Best New Releases, April 7: Wednesday, Yaeji, and more

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Today’s a new release Friday, as well as a Bandcamp Friday, so there’s no excuse not to show some support for the artists releasing some excellent new albums today. That includes a highly anticipated (and surprisngly loud!) indie rock gem, the proper debut album from an MVP beatmaker, plus a box set reissue of an ambitious but underrated mid-’00s classic. These are this week’s best new releases.

wednesday rat saw god
Dead Oceans

Wednesday – Rat Saw God

I’ll confess that when the first explosion of distortion comes crashing through the brief first track on Rat Saw God, “Hot Rotten Grass Smell,” I was taken by surprise. It’s loud, and it’s booming, and it arrives without warning—but once the shock of the eruption wears off, there comes a second stun: That of bearing witness to some impeccably written indie rock songs (like the awesome, eight-minute “Bull Believer“) surging with distortion, energy, and the dirty laundry of people in a small southern community. On their third full-length album, Wednesday have made the leap from promising solo project to a proper primetime moment, offering their strongest set of songs that just so happen to pack the biggest punch. Plus I’m legally obligated to lend my endorsement to an album title that references an episode of Veronica Mars.

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Merchbar (vinyl)

best new releases yaeji

Yaeji – With a Hammer

After releasing the excellent mixtape What We Drew in 2020, New York producer Yaeji makes her proper full-length debut on With a Hammer, an eclectic set of electronic pop that balances nightclub pulse with the eclectic pop of ’90s-era Björk and no shortage of standout hooks. Where her previous set felt more like a DJ set, this is a more cohesive set of pop songs that nonetheless maintain a beat-driven approach, physical and propulsive but with a greater emphasis on art-pop production. With every new piece of music that Yaeji puts out into the world, she seems to reveal a new aspect of her sound, and this is the most exciting chapter of her evolution yet. We’ll have more to say about this one next week.

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Turntable Lab (vinyl)

tim hecker no highs

Tim Hecker – No Highs

After doing some composition work for films, following the two complementary releases Konoyo and Anoyo, Tim Hecker makes a return to his haunted ambient compositions with No Highs. Originally slated for release on April 28, the Canadian producer snuck this one in for Bandcamp Friday, a fine surprise on an already stacked day for new music. The album features contributions from saxophonist and fellow experimental composer Colin Stetson, whose presence complements Hecker’s emotional yet alien soundscapes beautifully. We’ll have a lot more to say about this one soon, but by all means soak in its gorgeous sonic landscapes.

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Merchbar (vinyl)

Heather Woods broderick labyrinth
Western Vinyl

Heather Woods Broderick – Labyrinth

In 2019, I fell in love with Heather Woods Broderick’s then-new album Invitation, a gently mesmerizing set of folk and Americana that revealed Broderick’s strongest songwriting to date. After a brief detour through ambient music, Broderick music returns with a new batch of songs steeped in richly atmospheric arrangements and haunting melodies. In our review of the album, Virginia Croft said, “Through chilled-out drum beats and echoing vocals, Broderick paints a tonal palette in cool colors only, the album feeling like a cold plunge at times, and a starry sky at others.”

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Merchbar (vinyl)

best new releases facs
Trouble in Mind

FACS – Still Life in Decay

FACS have a particular aesthetic—eerie, minimalist post-punk that explores a balance between uneasy tension and unexpected groove. Over five albums, the Chicago trio has been gradually inching toward the latter, though they never let go of the haunted atmosphere and menacing drone that seems to follow wherever they go. It’s resulted in a series of consistently satisfying and subtly evolving records, which continues with their latest, Still Life in Decay. Though the base elements remain, they continue to play with the ratios, growing heavier here, allowing in more light there, and generally finding new ways to express something that never stops changing. We’ll have more on this one soon.

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Merchbar (vinyl)

best new releases Fly Anakin

Fly Anakin & foisey. – Skinemaxxx (Side A)

Fly Anakin’s Frank was one of last year’s strongest hip-hop albums, and after a few other EP releases, the Richmond emcee’s returned with a brief but consistently satisfying set of funk-laden productions from foisey. It’s soulful and heavy on groove, often steeped in a certain ’80s vintage in its aesthetic, with Anakin offering an animated counterpoint to the laid-back beats. This is a perfect headphone EP, loaded with ear candy and timed well for the mercury to rise.

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp

best new releases magnolia electric co.
Secretly Canadian

Magnolia Electric Co. – Sojourner

One of the most staggering collections in Jason Molina’s body of work, 2007’s Sojourner comprised four separate recordings compiled into one surprisingly cohesive box set: the Steve Albini-produced Nashville Moon, the David Lowery-produced Black Ram, a session at the legendary Sun Studios, and a set of solo demos. It’s finally been reissued on vinyl and due for a revisit, more than 15 years after its release—a rich amount of material, showcasing the diverse range of Jason Molina’s talents but all of it enchanting. I can think of few better ways to spend two hours this weekend than playing all eight sides of this one.

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Merchbar (vinyl)

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