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!
Dale Crover – Rat-A-Tat-Tat! (sludge, experimental rock)
Who knows where to even begin with Dale Crover. He’s influenced all your favorite drummers from the last 30 years. Mevins. Fantomas. Altamont. Some time with Nivana? Sure!His first official solo album, The Fickle Finger of Fate, was a couple dozen tracks of… well… everything. It’s all over the place. The Melvins also put out a trio of “solo” albums for each band member in the early 90s, and Dale’s was the best one.So, he’s back with another one! The handful of tracks out till now don’t shy away from the Melvins experimenting, but they’re a bit more rock n roll/indie, than sludge/doom. Let’s see where this one goes!
Last Week’s Surprise: Glass Kites – Glass Kites II (prog rock)
Gatecreeper – An Unexpected Reality (crossover, death-doom)
Before now, Gatecreeper were one of those “boomer death” buzz bands I had no real interest in. On the basis of this surprise-released EP, however, they’ve rocketed to the top of my “bands to watch” list.
“Side A” sounds like a continuation of Black Breath’s Slaves Beyond Death (2015), with a bit more of the hardcore brought back in, which is exactly what the doctor ordered, while “Side B” is one of those big long doom songs that are becoming more and more trendy in hardcore, even if “funeral-core” pioneers Xibalba are the only ones to have really gotten a handle on the style so far.
I’d still like to see hardcore bands integrating the doom sound across an entire album more, rather than just tacking it onto the end of otherwise doomless releases all the time. But given that “Emptiness” is almost twice the length of everything else on An Unexpected Reality put together I’ll let them get away with it — especially when they do it so damn well.
Robohands – Shapes (jazz-funk, nu-jazz)
Back in the days when I was a teenager/Before I had status and before I had a pager/You could find the Abstract listening to hip-hop/My pops used to say, it reminded him of be-bop/I said, well daddy don’t you know that things go in cycles/The way that Bobby Brown is just ampin’ like Michael
Not only is Q-Tip’s opening on “Excursions” an all-time great verse, it was both a historical and prophetic look at the relationship between hip-hop and jazz. Early producers leaned heavily on jazz samples, and it’s hardly a stretch to tie rap to jazz poets like Gil Scott-Heron. In turn, the evolution and growing popularity of hip-hop has informed a new generation of jazz musicians like Robohands, who maintain the spirit of jazz with added flavor from the world of hip-hop production. The initial singles from Shapes offer the exact kind of smooth percussion and grooves I love from this movement, and I’m stoked to give the full album a listen.
Last Week’s Best Discovery: Sithu Aye – Senpai III (prog fusion, nu-prog)