New Music Roundup — Fearless Comebacks and Hazy Undercurrents

NMF 6-26 FEATURED IMAGE

With so much music that was recently released, it can be overwhelming and difficult to determine what to listen to. But we managed to string up a list of some of the best new releases to make things easier for you. From HAIM’s fearless comeback to the hard-hitting eclecticism of Pottery’s debut, here are some of the best new releases. 

NMF HAIM
Columbia Records

HAIM —  Women in Music Pt. III

HAIM are making a triumphant return with their new anticipated album Women in Music Pt. III, which is their most direct and complex work yet. The new album was originally planned for last April, but due to COVID-19, they had to put it off. HAIM’s latest effort finds the sister trio encapsulating their pristine harmonies and polished rock style with a sound that’s more personal, loose and assorted. Women in Music Pt. III is emotionally daring, exploring themes of depression and sexism that overlap the trio expanding their pop palate and R&B rhythms —you can clearly hear a sense of evolution within both their songwriting and production. The Lou Reed-inspired “Summer Girl,” an early single, but now oddly a bonus track, addresses the trio’s long-time producer (and Danielle’s romantic partner) Ariel Rechtshaid’s testicular cancer diagnosis, while the acoustic ballad “Hallelujah” is wrapped in a Laurel Canyon-folk style, paying tribute to Alana’s late best friend. The opener “Los Angeles” carries a lo-fi pop styling with its hip-hop drum kit, heavy bassline and of course its bouncy and jazzy horn section. The glimmering “I Know Alone” is packed with moody electropop and skittering drum beats, showing off a starker side of the band. As some of these songs might have originated from any previous era of HAIM, the music is more direct and emotionally charged. Women in Music Pt. III conveys a distinct pop sound that echoes towards an intensely pleasurable and euphoric musical experience.

Stream the new album here.

NMR Pottery
Partisan Records

Pottery — Welcome to Bobby’s Motel 

After releasing their thrilling debut EP No.1 and wounding up opening up for Parquet Courts last year, the energetic Pottery have finally unveiled their debut album Welcome to Bobby’s Motel. The Montreal garage rock outfit were supposed to release their debut also back in April, but had to reschedule it due to COVID-19. Based around a loose concept, the near 40-minute debut shows the young quintet flexing their muscles and showing off their relentless energy, especially on the early dance-punk single “Texas Drums Pt I & II.” The track’s first half has a tight, chaotic groove that’s loaded with sharp hooks and frantic rhythms, while its second half is drenched with a nervy psychedelic soundscape that explores darker territories. “Bobby’s Forecast” is reminiscent of Parquet Courts, with its punchy carnival-esque punk-funk, featuring clinking cowbells and chants. Its lyrics — “Power, it doesn’t take much work / Power, your feelings may get hurt” sounds like something straight off of Talking Heads’ Remain in Light. “Under the Wires” is frenetic with its layers of chopped-up guitars and “Take Your Time” begins with a similar buildup to Devo’s “S.I.B. (Swelling Itching Brain)” with its jumpy synth riff and fast angular guitars. There’s also a catchy shout-along melody, which is something Pottery gives an extra dimension to. “What’s in Fashion” throws some ’60s pop at you while pulling the skin off a glammy Bowie song, but “NY Inn” is the album’s high point, with its darting guitars, spiraling chord progressions and shaky tempos. And “Reflection” and the closer “Hot Like Jungle” both sound like the band’s take on an off-kilter love song with the mellow overtones. Even with the countless comparisons to ’70s post-punk and new wave giants, Pottery are riding the crest of  eclectic post-punk in 2020 and the charm is their own. 

Stream the new album here.

NMR Bananagun
Full Time Hobby

Bananagun —  The True Story of Bananagun 

After some colorful one-off singles and b-sides, the Melbourne outfit Bananagun just released their dashing debut album The True Story of Bananagun. The quintet’s debut is a kaleidoscope jumble of psychedelic pop, Tropicália and ’70s-inspired Afrobeat that’s heavily armed with scratching guitars and peppy rhythms. It’s opening track “Bang Go the Bongos” sets the tone with its relentless groove and glorious Os Mutantes-esque harmonies. “The Master” flashes a heavy dosage of brain-warping psychedelia with its overload of choppy guitars and fuzzy basslines. The exotically daring “People Talk Too Much” sounds like an Afrobeat gem that would’ve attracted Fela Kuti, with its rich rhythms and tropical sounds. The swooping “Out of Reach” fuses ’70s Tropicália with psychedelic funk, packed with sharp hooks and punchy power pop vocal melodies — it’s even reminiscent of Can with its mesmerizing rhythms. And the immediately chaotic and enticing “Mushroom Bomb” and “Modern Day Problems” both borrow heavily from mid-90’s Flaming Lips. Not only can they fuse genres with ease, but they succeeded doing it on their first try. Bananagun’s debut is bold, adventurous and exotic; what more could you want from an Aussie bunch that’s part of the world’s most vibrant psych scene? Possibly more woodwinds?

If you dig this, be sure to check out the band’s second live session on Button Pusher.

Stream the new album here.

NMF Beans
Flightless Records

Beans — All Together Now

Following their excellent and eccentric 2018 debut BabbleBeans, formerly known as Baked Beans, are back with their sophomore effort All Together Now. Described as “an ode to simpler times,” the new album takes stabs at the Geelong-based quintet’s dynamic psych rock sound, while smoothly navigating through the monstrous rock sounds of the late ’60s and early ’70s. Like other Flightless acts, Beans are known for never locking into one particular musical genre and their latest is evident of that. All Together Now is packed with solid blues-oriented rhythms, tightly-wrapped grooves and a dominating psychedelic organ, that are all arranged under Matt Blach’s howling and energetic vocals. Even when shifting the aesthetic multiple times, from the whirling shards of guitars on the spacey “Melt” to the frantic garage rock on “Street Troll,” Beans are able to capture an album that sounds more focused and like a wild psych odyssey.

