Another new release Friday is upon us, just before a holiday weekend. And it’s also a Bandcamp Friday to boot! This week we have the return of some shoegaze MVPs, the new album by one of punk’s most revered singer/songwriters, a 90-plus minute noise rock operetta and more. Hear and read about our picks for this week’s best new releases
Slowdive – Everything Is Alive
Legendary shoegaze band Slowdive make their return this week with their first new set of songs in six years, which are steeped in synthesizers and even denser, heavier arrangements. In our review of the album we said, “they’re continuing to arrive upon more thrilling creations, expanding the boundaries and definitions of their blissfully heady aesthetic and taking great care to fill the spaces they’ve created with even more adventurous layers of sound.”
Jeff Rosenstock – HELLMODE
Punk rock troubadour Jeff Rosenstock returns with a new set of songs on HELLMODE, coming two years after he revamped his own material through the filter of ska on SKA DREAM. There’s no ska here, really, but there’s lots of charged up punk and pop anthems through a variety of stylistic filters: folk on “LIKED U BETTER,” dreamy surf rock on “DOUBT,” grunge on “SOFT LIVING” and good old fashioned punk on “FUTURE IS DUMB,” with lyrical meditations both introspective and on this hellish terrain we inhabit. We’ll have more on this one soon.
Sprain – The Lamb As Effigy
Los Angeles’ Sprain made their debut in 2020 with As Lost Through Collision, an auspicious 45 minutes of post-hardcore merged with slowcore that paired the stark tension of Slint with an even more pronounced heaviness. The Lamb As Effigy is more than twice its length, a kind of noise rock opera that imagines the scrape and churn of bands like their labelmates in Chat Pile projected on a much grander and more gothic scale, with more piano and occasional moments of Glenn Branca-like dissonance. Frankly, it’s not easy to summarize a 96-minute piece of provocative art like this in just 100 words considering how many listens it might require to fully absorb everything that’s going on here, but suffice it to say this is both a stunningly ambitious release and a visceral one alike. Look out for more on this album soon.
Kofi Flexxx – Flowers in the Dark
The debut album by British saxophonist Kofi Flexxx, released via Shabaka Hutchings’ Native Rebel label, exists within the venn diagram of jazz and hip-hop, driven by frenetic rhythms and hypnotic melodies, and with a haunting atmosphere throughout. Musically, Flowers in the Dark is cut from a similar cloth as Hutchings’ former group Sons of Kemet, urgent and upbeat but with a mesmerizing instrumental interplay and heavy influence of the more abstract end of contemporary rap. Having actual rappers on the album helps, like both members of Armand Hammer, billy woods and ELUCID, who appear on separate tracks here, which feel like darkly stunning counterparts. A stellar debut from an artist with one foot in two complementary worlds.
Corker – Falser Truths
We recently premiered the punk rock ripper “Molotov” by Cincinnati group Corker, which we described as “a harsh and distorted basher that leans further toward the punk edge of post-punk.” That’s an apt description of Falser Truths as a whole, a jagged and wiry album that draws from the more abrasive edge of vintage post-punk with a drive and energy that sounds like it’d make for a pretty intense live performance. And though there are subtler moments, like the more atmospheric “A Fitting Compensation,” the band is never a few beats away from firing on all cylinders, pushing post-punk to its most explosive limits.
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.