Japanese avant-metal experimenters. Australian boogie monsters. California psyche-rock heroes. Carolina indie-punk upstarts. Canadian and British pop-rockers. A pair of odd couplings. Some star-studded remixes. And a truly magic comeback. These are your plays from a surprisingly eclectic week:
THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “The legendary Boris celebrate a 30-year career as one of experimental music’s most forward-thinking, heavy, and innovative bands with the new album Heavy Rocks. Continuing their series of Heavy Rocks records, Boris once again channels the classic proto-metal sounds of the ’70s into something all new. The album, 10 pulse-pounding tracks, highlight the very trajectory of Boris and their storied career — from the driving, fuzzed out rock opener She is Burning, to the punk, raucous My Name is Blank, Boris are heavier than ever before. Question 1 is just kickass — D-beats give way to a doomed, spaced out and heavier-than-anything guitar wailing and feedback, before diving back into their metal, sending the listener into a complete frenzy. This is unmistakably Boris, and this is the band at the height of their powers. Elsewhere on the record, a more daring, “out there” side of the band begins to shine on tracks such as the aptly titled Blah Blah Blah, the industrial Ghostly Imagination and the truly wild Nosferatou. Noisy passages (not unlike prior collaborations with legendary artists like Merzbow,) collide with visceral vocal howls while a relentless, almost Zornian-saxophone shreds harder than any guitar solo ever could. In 2022, Boris cement what heavy rock means to them, and release one of their most captivating records to date.”
The Fantasy Of Reality
THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “After playing guitar, lap steel and vocals with the legendary Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band, appearing on the ground-breaking album Trout Mask Replica (under the pseudonym Antennae Jimmy Semens), as well as playing on Strictly Personal and Mirror Man, Jeff Cotton withdrew from the commercial music business for nearly 50 years. Using the island state of Hawaii as a home base, he emerges from his seclusion in 2022 with his first solo album The Fantasy of Reality. Whimsical, playful and tongue-in-cheek, Cotton delivers a psychedelic journey that will delight Beefheart devotees while bringing plenty of new ideas to the table across the sprawling 22 track, 66-minute runtime. Trout Mask Replica cover designer Cal Schenkel collaborates once again as he returns to contribute to the internal artwork of the album to continue the canon into the 2020s.”
Danger Mouse & Black Thought
THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Finally putting an end to years of swirling rumors and speculation, the collaboration is now official: Danger Mouse & Black Thought bring us their debut album Cheat Codes. The natural chemistry between Brian Burton (Danger Mouse) and Tariq Trotter (Black Thought) comes through in the ease with which the artist and listener move through this album. Moreover, it’s an album untethered to any genre, era or trend — uncategorizeable and timeless. It is the sound of the pair observing their own culture and asking questions they still may not have the answers to. Burton (aka one half of Gnarls Barkley, Broken Bells, and Karen O & Danger Mouse — and universally regarded as the most versatile producer in modern music) has found a formidable new partner in incomparably prolific Tariq Trotter (rapper, MC & co-founder of The Roots, film and theater actor, producer, writer and one of the best lyricists in hip-hop history.”
THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “West Australian boogie masters Datura4 return with their highly anticipated fifth album Neanderthal Jam. Fronted by Dom Mariani of legendary Oz garage-rockers The Stems, Neanderthal Jam is packed with new tracks of psychedelicised blues and full-tilt heavy rock that were jammed out and recorded at their favourite south-west farmhouse studio. Having already released four acclaimed albums on Alive Naturalsound Records — Demon Blues (2015), Hairy Mountain (2016), Blessed is the Boogie (2019) and West Coast Highway Cosmic (2020) — Neanderthal Jam sees Datura4 building upon and going beyond on another diverse collection of tastefully crafted songs.”
THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Danny Elfman’s Bigger Messier is an ambitious double-album collection of remixed and reimagined tracks from his highly acclaimed Big Mess album.This sprawling, 23 track collection features tracks reworked by some of the most groundbreaking and subversive artists around today. Bigger. Messier views the Grammy and Emmy-winning composers songs through the lens of luminaries from diverse sides of the music business, including Trent Reznor, Iggy Pop, Squarepusher and Ghostemane. Elfman once again has achieved a kind of artistic liberation on the record that had been eluding him for decades, and connecting him to brand new audience.”
THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “In 2015, Charlotte musicians Sarah Blumenthal and Susan Plante posed a challenge to one another: Learn new instruments, form a band, and call it Faye. Blumenthal was known locally for her guitar and vocals in fuzzy punk project Alright; Plante studied classical piano and once dreamed of playing in symphonies. Their experience on these instruments immediately imbued the fledgling project with distinctive style. On bass, Blumenthal focused on interlocking lines and hefty rhythmic parts, just as a guitarist might. Plante, now playing guitar and eager to get away from music theory, intuitively incorporated dissonant notes and harmonically bent solos. “We’re not married to rudiments or structurally correct ways of playing,” theorizes Blumenthal, and that’s one of the group’s many strengths. You’re Better is Faye’s first full length, its title an admonishing kiss-off to those who naysay the duo’s earned accomplishments, but also a hype-up reminder to one another that they’re deserving of their achievements. On You’re Better, Faye clears its hurdles with artistry and honesty, buoyed by the connection and trust between Blumenthal and Plante — which makes each of them not only better, but stronger.”
THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Smash cut to Kiwi Jr.’s third album Chopper, overseen by trusted pilot Dan Boeckner (Wolf Parade, Handsome Furs) on storied Sub Pop Records. Turning nocturnal with necks mock turtle, Kiwi Jr. take neon flight off the digital cliff — like The Monkees starring in Blade Runner; like Michael Mann directing Encino Man. Ten songs with synth shimmer, zen gongs with yard strimmer. The signs along the highway read “LESS BAR, MORE NOIR AHEAD.” Ah, those late summer, Joe Strummer, Home on the Range Rover Blues. Kiwi Jr. bring the Chopper to a new space, demilitarizing the technology just like flasks, aviators, and cargo shorts. Graceful in the air above, but when the Chopper lands, there’s chaos on the ground. Kiwi Jr. shout, “Look Out!” When it gets close, it’ll blow the hat right off of your head. Hold onto your hats, babies.”
A Foul Form
THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “rain stem cracking scum-punk
recorded tersely in the basement of my home.
After a notoriously frustrating eon the knee-jerk song path was aggressive and hooky.
This is an homage to the punk bands we grew up on.
The weirdos and art freaks that piqued our interests and pointed us on the trail head to here/now.
Bad times make for strong music is something I agree with.
I would say that is evident by the past few years of output from the underground.
Transmissions have been all over the map.
sweeping out in the darkness looking for a foot hold.
A Foul From represents some of our most savage & primal instincts.
Fight or flight.
And the importance of a sense of humor in the darkest hour.
Nothing wrong with keeping it snappy in the meantime.
For fans of Rudimentary Peni, Crass, Bad Brains, Black Flag, Screamers, Abwarts, Stooges and all things aggressively tilted towards your face.
You can lean back but don’t flinch…it’s a brief foray into the exhausting pogo pit so stiffen your back and jerk with your knees.”
THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “A fiery, confident kick-back against convention, Pale Waves’ third record Unwanted sees the group building on the promise of last year’s U.K. Top 3 album Who Am I?, and staking their claim as British rock’s most dynamic young group. “It’s bold and unapologetic, and that’s what the Pale Waves community is about,” says frontwoman Heather Baron-Gracie. “We don’t need to fit a perfect mould, we don’t need to apologise for being ourselves, and we won’t change for anyone. That acceptance is what connects us.” Unwanted is a record that reaches out to the passionate community of misfits and LGBTQI+ fans around the band, tapping into darker emotions than ever before while also striking a fresh tone of defiance.”
Panda Bear & Sonic Boom
THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Although Panda Bear and Sonic Boom are no strangers to each other’s music, Reset marks their first collaborative release. When SB pitched an idea to take their working relationship to the next level, he reckoned PB might reject the proposition outright — in the nine gloriously, feverishly hook-bound tracks of Reset, though, you can hear exactly how much he loved the prospect. SB’s notion was simple enough: After lugging his records to Portugal years ago, his fascination was renewed by old favorites and standards he had not heard in years. Something struck him, the way the ornate intros by Eddie Cochran or The Everly Brothers felt largely like stage curtains, compelling in their own right even if they had very little to do with the hits that followed. SB began crafting loops from these preambles, twisting and bending the parts like scrap metal before sending them onto PB. The kernel of Reset emerged not long after international lockdowns began. If making it supplied temporary medicine for the duo, it is now permanently so for the rest of us, a reminder that sometimes playing and singing along to old favorites with friends can be enough to make the world feel a bit better.”