Stream the new album here.

NMR Khruangbin
Dead Oceans/Night Time Stories

Khruangbin — Mordechai 

The psychedelic Texan trio Khruangbin are back with their third proper album Mordechai, which shows the band still fusing genres, but marks a new chapter in the band and reveals a clear distinction from their previous groove-heavy psych rock. The trio take their unique melodies and bass-heavy psychedelic stylings to greater heights. The sounds are more diverse, ranging from Indian folk music, bossa nova rhythms, Jamaican dub and some retro Congolese syncopated guitars. There’s also a rush of shimmering pop melodies and toe-tapping beats, particularly on the early standout “Time (You and I),” which sounds like a lost psych-funk classic. The opening track “First Class” picks up exactly where the chords left off on the ending of the band’s previous album Con Todo El Mundo. “So We Won’t Forget” is punchy with its woozy and deep bass groove, along with bassist Laura Lee Ochoa’s swooning vocals, giving the song a reflective edge. The breezy “Connaissais de Face” captures a sensual dialogue between bassist Laura Lee and guitarist Mark Speer, while “Shida” is a compelling closer to an album that’s an ode to everything Khruangbin has accomplished by this point.

Stream the new album here.

NMR Flaming Lips
Warner Records

The Flaming Lips — “My Religion is You”

Following the vivid single “Flowers of Neptune 6,” the Flaming Lips have announced a new album called American Head, out September 11, via Warner Records. Accompanying this, they shared a new single called “My Religion is You,” which will serve as band’s closing track to the forthcoming album. The new single is both warm and minimal, filled with sunny synth-laden psych-pop that self-references the psych legends during their creative peak (The Soft Bulletin, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots). The new 13-track album will follow last year’s King’s Mouth and their most recent collaborative album with Deap Vally, Deap Lips. Kacey Musgraves, who delivered some gorgeous backing harmonies on the last single, is also set to appear on two more songs. In the previous music video, we saw a resurrection of Wayne Coyne’s infamous and now relevant giant plastic bubble. However, now Coyne is seen clutching a bouquet of giant roses next to a fielded bonfire, corresponding with the single’s tinge of melancholia.

Stream the latest single here.

NMR Patricia
Ghostly International

Patricia — Maxyboy

Max Ravitz’s latest release from his electronic solo project Patricia is a sonic detour that’s swamped in in expressive soundscapes and an impressive range of styles including acid house, techno and futurism. Following the superb 2017 album Several Shades of the Same Color, which leaned heavily on hissy lo-fi techno, on his latest effort, Ravitz takes his inventive and adventurous soundscapes to a higher fidelity and with a production that’s more upfront; Maxyboy is Ravitz’s most cohesive album to date. A lot of the songs have a melancholic sentiment that places you in a reflective headspace for its near 52-minute duration. Tracks from “Myokymia” to “Crush Velvet” are heavily focused around inventive high-tempos and high-pitched synth melodies that are irresistible. The lead single “Downlink” is evocative with its swirling and explorative synth melodies that can cradle your mood. It also shows Ravitz’s liking for drum programming. We also encounter these rich and massive soundscapes on the opener “Dew Point” and “Dr. Oetker’s Ristorante,” that are heavily dripped with acid synths, while “Julia Set” is a soothing, ambient journey that serves as an enhancing intermission. Maxyboy finds Ravitz on a journey of self-discovery, while experimenting with his range of musical interests. His emotive soundscapes are really curious and can enhance your perception to regain some sense of peace during these tough times.

Stream the new album here.

NMR Arca
XL Recordings

Arca — KiCk i 

The Venezuelan avant-gardist, Alejandra Ghersi, aka Arca, is back with her anticipated fourth studio album KiCk i. Arca’s latest, which is her first of a four-part series, is her most cohesive album to date. It includes some astounding features as well, from Rosalía, Shygirl, SOPHIE and a rare appearance from Björk. KiCk i shows Ghersi twisting through different styles and moods, from her hyperactive electronica to her sensual and tender pop ballads. One of its highlights include the chaotic and snare-heavy “Rip the Slit,” which shows Ghersi’s aggressive and honest take towards gender, while manipulating her voice and singing over the recurring backbeat — “Girl, I rip the slit.” The Rosalía feature on “KLK” is overwhelming but in a good way. The glitchy percussion and sonic textures are heavily layered alongside Rosalía’s vocals, which act as another instrument. “Time” is one of Ghersi’s best pop songs and completely stands out, with its throbbing synth, shimmering noise and Ghersi’s dreamy vocals. KiCk i feels more like a sharpened and accessible take on Ghersi’s previous projects, but with a more avant-pop edge that’s very consistent. It also heightens and adds more colors to an already highly acclaimed career.

Stream the new album here.

Other Notable Releases: Park Hye-jin — How Can I (EP); Toy Bastard (Ethan Ives of Car Seat Headrest) — Life for Cowards; Nana Grizol South Somewhere Else; Buju Banton Upside Down 2020;  Japandroids Massey Fucking Hall (Live); MIKE — Weight of the World; Remo Drive A Portrait of an Ugly Man and the Psychedelic Furs Come All Ye Faithful (EP)

Quick Shout-Outs:

GUM — “Airwalkin'” (Traffik Island Remix) 

IDK — “BULLETPROOF” (ft. Denzel Curry & Maxo Kream) 

Mac DeMarco — “Fooled by Love” (ft. Jon Batiste) 

Tom Petty — “You Don’t Know How It Feels” (8-track Demo Version) 

Tunde Adebimpe (TV on the Radio) — “People”

 


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