It feels as if every band has announced a new album in the past couple weeks, and about half of them feature an appearance from Phoebe Bridgers. This week, Bridgers’ actual band, boygenius, announced their long-awaited debut LP, and as you might imagine, one of the early singles appears in our weekly roundup of the best new songs, as do some art-punk bands, a metal collab, and some particularly crushing hardcore. Check out this week’s Essential Tracks.
boygenius – $20
It doesn’t feel quite right that boygenius haven’t yet released their debut album—given that their debut EP was an instant classic, and between them they’ve got eight solo records (not including collabs and guest appearances, which Phoebe Bridgers alone seems to be racking up at an impressive rate). But you can’t rush great songs, and “$20”, one of three singles released with the announcement of their new album, suggests it’s more than worth the weight. Few moments on any of the three singer/songwriters’ individual albums carry this much momentum and undeniable rock energy, but it’s less the volume than the moving parts together, the unmistakably stunning sound of their three voices in mesmerizing harmony.
From the record, out March 31 via Polydor/Interscope
Full of Hell & Primitive Man – “Rubble Home”
It’s a hell of a week for newly announced collabs, some of them from songwriters with a yen for beautifully heart-rending storytelling, some of them from some of the most harrowing metal bands of our time. Full of Hell are no strangers to making noise with other people, whether with a sludgy duo like The Body or a genuine noise architect like Merzbow. But in teaming up with Primitive Man, the end result is something even denser, thicker, putrid and viscous. “Rubble Home” is like a slow trudge through a fetid swamp, its murky substance unable to wash off no matter how much elbow grease you put into it. I’m in awe of the nasty tone they’ve captured on its own, but the progression of the song is something even better, from an ominous dirge into an explosion of chaos and eventual climax into hell. Count me in.
From Suffocating Hallucination, out March 3 via Closed Casket Activities
Mandy, Indiana – “Injury Detail”
With their full-length debut expected to arrive sometime later this year, Manchester industrial/post-punk group Mandy, Indiana have offered up a first taste of what’s on the horizon, and “Injury Detail” is as satisfying a piece of surrealist violence as they’ve ever released. Building on the abrasive grooves of their 2021 …EP, the group delves into a series of grinding, menacing pulses, with vocalist Valentine Caulfield chanting French phrases like “haut, haut, bas, bas, gauche, gauche, droite, droit.” It’s simultaneously cacophonous, strange, fun and immediate, which aren’t necessarily all characteristics that play well together, but for Mandy, Indiana, it’s an undeniably joyful noise.
Out now via Fire Talk
Pile – “Nude with a Suitcase”
Pile’s Rick Maguire said this week that “Nude With a Suitcase” might be his favorite song that he’s written, and it’s easy to see why. Though Pile has never been a straightforward punk or post-hardcore band by any means, often incorporating blues, folk or country elements into otherwise punchy bursts of intensity, “Nude With a Suitcase” is driven by strange vocal effects, synth drones and layers of oddball sound—including a climax that finds them being sucked into an experimental, psychedelic electronic music vortex. In the best way, of course. “Nude With a Suitcase” retains the power of Pile at their heaviest, but surrounded by elements that are anything but. They’re always headed somewhere interesting, but this song seems to solidify that All Fiction finds them on their least predictable path yet.
From All Fiction, out February 17 via Exploding in Sound
Jesus Piece – “Gates of Horn”
Five years have passed since the release of Philly hardcore troupe Jesus Piece’s last album, Only Self, but it’s good to know that in that time they’ve only doubled down on the ferocity. The second single from their newly announced album …So Unknown, “Gates of Horn” is just over two minutes of relentless aggression, punishing low end and blood-drenched riffs, an act of intensity that’s spectacularly thrilling from the first note. It feels as if in just the first couple weeks, 2023 is shaping up to be a great year for heavy music, but Jesus Piece just went and raised the bar a little higher.
From …So Unknown, out April 14 via Century Media
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.