New Music Roundup — An Irresistible Brew of Introspection & Calculated Eclecticism

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 King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard expanding upon familiar territory to the retro-futuristic sheen of Altin Gün, here are some of the best releases of the week.

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard — L.W. [Self-released]

It only took three months for the hyper-prolific Aussie psych rockers King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard to drop the companion album to their last effort K.G. Their latest, L.W., is the band’s 17th studio album since forming in 2010 and serves as the bookend to the trilogy of microtonal albums that began with 2017’s Flying Microtonal Banana. Whereas K.G. was unfocused, even if it was more direct and lyrically brooding, L.W. digs deeper into the band’s usage of clattering guitar lines, off-kilter time signatures and syncopated rhythms—all forming a complete sound. Seamlessly picking up from the mesh of noise that closed out K.G., the fantastically falsetto-led “If Not Now, Then When?” is accompanied with a funky and bright electric harpsichord groove that contrasts greatly from the dire warnings in the songwriting—“When the ocean’s coming up / when the rain just won’t stop / when the fire’s burning / if not now, then when?”. The brooding “Pleura” and the Tool-inspired “Ataraxia,” both carry the instrumental complexity of 2017’s Polygondwanaland and the groove-laden “See Me” is accompanied by its “Oddlife”-esque vocal styling and eclectic psychedelic jam that sounds like if Goblin composed the score for a Hindi film. Closing out the trilogy, the band embark on a nine-minute stoner metal epic, which is the heaviest we’ve seen the band since their thrash metal voyage on 2019’s Infest the Rats’ Nest. Some fans and critics might be sick of the King Gizzard’s microtonal journey at this point, but L.W. displays just how masterful they’ve become at this style.

Stream the new album here.

Altin Gün — Yol [ATO Records]

Over the last few years, Altin Gün have built a reputation on bridging genres and generations. On their latest effort, the sextet continue their versatility with their psychedelic stylings, but unveil a new and distinct palette of sonic surprises. Yol is the group’s most polished effort with its muscular grooves, incorporating a heavy usage of synths and drum machines, giving the album an early’80s-new wave and avant disco quality—seriously, “Bulunur Mu” sounds like a lost ‘80s classic. “Yüce Dağ Başında” is both mysterious and gorgeous with its splashes of bubbly synths and frontwoman Merve Dasdemir’s flirtatious europop vocals. “Kara Toprak” is one of the more essential tracks here, capturing all the musical styles the band has approached since their first album, mixing a propelling bassline that’s very ‘80s with ‘60s-styled psychedelic guitar lines. Yol is the next phase of the band’s development and it’s going to be interesting how a once-jam heavy Turkish psych band who have shifted into the experimental realm of synth-pop, will incorporate some of these contrasting styles into their live shows.

Stream the new album here.

Nick Hakim — Will This Make Me Good (The Remixes) [ATO Records]

Last year, Brooklyn-based musician Nick Hakim dug deeper into his abstract and hazy instrumental arrangements that made his album Will This Make Me Good one of the best offerings in a bizarre year. Now, Hakim has put together a collection of remixes of his 2020 album, featuring Pink Siifu, BADBADNOTGOOD and Big Thief’s James Krivchenia. Rummaging through the woozy backdrops that support Hakim’s enthralling take on ‘70s-psychedelic soul and R&B, the arrangements here are much faster and tighter. On the BADBADNOTGOOD remix of “QADIR,” the melancholy and delicacy that was so evident on the original is swapped with a more immediate and swaying daze of soul, especially with its blistering guitar solo that dominates the song.

Stream the new album here.

Adrian Younge — The American Negro [Jazz is Dead]

Multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer Adrian Younge has released his new album The American Negro, a deep and personal project that Younge composed himself, playing every instrument with only a 30-piece orchestra backing him in his studio. This project is an uncomfortable truth and unapologetic view of systematic racism and racial violence that has impacted people of color across the world. Younge uses music as a bridge to this reality, in addition to his spoken word and poetry, reflecting the physical and psychological toll black people have faced, particularly in America. The project looks at the evolution of racism, along with an array of black music genres with Younge’s zealous dive into spiritual jazz (“The Death March”) to mesmerizing soul music (“Light on the Horizon”). At some moments, you might feel uncomfortable listening to this album, possibly even just seeing the cover art (a recreation of a lynching postcard), but Younge’s ambitious project is trying to enlighten you to these issues, so these acts of violence will never again.

Stream the new album here.

Nick Cave & Warren Ellis — Carnage [Goliath Records]

Longtime collaborators Nick Cave and Warren Ellis have surprised us with their first proper album as a duo, after years of composing film scores together. Recorded while in lockdown, Carnage continues Cave’s and Ellis’ creative chemistry with haunting and atmospheric compositions that evoke the musicians’ greatest strengths and capture the emotional devastation from these unprecedented times. In a press release, Cave described Carnage as “a brutal but very beautiful record embedded in a communal catastrophe.” Ellis added: “Making Carnage was an accelerated process of intense creativity. The eight songs were there in one form or another within the first two and a half days.” There’s a lot of shifts in these compositions, especially on the prowling “White Elephant,” which accounts for the unpredictability and the uncertainty in the world right now.

Stream the new album here.

Julien Baker — Little Oblivions [Matador Records]

In the past year, singer-songwriter Julien Baker has stunned us with her powerful and intense indie-folk, filled with confessional lyrics and scanty instrumentation. Her latest album, Little Oblivions is a continuation of the powerful feelings Baker has been inducing in her self-described “bummer jams.” Like Phoebe Bridgers’ last album, the compositions are richer and expansive, bringing in everything from drum machines, synthesizers, lush strings to even a theremin on the cathartic “Heatwave.” Baker’s songwriting is more introspective and fearless, particularly on the ghostly piano-led “Song in E,” where Baker pours her heart into.

Stream the new album here and be sure to check out the lyric video made by Rochester-based artist Sabrina Nichols below.

Mt. Mountain — Centre [Fuzz Club Records]

The Perth-based psych rock five-piece Mt. Mountain are back with their anticipated fourth studio album Centre. Journeying between motorik psychedelic rock and sonically-massive hard rock, Mt. Mountain continues to blow your mind releasing freewheeling music that shows nods to Osees and King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard. According to frontman, Stephen Bailey, much of the material was born out of improvised jams and his dissection of growing up around religion. “The album for me, lyrically, is mostly about my experience of religion,” Bailey said in a press release. “It explores these concepts and the rules that were told to me from childhood to adulthood and my thoughts on my own connection to them. Similar themes arise between the tracks whether it be lyrically or structural, both a play on repetition and simplicity.” One of the many highlights here include the seven-minute epic “Peregrination.” The experimental jam articulates the group’s organic approach that’s both hypnotic and sprawling, adding their own spin to familiar psych rock templates that are limitless.

Stream the new album here.

Cloud Nothings — The Shadow I Remember [Carpark Records]

After self-releasing the vibrant and melodic The Black Hole Understands last year, the Ohio-based indie rockers Cloud Nothin