Album: How the Light Felt
Quick Thoughts: Smut is the sort of comfortable indie rock that I love, where it's not doing anything particularly revolutionary but is still doing what they do better than anyone else in the moment. Don't overlook this listen, there's a lot of great music to love in here.
Songs of Note: "Soft Engine," "Believe You Me," "Morningstar"
Album: Forever Giving Handshakes
Quick Thoughts: This album has a lot going for it, and its refusal to conform to any specific genre is a benefit when many acts could treat it as a drawback. This album won me over right away, and will likely win you over, too.
Songs of Note: "Poor-to-Middling Moneymaking," "Baader Meinhof," "No Homes," "Good"
Quick Thoughts: I wanted to highlight this because it's great, but also because it reminds me a lot of when Tricky made a pseudo-rap album and this has a similar feel in all the right ways. "Rapper are Haunted" is lowkey one of my favorite songs of the last few months.
Songs of Note: "Just Run," "Internet Boyz," "How Far," "Rappers are Haunted"
Album: Rock Boyega
Quick Thoughts: In a rap-heavy week, our favorite rappers from New England are back with another album of banger after banger, with a great mix of music and message to go along with it. How they aren't huge at this point is still beyond me, but if "Resisting" doesn't become a protest anthem there's something wrong with the world.
Songs of Note: "Thug," "My Block," "Resisting"
Album: Still Champion
Quick Thoughts: The other rap highlight of this week is Homeboy Sandman, who has a new album that feels old school both in its delivery (like in "Satellite") and in approach (like with the chorus of "Radiator"). He's another rapper that should be a lot bigger than he is. Make time for this.
Songs of Note: "Satellite," "Radiator," "News to Me"
* Pomplamoose - Daft Pomp (A covers album of Daft Punk songs.)
* Imogen Heap and Dan O'Neill - Chordata Bytes I (Technology and animal-inspired tunes.)
* Actress - Dummy Corporation
* Illogic - The Transition
* Fenella - The Metallic Index
* Womb - Dreaming of the Future Again
* Fitz and the Tantrums - Let Yourself Free
* Elizabeth Moen - Wherever You Aren't
* Suzie Chism - Pobrecita
* Nas - Kings Disease III
* Venus Ex Machina - Doxa
* Orchid Mantis - How Long Will It Take
* Christina Vantzou - No. 5
* Breanna Barbara - Nothin' But Time
* Ruin the Nite - Sound the Alarm
* Gold Panda - The Work
* FaltyDL - A Nurse to my Patience
* Sarathy Korwar and Photay - KALAK
* Hyd - Clearing
* deux furieuses - Songs from Planet Earth
* Richie Culver - I Was Born By the Sea
* Full EFX - Headrush
* The Endorphins - Nothing is Real
* Plaid - Feorm Falorx
* Nervous Eaters - Monsters + Angels
* Tyondi Braxton - Telekinesis
* Too Many Zooz - Pecking Order
* Waiver Wire - Wasted Time Well Spent
* flowerovlove - A Mosh Pit In The Clouds
* Snooper - Town Topic
* Scene Queen - Bimbocore Vol. 2
* Jordana - I'm Doing Well, Thanks for Asking
* Little Snake - Driving on Acid
* Helena Hauff - Living With Ladybirds
* Jambinai - Apparition
* Jamestown Revival - Songs That Sleigh
Album: Systems Music for Home Defence
Quick Thoughts: bis is a classic alt-rock act that I have the same reaction to every time: I wish I listened to them more. This latest album leans heavy on the electronic influences, and it works pretty well. Old school fans might not love where they went with this, but for me, it was pretty great. Check it out.
Songs of Note: "Shopping for Tattoos," "Headaches," "Stress"
Album: Snake Chain
Quick Thoughts: This album is bound to be polarizing for a lot of people. I absolutely loved it, and it's likely my favorite of the week: it's commonly unexpected and unpredictable, and it just sticks with you. It's the sort of angular indie rock that should be more popular than it is, and I highly recommend giving it a shot this week.
