Release Date Buffet: 5/25/2018

More “Like Last Week’s Buffet” this is a post for those like me who are slow to digest last week’s latest releases and just want a recap after a weekend listening to their favourite records.

Quick Impressions:

CHVRCHES – Love is Dead
Producer: Greg Kurstin
Label: Glassnote
Genre: Synthpop, Electropop
Quick Impressions:
CHVRCHES bore me. And their third record does nothing to change that. They triple-down on their synthwave and electronic origins and it’s all a bunch of sound that I’ve vaguely heard before. It’s not fair to rag on synthpop or electropop being “fake” music or some shit but it is fair to hear an artist evolve their tastes or attitudes. And that’s my first problem: I don’t think CHVRCHES know how to program their attitudes into their drum machines or synths, it’s all meant to be conveyed in Lauren Mayberry’s voice. And that’s the second problem: her voice is lost in this record. I’ll pass.

Clairo – diary 001 EP
Producer: Clairo
Label: Fader
Genre: Alternative R&B, Synthpop, Pop Indie
Quick Impressions:
A lean package of electronic goodness, this is how I need my synthpop delivered: with the oomph of some rhythm and blues. A collection of Clairo’s prior singles, the record is sultry, heartfelt and gorgeous across its six cuts, none more than three minutes long. For a longer-player this would require a herculean number of cuts, for an extended-play? It’s succinct and paced to perfection.

Crooked Flower – Darkness and Light EP
Producer: Daniel Erik, Dan Ingberman
Label: Self-Released
Genre: Indie Rock, Avant-garde
Quick Impressions:
Oof. I’m digging it: a healthy mix between shoegaze, garage and Zeppelin? Sign me the fuck up. And at 23 minutes? It’s almost too short, but then it takes a good few minutes before “Bells of Brixton” finds its grooves, switching between dreampop flourishes, Gilmourian tonework and reggaetón swing, losing a few minutes to incongruous thought. Still, for two-and-a-half cuts, it’s a solid EP.

For Esmé – Righteous Woman 
Producer: James Bunton
Label: Self-Released
Genre: Pop Indie, Electronic
Quick Impressions:
Take house and dance beats, throw them behind feminist lyrics and bang, you have Righteous Woman. What amazes me is how it manages to sound like such corporate Eurodance despite being a self-produced record. It’s no original piece of work and it errs on cliché—but if you need empowerment, perhaps cliché won’t stop you.

Golden Teardrops – Promises & Smiles
Producer: Golden Teardrops
Label: Emma’s House
Genre: Pop Indie, Twee
Quick Impressions:
Do you believe nostalgia? In a young band’s heart? How the music can free them, whenever it starts? And it’s magic, when the record is groovy, ‘cuz Promises & Smiles glows like an old-time LP. And if this Mexican twee group found a spellbook, it’s one that summons all the power in the flower.

Halo Maud – Je Suis Une île
Producer: Robin Leduc
Label: Heavenly
Genre: Pop Psychedelic, Pop Indie
Quick Impressions:
Halo Maud sounds like Melody Echo Chamber, sure, but her insular debut attempts to give the phantasmagoric heebie-jeebies of Rest. Electric pianos and organs forge l’air synthetique, all but missing the R&B snare beats and Maud’s vocals are nothing to tousse about—she moves from ghostly shoegaze moans to baroque pop dirges. Solid, Maud.

Jenny Hval – The Long Sleep EP
Producer: Jenny Hval, Cole M.G.N.
Label: Sacred Bones
Genre: Pop-Art, Pop Progressive
Quick Impressions:
This is the week of the EP; Singer-songwriter Jenny Hval has thrown her hat into the ring and, if I’m honest, the long sleep is a long sleep. Shoegaze that would make shoegaze tired. Dreampop that dream of hardly anything at all, it’s just so… comatose. A long sleep indeed.

