It doesn’t feel like five minutes ago since our last quarterly feature.
Naturally in the sphere of new music, there has been the usual goings on. Away from flooded inboxes and scattergun requests, there has been some festival activity, too – namely Primavera and Supersonic, which were both fantastic experiences and the first glimpses of feeling our way through a post-lockdown world.
There’s been so much more that, honestly, I can’t even remember. Over two years since the website’s existence, it’s all beginning to feel like a blur.
Which brings us to our latest quarterly. Over the last three months, we’ve found it a little more difficult in finding the gems. It’s been sparse and, at times, slim pickings. We dig deep enough, though, and eventually we’ve settled on the below releases that we hope will keep you occupied over the weekend and beyond.
Stay tuned, as we’ve got some exciting things planned for the last three months of 2022.
Without further ado…
The Mountain Goats: Bleed Out
John Darnielle and Co. continue to release new music at a rapid pace with their fourth record in three years in Bleed Out. The Mountain Goats and driving music haven’t really gone hand in hand, until now.
Produced by Bully’s Alicia Bognanno, Bleed Out was said to be inspired by action films of the ’60s through to the ’80s, and alongside Bognanno’s alt-rock background, her fingerprints are all over these recordings.
With catchy riffs, beautiful acoustic passages and arena-rock like drum fills, The Mountain Goats have made one of their most user-friendly albums yet. It may come as a surprise to fans of their earlier works, but to those smitten with their most recent output, the upward trajectory continues with Bleed Out.
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith: Let’s Turn It Into Sound
Los Angles-based producer, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, has never been one to constantly inhabit one single sound world.
On her latest LP, Let’s Turn It Into Sound, Aurelia Smith is inspired by warped video game psychedelia, and melding these sounds together with bursts of jazz and fizzy slabs of synth, what we have here is a futuristic pop record tailor-made for the summer.
It’s the kind of album for someone escaping the clutches of a cult-like hippie commune. Their gateway to some form of normality being Let’s Turn It Into Sound. It’s an album that captures the uncertainty of these times, pitting anxiety against fun. And the results are great.
The Brian Jonestown Massacre: Fire Doesn’t Grow on Trees
Neo–psych veterans, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, have been quietly going about their business for a good five years now, churning out solid records in a back-to-basics approach.
And it continues on the brilliantly titled Fire Doesn’t Grow on Trees, as Anton Newcombe and Co. skirt across similar terrains which made The Brian Jonestown Massacre (2019) and Something Else (2018) such delightful propositions to the ear.
Trying to list your favourite BJM record is something akin to torture. Each record containing some of our favourite BJM songs (in this case Silenced), Fire Doesn’t Grow on Trees is what we’ve come to expect from a band who have left a positive mark on everyone who has engaged in their music over the years. And here we have another fine chapter indeed.
Following last year’s brilliant debut LP, Beseech Me, Melbourne punk agitators, CLAAM (Jack Summers, Maisie Everett and Miles Harding) make it a short turnaround with their follow-up, Care.
This time things are more refined. Less shambolic and more concise with their ideas, CLAMM take the sci-fi-inspired Total Control-eque post-punk and meld it together with nihilistic chug reminiscent of Brisbane degenerates, Slug Guts. The end result is a band delivering a sprawling range of noise with Saints-like spirit.
Definitely one for outsiders and fuck-ups alike, Care sees CLAAM continuing to push the envelope in what is yet another fine punk release from the land down under.
Deathcrash have been around for a while now, and earlier this year they almost passed us by with their latest release, Return: the band’s second full-length offering.
The London outfit channel their inner-Codeine/Slint homage in the best way possible, simply by making good tunes and Return contains a fistful of them.
Return sees Deathcrash combing the darker worlds of slowcore and post-hardcore. Not a facet many U.K. bands these days are willing to explore. It’s to Deathcrash’s advantage, however, and while it may be pastiche, when songs are this good, who really cares?
Dama Scout: gen wo lai (come with me)
Hand In Hive
London-based three-piece Dama Scout – Eva Liu, Luciano Rossi (Idlewild) and Danny Grant – arrive with their debut full-length LP, gen wo lai (come with me). An album bursting with abstract dream-pop from another world.
With themes not limited to cultural displacement and alienation, Dama Scout create a sonic atmosphere unlike their peers. Think Autolux reversed engineered and you may be in the same orbit.
Like they always have, Dama Scout undertake the production and mixing duties themselves, and with gen wo lai (come with me), they offer us the kind of album that has us wanting more. It’s a release with a lot of interesting ideas, to the point where we can’t wait to see what they do next.
