Essential Tracks This Week: Inter Arma, Mdou Moctar, and more

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Inter Arma

Made your way through this week’s overflowing stack of new releases yet? Because here are five more songs you absolutely have to hear today: Harrowing hardcore, upbeat electroclash, a progressive new standout from one of the best metal bands running, krautrock-inspired psych pop and the return of a Nigerien guitar great.

Blurbs by Jeff Terich (JT) and Mia Euceda (ME).

Inter Arma – “New Heaven”

Richmond’s Inter Arma have long been one of the most complicated bands to put in context of contemporary metal, if only because they’re very good at a lot of things: low-rumbling doom, menacing black metal, even funereal folk. “New Heaven,” the title track to their follow-up to 2019’s Sulphur English, once again showcases the band’s knack for versatility with a transition into more rhythmically complex black metal that leans closer to the progressive tendencies of a band like Krallice, embracing dissonance and knotty intricacy in curious and fascinating ways while continuing to deliver something that absolutely slays. Though their methods continue to evolve, what hasn’t changed is their sense of scale and scope—at under eight minutes long, this is relatively brief by Inter Arma standards, and yet it still feels massive.

From New Heaven, out April 26 via Relapse

Mdou Moctar – “Funeral For Justice”

Mdou Moctar’s always played fiery rock music that coursed with the soul of North African desert blues rather than the other way around, as evident on albums like 2021’s Afrique Victime. The former’s never been quite as overt as it is on “Funeral For Justice,” a song that finds the Nigierien guitarist/singer and his band tearing through a series of crunchy, chunky power chord riffs amid wilder sequences of riffs. Despite the song’s title, and the implied sense of grief, “Funeral For Justice” feels more like a blazing call to action, inspiring rather than defeating, motivating rather than mournful. This is a band that’s always been about a rowdy kind of energy, and it’s never been as bluntly infectious as it is here. – JT

From Funeral for Justice, out May 3 via Matador.

Rico Nasty & Boys Noize – “Arintintin”

Picking up from where they left off with 2020’s “Girl Crush,” Rico Nasty and German electronic producer Boys Noize pair up again to synthesize another brash and addictive club-ready track. Pulsing acidic basslines and sizzling electroclash synths provide a backdrop for Rico’s frisky and frank stream-of-consciousness on “Artintintin,” It fully revels in its sugary, room-filling production and self-indulgence and demands carnal movement. As I listen to this in bed, I wish I was candyflipping at an after-hours club in Berlin. This track is part of a recently announced joint EP, HVRDC0RE DR3AMZ, so there’s more high-energy hedonism to come later this month. – ME

From HVRDC0RE DR3AMZ, out March 29

Tara Jane O’Neil – “Curling”

Tara Jane O’Neil has a pretty sprawling catalog of work, including her records with math-rock outfit Rodan, slowcore bands Retsin and The Sonora Pine, as well as nearly 20 solo albums. And she’s always finding new territory to explore. “Curling” is one such example, a hypnotic, grooving psychedelic song that came to life through a repeating bass figure. It makes perfect sense that the song began there, as its groove, essentially rooted in one note, is a mesmerizing focal point throughout its five and a half minutes that nods to Can in their peak early ’70s years. Gorgeously layered vocals and synths change the tone and course of the song, but the bassline is its grounding element, simple and subtle enough that on paper it would seem more like a supporting role. But that bassline is everything, making something minimalist in its pieces turn transcendent. – JT

From The Cool Cloud of Okayness, out April 26 via Orindal

Knocked Loose – “Blinding Faith”

“Blinding Faith” is intense. Even for a band that’s known for delivering as visceral a listening experience (and probably more than a few bruises if heard while being crowdkilled) as Knocked Loose does. The first track the band has shared from upcoming album You Won’t Go Before You’re Supposed To is harrowing and pointed, a sharp condemnation of religious hypocrisy within a punishing ass-whomping of a hardcore song. But what puts it over the top is its eerie atmosphere, a deeply unsettling textural cloak of drones and frequencies that pushes it beyond sheer physical aggression and into the realm of nightmares. – JT

From You Won’t Go Before You’re Supposed To, out May 10 via Pure Noise

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