OK yeah, that name is weird, let’s move on together, shall we? Alpha Male Tea Party are another stroke in the fast expanding painting that is the “bright” math-rock community, once spearheaded by acts like Adebisi Shank and And So I Watch You From Afar and now containing as diverse acts as VASA or MNHM. The joining thread seems to be first a musical and, second, a geographical one. As far as the music goes, one can expect major chords played over energetic beats, creating frantic excursions into disjointedly optimistic riffs and an overall sensation of…satisfied loss? Let’s go with that. Geographically, the main output in this field seems to erupt from the British Isles, Perfidious Albion, or however else you’d like to call that strange, strange group of disparate places.
Mannheim, Germany (while an important industrial center) is not somewhere you’d expect to be given the “chic lettering” treatment but here we are. MNHM (who are not, in fact, from Mannheim) play a weird blend of math rock and post metal, perhaps somewhat hinting at the industrial prowess of their namesake. Their sound manages to be both bright and oppressive at the same time and, while their previous release featured plenty of progressive wheeling and dealing, Of Empires Past wastes no time on subtlety or too much nuance. Instead, the album leans heavily on its musical haunches, continuously battering the listener with its chromatic (in the aesthetic sense) styling. As a last effort to convey the sensation before we jump into the thick of it, imagine being pummeled over the head by And So I Watch You From Afar’s All Hail Bright Futures. Repeatedly. For about forty minutes. OK, now we’re ready to get started.
Though it may seem like we talked ad naseum about how fucking spectacular 2016 was in terms of new music, the fact remains that we saw more fantastic albums drop than we could seemingly keep up with. But just when we thought our palates were satiated, here comes 2017 with an excellent early roster of release announcements, some we’ve expected for a while and others that came out of nowhere. The following is a surely incomplete list of all the albums worth craving as we ring in the new year. Some of these albums have been fully announced with pre-order links and all that jazz, while others are merely probable assumptions based on various updates on social media. Regardless, these are all phenomenal projects worth looking for in the coming year. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and we encourage you to comment with some albums you’re anticipating so we can share in your excitement.