Kamaal Williams – The Return
Producer: Kamaal William
Label: Black Focus
Genre: Jazz-Funk, Jazz-Fusion
Quick Impressions:
Kamaal Williams, formerly of Yussef Kamaal, doesn’t really want to push the boundaries. Instead, he just nudges them along with The Return, a jazz-fusion effort that’s less jazz-rock and more jazz-house. Toss in a little bit of funk and it’s probably the most palatable café jazz record for some time. Now if only Starbucks would make room for it in between their Kenny G marathons. Odds are lower on that one.

Little Red – Draw Blood 
Producer: Marc Challans
Label: All Will Be Well
Genre: Folk, Alt-Country
Quick Impressions:
Does anyone else find it weird that Americana is being delivered to us by Brits? No? Just me? Alright, well I’m not denying that the Brits (Laura Marling, Noah and the Whale, Bombay Bicycle Club, Slow Club, Los Campesinos!) have well-dabbled and even helped developed modern Americana, but I suppose that’s just how much of an echo chamber the Pond has become. Nevertheless, Little Red throws in a healthy dose of twists, turning up the bass on work song rags like “Diamond Back” (whose bassline heartily compliments the Meat Puppets’ “Lake of Fire”) and “The Quiet Ones,” fingerpicking the shireside ballad of “Huntsmen” and square-dancing with a synthesizer on “Black Dog.” The only downside? It’s gone far too soon.

Lithics – Mating Surfaces
Producer: Lithics
Label: Kill Rock Stars
Genre: Post-Punk
Quick Impressions:
Is it bad? No. But if these Portland punks really wanted to share their record, then they shouldn’t half-ass this; throw it all on Spotify or don’t.

Ocean Hope – Rolling Days
Producer: Ocean Hope
Label: Hush, Hush
Genre: Dream pop, Electronic
Quick Impressions:
Happy Eurythmics! Happy Eurythmics! Happy Eurythmics! The first half of this record is all the happy-go-lucky neo-sixties sunshine rock (think the Lovin’ Spoonful and the Monkees), now-called twee, with the drama of Lennoxian vocals and sculpted by ambient sensibilities. The second half changes from twee to baroque sounding like a poorman’s Mama’s & The Papa’s in dreampop drag. It’s interesting, it’s intriguing, and it might win someone over whether or not they like Leighties (Late-Eighties) Kate Bush.

Sudan Archives – Sink EP
Producer: Sudan Archives
Label: Stones Throw
Genre: Alternative R&B, Folktronica
Quick Impressions:
All-in-all, a more affirmative feminist record than For Esmé’s bold-faced attempt. I suppose it might have something to do with intersectional tastes these days; white women have been at the forefront of feminist movements so often that it’s refreshing to see a woman of colour rock it like her afro. Full, powerful and exquisite, the Sink EP is a electric-violin, rhythm and beats paradise.

Wand – Perfume EP
Producer: Wand
Label: Drag City
Genre: Psychedelic Rock
Quick Impressions:
This could have been an album. No really, it clocks in at the bare minimum length (anything more than 32 minutes) and damn if these cuts don’t sound like pure, solid psych. It was labeled Segalcore on the /r/indieheads discussion, but I hear more Pond than anything—except of course, I find it immensely more enjoyable than Pond, whose proclivities for Animal Collective-esque whirring and whizzing and buzzing and beeping puts me off wholesale for a band that has mastered the Tame Impala discography. But anyways, Wand agrees and instead stops the droid-rock noises to deliver some dazzling melodies and stunning choruses on “Pure Romance,” “I Will Keep You Up” and (the aptly named) “The Gift.”

Wooden Shjips – V.
Producer: Wooden Shjips
Label: Thrill Jockey
Genre: Psychedelic Rock
Quick Impressions:
It’s lush, it’s ambient, it’s California psych and it’s Teutonic rock. It’s Wooden Shjips fifth record, V. It seems Wand and Wooden Shjips are on a similar wavelength here, because the shoegaze, no wave contributions to modern psychedelic rock are immense, allowing for records to breath lest their happiness fizzle into vapidity or their angst come off as, well, angst. On V. the ethereal additions whisk away prior garage rocket-fuel and punkosity of West and Back to Land. The most important thing about this record? It’s my “in”—the record that got me in to Wooden Shjips.

