Best New Releases, June 2: Protomartyr, Bully, and more

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Another week come and gone, and next week we’ll be revealing our favorite records of the year thus far (many of which you can probably guess—Treblecore is a thing, we’ve decided—but hey, why not make it official?). Before that happens, though, we’ve got another week of new releases to highlight, including some fantastic new releases from Protomartyr, Bully and more. Check out our picks for this week’s best new releases.


Protomartyr – Formal Growth in the Desert

Written during a period of grieving and written around the idea of “emotional deserts,” Protomartyr’s sixth album and follow-up to 2020’s Ultimate Success Today is neither mired in defeat nor devoid of feeling. In fact, it’s arguably the most hopeful Protomartyr album in some time, carrying an openness and brightness that permeates their characteristically tense and driving post-punk anthems like “Elimination Dances” and “For Tomorrow.” There’s energy and purpose to these songs, and an aesthetic playfulness and eclecticism that shows the Detroit band continuing to evolve in satisfying ways. We’ll have more on this one soon.

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Turntable Lab (vinyl)

Bully Lucky For You review
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Bully – Lucky For You

Bully’s fourth album and follow-up to 2020’s SUGAREGG finds Alicia Bognanno returning with a bright and affecting set of hook-laden grunge-pop anthems with a few stylistic surprises, like the baggy shoegaze single “Hard to Love.” In our review of the album, Ed Brown said that “Bognanno makes certain that Lucky for You’s energy is one that never, ever lets up, and that our lingering impression of her fourth record is that of a blistering whirlpool.” Bully’s best record yet.

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Amazon (vinyl)

best new releases pupil slicer

Pupil Slicer – Blossom

Pupil Slicer delivered an auspicious debut with 2021’s Mirrors, and last year collaborated with Backxwash on her excellent His Happiness Shall Come First Even Though We Are Suffering, which raised expectations ever higher for sophomore album Blossom. And the London metalcore group’s latest is an absolute powder keg of an album, balancing furious technicality and razor’s edge intensity with moments of gorgeous vocal harmonies (“Momentary Actuality”), somber instrumentality (“Creating the Devil in Our Image”) and soaring, climactic builds (“The Song at Creation’s End”).

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp | Amazon (vinyl)

best new releases Vulture feather

Vulture Feather – Liminal Fields

Liminal Fields is the debut album from California indie rock group Vulture Feather, whose personnel includes two former members of the great, underrated group The Wilderness. It’s also one of the most richly striking rock records of the year, reflective of Colin McCann and Brian Grossman’s former band’s use of repetition and tension while employing a more majestic, post-rock like take on melody and arrangement. Songs like “Bell of Renewal” showcase the group’s infectious melodic sensibility while “Bad Land” has a stoic, post-punk elegance that immediately stands apart from so much guitar music right now. A vital and striking set of songs.

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp

best new releases Anthony Naples

Anthony Naples – Orbs

Anthony Naples has been one of the most consistently strong producers of house and techno in America of late, and more recently exploring atmospheric strains of downtempo, which continues on Orbs. This isn’t an ambient record—there are clearly pronounced BPMs throughout, however subtle—but Naples’ creations are more heavily steeped in rich atmosphere and gauzy washes of sound rather than being defined by the pulse itself. While Naples seems to be moving farther away from the dancefloor, what he provides instead is something that can accompany you in the quietest and most solitary moments—something to ponder, perhaps.

Listen/Buy: Bandcamp

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