight with such a hilarious resolve that it feels brilliantly distasteful. - DG || LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify

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REAL BLOOD | “This Is Gonna Hurt”

Self Released

Real Blood’s core of Kerry Kalberg (guitar/vocals) and Nick Dooley (drums) were once two thirds of Flagland, one of the DIY’s scene’s (now defunct) best-kept-secrets. With their new project however, the duo is joined by Coby Chafets (ex-Ubetcha) on bass and the trio released their debut EP, This Is Gonna Hurt in April. The record is a call back to the glory days of Flagland, the riddled anxiety pop rippers that only Kalberg can write, the madness before the band’s prog-induced finale. As one of the more gifted songwriters I’ve known, these songs are genuine punk gold, a set of three tracks that are so rich with hooks and memorable moments that they can wind and twist structures without losing an ounce of pop accessibility. - DG || LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify

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SASAMI | “Sasami”

Domino Recording Co.

SASAMI’s self-titled album is a genuine masterclass in songwriting of all varieties, an introduction to Sasami Ashworth’s music that feels so expertly shaped and constructed it’s hard to believe it’s her debut. She’s spent time playing in Cherry Glazerr and recording together with Vagabon and Hand Habits, but she stands as a singular voice on her album. At one moment she’s digging into dream pop with bent chords and layered fuzz (think Alvvays meets The Cardigans) and the next she’s exploring hyper-cool motorik rhythms, transfixed in place so that she can color the spaces around the groove. It’s a personal record that feels like a shared experience, Sasami setting the tones with relatable lyrics and then burning the ground all around them, reflecting and reacting with unapologetic resolve. - DG || LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify


SHADY BUG | “Lemon Lime”

EIS Records

Our love for Shady Bug’s sophomore album Lemon Lime continues to grow with every passing listen. The record, built on hard opposing dynamics and gradually devolving melodies, never rests in one place and it never allows you to get comfortable (in a good way). There’s enough generic indie rock being made if you want something boring, for those who want a band that’s as divergently interesting as they are adept as dense hooks and bright melodies, Shady Bug have to be among the best. Built around Hannah Rainey’s incredible vocals and her deceptively shreddy guitar work, the entire band revolve around detached ideas, pushing their framework off its hinges and into new realms without notice, snapping right back into place with a dexterity and grace that few bands achieve. - DG || LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify

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SHANA CLEVELAND | “Night of the Worm Moon”

Hardly Art Records

La Luz’s Shana Cleveland (vocals, guitar) released Night of the Worm Moon, a new solo album in early April via Hardly Art. Exceptional title aside, the record is stunning, a delicate swirl of surf pop, cosmic folk, and what sounds like a Western flamenco influence in the guitar playing. Like the sun setting in the desert, there’s a chill in the otherwise hot air all around Cleveland’s lyrics and the song’s ominous acoustics. The melodies float with a cinematic quality, dangerous and beautiful, like a transmission lost in the dust, drifting in and out of focus. Cleveland is creating songs that both float and ramble through reserved arid soundscapes, her guitars accompanied by gently sweeping strings and her smooth comfort of a voice. - DG || LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify

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SHARKMUFFIN | “Gamma Gardening”

EIS Records

A wild voyage into outer-space, Sharkmuffin’s Gamma Gardening is best experienced in full, a concept record of sci-fi origins that happens to shred beyond Earthly imaginations. The Brooklyn trio have never sounded better, their sound laser focused as they tear through sonic oblivion with surfy charm and stampeding rhythmic force. While best known for reckless garage punk and glam-grunge, the band are dipping their toes everything throughout these eighteen minutes, from prog to psych inflected hardcore, and it all works to flesh the story of one space dominatrix and her genetically altered baby and the chaos that comes with it. - DG || LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify

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SHE KEEPS BEES | “Kinship”

Ba Da Bing Records

The always amazing She Keeps Bees returned with a new album, Kinship, and the record is amazing. The duo have been a favorite of ours since we first caught them back in 2010. 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 their new record, a concept album of sorts about the environment and natural spaces, is stunning and transportive. - DG || LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify

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SPIRITS HAVING FUN | “Auto-Portrait”

Ramp Local Records

We were introduced to Chicago’s Spirits Having Fun last Spring and were blown away by “Electricity Explorer” (which has since been re-released with a great music video). Having mentioned the band’s debut album would be released in the “not-too-distant future,” the day has come with Auto-Portrait out now via Ramp Local. The record is a jittery and chaotic piece of tangled art-pop, the kind of sound the band (which includes members of Tredici Bacci, Wei Zhongle, and Cowboy Band) do so damn well. Led by Katie McShane (guitar/vocals) and her visionary approach to deconstructed pop, Auto-Portrait sounds on the verge of collapse or collision at all times, the interwoven guitars and bass taking a funky tonality before diverging again and again, shifting at the speed the average person blinks. They keep it altogether throughout, a tight and dizzying bit of wonderment that’s sewn together with the left-field hooks in the unlikeliest of places. Sounds weird? It is, and we love it. - DG || LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify

