New albums from Petite Noir, Dark Dark Dark, Meat Wave, Mac DeMarco and more
You know about the big releases each week, but what about those smaller albums which may have passed underneath your radar. Don’t miss out on the smaller, lesser-known gems which might become some of your favourites. We’ve rounded up seven of the best new album releases from this week: discover Mac DeMarco’s sketches, the battering-ram riffs of Meat Wave and more.
Mac DeMarco – 2/Salad Days Demos
Given his fondness for toilet humour and hard rock covers, the murky world of DeMarco’s demos might not sound as appealing as the splendour of his records. But these sketches from 2012’s ‘2’ and 2014’s ‘Salad Days’, released together for the first time, are sweet and hazy treasures. The downbeat, treacle-thick ‘Goodbye Weekend’ is even woozier than its ‘Salad Days’ counterpart. And if most of the ‘2’ demos sounds like ramshackle takes on the finished tracks, there’s always the trippy, instrumental melancholia of ‘Pepperoni Playboy’ and ‘Potato Boy’: even with half-baked ideas, Mac’s got the knack for making you want to stay in his weird world forever.
Taman Shud – Viper Smoke
“Taman Shud is not ‘about’ working in a fucking office, it is about blood, sex and evil. We are a magical weapon against tedium,” states one missive posted by the London quartet – who released an EP with Fat White Family in 2013 – on their Facebook page. Debut album ‘Viper Smoke’ goes some way to backing up that claim; an unholy combination of ghoulish moaning, the blackest strands of psychedelia and nightmarish song titles (‘The Hex Inverted’, ‘The Hissing Priest’s Remains’). On ‘I Tego Arcana Dei’ (Latin for ‘bury the mysteries of God’) a howling barrage of jagged guitars splices through rumbling bass and gloomy vocals, before ‘Book Of Lies’ slows to a reflective pace, and sounds even more cult-ish for it. Brilliantly terrifying.
Petite Noir – The King Of Anxiety EP
‘Chess’, the second track on this debut EP, sets lyrics about a break-up on instant messenger to giant gimmicky beats. Initially it sounds like something you’d hear on hipster-mocking comedy Nathan Barley, yet vocals from Yannick Illunga (aka Petite Noir) propel it towards Wild Beasts territory. It’s one of five tracks here that showcase the South African’s deft touch. ‘Shadows’ pits intricate guitar patterns against sparse, SBTRKT-style beats, ‘Till We Ghosts’ deploys joyous oriental rhythms, and ‘Come Inside’ rips the melody from Gorillaz’ ‘Dirty Harry’ but strips it down to intimate handclaps and call-and-response vocals. Only closer ‘The Fall’ suffers from a lack of spark.
Dark Dark Dark – Flood Tide
In 2008, a collective of artists built seven floating artworks and sailed down New York’s Hudson River. Minnesota alt-folk ensemble Dark Dark Dark were among them, and their then bassist Todd Chandler documented the trip for 2014 film Flood Tide. Now Chandler’s ex-bandmates are releasing the soundtrack full of plucked strings, pretty pianos and old-world accordions. ‘Castle’ veers like Albuquerque folk band A Hawk And A Hacksaw towards dark, Eastern European abstractions, and ‘Quarry’ evokes Mogwai’s chilling ‘Les Revenants’ OST. Nona Marie Invie’s gutsy vocals finally surface on ‘Flood’ bringing this challenging journey to a rousing conclusion.
Amen Dunes – Cowboy Worship EP
‘Love’, Damon McMahon’s fourth Amen Dunes album, was one of 2014’s most luscious records. New EP ‘Cowboy Worship’ – with the addition of two extra musicians,Stephen Tanner of ’90s experimentalists Harvey Milk and Ben Greenberg from New York punks The Men – features new interpretations of four ‘Love’ tracks, a delicate cover of Tim Buckley’s ‘Song To The Siren’ and a new recording of ‘Lezzy Head (Burial)’, from 2011’s ‘Through Donkey Jaw’. ‘I Know Myself (Montreal)’ revitalises the album version with warped acoustic guitar and brass, and Tanner adds foreboding guitar noise to a narcotic ‘Green Eyes (Music Blues)’. But the rich piano on ‘Love (Montreal)’ is best, crowning an EP that expands on the wealth of ideas McMahon put into ‘Love’.
Meat Wave – Brother EP
“You’re not my brother/You’re just another motherfucker’s brother”, snarls Chris Sutter on the rapid-fire title track from Meat Wave’s follow-up to their 2012 self-titled debut album. Given the combination of such cold sentiments and the album’s battering-ram riffs, it’d be easy to write the group off as angsty and miserable. Dig a little deeper, though, and there are bright moments to be had. ‘Mystery’, originally by seminal Portland punks Wipers, is a moment of metallic sparkle among the sludgy grunge, and the grubby racket of ‘The Truth’ sounds happier, Sutter singing “You’re wonderful/Yeah, I’m wonderful” like a man who’s getting his issues all worked out.
Jib Kidder – Teaspoon To The Ocean
Georgian musician Sean Schuster-Craig’s 13th album as Jib Kidder is a buoyant record that should widen his audience, up to now largely confined to his Bandcamp page – a trove of gently weird psychedelia. ‘In Between’ bounces giddily, a sun-speckled collision between Panda Bear and Real Estate, and ‘Dozens’ packs squiggly effects and skittering drums under soft guitar that recalls Creation band The Telescopes. Schuster-Craig indulges in weirder, more plaintive moments, too: ‘Illustration’ and ‘Melt Me’ boast irregular melodies underpinned by patient rhythms. Getting lost in the depths of the latter provides the album’s highlight.