Purchase from Bandcamp
The Doomed Bird of Providence: A Flight Across Arnhem Land
10 To 1 Records
Mark Kluzek is one fine storyteller. The Australian artist (now based in the U.K.) leads The Doomed Bird of Providence, as the band returns with their fourth album, A Flight Across Arnhem Land.
Inspired by stories extracted from Australian newspapers during the great depression, Kluzek illuminates themes not limited to missing airplanes and cold case murders. Sonically, A Flight Across Arnhem Land is exquisite, with banjo, ukulele, melodica and a vast array of other string and brass passing off the kind of vibe A Hawk and A Hacksaw mastered during the early ’00s.
Bursting with locality, A Flight Across Arnhem Land is a beautiful journey in what is one of the great new finds in 2022.
Editrix: Editrix II: Editrix Goes to Hell
Exploding In Sound
Editrix dropped on our radar last year with their sweltering debut album, Tell Me I’m Bad.
With wild time signatures and rhythms that hit you square in the solar plexus, the Easthampton three-piece waste no time in following up Tell Me I’m Bad with Editrix II: Editrix Goes to Hell.
Humorous in title, which doesn’t stray far from their noise-rock roots, Editrix dials it down a bit here, with the math-y prog incursions sounding like Deerhoof having a backyard jam with Battles. No bad thing, of course, for Editrix II: Editrix Goes to Hell sees Wendy Eisenberg tackling the same weighty subjects that made Tell Me I’m Bad such an enticing listen. The same applies here with a record that gets stronger with each listen.
Ex-Vöid: Bigger Than Before
Don Giovanni Records
While many would consider pop-punk a dirty term, when it’s done right all concerns can be put to one side. Enter London’s Ex-Vöid, who with their debut LP, Bigger Than Before, make the kind of ditties that simply hit the spot.
With weighty hooks and catchy melodies, Ex-Vöid capture that similar vibe to early The Joy Formidable. Yes, Ex-Vöid make music for road trips, and it’s great.
In and out in under 25 minutes, Bigger Than Before is the sugar rush we all need. That’s not a euphuism for disposability, however. Bigger Than Before is a strong start from Ex-Vöid, and we can’t wait to see what they have in-store for us next.
Dan Friel: Factoryland
Upper Winds’ Dan Friel has been making solo records for a good decade now, and he doesn’t let us down with his latest, Factoryland.
With video game debris falling from an array of bespoke gadgets, Friel creates the kind of electro psych that isn’t a world away from Thrill Jockey stable mate, Kid Millions (also of the great Oneida). Here though, Friel’s sounds are a little easier on the ear, and even anthemic at times (Rust Clouds).
Factoryland is grower and will make more sense with time. That’s something not a lot of people have these days, but persistence will bring rewards and with a record like this, it’s worth it.
Friendship: Love the Stranger
Making the jump from Ordinal Records to indie heavyweights, Merge Records, Philadelphian four-piece, Friendship return with their third record and finest yet in Love the Stranger.
Friendship write the kind of songs that jump out of the speakers and into your living room. Their subjects, modest, real and just damn good. While the David Berman comparisons will be hard to shake, who really cares when songs are this good?
Philadelphia has been home to some great bands of late (see Golden Apples), and while they have been around for several years now, Friendship really turn up the heat on Love the Stranger. The kind of record that is the comfort blanket we all need in our lives.
Anne Garner: Dear Unknown
Anne Garner makes wistful music. 2018’s Lost Play was the kind of record that had devastating effects, with very few artists possessing the emotional intensity Garner committed to tape on her landmark record.
And Dear Unknown follows in much the same vein. At times. Here, Garner gives us some hope (This is Freedom), but on a bed of exquisite synths and spacious arrangements, this is an album to simply get lost in.
Garner’s music sits somewhere in between the lonely orbits. Music for the outlier, essentially. Someone creating weighty emotional songs for themselves before anyone else; like there’s no other choice but to, and again with Dear Unknown, Garner has produced the kind of the record that we should all hold close to our hearts.
Gwilym Gold: Blue Garden
London-based artist, Gwilym Gold, has steadily remained in the conscious of many over the past decade, releasing the kind of earworms that are slightly off-kilter, yet possess the kind of strength to remain etched to the mind.
Blue Garden is an elusively gorgeous offering and perhaps Gold’s finest yet, with a series of gentle piano-based compositions that James Blake fans should be getting excited for.
This is an album that is oddly cinematic, with the kind rich textures Wild Beasts devotees have yearned for since the band called it time. Perhaps Gold is filling the void here? Whichever the case, Blue Garden is certainly a record to spend some time with.
Hell On Hearth: Seventy
Hell On Hearth is the brainchild of Sean Wars also of Liverpool noise agitators, Bodies on Everest.
Having released 70 albums in the last twelve months (yes, your eyes aren’t deceiving you), we thought we’d handpick number 70 (they’ve not been released in order). This is music purely inspired by black pits. And Seventy is quite the place to start.