Other Releases:


Annabel Allum – Sorry I’m Not Perceptible EP
Label: Self-Released
Genre: Indie Rock

Baptists – Beacon of Faith
Label: Southern Lord
Genre: Hardcore Punk

Bernice – Puff LP: In The Air Without A Shape
Label: Arts & Crafts
Genre: Pop Indie

Biffy Clyro – MTV Unplugged: Live At Roundhouse London
Label: Atlantic
Genre: Alternative Rock

Calcutta – Evergreen
Label: Bomba Dischi
Genre: Pop Indie

Dear Nora – Skulls Example
Label: Orindal
Genre: Pop Indie

Deeper – Deeper
Label: Fire Talks
Genre: Indie Rock, Post-Punk

Graveyard – Peace
Label: Nuclear Blast
Genre: Hard Rock

Jo Passed – Their Prime
Label: Sub Pop
Genre: Indie Rock

Lola Tried – Lola Tried
Label: Self-Released
Genre: Punk, Indie Rock

The Love-Birds – In the Lover’s Corner
Label: Trouble In Mind
Genre: Jangle Pop, Power Pop

Lucy and the Rats – Lucy and the Rats
Label: Dirty Water
Genre: Garage Rock, Punk

Peach Kelli Pop – Gentle Leader
Label: Mint, Bachelor
Genre: Garage Rock, Twee Pop

Retirement Party – Somewhat Literate
Label: Tilde
Genre: Emo, Pop Punk

Ruler – Winning Star Champion
Label: Barsuk
Genre: Indie Rock

Snow Patrol – Wildness
Label: Polydor, Republic
Genre: Pop Rock

THICK – Would You Rather? EP
Label: Self-Released
Genre: Punk

Thunderpussy – Thunderpussy
Label: Stardog
Genre: Rock

Tracyanne & Danny (Camera Obscura) – Tracyanne & Danny
Label: Merge
Genre: Pop Indie



Bleeding Through – Love Will Kill All
Label: SharpTone
Genre: Melodic Death Metal, Metalcore

Jonathan Davis (Korn) – Black Labyrinth
Label: Sumerian
Genre: Alternative Metal

Uada – Cult of a Dying Sun
Label: Eisenwald
Genre: Melodic Black Metal

Wayfarer – World’s Blood
Label: Profound Lore
Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal

Witch Mountain – Witch Mountain
Label: Svart
Genre: Doom Metal

Wound Collector – Eternal Bloodcult
Label: Profane
Genre: Death Metal



Aisha Burns (Balmorhea) – Argonauta
Label: Western Vinyl
Genre: Singer/Songwriter, Indie Folk

Agnes Obel – Late Night Tales
Label: Late Night Tales
Genre: World

Andrew Duhon – False River
Label: Self-Released
Genre: Folk

Del McCoury Band – Del McCoury Still Sings Bluegrass
Label: McCoury Music
Genre: Folk, Bluegrass

The Hands Free – The Hands Free
Label: The New AM
Genre: Folk, Classical, Avant-garde

J Balvin – Vibras
Label: Universal Latino
Genre: Pop Latin, Reggaeton

Lindi Ortega – Liberty
Label: Shadowbox
Genre: Country

Shawn Mendes – Shawn Mendes
Label: Island
Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Silva – Brasileiro
Label: Slap
Genre: MPB, Indie Pop

The Travelin’ McCourys – The Travelin’ McCourys
Label: McCoury Music
Genre: Bluegrass, Folk

Wilderado – Favors EP
Label: Juno
Genre: Americana



Jessie J – R.O.S.E
Label: Republic
Genre: Contemporary R&B

Parliament – Medicaid Fraud Dogg
Label: The C Kunspyruhzy
Genre: P-Funk



Mouse On The Keys – tres
Label: Topshelf
Genre: Nu Jazz, Post-Rock



Ari Roar – Calm Down
Label: Bella Union
Genre: Shoegaze, lo-fi

Actress x London Contemporary Orchestra – LAGEOS
Label: Ninja Tune
Genre: Electronic

