Best New Releases, August 18: Fiddlehead, Sonic Youth, and more

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School’s starting up soon, summer’s got about a month left, and we’re inching toward a pretty overwhelming season of new music. In fact, today’s a pretty overwhelming day as it is, stacked with great new albums (and a few reissues) from post-hardcore veterans, heshers leveling up, long-retired indie icons and more. Check out our picks for this week’s best new releases.

Fiddlehead Death Means Nothing to Us review
Run for Cover

Fiddlehead – Death Is Nothing to Us

Boston post-hardcore group Fiddlehead return with their latest, Death Is Nothing to Us, which retains all of the rhythmic dynamics and furious urgency of their previous album, 2021’s Between the Richness, with the emotional anguish hitting right where it hurts. In our review of the album, Tom Morgan said, “Fiddlehead’s greatest triumph is their ability to clasp this truth and make it into a stirring and electrifying experience.”

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Merchbar (vinyl)

Panda Bear reset in dub review

Panda Bear & Sonic Boom – Reset In Dub

Last year, Panda Bear and Sonic Boom released their debut collaboration Reset, which put the pop immediacy of early rock ‘n’ roll into the context of modern psych-pop production. With Reset in Dub, they enlist On-U Sound’s Adrian Sherwood to deliver dub versions of the songs to stunning effect. It’s our Album of the Week; in our review, Adam Blyweiss said “It also reminds us just how deceptively simple the concept of dub is…and, sometimes, that the results don’t need to be complex at all to be great.”

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp

Sonic Youth live in Brooklyn 2011 review
Silver Current

Sonic Youth – Live in Brooklyn 2011

Over the past three years, Sonic Youth have been steadily building up their Bandcamp archive of live recordings, and now that includes their final show in the U.S. Live in Brooklyn 2011 captures the band right before they took their final bow and features songs from throughout their catalog, some they hadn’t played in years, maybe even decades. In our review of the album, Emily Reily says it’s “a definitive cap to the generous collection of bootlegs which recaptures the singularity of that night.”

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Merchbar (vinyl)

best new releases mick jenkins

Mick Jenkins – The Patience

The title of Mick Jenkins’ The Patience is a little misleading; patience is something he’s run out of, and on his fourth album, the Chicago emcee comes out of the gates with hunger and fury at an all time high. The album features guest appearances from Freddie Gibbs, JID, Vic Mensa and Benny the Butcher, and the production is consistently lush, made for repeat headphone listening. Though only 28 minutes long, The Patience is at once a more mature release and one that feels more immediate and powerful, a stellar rap record that shows how far Jenkins has come over the past decade.

Listen/Buy: Spotify | Amazon (vinyl)

best new releases Horrendous
Season of Mist

Horrendous – Ontological Mysterium

Five years on from the outstanding Idol from 2018, Horrendous return with their fourth full-length set of furious, old school-influenced death metal. Ontological Mysterium is a showcase of the group’s greatest strengths: raucous urgency, progressive songwriting, dazzling instrumental prowess and a penchant for melody that many of their death metal peers could learn a thing or two from. On songs like “Neon Leviathan,” they ramp up the bonkers prog element of their sound, and on “Preterition Hymn,” they double down on the ornate dual-harmonized leads, reminding us that this isn’t just a band that kicks ass, or just a band that can play their asses off, but that it’s their masterful songwriting that stands tallest.

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Amazon (vinyl)

Best New Releases
Doom Trip

draag me – lord of the shithouse

A psychedelic, synth-driven side project of Zack Schwartz and Corey Wichlin of Spirit of the Beehive, draag me captures a similarly disorienting and unsettling mood through somewhat different methods. On lord of the shithouse, Schwartz and Wichlin wade through hazy, woozy pop numbers that feel a little like melting vaporwave featuring more conventional vocals, occasionally soothing new wave textures bumping up against sputtering effects and danceable beats with an ominous sense of doom bubbling up beneath the surface. Their M.O. often changes dramatically from one song to the next and it’ll almost certainly take a few listens to fully wrap one’s head around everything here (see if you can clock the time signature of “blade in the view”) but it’s thrilling just to make the attempt.

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp

spirit adrift new album ghost at the gallows
Century Media

Spirit Adrift – Ghost at the Gallows

Spirit Adrift continue their Morbid Angel-style alphabetical progress with Ghost at the Gallows, the official follow-up to 2020’s Enlightened in Eternity (and the 2021 EP Forge Your Future, in case you’re wondering what happened to F). The heavy metal heavyweights’ latest finds the group thriving on rollicking anthems big on riffs and melody, delivering some of their most accessible and heroic anthems at once. We’ll have more on this one soon.

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Spirit Adrift (vinyl)

best new releases boris heavy rocks
Third Man

Boris – Heavy Rocks (2002)

Last year, Boris released their third album titled Heavy Rocks, and when you release as much music as they do, the idea of recycling album titles doesn’t necessarily seem so absurd. But the original, released in Japan in 2002, has finally been reissued and given a proper physical release in the U.S. Big on dense, sludgy riffs and roaring anthems that nod to the likes of The Stooges and Motörhead, Heavy Rocks is Boris at their most immediate and badass, the kind of album you turn up while clad head-to-toe in leather, riding motorcycles through hoops of fire, or something comparably dangerous. But definitely in leather.

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Amazon (vinyl)

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