snag. – Death Doula (Sad React Records)

Milwaukee screamo group snag. play every song like it’s a race to the finish. Across the seven tracks on their latest record, they hardly let up for a moment. Songs are melodic at times, similar to the Don Caballero style of math rock. They convey anguish, angst, and overall unrest in their intensity.

Through all of the frenzy, there are many emotional moments to be found on this LP. Sharing the vocals duties equally between the three members; their lyrics touch on politics, greed, and sorrow, to name a few things. The track “Next Morning” subverts expectations, sounding closer to something off a folk record. Screamo can often be a divisive genre, but this record is a great bridge between hardcore/math rock and screamo.

Death Doula is out on Sad React Records.

Snapped Ankles – Forest Of Your Problems (The Leaf Label)

Hailing from the depths of the East London underground, inspired by the forest, and often donning ghillie suits or musical instruments strapped to logs of wood, Snapped Ankles are unique to say the least.

Forest Of Your Problems is their fourth record and the most heavily post punk inspired of the bunch. The influence of Talking Heads and The Fall are heavily apparent across this LP. For all of the synth-led bips and bops on this record, the tracks are quite diverse in sound. Never a repetitive moment. Songs are infectious and totally danceable. Snapped Ankles produce something completely brilliant here that deserves every bit of your attention.

Forest Of Your Problems is out on The Leaf Label.

Action News – Failed State EP (Self Released)

Members of Lovelorn, Jesus Piece, and Fixation have teamed up for this new project, Action News. They push the limits of hardcore and test the boundaries of speed. It’s an exhilarating listen, short as it may be. The tracks seem to progressively lead into more and more frenetic chaos.

The finale, “Failed State,” is easily one of the heaviest tracks you might hear all year, mixing between elements of screamo to a Jesus Lizard level of sludge interlude. If you want noisy, fucked up, harsh, or abrasive, this is the record for you.

Failed State is Self-Released.

Declaime & Madlib – In the Beginning Vol. 1 (SomeOthaShip Connect)

This is one for the hip-hop heads. Thirteen tracks produced entirely by Madlib with fellow Stones Throw artist Declaime serving as lyricist and vocalist. This is an ongoing project, with the majority of tracks having been recorded as far back as 1994.

For that, the record sounds straight out of the 90s. The duo bounce off each other, feeling in sync on the entirety of the record. Madlib’s production is raw and endlessly creative, as you might expect, but it’s Declaime that is the real MVP of the LP. We don’t often talk about hip-hop records in this segment, but it’s inclusion should be an indication of it’s quality.

In the Beginning Vol. 1 is out on SomeOthaShip Connect.

Cavs – Cavs (Flightless Records)

This is a record that might have slim appeal outside of the drummer community, but it is a one-of-a-kind, absolutely sensational display of percussion. Cavs, drummer of the Aussie psych rock legends, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, finally has released his first solo record. At times it’s an homage to jazz idles like Buddy Rich, Gene Krupa, and Sun Ra, but the record takes on it’s own sound blending jazz, latin, and psychadelia together.

There are moments of Aphex Twin-like abrasive percussion. The record is notably made of 100 percent percussion. Every sound, noise, scratch on here is produced by some sort of percussive instrument. While that can be a constricting concept, Cavs takes the idea and runs with it. The track lineup feels diverse and creative at all times. This isn’t easy listening, but it is rewarding.

Cavs is out on Flightless Records.

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