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!
Angelus Apatrida – Angelus Apatrida (thrash metal)
This marks the first time I’m recommending an album as my top pick without already having heard it in full. Not that there’s anything to worry about, if the singles from the Spanish thrashers’ self-titled seventh record are anything to go by. “Indoctrinate” is the best new thrash song I’ve heard all year; it speeds up and slows down at exactly the right moments, the riffs are sharp, the rhythms killer, the vocals anthemic and the video a celebration of diversity and acceptance form one of metals more conservative and restrictive subgenres. These guys never disappoint and, almost two decades into their career, they remain at the top of their game.
Black Country, New Road – For the First Time (post-punk, experimental rock)
For the First Time was positioned to impress me from the start. Ensemble post-punk with distinctly British vocals? Yes please. With the addition of a dedicated saxophonist and violinist, the initial singles from Black Country, New Road’s debut convey a much broader, richer sound than your typical post-punk fare, often broaching into post-rock territory. This comparison might be a reach based on just the singles, but I’m getting The National-meets-GY!BE vibes right now. That has me incredibly stoked to hear the album in full.
Last Week’s Best Discovery: The Sonder Bombs – Clothbound (emo, power pop)
Dark Time Sunshine – Lore (abstract hip-hop)
Among the first standout hip-hop releases so far this year, Dark Time Sunshine’s return to the world of abstract hip-hop is a welcome one. Their first release since their breakout 2012 release ANX, Lore sees the Seattle duo pick up right where they left off. Creative, lush, almost Boards of Canada-likesynth tones are again at the forefront of the Zavala’s production, which blend elegantly with Onry’s smooth vocal lines and savvy lyricism. Boasting impressive guest features from the likes of R.A.P. Ferreira (fka milo) and Aesop Rock, Lore is my recommended listen this week for fans of hip-hop looking for something less-aggressive and approachable, yet still pushing the edges of the genre.
Last Week’s Biggest Surprise: Lilly Legit – Rubicon (nu-jazz, electronic)
Heave Blood & Die – Post People (post-rock, post-metal)
The shift in Heave Blood & Die’s sound has been interesting to hear with every release. Their self-titled first album was a sludge-filled post-metal mess of noise and aggression. Unsubtle, but it didn’t want to be. The change on their second album, aptly titled Vol. II, was immediately noticeable, with the addition of Marie Sofie on keys. The songs play around with mood a bit more, and her keys do what synths do best on this kind of music, fill in all the cracks and expand the wall of noise feel. That being said, it did feel like maybe a lot of the songs were written before she showed up and she simply layered them on top.
With 3 of the 8 tacks from Post-People available to stream, the change now is even more drastic. They rarely get as heavy as they used to, but the intensity is still there. The keys now feel like they were part of the creative process, sometimes taking lead on the song, and the songs play around with dynamics a lot more. “The Metropolitan Jam” is almost danceable. The title track fees like a progressive shoegaze song. There just seems to be a lot more happening with the band growing in skill and confidence as songwriters.
I won’t be sad if there’s a few ragers on the rest of the album, but I’m also just very curious to see what else they’ll bring to the table. Vol. II really brought the band to my attention, but I found the album mildly lacking after a few plays. Solid, but not standout. I believe this may be the one to break them to a wider audience, at least for all those into the “post/prog” thing.