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!
Liar Thief Bandit – Deadlights (punk rock, rock ’n’ roll)
Do you like The Hellacopters? Yes? Their earlier stuff? Yes? Check out Liar Thief Bandit’s new album, Deadlights! *pats self on back* My work here is done!
Ok… I guess I could expand on this a bit…
Releasing their third album in four years, this Swedish power trio have been worshipping at the altar of the all-mighty riff and are making a case with Deadlights as one of the best doing it. I haven’t heard the whole album yet, but tracks like “Good Enough” (which is near my single of the year at this point) have the legacy of Swedish rock ’n’ roll oozing out of every dirty riff and anthemic sing along choruses!
Sweden has consistently exported the best rock ’n’ roll over the past 25 years, from The Hellacopters and The Hives in the late ’90s to more recent rockers like Dead Lord and Grande Royale, and that’s without even looking over at the more stoner/psych side of things. If any of this appeals to you, LTB is likely to be your favourite rock n roll record this year.
Morokh – All the Darkness Looks Alive (progressive black metal, blackened hardcore)
I don’t listen to black metal that often, but when I do I like it to be either pretty proggy or really riffy—preferably both. Thankfully, Moscow’s Morokh have got me covered, blending some slightly proggy black metal textures with some killer blackened hardcore. Fans of that Portrayal of Guilt album from earlier this year who wished they’d lean into the black metal stuff a bit more would do well to check this out.
See also: The Bleeding – Rise into Nothing; This “EP” is essentially a glorified single, containing a solitary new track along with some rerecords, demos and live racks. But what a song! “Rise into Nothing” which also features guest vocals from James McBain (AKA Hellripper) is one of the best things I’ve heard all year. A whole album of this please!
St. Vincent – Daddy’s Home (art rock, indie rock
Exploring the albums preceding and following St. Vincent’s excellent self-titled album demonstrates the degree to which Annie Clark has tinkered with her brand of art rock and pop. Marry Me (2007) and Actor (2009) fit squarely in chamber pop and singer/songwriter camps, Strange Mercy (2011) saw her embrace her experimental tendencies, and St. Vincent (2014) was creative masterpiece that sounded like Talking Heads in the 21st century.
Masseduction (2017) proved polarizing for its stark reversal into pop palettes, specifically the album’s more mainstream elements informed by producer Jack Antonoff (Bleachers, fun.) and his background writing for artists like Taylor Swift, Lorde, and Lana Del Rey. Personally, I loved the new direction, both because of the songs themselves but also the prospect of Clakr turning St. Vincent into a shapeshifting, Bowie-esque project.
Based on the lead singles, that trend continues on Daddy’s Home. Opener “Pay Your Way In Pain” sounds like a funky, ’70s Bowie track, while “The Melting of the Sun” offers a psychedelic daydream that fits its title. Admittedly, St. Vincent remains my favorite of her records, and I hope someday she takes a cue from Bowie’s swan song Blackstar and returns to her more experimental songwriting. But as long as she continues writing the kind artsy, guitar-driven rock and pop I’ve come to love, I don’t really are what broader genre umbrellas her releases fall under.
Last Week’s Best Album: Voronoi – The Last Three Seconds (prog fusion)