New albums from Title Fight, Cheatahs, Colleen Green, Dan Deacon 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 the abrasion of Screaming Females, Colleen Green’s millennial navel-gazing and more.
Screaming Females – Rose Mountain
Nearly a decade in, New Jersey punks Screaming Females have reassessed their modus operandi. They’ve scrapped their DIY approach and roped in Mastodon producer Matt Bayles, and the results are palpable. Marissa Paternoster’s tremulous vibrato is intact, but the trio have diversified from straight-up rock. ‘Wishing Well’ provides the grandest departure with its 1960s pop bent and singalong chorus, but the title track provides the peak, with Paternoster’s indignant vocal melody (“I’m nothing like the others…”) echoed by her six-string. The abrasion and urgency of their sound remains, but magnified, as they explore new territory.
Title Fight – Hyperview
The Beach Boys aren’t the first band you’d associate with Title Fight’s emo sound, but that’s where the cult Pennsylvanian group sought inspiration when making this third album. As such, there’s more of a pop sheen to ‘Hyperview’ than its predecessors, 2011’s ‘Shed’ and 2012’s ‘Floral Green’. Previously, bassist Ned Russin and guitarist Jamie Rhodenoint attacked with howling joint vocals; here they’re more melodic, emphasising tone rather than volume. It pays off. ‘Mrahc’ is jangly and melancholic and ‘Rose Of Sharon’ shimmers with a pretty riff. But it’s ‘Dizzy’ that crowns Title Fight’s new approach, wrapping emotion in a low, bass-heavy hum.
Cheatahs – Sunne EP
Cheatahs’ first two EPs ‘Coared’ and ‘Sans’ pegged them as Dinosaur Jr enthusiasts. Last year, on their self-titled debut, the London-based quartet blossomed into skilled summoners of mayhem-inducing shoegaze. Full of My Bloody Valentine noise, it was an impressive if unoriginal introduction to the band, who until now have struggled to find a voice of their own. On this new four-track release they unveil a menacing new edge. ‘Campus’ is a post-punk ripper that sounds like Iceage partying in a morgue, and ‘Controller’ reins in the fury for a moment of existentialism: “I don’t know what’s real anymore”, worries frontman Nathan Hewitt over splashy cymbals. ‘Sunne’ is a grotty, grubby and exciting refining of Cheatahs’ sound.
Colleen Green – I Want To Grow Up
Sounding extremely ‘now’ isn’t the same as being cutting edge, as LA indie type Colleen Green’s third album demonstrates. A pared-down recording aesthetic, navel-gazing lyrics and a fixation with old pop-punk and getting baked: ‘I Want to Grow Up’ could have been an underground breakout hit 20 years ago, yet Green’s steez is impeccably millennial, and primed to appeal to folks who’ve found recent solace in Best Coast or Courtney Barnett. Her songs examine personal insecurity (the title track), romantic glumness (‘Deeper Than Love’, ‘Wild One’) and little else. While ‘I Want To Grow Up’ doesn’t exactly break new ground, it compensates by being affecting, relatable and having occasional gnarly solos.
José González – Vestiges & Claws
Before this third album, the last project Gothenburg musician José González was involved in was ‘Master Mix: Red Hot + Arthur Russell’, a tribute to the Iowan songwriter – who died in 1992 – that also featured Robyn and Hot Chip. The 36-year-old’s affection for Russell heavily informs ‘Vestiges & Claws’. The record is littered with painstakingly layered guitar parts, mellifluous melodies and clapping drumbeats that nod to Russell’s posthumous collection ‘Love Is Overtaking Me’. ‘Leaf Off / The Cave’ and ‘What Will’ are beautifully constructed, and on the latter González’s guitar wraps compellingly around a rock-hard rhythm. Closer ‘Open Book’ is best, though, a perfectly executed example of González’s soothing folk.
– Gliss Riffer
The hard sell on Dan Deacon’s new album is that the Baltimore producer-cum-occasional composer has gone back to basics after the brass‘n’strings‘n’choirs madness of 2012’s ‘America’. Do not be fooled. There‘s nothing remotely basic about the way the 33-year-old creates his dense electronica, and even though ‘Gliss Riffer’ comes with no added extras it still creaks under the weight of its experiments. Opener and lead single ‘Feel Lightning’ features female-sounding vocals performed by Deacon, ‘When I Was Done Dying’ resembles some kind of tribal gathering on Pluto and the final three mini-epics – ‘Learning To Relax’, ‘Take It To The Max’, ‘Steely Blues’ – are all six-minute-plus electronic adventures into the fluorescent innards of their creator’s mind.
Songhoy Blues – Music In Exile
Of all the reasons to decide it’s time to leave your hometown, armed jihadists banning music is a pretty solid one. That’s what forced Mali’s Songhoy Blues to move south from Gao to the capital Bamako in 2012. There the quartet met their producers, Africa Express’ Marc-Antoine Moreau and Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. This resulting debut is a masterpiece of desert blues; blending American guitar licks with Malian groove. ‘Soubour’ wouldn’t sound out of place on a Black Keys record, while the riff in ‘Al Hassidi Terei’ recalls Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Oh Well’. Mali, home to renowned musician Ali Farka Touré, and his heirs are this righteous four-piece that even militants couldn’t silence.
Kevin EG Perry