What a week of new releases. It seems to me that as the world has begun to open back up the great music has followed suit. I had an extremely difficult time narrowing this list down to just five records, but in any case, here are five of this week’s best releases that may have slipped under your radar.
Juan Wauters – Real Life Situations (Captured Tracks)
One of the most unique releases in Wauter’s discography, Real Life Situations finds Wauters collaborating with a wide array of musicians from across the American continent including Mac Demarco, Homeshake, and Nick Hakim, among others. The result is an eclectic and fresh mix of sounds. On the track “Monsoon” with Homeshake, Wauter’s usual folky guitars are replaced with smooth and spacy synthesizers. “Presentation” with Nick Hakim proves to be one of Wauter’s most danceable tracks employing silky drum machine grooves. Wauter’s classic South American folk vibes aren’t totally lost on this album, and they come as a nice surprise when in contrast with the more synthesizer based tracks. Overall, this record finds Wauters pushing his sound in a new and interesting direction, while still maintaining his roots in Latin music. An endlessly perfect summer record.
Real Life Situations is out on Captured Tracks.
Matt Sweeney & Bonnie “Prince” Billy – Superwolves (Drag City)
In 2005 Matt Sweeney and Wild Oldham, also known as Bonnie “Prince” Billy collaborated on a record called Superwolf. Since that time, the record has become a cult classic in the underground folk scene. Now sixteen years later the pair have released their second collaborative effort Superwolves. This record mostly picks up where the pair left off, taking Oldham’s DIY punk inspired take on americana folk with Sweeney’s expert guitar and songwriting skills. That being said the pair do take their sound into wildly new territories. The track “Hall of Death” finds the pair collaborating with Tuareg guitar man Mdou Moctar, and mixes Moctar’s impossibly groovy sound with Oldham’s melancholic voice. Lyrically Oldham is at possibly the best of his career. He finds his own balance between sweet sadness and americana storytelling. Most definitely one of the best folk releases of the year.
Superwolves is out on Drag City.
Veik – Surrounding Structures (Fuzz Club Records)
Hailing from Caen, France, Veik are a three piece post-modernist noisy synth trio. Rooted in the avant-garde and Krautrock Surrounding Structures is a record about dynamics. The synth based instrumentation builds and falls with expert rhythm and cadence. Although the band’s sound is rooted in the past influence of bands like Suicide and Can or even artistic movements like Dadaism, this is a record that wholly sounds like the future. The sound of this record is organic and rich with texture. The crusty hiss of analog synths, drum machines, and tape recording permeates every inch of these ten tracks. In true post-modernist fashion, the band tackles the wide spectrum of human existence and struggle. Themes of mental illness and political activism among others are heavily present on the record. A truly magnificent record for starry and silent nights.
Surrounding Structures is out on Fuzz Club Records.
Demons – Privation (Spartan Records)
Mae guitarist Zach Gehring’s new project Demons has released their second full length Privation. This is a record of catharsis and aggravation. After a year of isolation and aggravating politics, what more do you really need? Taking cues from peers in the sludge punk scene like Converge and Metz, Demons push the crushing riffs and caustic noise to eleven on this latest release. The metal aspects of their sound have been turned down slightly in favor of more punk inspired riffs. The band is more tight and cohesive than ever before leading to more syncopated grooves. This feels like an urgent record. One that examines the world, politics, and the self in timely and pressing fashion. Get your kicks out with this record, it won’t disappoint.
Privation is out on Spartan Records.
Paul Jacobs – Pink Dogs on the Green Grass (Blow the Fuse Records)
Paul Jacobs, the drummer from the Canadian five piece Pottery, has released a new solo record. Although Pottery might define themselves as more of a post-punk group Jacobs finds his own sound which is a blend of psychedelic folk and Devo-esque grooves. Right out of the gate with the track “Christopher Robbins” Jacobs shows a jangly acoustic folk sound reminiscent of King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s Paper Mache Dream Balloon. Mastered by Oliver Ackermann, founder of Death By Audio effects pedals and leader of A Place to Bury Strangers, one would think this would be a more noisy record, but it stays true to the floating down the river psychedelia sound. This is a record bubbling with creativity and heart. Not one to pass up!
Pink Dogs on the Green Grass is out on Blow the Fuse Records.