Weekly Round-Up: 9/27/19 - 10/3/19
by Saint Reverence
It is Thursday, October 3rd, which means that it is the end of the week for music. Welcome to the first installment of the weekly round-up, wherein I will discuss my favorite new albums from the past week, and share a selection of what else I've been listening to over the past 7 days.
First, a bit of background on the way I consume music. I love physical media, and I have a rather large collection of CDs, but it is not feasible for me to purchase every album that comes out. So each week, I comb through the Suggested New Albums section of Tidal and listen to every album (at least the first track - I don't have time to listen to albums that I don't like). Typically, I find about 20-30 releases per week that I enjoy enough to finish front-to-back, and those go into a spreadsheet with a (fairly arbitrary, admittedly) score next to them. At the end of the year, the releases that have made the biggest impact on me get put on my shopping list of physical releases that I want to own.
Because the ratings I give to albums are pretty specific to the time and place in which I listen to the album, I'm not going to include them here, but I will instead just list all the albums that I listened to, in descending order of score.
1. SeeYouSpaceCowboy... - The Correlation Between Entrance And Exit Wounds - Pure Noise Records - Mathcore
As chaotic and erratic as mathcore should be, but with a healthy dose of melody and a strong sense of composition. A must for heavy music fans.
2. The New Pornographers - In The Morse Code Of Brake Lights - Concord Records - Indie Rock
Catchy hooks, intriguing melodies, and smart lyrics prove that indie rock doesn't have to be boring and samey. As the title suggests, an excellent soundtrack to a late-night city drive.
3. Firebreather - Under A Blood Moon - Riding Easy Records - Sludge Metal
I like my sludge metal like I like my traffic jams - slow, heavy, and aggressive. With 6 tracks totaling just under 49 minutes, Under A Blood Moon makes a great case that sludge didn't end when Mastodon won a Grammy.
4. .gif from god - Approximation_of_a_human - Prosthetic Records - Mathcore
What it lacks in melody and introspection when compared to the aforementioned SYSC album, it makes up for in sheer relentlessness of noise and frenetics. Even the slow moments here are filled with a sense of tension.
5. Delta Sleep - Younger Years - Big Scary Monsters - Math Rock / Pop Punk
Combining the intricacies of shimmery math rock bands like Chon and Minus The Bear with the pop punk sensibilities of bands like Modern Baseball, Delta Sleep has carved a niche that appeals to both the kids who wanna get out of their boring Midwest towns and their 34-year-old future selves who are moving back to those towns to start a family.
6. Astrosaur - Obscuroscope - Pelagic Records - Progressive Metal
I didn't really start paying attention to record labels much until this year, but Pelagic Records has been consistently releasing great music all year. Astrosaur follows the advice of their debut's title, Fade In // Space Out, and creates a wonderfully imaginative soundscape that draws as much influence from Black Sabbath as it does from black metal.
7. Sturgill Simpson - Sound And Fury - Elektra Records - Alt-Country / Blues Rock
As far as modern artists who fall under the general umbrella of "country", Sturgill Simpson set himself apart for me with 2016's A Sailor's Guide To Earth, which was a proper country album (even winning a Grammy for Best Country Album) but with a folk rock flair. Now, Simpson has set the bar even higher with Sound And Fury, which sounds like Clutch making the soundtrack to a Tarantino film.
8. Kero Kero Bonito - Civilisation I - PolyVinyl Records - Indie Pop / Electro Pop
It's impossible to be sad while listening to KKB (seriously, try not to at least smile), but their newest 3-track EP has a sense of laid-back, dreamy haze to it that sets it apart from their earlier work and pushes them closer to M83 territory. Despite its track titles suggesting apocalyptic themes, this EP is quite a relaxing and ponderful experience.
9. DaBaby - Kirk - Interscope Records - Hip-Hop
Even though DaBaby has been incredibly prolific in the time since his debut, he never appeared on my radar before this week, but he's clearly a very skilled MC with a lot of promise. His flow and delivery are on point, he's got good rhymes and wordplay, and the producers he's chosen for this album have complemented his vocals well.
