Before you get your weekend started, it’s time to queue up this week’s Essential Tracks! This week’s picks lean a little heavier on harder rocking anthems, with the return of a longtime favorite indie rock outfit, along with an anthemic death metal ripper, plus a long-awaited solo debut and some curiously released leftovers from an enigmatic artist. Check out this week’s Essential Tracks.
Blurbs by Jeff Terich (JT) and Mia Euceda (ME).
Beth Gibbons – “Floating On a Moment”
Beth Gibbons has released a couple of records outside of Portishead in the 21st century, one a collaboration with Rustin Man and the other a performance with the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, but this week marks the announcement of the first proper solo album from the UK artist. “Floating on a Moment,” the lead single from Lives Outgrown, is haunting and melancholy, a reflective art-folk piece that feels connected with the quieter moments on Third, yet more lush, intricate and twinkling with beautifully delicate flourishes. There’s an eerie and rustic sensibility as well, a modern descendent of past generations of British folk rock such as Comus and Pentangle, updated with otherworldly atmospheric elements and a beating heart that draws its focus toward something more deeply personal. It’s a gorgeous introduction to a record that feels like it’s been a long time coming. – JT
From Lives Outgrown, out May 17 via Domino.
Necrot – “Cut the Cord”
The return of Necrot bodes well for a summer of riffs. I couldn’t imagine dealing with the oppressive, humid heat without an absolute blast of a death metal record to help me get through it, but those worries have been put to rest. Of course, it’s still cold out, but the furious riffs from the Bay Area trio are already causing me to feel the heat rise. “Cut the Cord” is, as expected, an absolute ripper, but the band’s songwriting chops sound stronger than ever, particularly in light of the fact that this is far and away the catchiest chorus the group’s ever written. It also may or may not be about canceling your cable TV or streaming service, which only adds further evidence to the idea of this being my own personal summer dirtbag anthem. – JT
From Lifeless Birth, out April 12 via Tankcrimes
Dean Blunt – “SWITCH”
Mysterious Londoner Dean Blunt, in his typical fashion, quietly dropped two hours of new material titled HACKNEY COMMERCIAL WASTE via the description of a now-deleted YouTube video. The assortment is mainly made up of minimalist minute-long instrumentals, with the exception of tracks like “SWITCH,” featuring the breezy vocals of longtime collaborator POiSON ANNA. A laid-back drum beat and faint fluttering marimba provide a chill backdrop for ANNA’s tender musings on love and betrayal. With the mellow repetition of hazy guitar and beeping synth, this song serves as a fitting soundtrack for lounging around. If Blunt thinks this track is a throwaway, call me a dumpster diver. – ME
From HACKNEY COMMERCIAL WASTE, out now via World Music
Gouge Away – “Dallas”
With the two singles released thus far from Gouge Away’s upcoming album Deep Sage, the Florida noise rock/post-hardcore group has showcased more nuance and a more diverse approach to their sound, embracing melody and richer atmosphere while retaining the intensity that made 2018’s Burnt Sugar such a thrill. “Dallas,” the new album’s closing track, is Gouge Away at their least abrasive, vocalist Christina Michelle leaning away from her ferocious scream in favor of a more melancholy, melodic vocal style. There’s distortion and riffs galore on “Dallas,” but it’s a piece defined by mood more than abrasive assault, explicitly revealing the beauty the band has always been capable of. – JT
From Deep Sage, out March 15 via Deathwish
Restorations – “Cured”
It’s been way too long since we’ve heard new music from Philadelphia’s Restorations, whose 2014 album LP3 remains one of the best indie rock albums of the past decade. New single “Cured,” their first new music in six years, leans heavier on the band’s rowdier side, a fiery, high-energy rock barnburner that finds vocalist Jon Loudon growling with even more ferocity than before. It’s a song that feels like it was made for live performances—grungy, powerful, but with a touch of roots-rock grit and E Street Band maximalism to push it well beyond mere riffs and choruses. Have I mentioned how much I miss this band? – JT
From Restorations, out March 22