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THELMA | “The Only Thing”

Self Released

Natasha Jacobs, better known as Thelma, has one of those incredible powerful and versatile voices, the kind you may associate with Tori Amos, Joanna Newsom, or even Angel Olsen. There’s a sense of control as her pitch swings between low and high, with cracks and gasps in between. There’s a theatrical sense to it all, an otherworldly assurance that anything is possible if you believe it enough. It’s been a rough time for Jacobs since the release of her debut due to several severe medical conditions, but Thelma returned with a new album, The Only Thing, sounding as dazzling as ever even as the make-up of the project has changed and strayed a bit from guitar focused music. The songs depend on artsy rhythmic pulses, sustained synths, and more than anything, Jacobs’ incredible vocal range. Her gentle shifts and warbling hooks create an epic sensibility that plinks and soars in a real majestic, orchestrated, glow. - DG || LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify

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THIS IS LORELEI | “The Dirt, The Dancing” + “The Mall, The Country”

Sooper Records

Brooklyn’s Nate Amos is one of those musical polymaths who is seemingly good at everything he tries. As a member of Water From Your Eyes, Thanks For Coming, Kolb, Anthony Freemont’s Garden Solutions, and beyond, his efforts have stretched across genres and temperaments with incredible results all along the way. This Is Lorelei is the best example of this, Amos’ long-running solo project where just about anything goes and everything can be explored (just take a stroll through their Bandcamp page). Keeping with his ever prolific streak, Sooper Records released The Mall, The Country and The Dirt, The Dancing, two new full length albums in March, as both individual records, and a limited edition double CD set. The compositions that make up these records are every bit as cinematic and brilliant as they are experimental and deconstructed, it’s a wild journey through sound and production that’s both refined and boisterous. - DG || LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify

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TIM PRESLEY’S WHITE FENCE | “I Have To Feed Larry’s Hawk”

Drag City Records

After a prolific streak of six records in a five year span, White Fence hasn’t been seen since 2014… but Tim Presley (the project’s sole creative force) has remained busy with a solo record under his own name and collaborations with Ty Segall as well as DRINKS (together with Cate Le Bon), both projects having released their excellent sophomore albums last year. He’s returned to White Fence again, this time as Tim Presley’s White Fence, releasing a new record, I Have To Feed Larry’s Hawk at the start of the year. His knack for lo-fi psych and swirls of garage pop remains exceptional, mixing programmed and live drums to form the backbone for melodic wandering, Presley’s vocal melodies retaining the human element as the guitars explore texture and space. - DG || LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify

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URANIUM CLUB | “The Cosmo Cleaners”

Static Shock Records

It’s a simple fact, life is better when there’s new Uranium Club to be heard. The Minneapolis band have become one of our favorites of the past few years, a sentiment that can be felt amongst almost all that have been acquainted with their music. The band, who have no social media, no website, no way to know if they’re ever going to tour (they did, it was glorious), have released two flawlessly frenzied records and a great live album, All Of Them Naturals standing as a modern post-punk classic. While the band’s sound takes from the pages of Devo and Dow Jones before them, there’s a greater sense of agitation in Uranium Club’s sound, and it’s those nervy eruptions that separate them from the pack. The Club’s latest album, The Cosmo Cleaners, takes the band in several new directions, from slow burning lackadaisical slacker punk twang to lengthy sprawling spoken word dialogue and unpredictable builds. For anyone thinking the band have taken a hard turn, patience is key, because as the band stretch structures, they also snap into jittery storms of shifting guitar lines and razor sharp rhythms, skittering with every jagged variation. Uranium Club are up to new tricks, but they sound as phenomenal as ever. - DG || LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify

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UROCHROMES | “Trope House”

Wharf Cat Records

Part of what makes a band exciting is that feeling when you never know exactly what comes next. In the years since Urochromes began in the basements of Western Mass, they’ve kept the formula shifting. Adopting new sounds into their erratic punk with touches of hardcore, electronic, no-wave, and sludge, Urochromes expanded their sonic capabilities beyond any expectations commonly reserved for a duo. Trope House, their full length debut via Wharf Cat Records, finds the band using the extended running time to dig deeper and stretch further than ever before into territories both strange and dare I say… accessible. If variety is the spice of life, than Trope House is one spicy album. The band play it weird and loose, bouncing around the walls as they close in around them. Their take on hardcore is delightfully unique and their album is necessity for anyone looking for outsider punk. - DG || LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify

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VINTAGE CROP | “Company Man”

Anti Fade / Drunken Sailor Records

Sometimes a new band comes along and leaves an immediate impression. Australia’s Vintage Crop leave an impression from the proper opening moment of the band’s “Company Man,” printer/copier machine sound not-standing. The band’s sarcastic and agitated garage punk / post-punk sound is similar to bands like Ausmuteants and Uranium Club, with the sarcasm and sharp wit fully in tact. Taking aim at the corporate wage slave and suit and tie capitalism, there’s a snide energy that ripples through their tightly wound tenacity, with dizzying riffs and a barrage of shifting hi-hat patterns that keep the groove while perpetuating the song’s jittery explosiveness. - DG || LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify

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YOUR OLD DROOG | “It Wasn’t Even Close”

Gogul Mogul Records

Brooklyn rapper Your Old Droog just released what could be one of the year’s best hip-hop albums, and he did it with little to no warning or press buzz. He’s been one of the more promising MCs for the past few years since his great second album Packs, shinning the light on the early 90’s focus on lyricism without the nonsense that runs rampant through today’s mainstream rap. The songs on his latest, It Wasn’t Even Close, rarely have hooks, and they’re better for it, Droog simply going in conceptually with each song, enough clever bars to create a classic. He’s honest about his place in the rap game as he’s laid low when the industry came calling but also reminds you on the opening rhyme “quiet as kept, I’m the best, but it’s like if you ain’t screaming it all the time, it ain’t true, there’s no depth.” The record is built on non-traditional beats (“Babushka,” “Funeral March (The Dirge)”) and dusty boom-bap perfection, each lending themselves to Droog’s fiery lyricism, rapping circles around the otherwise casual soundscapes, his poetic nature popping off the page in every track. - DG || LISTEN: Bandcamp | Spotify

Further Listening:

AMYL & THE SNIFFERS “Amyl & The Sniffers” | AVA LUNA “Pigments” | BEAK> “Life Goes On” | BIG THIEF “U.F.O.F.” | BLAZAR “Reach Out” | BUCK GOOTER “Finer Thorns” | CEREAL KILLER “The Beginning & End of Cereal Killer“ | CLINIC “Wheeltappers & Shunters” | CLUB NIGHT “What Life“ | COUGHY “Ocean Hug“ | THE CRADLE “The Glare of Success” | DARK TEA “Dark Tea” | DEHD “Water” | DELILUH “Oath of Intent“ | DJ MUGGS & MACH-HOMMY “Tuez-Les Tous” | DUMB “Club Nites” | ENDON “Boy Meets Girl” | GEMMA “Feeling’s Not A Tempo“ | GLAZER + SPOWDER “Split“ | GOLDEN PELICANS “Grinding For Gruel” | THE GOTOBEDS “Debt Begins at 30” | GREYS “Age Hasn’t Spoiled You“ | GRIM STREAKER “No Vision” | GRIZZLOR “Coolness Factor 6” | GUIDED BY VOICES “Warp & Woof” | HAND HABITS “Placeholder“ | HIEROPHANTS “Spitting Out Moonlight“ | HONEY RADAR “Ruby Puff of Dust” | J. ROBBINS “Un-Becoming” | JEANINES “Jeanines” | KALEIDOSCOPE “After The Futures…” | KEIJI HAINO & SUMAC “Even For Just The Briefest Moment…“ | LOW LIFE “Downer Edn” | LUNGBUTTER “Honey” | MEAT PUPPETS “Dusty Notes” | MIKE DONOVAN “Exurbian Quonset” | MUNYA “Blue Pine“ | NEGATIVE SPACE “Cruelty” | NOTS “3” | THE PORNOGRAPHY GLOWS “12 E.P.” | PROTRUDERS “Poison Future” | R.M.F.C. “Hive - Volumes 1 & 2” | SCRAP BRAIN “A Journey Into Madness” | SHELLAC “The End of Radio” | TAIWAN HOUSING PROJECT “Sub-Language Trustee” | THOM YORKE “Anima” | TØRSÖ “Build and Break” | TREDICI BACCI “La Fine Del Futuro” | TROPICAL TRASH “Southern Indiana Drone Footage” | TUNIC “Complexion” | USA NAILS “Life Cinema“ | VANISHING TWIN “The Age Of Immunology“ | WAND “Laughing Matter” | YOUR OLD DROOG “Transportation” | ZULA “Stepping“