Betonkust & Palmbomen II – Center Parcs LP
Label: Dekmantel
Genre: Outsider House, Synthwave

The Black Dog – Black Daisy Wheel
Label: Dust Science
Genre: Ambient Techno

Chad Valley – Imaginary Music
Label: Cascine
Genre: Synthpop

Hatchie – Sugar & Spice EP
Label: Ivy League, Double Double Whammy
Genre: Dream Pop

Johnny Jewel – Themes for Television
Label: Italians Do It Better
Genre: Ambient

Kaada – Closing Statements
Label: The New AM
Genre: Alternative Electronic

Michael Vallera – All Perfect Days
Label: Denovali
Genre: Ambient, Alternative Electronic

Prefuse 73 – Sacrifices
Label: Lex
Genre: Glitch Hop, Electronic

Shy Layers – Midnight Marker
Label: Beats In Space
Genre: Balearic Beat, Synthpop

Surgeon – Luminosity Device
Label: Dynamic Tension
Genre: Industrial Techno



A$AP Rocky – Testing
Label: Polo Grounds, RCA
Genre: East Coast Hip Hop, Cloud Rap, Avant-garde Hip Hop

Blueprint – Two-Headed Monster
Label: Weightless
Genre: Conscious Hip Hop

Hit-Boy – Tony Fontana
Label: HS87
Genre: Trap Rap

Juice WRLD – Goodbye & Good Riddance
Label: Interscope
Genre: Trap Rap, Pop Rap

MIKE – Black Soap
Label: Lex
Genre: Avant-garde Hip Hop, East Coast Hip Hop, Conscious Hip Hop

Pusha-T – Daytona
Label: G.O.O.D., Def Jam
Genre: Hardcore Hip Hop, Southern Hip Hop

Zaytoven – Trap Holizay
Label: Motown, UMG
Genre: Trap Rap, Southern Hip Hop


Reissues and Compilations:

Bad Times (feat. Jay Reatard) – Streets of Iron (Reissue)
Label: Sympathy For The Record Industry
Genre: Punk, Garage Rock

Christ on Parade – A Mind Is A Terrible Thing (CD Reissue)
Label: Mind Matter
Genre: Hardcore

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Some Loud Thunder (CD Reissue)
Label: Self-Released
Genre: Indie Rock

Destroyer – City of Daughters (Vinyl Reissue)
Label: Merge
Genre: Alternative Rock, Folk Rock

Destroyer – Thief (Vinyl Reissue)
Label: Merge
Genre: Indie Rock, Folk Rock

The Flaming Lips – Seeing the Unseeable: The Complete Studio Recordings of The Flaming Lips: 1986-1990 (Compilation)
Label: Ryko/Rhino
Genre: Alternative Rock

Jeremy Enigk (of Sunny Day in Real Estate) – Return of the Frog Queen (Deluxe Reissue)
Label: Sub Pop
Genre: Indie Rock

Jethro Tull – 50 For 50 (CD Book)
Label: Rhino/Parlophone
Genre: Progressive Rock

Jethro Tull – 50th Anniversary Hits (Compilation)
Label: Rhino/Parlophone
Genre: Progressive Rock

Neurosis – Pain of Mind (CD Reissue)
Label: Neurot
Genre: Punk, Hardcore

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About BenJamsToo

A young dude with an old soul from Portland, OR but currently teaching and writing in rural France. A lover of rock n roll since his mother first spun The Police’s “Roxanne,” he’s also dabbler in soul, funk, jazz, blues, electronic and hip-hop. Perhaps it’s easier to list what he doesn’t like; most gangster rap, country-western and modern metal disagrees with his stomach. Spends all day wondering what Ruban Nielson eats for breakfast, why Danger Mouse hasn't made a through and through GOOD record since St. Elsewhere, if Kamasi Washington is the Kanye West of jazz and just what the hell people hear in mumble rap. Between those things he writes for Atwood and his own blog, Come here for the nice clean thoughts; go there for the ramblings of an insane man.