Slightly less abrasive and sinister in comparison with some of the other Hell On Hearth releases, here we see the kind of dungeon drone that Labradford touched upon during their reign. Punk, you ask? Most certainly, and for those yet to commence this journey, start here. Those familiar? Well, we await the next 70 releases in due course.
Julia Jacklin: PRE PLEASURE
Transgressive Records Ltd
Over the past six years, Australian songstress Julia Jacklin has warmed hearts with the kind of stories that light up hallways. Mundane anecdotes that the likes of Jacklin can turn into something cataclysmic.
And it continues on her third record, PRE PLEASURE – an album which sees Jacklin growing both as a person and songwriter. The subjects she tackles are more weighty (religion – Lydia Wears a Cross, porn – Moviegoer, fatalism – Be Careful With Yourself), which gives these songs even more of a sense of reality.
The majority of the bedroom pop tropes in this space have rendered art that, quite frankly, is disposable and soulless. The sort of songs that lack any panache whatsoever. Not Julia Jacklin, who stands well above her peers and PRE PLEASURE is further proof of that.
Kamikaze Palm Tree: Mint Chip
Los Angeles’ duo, Kamikaze Palm Tree, have spent the last couple of years making slacker ditties that are about as fractured as my relationship with social media.
On Mint Chip (their debut for Chicago favourites, Drag City), Kamikaze Palm Tree channel their inner Captain Beefheart in something that totally fits the bill for all the weirdoes and outliers out there. In a strange sort of way, Mint Chip highlights 2022 as we live and breathe.
This is a band who don’t much care for adoration or success. A good fit with Drag City, really, nestling in-between fellow Californians, Wand, and everyone’s favourite scuzzers, No Age.
Jamal Moss: Thanks 4 the Tracks U Lost
After releasing a host of fine beats under his Hieroglyphic Being moniker over the past couple of years, U.K. label Modern Love bottle it up by releasing Thanks 4 the Tracks U Lost under Jamal Moss’ own name.
Thanks 4 the Tracks U Lost showcases all the finest parts of Moss’ mind-bending endeavours, with the kind of range that is largely unmatched, as the producer melds together groovy house bangers with a sheen of Kompakt-inspired tech-ambience.
Keeping up with Moss’ deluge of new music is a full time job in itself, however for those who don’t have the time to muddle through the crates, Thanks 4 the Tracks U Lost is a great taster and a gateway into his futuristic world. A world you’ll never want to leave.
Cass McCombs: Heartmind
Cass McCombs has always been about the vibe. Never one to take himself too seriously (this is an artist who once questioned what it would be like to take a shit in space), there’s more humour on his latest offering, Heartmind.
Here, McCombs strips things back from his previous, and arguably finest two records, Tip of Sphere and Mangy Love, with something delightfully immediate to the ear. The humour is here as well, taking the piss out of Elon Musk as he floats in his bullion (Music is Blue).
In many ways, Heartmind feels like the quintessential lockdown record. Breezy, bluesy and subtly bold, Cass McCombs is having fun and, suffice to say, it’s yet another record that is essential in the troubadour’s fine body of work.
Municipal Waste: Electrified Brain
Richmond, Virginia’s Municipal Waste return with their first album in five years, Electrified Brain.
The thrash crossover veterans make the kind of music that fills the void. Those moments when you’re unsure of what to listen to? Municipal Waste are the band to provide that circuit breaker.
With the kind of anthemic riffs that lift you off your chair in the pub only to submit to air-soloing, on Electrified Brain Municipal Waste deliver a no nonsense record. There’s no reinvention of the wheel here, but there’s no need. The tunes speak for themselves. Press play and turn it up.
The Orchids: Dreaming Kind
Once dubbed “the best Scottish pop band since Orange Juice”, The Orchids make a timely return with their first album in eight years.
Dreaming Kind is what you’d expect from the Sarah Records stalwarts. Taking a few listens to really sink into the bones, Dreaming Kind possesses the kind of swirling lustre and heartfelt songwriting that made us fall in love with The Orchids in the first place.
While it The Orchids have never veered far from their original sound template, 2022 is all the better for their inclusion in the new music sphere. And Dreaming Kind is yet another vital addition to their gorgeous body of work.
Osees: A Foul Form
The Osees return with not only a new moniker (surprise, surprise), but with their latest LP, A Foul Form.
This time around, John Dwyer and Co. dial down the psychedelic speed-rock in favour of pure garage punk homage. It suits them, too, with short bursts of rage and noise that will get their already fervent fan base stirring up the circle pit with a new marinade.
