Essential Tracks This Week: Fucked Up, Quicksand and more

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Fucked Up

As we head ever closer to our Best of 2022 honors, which will comprise about four weeks of features (hope you’re ready!), we’ve been blessed with one of our hardest rocking weeks of new music to date. Generally speaking, we like to mix it up: Some dream pop, maybe something folky, hip-hop, electronic music, whatever. It’s all valid. But with the exception of an avant garde jazz song this week (which was actually released last week, bear with us), we’ve pretty much got a batch of songs that just go hard. As we inch toward winter, we may well be blessed with more meditative and atmospheric new singles, but this week the rippers are taking over our best new songs.

Check out this week’s Essential Tracks, and listen to our ongoing 2022 Essential Tracks playlist.

Fucked Up – “One Day”

Fucked Up’s new album, due out in early 2023, is titled One Day for a very simple reason: It was written by guitarist Mike Haliechuk in one day, with all of his guitar parts recorded within that same 24-hour span of time. Each member worked on the album remotely, but they each complied with the same guidelines, writing and recording their parts in 24 hours, without listening to any of the previous recordings beforehand. Which makes it all the more remarkable that something as driving and powerful as the title track came out of it, as strong a first single as they’ve released from any of their albums. Though it still punches as hard as ever, it’s anthemic and joyful, a compact reminder of everything that made us love Fucked Up in the first place.

From One Day, out January 27 via Merge

Quicksand – “Felíz”

Quicksand’s been back together, playing shows for a decade and having released two excellent albums in the past five years, most recently last year’s Distant Populations. Their second new single release since that album arrived a little over a year ago is the heaviest they’ve sounded since 1995’s Manic Compression, an under-three-minute ripper that sounds as energized and youthful as they ever have, proving that, even after an extended break and some more nuanced stylistic turns of late, they remain as exciting a band as they’ve ever been.

Out now via Epitaph

Algiers – “Irreversible Damage” (feat. Zack de la Rocha)

After delivering the goth posse cut of 2022 with “Bite Back,” featuring billy woods and Backxwash, Algiers revealed the details of their new album SHOOK, which has a bonkers lineup of guests, from Dungeon Family alum Big Rube to Future Islands’ Sam Herring. On new single “Irreversible Damage,” a skittering, futuristic track with arpeggios that feel like Giorgio Moroder gone darkwave, and more conspicuously, a guest verse from Zack de la Rocha. While the group is leaning further into hip-hop than before, they’re operating in a space where genre disintegrates into a dense strata of abrasive textures and haunting melodies. Some of their most genuinely exciting musical directions to date.

From SHOOK, out February 24 via Matador

The Men – “Hard Livin'”

New music from The Men is always something worth celebrating, whether it takes the form of country rock, post-hardcore, or the elusive psychedelia of 2020’s Mercy. New single “Hard Livin'” is vintage The Men, in that it’s a noisy, distorted basher that’s essentially a fairly straightforward garage rock song, but louder, heavier, more cacophonous and featuring a layer of clanging “I Wanna Be Your Dog” piano. If I were to tell you that it sounds like The Men at their best, you probably know exactly what I’m talking about, and you should be very, very excited about that.

From New York City, out February 3 via Fuzz Club

Ben LaMar Gay – “Agua Futurism”

A missed highlight from last week (there’s a lot to keep up with!), the first new taste of Ben LaMar Gay’s upcoming album Certain Reveries is an eerie and otherworldly stretch of atmospheric, avant garde jazz. In its first couple of minutes, “Agua Futurism” comprises only strange drones and instruments bent into unrecognizable shapes, a kind of alien ambient minimalism that recalls artists such as Colin Stetson. But over nearly 12 minutes, “Agua Reveries” slowly takes shape into something with more of a human, analog core, the backing drone remaining constant while a searching trumpet brings the space odyssey back down to earth. It’s something akin to Don Cherry’s spiritual free jazz in the late ’60s and early ’70s, but with less of a tendency for ecstatic chaos. At once breath-catching and breathtaking.

From Certain Reveries, out November 11 via International Anthem

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