10. Ghosts Of Glaciers - The Greatest Burden - Translation Loss Records - Post-Metal
I love post-metal, it's one of my favorite genres, and it seems to be endlessly creative in spite of (or maybe because of) its relatively small array of artists. Ghosts Of Glaciers is a new name for me, but their long-form instrumental pieces ebb and flow seamlessly with beauty and discord in equal measure.
11. Dreamarcher - The Bond - Indie Recordings - Progressive Metal
Dreamarcher's music is as cool as their band name, veering from strained harsh vocal sections not unlike post-hardcore greats Touché Amoré to alt-metal riffage akin to Killswitch Engage to choruses that border on grunge-pop. The Bond is a grab bag of styles, but it feels cohesive and well-planned-out.
12. Renounced - Beauty Is A Destructive Angel - Holy Roar Records - Metalcore
Holy Roar is another label that I've begun to pay close attention to, as they've released some of my favorite heavy music from this year. The latest from UK-based Renounced is no exception. This is no-bullshit classic metalcore at the best it's been since Howard Jones left Killswitch Engage.
13. Olan Mill - Sacred Geometry - Dronarivm - Drone
Good drone music should feel like a hug from a loved one, like floating on a cloud, like sinking into a comfortable mattress. This is good drone music.
14. Billy Strings - Home - Rounder Records - Bluegrass
Here's a sentence I never thought I'd write: 27-year-old Billy Strings is bringing a refreshingly millennial twist to one of the oldest of modern genres, with lyrics that could feel at home in a Midwest emo band and nigh-8-minute tracks that shift from slow folk to eastern-inspired psychedelia to '70s-prog electric guitar virtuosity (and back again).
15. Moon Duo - Stars Are The Light - Sacred Bones - Psych Rock
Stars Are The Light is the synth-driven psych rock album that Tame Impala should have been making since they started. I really wish that new psych bands would stop trying to sound like Tame Impala and learn to take some risks like Moon Duo has, incorporating Krautrock and dream pop elements to create laid-back, blissed-out music that probably sounds equally good whether you're sober, high, or tripping.
16. Girl Band - The Talkies - Rough Trade Records - Post-Punk
Somewhere at the intersection of LCD Soundsystem, McLusky, and Black Eyes lies Girl Band. An abrasive, discordant, yet listenable brand of punk rock.
17. Kadinja - DNA - Arising Empire - Progressive Mental / Djent
It's a djent cover album of alt-rock hits from the late '90s / early '00s. Take that how you will, but it's probably better than it sounds.
18. Opeth - In Cauda Venenum - Nuclear Blast - Progressive Metal
I miss Opeth's early work. They were one of my favorite bands in high school for the way the meticulously and seamlessly blended death metal with acoustic rock that bordered on folk at times. I'm as much a fan of '70s prog as the next person, but Opeth has gone from integrating that style into their death metal roots to being damn near a cover band.
19. Telefon Tel Aviv - Dreams Are Not Enough - Ghostly International - Ambient / Electronic
Maps Of What Is Effortless is hands-down one of the best glitchy ambient albums of all time, and its influence on the music I listen to has been huge. Dreams Are Not Enough fails in almost every way to live up to its predecessors. It's a good album in its own right, but it is not a good Telefon Tel Aviv album.
20. The Comet Is Coming - The Afterlife - UMG Records - Progressive Jazz
I really want to like this band, but ... I don't. Sorry. I can't get into their particular brand of jazz.
A few other things I listened to this week, in no particular order:
Solar Halos - Coiled Light (2019) - Self-Released - Sludge / Doom Metal
Art Star - Akin To Sin (2019) - Rosewater Recordings - Art Punk / Math Rock
Ho99o9 - Cyber Warfare (2019) - Toys Have Powers / 999 DeathKult - Hardcore / Digital Hardcore / Noise Rap
Pickwick Commons - Weak Bones (2019) - Self-Released - Hardcore / Metalcore
Sun Kil Moon - I Also Want To Die In New Orleans (2019) - Caldo Verde - Folk / Indie Rock / Drunk Uncle Storytelling