Osees have always been capable of making a record like this, and it was only a matter of time before they did. We know by now that Osees don’t do filler and A Foul Form doesn’t change the fact. Yet another release to be filed under ‘must listen’.
Sam Prekop & John McEntire: Sons Of
The Sea and Cake’s Sam Prekop and John McEntire have spent years constantly immersed in their own creative worlds; the former making easy-on-ear electro for years; the latter, a vital cog in the machine that is Tortoise, and also been an fairy dust provider for the likes Yo La Tengo, Broken Social Scene, U.S. Maple and many more.
Together they bring us their latest collaboration, Sons Of. Nimble and direct, these four compositions take on the ethereal aesthetic Prekop has explored throughout his solo endeavours. With the help McEntire, it’s shored up into something that transports us to other worlds.
Sons Of is the kind of record that’s difficult to pin down. Inspired by krautrock and techno, it doesn’t really sound like either. Prekop and McEntire have always been elusive purveyors in experimentalism, and here they’ve carved out their own slice of heaven.
The Real Codington Factory: Nickel World
Cruel Nature Records
New York’s The Real Codington Factory was formed in 2019 by Shea Glasheen (also of Sabbath-like scuzzers, Cronies). No pissing about, Glasheen has rapidly dispensed 14 records in three years, with the latest, Nickel World, the latest erotic charge of noise.
Recording earlier this year in rural Pennsylvania, Nickel World is like an all in brawl between the Osees and Lighting Bolt, as Buzz Osbourne and Co. occupy the other end of the bar, watching the chaos unfold.
In and out in under 20 minutes, with highlights including the withering title track and Don’t Trust the Slugs, this is the kind of snatch and grab record all the noise-rock heads need in their diet.
Ty Segall: “Hello, Hi”
Another year, another Ty Segall record. Not quite Osees behaviour, but Segall has remained a constant over the course of the last two decades, regularly churning out scuzzer anthems for the kids.
For the most part on “Hello, Hi”, the ’00s veteran dials it down, feeling the warmth of the campfire flames. It’s a place where Segall has thrived too, most notably with the 2013 outing, Sleeper.
While some may favour his more direct approach instead of the pastoral meanderings of “Hello, Hi”, it’s always nice for us of the older vintage when Segall grabs the acoustic, as he does it so well. With “Hello, Hi”, he’s delivered another one of those records that we will keep going back to.
Steven R. Smith: Spring
Steven R. Smith has been making splendid guitar music for years now, and it doesn’t change on his latest offering, Spring.
The Los Angeles-based artist offers an array of subtle tones and gentle reverb in what is the kind of record that just washes over you. With the track, Mountains of the Moon, you might not get a better instrumental guitar-based composition all year. It’s just magic committed to tape.
Spring is yet another great album from an artist who has produced many. Growing stronger with each listen, it may even be his finest yet. William Tyler fans might want to get a hold of this sooner rather than later.
Yet another band impossible to Google, Los Angeles’ Spice return with their second album, Viv, which follows their 2020 self-titled debut.
Self-professed ‘damaged anthems’ (“I don’t dream about you anymore” – Threnody), things on Viv grow darker with each song, and backed with neat hooks and a punchy rhythm section, Spice have produced an album that comes on strong.
Operating within the same capsule as Dilly Dally and Mannequin Pussy, Spice may never never change the world. On the flipside, however, they are a necessary go-to for all the heads, creating the kind of sound waves that hit in the right places. With Viv, Spice capture the kind of scenarios that we can all relate to, and this alone is why you should give this band your time.
((((..)))): Swan Loch
Yet another Google dodger, Edinburgh’s ((((..)))) continues the esoteric nature of the Edinburgh label, PX4M, with their EP, Swan Loch.
While this is an EP (so sue us), it’s a worthy addition to the latest quarterly, with a series fractured folk eeriness and bourgeoning instrumentation that echoes the Swans’ The Seer.
Seemingly a soundtrack to a B-grade horror film, Swan Loch is one of those releases that may just get you out of that unwelcomed strange mental disposition. Yeah, we all get bent out of shape from time to time and ((((..))))’s Swan Loch may just be the anecdote to some normality.
Eli Winter: Eli Winter
Three Lobed Recordings
The Chicago-based experimentalist has always presented the blues from a slightly different angle, and on his latest self-titled record Eli Winter may have released his finest yet.
With cameos from Yasmin Williams, David Grubbs and Riley Walker, Winter creates something purely majestic. It’s the kind of hypnotic record conceived from lonely places, including the kind of nimble percussion inspired by Jim White (No Fear).
A record like is hard to capture with few words, so we won’t continue trying. Eli Winter has created something that will cross-pollinate between listeners. Blues, country, metal, folk, whatever your poison may be, there’s little doubt you will find something truly gratifying in Eli Winter.