Editor’s Note: Do you think we “missed” an album this week? Click here.
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!
Naia Izumi – A Residency in the Los Angeles Area (math rock, neo-soul)
Math rock is a genre that’s been pretty exhausted and stretched to its limits of possibilities. It’s had various waves, branches and converging influences over the years, such as emo, post-rock, noise rock, and jazz, but even these often feel well tread. In other words, it’s not so often we see a truly unique sound stand out in the genre these days.
If you’ve been in the know, you may have heard of the name Naia Izumi from over the years. The street-performer turned NPR Tiny Desk star has been turning heads since their debut EP back in 2016, Soft Spoken Woman, but has finally returned with their debut full-length, the aptly titled A Residency in the Los Angeles Area.
From the three singles released so far, the new LP shows them continuing their blend of groovy soul with virtuosic math rock. Everything about this is just smooth. The dazzling guitar solos, funky riffs and percussion and Naia’s powerful voice. “Natural Disaster” has some extremely fun rhythmic parts and an ear-worm of a chorus. Where “Six Inch Stilletos” brings a bit of a smokier lounge-pop vibe, yet the math rock is still present in the guitar playing. Some truly fresh stuff; Naia Izumi deserves to blow the hell up, in not only the math rock scene, but the greater music scene in general.