Essential Tracks: Archers of Loaf, Sorry and more

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Archers of Loaf

Looking for the song of the summer? We’ve got some suggestions, just like we do every week. Though considering some of the albums that this week’s Essential Tracks are found on don’t actually come out until fall, perhaps we’re not looking far enough ahead. This week, we’ve got a long-awaited return from some indie legends, a post-punk group with some less obvious influences, a blistering 100-second grindcore track and more. Check them all out below.

Plus, listen to our ongoing 2022 Essential Tracks playlist.

Archers of Loaf – “In the Surface Noise”

This week we were blessed with two first-in-twenty-years events: The first Unwound tour since their breakup shortly after Leaves Turn Inside You, and the announcement of the first new album from Archers of Loaf since 1998’s White Trash Heroes. The college rock nostalgists among us (hi!) are in heaven this week, basically. It certainly helps that “In the Surface Noise” is a soaring anthem that heralds the Archers’ return in the most heroic of ways, the kind of big-hearted, big-chorus song that frontman Eric Bachmann has been writing for his solo records and Crooked Fingers over the past 20 years, but backed by a muscular rock roar. It’s Archers of Loaf as you remember them, but a little more grown up, a little less misanthropic, but with plenty of charged-up rock to go around.

From Reason in Decline, out October 21 via Merge

Sorry – “Let the Lights On”

British group Sorry are, ostensibly, a post-punk band, which is perhaps more apparent in their rhythmic sensibility than anywhere else, the driving pulse of their new single firmly rooted in dancepunk and early ’80s goth basslines. Which makes the statement about their new album being influenced by ’70s pop and singer/songwriters incongruous on its face. Until you hear “Let the Lights On,” and then it all makes perfect sense, the band’s penchant for bright melodies and tense rhythmic urgency all intertwined in strangely perfect harmony. It’s as infectious an indie rock single as you’re likely to hear this summer, and it bodes well for the rest of their sophomore album.

From Anywhere But Here, out October 7 via Domino

Kal Marks – “My Name Is Hell”

It’s been four years since Boston post-hardcore outfit Kal Marks released their last album, Universal Care, and their highly anticipated (at least around these parts) follow-up arrives in just a few weeks. New single “My Name Is Hell” is, on first listen, one of the best things they’ve ever done, a muscular noise rock song that’s driven by hooks and melody rather than cacophony and sheer volume, but the squeal of the distortion and their shoegaze-like walls of sound remain a constant throughout the song, even as the band’s soaring choruses seem to aim for indie rock classic status. Take it from someone who actually made mixtapes of Sonic Youth and Pavement songs in the ’90s: This is the absolute best kind of indie anthem.

From My Name Is Hell, out August 5 via Exploding in Sound

Rachika Nayar – “Nausea”

The cinematic and the ominous come together in curiously harmonious ways in Rachika Nayar’s music. “Nausea,” a new offering from her upcoming album Heaven Come Crashing, is reminiscent at times of Ben Frost’s most musically tense compositions as well as M83’s atmospheric soundscapes circa Dead Cities, Read Seas and Lost Ghosts. Beastly low end roars beneath a synth-laden atmosphere that’s rife with tension but accessible all the same, with touches of guitar caressing the underside of this tempest. There’s beauty here, but it’s surrounded by danger.

From Heaven Come Crashing, out August 26 via NNA Tapes

Cloud Rat – “Inner Controller (Lucid Running Home)”

Am I ever stoked about the return of grindcore titans Cloud Rat. Their 2019 album Pollinator was easily one of my favorite records that year, and their follow-up is already shaping up to be an equally uncompromising and intense record, exactly the kind of primal scream therapy I’ve been craving. “Inner Controller” is 100 seconds of utter devastation, balancing both a keen acumen for writing memorable riffs and melodies with an instinct for total annihilation. It’s really everything I could possibly want from a minute and a half of face-ripping hardcore in 2022.

From Threshold, out October 6 via Artoffact

High Vis – “Blending”

It’s almost becoming a cliche at this point—British punks High Vis release a new single, and automatically it lands on our Essential Tracks for the week, which happened twice before with “Talk for Hours” and “Fever Dream.” If I haven’t emphasized by now just how great the group’s upcoming sophomore album Blending is, well, I’ll have a lot more to say about it in the not-too-distant future. But in the meantime, yes, the title track is an absolute gem, a more shoegazey track that dials back the immediacy just so slightly in favor of a more densely layered track steeped in effects and hypnotic atmosphere. They’ve done it again!

From Blending, out September 9 via Dais

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