Songs of Note: "Copy Me," "Mike"
Album: Empty Crush
Quick Thoughts: Much like Smut last week, Velveteen provides a comfortable, enjoyable listen in a busy and weird week. If songs like "Just Like Autumn" don't grab you, I don't know what will.
Songs of Note: "7th Heaven," "Entwined," "Just Like Autumn"
Album: And In the Darkness, Hearts Aglow
Quick Thoughts: Weyes Blood consistently does her own thing, and does it absolutely beautifully. In a way, this latest album is probably the best manifestation of her songwriting we've gotten yet. It's haunting, it's brutally honest, it's theatrical without feeling performative, and the songs are stellar. Don't miss out on this one.
Songs of Note: "Children of the Empire," "Hearts Aglow," "The Worst is Done"
Album: Don't Know What You're In Until You're Out
Quick Thoughts: Gladie's latest continues along the indie singer-songwriter track that's made me such a fan. It's a quick hit of an album with some great songs interspersed throughout, so don't skip this one in a busy week.
Songs of Note: "Born Yesterday," "Mud"
Album: HIS HAPPINESS SHALL COME FIRST EVEN THOUGH WE ARE SUFFERING
Quick Thoughts: Backxwash is another rapper who won Canada's Polaris Prize for her previous record, which was well deserved even though it's rare to see a horrorcore-leaning act garnish the sort of critical acclaim she has. This new album is a lot starker in all areas, from the instrumentation to the tone, and it's strident and sincere in ways most acts try to avoid. Make time for this.
Songs of Note: "Vibanda," "Zigolo"
Quick Thoughts: I've been a fan of Caitlin Rose for a few years now, and this album acted as a great reminder as to why I find her music so appealing. Solid roots stuff, a step above a lot of what's out there. Worth your time if this is your genre.
Songs of Note: "Modern Dancing," "Nobody's Sweetheart," "Black Obsidian," "Holdin'"
Quick Thoughts: I wanted to highlight this because metal is decidedly not my genre, but this won me over. I don't know why or how, but songs like "Washed Out" just grabbed me and this ended up being an enjoyable one this week.
Songs of Note: "Washed Out," "Black Teeth Sadness"
* Veps - Oslo Park (Solid alt rock.)
* Melissa Carper - Ramblin' Soul (Honest roots music.)
* Billy Strings - Me / And / Dad (Billy Strings is a real talent.)
* Boyhood - My Dread (When this is on, it's on)
* The Winston Brothers - Drift (Great instrumental funk.)
* Maple Run Band - Used to Be the Next Big Thing
* The Sorry Kisses - Hang From a Star
* Helen Ganya - polish the machine
* Anna Mieke - Theatre
* American Thrills - Parted Ways
* Errol Holden - Joe Frog
* Lenny Lashley's Gang of One - Five Great Egrets
* Bern Kelly - Garden City
* Those Poor Bastards - God Awful
* Quinn Christopherson - Write Your Name in Pink
* Soft Blue Shimmer - Love Lives in the Body
* Pulse Emitter - Dusk
* Royksopp - Profound Mysteries III
* Elizabeth M. Drummond - Congratulations (I loved this so much.)
* Weeping Icon - Ocelli
* The Wombats - Is This What It Feels Like to Feel Like This?
* Ellie Moon - Bad TV
* Gut Health - Electric Party Chrome Girl
* Ricky Desktop - Grammy Beatpack Vol. 1
* Tim Heidecker and The Very Good Band - Live in Boulder
* Collider - Excessively Worthwhile
* Phoebe Bridgers - So Much Wine
* GOON - Red Ladder
* Joshua Burnside - Late Afternoon in the Meadow (1887)
* Panda Swim - Downer
* Lunar Vacation - A Living Room Christmas
* Denzel Himself - Goth Cowboy: Country Songs for Grudge-Holders
* Zola Jesus - Alive in Cappadocia
* Michaela Anne - Happy XMas
* Sneaks - The Eva EP
* Eric Hilton - Present Past and Future
* Trophy Wife - Voyeur
* MYTBE - Good Enough
* Ruby Haunt - Cures for Opposites
* Born at Midnite - Alternty
* Hit Like a Girl - Becoming
* Tula Vera - Shape Shifter