New Music Friday — Turn it on Again

>>With so much music that was released throughout the week, it can be overwhelming and difficult to determine what to listen to. But we managed to string up a list of some of the best releases to make things easier for you. From the return of Mogwai’s enduring musical presence to The Hold Steady expressing their experimental side, here are some of the best releases of the week.

Mogwai — As The Love Continues [Rock Action Records]

Few bands have ever made such a landmark recording music a quarter of a century like Scotland’s beloved post-rockers Mogwai have. Solidifying their post-rock dynasty, Mogwai’s tenth studio album speaks volume. As The Love Continues recaptures the signature dynamics and arsenal of fuzz guitars from the band’s bombastic early days, particularly on the standout “Drive the Nail.” They also show off their eclectic nature, bringing in some dreamy ambient electronics and soaring string arrangements on “Ritchie Sacramento” and “Here We, Here We, Here We Go Forever.” In their third decade, Mogwai continue to be ambitious and fearless, remaining consistent with their distinctive sound.

Stream the new album here.

The Hold Steady — Open Door Policy [Positive Jams]

The Hold Steady are another band who really have nothing to prove, leaving a touchstone of highlights throughout the 2000s. Their latest effort, Open Door Policy, shows the band’s comfort levels, even going as far as dipping their toes in reimagining themselves, making this their most musically adventurous album yet. Frontman Craig Finn’s descriptive and sensible lyrics are still present, but the accompaniment from the expansive arrangements featuring jaunty bass-line rhythms, glorious loose horns and wailing synths, take you by surprise. Even with the group pushing beyond their boundaries, the attempt to experiment is a refreshing one.

Stream the new album here.

Indigo Sparke — Echo [Sacred Bones Records]

Sydney-born indie folk singer-songwriter Indigo Sparke has finally unveiled her jaw-dropping debut album Echo. The nine-track effort was co-produced by Big Thief’s Adrianne Lenker and offers a raw and intimate look into Sparke’s deeply personal life from her journey out of depression and drug addiction. Her emotional honesty in the soul-soothing collection of folk-ballads conjures a multitude of feelings that are undeniably potent and desire to connect to something greater. With a dark void holding these pieces together, from the swirling and haunting Beck-inspired “Golden Age” to the ethereal closer “Everything Everything,” Sparke surrenders to the heavy and restless reflection that’s right beside her and offers one of the year’s best releases.

Stream the new album here.

Hand Habits — dirt [Saddle Creek]

dirt is the latest offering from Meg Duffy’s songwriting project Hand Habits, which continues to tap into universal themes of growth and shedding skin that no longer serves them. The home-recorded and self-produced EP features a new track and cover of Neil Young’s “I Believe in You,” along with a digital-only Katie Dey remix of 2019’s “what’s the use.” The EP opens with “4th of July,” a simmering and stunning blend of strumming guitars, sonic textures and pounding drums that create an explosive sound. Their cover of Neil Young’s “I Believe in You,” brings back the echoes of bittersweet experiences present on the original, but also features deep and fragile backing vocals, along with hypnotic guitar chugs. The Katie Dey remix of “what’s the use” is explorative and amplifying, bringing in a vocoder to modulate Duffy’s vocal track, along with a swarm of hyperpop elements with the mechanical throbs of percussion and synths, giving the song an entirely new identity.

Stream the new EP here.

Saint Free — “Bond with Bondage” [Self-released]

Bradley Freedman, aka Saint Free, has recently shared his new single “Bond with Bondage” which will appear on Freedman’s upcoming debut album, set to be released this summer. “Bond with Bondage” maintains Freedman’s signature soulful gritty vocals, along with his eclecticism — blending cowpunk with reggae and rockabilly, while maintaining a quirky pop styling. In our recent interview with Freedman, he summed up his efforts best when describing the single as if “Rancid and the Arctic Monkeys got into a bar fight and then made up by smoking a joint with Sublime.” For more, be sure to check out our recent feature on Saint Free, along with his acoustic rendition of the single below.

Stream the new single here.

Tha God Fahim & Your Old Droog — Tha YOD Fahim [Mongoloid Banks]

Rap all-stars Tha God Fahim and Your Old Droog’s collaborative EP Tha Wolf on Wolf St was one of the best rap releases last month and thankfully, there’s more. Their latest collaboration, the 14-track Tha YOD Fahim, shows off the two MCs great chemistry with compatible styles. Still perfecting their unique take on ‘90s-style underground rap with their sharp lyricism and jerky beats, these cuts are much rawer and harder than the more polished and soulful jazz rhythms on their previous release. The masterful lead single “Slam Dunk Contest” features the legendary Queens rapper Pharoahe Monch, who laced up to flex, spitting “GOAT, something I never had a fear of / So halloumi’s what I say whenever I stare in the mirror.” Fahim’s and YOD’s last release made a ton of splash and their second stint together is a continuation of that.

Stream the new album here.

Animal Collective — Crestone (Original Score) [Domino]

Animal Collective have returned with a new original score for filmmaker Marnie Ellen Hertzler’s new documentary Crestone, which follows a group of SoundCloud rappers, living in solitude, while growing weed and making music for the internet — a film that makes reality and fiction a blur. Though the score is credited to Animal Collective, band members Deakin and Geologist composed the whole thing, with Avery Tare and Panda Bear sitting this one out. Their gorgeously hazy and patiently-paced signature soundscapes perfectly reflect the lost and bizarre souls featured in the film. In a press release, Hertzler explains she enlisted Deakin and Geologist for the score because she wanted to elevate its importance. “There are no musicians I’d rather work with more on this film, and no band that can sonically describe a landscape better than Animal Collective can,” Hertzler said.

Stream the new score here.

Quality Used Cars — Good Days/Bad Days [Spoilsport Records]

One of the well-known musicians in the Melbourne live circuit is Francis Tait, who’s tackled everything from jazz to surf rock. He is now the frontman of his latest project Quality Used Cars, who have just released their debut album Good Days/Bad Days. Tait leads the five-piece through the harmony-laden and largely acoustic affair with sweet melodies and wonky garage-pop with country-tinged affection. Tait shares a similar vocal style to Courtney Barnett and Jonathan Richman, who both encapsulate us with their deadpan drawl of sharp wit, propulsive rambles and charming storytelling. On the wielding highlight “Ripoff Merchant,” Tait’s croon tumbles out of his mouth with urgency over the jangly acoustic guitars, resembling a ‘70s idiosyncratic singer-songwriter. Tait’s authentic croon mixes the best with the group’s vocal harmonies on the rough and scrappy “The Wheels Are in Motion.” Quality Used Cars’ debut album is filled with laidback songwriting and gentle and warm acoustics, emitting the group’s unassuming nature.

Stream the new album here.

Body Maintenance — “Sheets” [Unwound Records]

The Melbourne-based post-punk group Body Maintenance are following up their demo and live tapes with a bristling self-titled EP, coming out next Friday. Made up of members of Alien Nosejob,