Editor’s Note: Longtime reader Remi VL is a regular guest contributor to our Release Day Roundup posts! He submitted several of the albums listed below. Join his Facebook group for more recommendations.
Each month, we always seem to come to the same conclusion when it comes to our Editors’ Picks column: Friday release days open the floodgates and unleash a seemingly endless stream of quality new music. But while some of our Editors and Contributors sit down gleefully each week to dive into this newly stocked treasure trove, others find themselves drawing a blank at the end of the month due to the breakneck pace needed to keep up to date with what’s been released. Which brings us to this Heavy Blog PSA: a weekly roundup of new albums which pares down the week’s releases to only our highest recommendations. Here you’ll find full album/single streams, pre-order links and, most importantly, a collection of albums that could very well earn a spot on your year-end list. Enjoy!
Annakarina – Always Moving Forward (screamo)
This week I’m going to take advantage of the relative lack of heavy hitters on our release day to highlight a new two-track EP from the Pennsylvania-based screamo/emo group Annakarina. A bit uncharacteristic for the genre, the two tracks average at over 6-minutes in length, and feel even longer than that with how much they fit into them. Comprised of members of Short Fictions, Scratchy Blanket, Coma Regalia, and newer heavyweights in the scene Shin Guard, Annakarina’s sound reflects their diversely talented background. They bring a unique approach to the genre that finds a healthy dose of midwest-emo and math/post rock sprinkled into their dynamic, emotionally charged delivery that’s approachable yet eclectic.
Biggest Surprise From Last Week: Caelestra – Black Widow Nebula (progressive black metal, melodic black metal)
Grayceon – Mothers Weavers Vultures (prog rock, sludge metal)
Every year, there’s always that last minute release that comes out right after I finalize my top list and share it everywhere to just mess all that work up! Grayceon have been at the back of my mind as being that release this year. Two thirds of the band were in Giant Squid, who may be gone, but Grayceon continue releasing album after album of proggy, sludgey, weird and adventurous, forward thinking metal. Nothing really sounds like them. It doesn’t always work, but when it does, it’s amazing! Is this going to be their “The Ichthyologist”? Do they even want people to compare the two bands? Do they care as long as it’s good? I’ll probably be revising my list at least one more time this year…
Last Week’s Biggest Surprise: Daydream – Mystic Operative (garage punk, hardcore punk)
Mendel – Neoblivion (tech death)
I was going to say it takes a lot for instrumental music to keep my attention, but all you really need is big chugs and some sweet melodies, which Mendel has spades. The ex-Aborted guitarist’s fifth full-length outing is yet another outstanding melodic shred record to add to his collection, perfect for when you need something a bit more relaxed but still with that extra bit of technical bite.
Tycho – Weather Remixes (downtempo, chillwave)
It might seem odd to choose a remix album as a top pick, but the herd of new releases is thinning out at this point in the year. Plus, Tycho rules. Scott Hansen has been blurring the lines between chillwave, downtempo, and ambient for years, frequently leveraging a post-rock palette to help bring this combo home. Weather (2019) was another good example of this style in action, and the artists Hansen taps to reinterpret the album actually elevate the track list quite a bit. The results are a bit more danceable and eclectic while keeping the Tycho brand intact.
Favorite Discovery From Last Week: Moor Mother & billy woods – BRASS (abstract hip-hop, spoken word)