Each week a ton of new music comes out, and between our weekly singles column that gets posted every Friday, and the full album reviews throughout the week, plus live show reviews and news announcements, we get to a lot! Here’s a quick fire list of even more great albums and EPs that came out this week(ish) that we dug and think you should get on your radar too.
Atlas Engine– When the Compass Resets, There Can Be No Regrets. As Atlas Engine singer and guitarist Nick LaFalce dealt with chronic illness (a topic he touches on in his songwriting), the band chose to release When the Compass Resets, There Can Be No Regrets as two EPs, which we covered here and here. Now the full length LP is out, with a new track at the beginning to kick things off and two new songs at the end, including the outstanding “I Never Get As Far As I Run.” These tracks are just as gorgeous and cinematic as the songs previously introduced on the EPs, and bring the halves together in a lushly produced whole. [CW]
Fake Names– Expendables. This punk rock super group is a who’s who of 80s and 90s punk and hardcore bands, featuring members of Minor Threat, Refused, Fugazi, Dag Nasty, Bad Religion, Embrace and Soulside—and that’s just scratching the surface of their impressive resume. Today, they’ve released their second album, Expendables, on Epitaph and it’s a punk power pop banger through and through. When “Delete Myself” was released as a single, guitarist Brian Baker shared “In general, Dennis [Lyxzén] writes about revolution, and Michael [Hampton] and I write pop songs. I’m amazed at how it works, but somehow it strikes the right balance of salty and sweet.” Indeed, this album has plenty of salty and sweet to go around. Catch the band in NYC on 4/14 at TV Eye. [KH]
Muck– Demo (2023). Scuzzy lo-fi hardcore from Richmond. This demo is a ripper and it’s over in a spartan 9 minutes and 15 seconds. You know, exactly like a hardcore demo is supposed to be! [KH]
O. Wake– Head In The Cloud. This EP collects three previous released singles “Odysseus,” “Let’s All Get Pessimistic,” and “Riper Than Ripe” and now adds the brand new song “Head In The Cloud,” a song that addresses the plague of being addicted to our devices, something we can all relate to. The band will be performing at the upcoming New Colossus Festival. [KH]
SSOLD– Passionate Horse. The sludgy Portland noise rock trio released this brand new four song EP on Valentine’s Day and it was my first intro to the band. It’s not every day the first song you get from a punk band is a song about Destiny’s Child (yes, you read that right), but I liked it so much I immediately dove head first into their previous full length, Ssolid Ggold, too. I’m a big fan of the busy drumming here, courtesy of Max, who goes hard and serves as an anchor for the heavy fuckin riffage.
This will give you some Big Business vibes and also reminds me a bit of Dead Arms, the fantastic (and now defunct) UK band that featured future Los Bitchos drummer, Nic Crawshaw. My only complaint is this is just four songs, I definitely would get way down with another full length from this crew, but this can hold me over for now while I wait. Passionate Horse will rattle your teeth and shake your bones, and I say, let’s get this band out to NYC ASAP so I can hear these songs live! [KH]
Zulu– A New Tomorrow. The anticipated debut album from the esteemed LA powerviolence band has arrived and it packs a massive amount of heavy, hammering riffs alongside brutal basslines and blistering drums throughout. Crushers like “Where I’m From,” which features guest spots from Pierce Jordan (Soul Glo) and Obioma Ugonna (Playtime), “Fakin’ Tha Funk (You Get Did)” and “52 Fatal Strikes” will rattle you all the way down your spine.
But the album isn’t all heavy, and features a wide breadth of material from soul and jazz samples interspersed as the ending of many songs, the instrumental funk interlude “Shine Eternally,” and the spoken word/piano pieces “Must I Only Share My Pain?” and “Crème de Cassis by Aleisia Miller and Precious Tucker” which asks the question “why do Black artists only have to make art about their pain?” a theme that occurs throughout the record. “We’re More Than This,” is a hip-hop song which features guitarist Dez Yusuf rhyming over relaxed, nimble jazz instrumentation. Yusef shares:
“When we first started writing for the record Anaiah and I had bounced the idea of maybe doing some jazz or R&B songs and putting some raps on the record,” Yusuf commented. “I know Satchel and Anaiah had jammed out some different ideas that I hadn’t really been present for. We were actually ending our tour with Sasami when I first heard the music for ‘We’re More Than This’. We were in the van at a rest stop and Anaiah played it off a video of him and Satchel jamming. It just hit me all in an instant.
“I didn’t think much beyond the lyrics of ‘must I only share my pain,’ which is a running theme throughout the album. But it’s ironic because I go forward with sharing glimpses of pain and trauma, but that’s really the setup to show the things I’ve (we’ve) become in spite of that pain. This is really a song of resilience and encouragement. Saying that we can still be more than the tropes that are Put on us. That we are more than commodified versions of our trauma.”
A New Tomorrow is a remarkable record with exceptional depth and nuance. At the end of 2023, you can be sure that this album will be on many Best of the year lists. [KH]
Check out these other recent reviews for even more new music: