Strange things are still going on. Chaos. Uncertainty. Music keeps being stable, we can rely on good music being pumped out every week to show us that this world can be a better place. Let’s discover it together!
Jack of all trades, master of…all. Well, that saying goes differently, but Aidan Baker creates impressive art on such a regular basis that he gracefully earns that re-phrasing. Soil is a tape-only release, which is utterly fitting for this wonderful piece of music. If you aren’t a fan yet, get into that and become one in a blink.
Material Girl – Tangram
June 12 // No Agreements
I’m still a bit baffled because I’m trying to wrap my head around what the fuck is happening on this album. Somewhere between hip hop, techno, and experimental music, Tangram scratches the itches you never know you had. It’s an intense experience, but you will be very thankful after you made it to the end.
Consisting generally of ambient layers, Gia Margaret‘s greatly named record Mia Gargaret sprinkles moments of art pop throughout its runtime, accompanied by both spoken word samples and actual vocal performances. It radiates feelings of isolation, urban confusion, but also hope and warmth. There is a playful charm within those songs, which makes them all the more mesmerizing.
Only a small percentage of the elements on this album isn’t done by vocals, and to know that makes the experience even more impressive. Don’t get me wrong, this album is a lot, and it won’t be for everyone, but it’s a wellspring of creativity, bright, vibrant, and exciting. And I can’t get enough.
Since over 80 years, Blue Note is one of the key players of jazz in the world. Gladly, the label manages to stay on the pulse of time. With artists like GoGo Penguin and Ambrose Akinmusire, the future looks very bright for jazz. Akinmusire’s smooth and elegant album delivers warmth, comfort, and vibrance.
With graceful steps, Phoebe Bridgers establishes herself as one of the most interesting songwriters around. A dirge against the zeitgeist, cries for longing, anthems against isolation. A poet in disguise of a so-called ‘singer/songwriter’, channeling Sufjan Stevens‘ experimental approach to folk/indie and Soccer Mommy‘s 90’s alt rock sound into one masterfully crafted record.
After American Football kinda exploded with LP3, Mike Kinsella returns once again with his solo project Owen, to wrap his distinctive vocals and his dreamy yet compelling guitar ideas into a very sweet folk soundscape. Probably transcended from his experience on LP3, The Avalanche adds vibraphone/xylophone, meditative and repetitive guitar patterns, and an overall wider sound to his Owen formula, and it suits it oh so well.
Only a few bands manage to bring chaos and depth together in a meaningful way, and it’s great to see Underer becoming a part of that club. There are some serious Daughters vibes on The Code, mixed up with some more industrial noise that even resembles Nine Inch Nails at their peak. This album is an intense experience, but it rewards everyone brave enough to face it.
Braids‘ coquettish sounds sits elegantly between Bent Knee, Porcupine Tree, Joanna Newsom, and synthwave motifs. Raphaelle Standell-Preston‘s charismatic vocal delivery carries a certain intimacy and unleashes incredible strength when it’s accompanied by the delicate build into an art rock crescendo. A criminally overlooked release.
We are done with it. Enough is enough. We don’t wanna mourn no longer. We need voices of change. And we need change, true, to-the-core change. Untitled (Black Is) smoothly delivers its message, and somehow manages to be extremely exigent, not stepping back from important matters. No forgetting, no forgiving. Sault lives classic soul in a impressive way, while sounding contemporary and extremely relevant.
I like the term art pop. A lot. It’s not a clearly defined branch of music; in fact it describes a modern take on pop music that can play out in a lot of different ways. While reflecting on current pop trends (in a way, at least), art pop is whatever the artists does with those reflections and usually adds experimental elements. Wicked City is a prime example of that, since it’s a potpourri of so many different styles that it doesn’t make sense to name them all. Just dig in.
Special Interest – The Passion Of
June 19 // Night School/Thrilling Living
Shit’s wild. There is sort of a punk revival going on right now, and damn, Special Interest from New Orleans are one of the freshest breezes in said revival. They’re just being punk as a baseline, but easily putting some bricks of industrial, techno, and experimental. The Passion Of is an extreme ride from start to finish, demanding and challenging, but tons of fun.
When I got the record, I didn’t think much of it. Some alt rock band with a weird-ass cover. Let’s just check one track and get to the next…wait. This is actually good. The next track as well. In a blink, I was at the end of Our Love Noire, and I enjoyed the ride a lot. Catchy and energetic tunes from a really great, underappreciated band.
Do you have some time to talk about skramz? Back in my teeny years, I booked skramz shows in basements around my hometown, and I was neck deep into ’90s/’00s emo and screamo. This whole movement party vanished, but experienced an epic revival in recent years. Nuvolascura are one of the prime examples of how honest and powerful this revival is, and with their second full-length, they are established as the cutting-edge skramz of our generation.
Comebacks are always an interesting thing to see. Will they just play on nostalgia, or can a band, after 22 years without a release, transport their sound to the present? Somehow, Hum‘s Inlet easily manages to sound fresh, while keeping their 90’s vibes intact. Releasing it during a time when shoegaze, dream pop, and overall gazey stuff is in high demand didn’t hurt either. All in all, Inlet is a very welcomed comeback from a great band, and I’m eager to hear more from them in the future.
Yeah, I know. That name is kinda stupid. Frustratingly so, because it distracts from the fact that Baikal is some of, if not the best post-metal (next to Mountaineer, of course) of the year. Dreamy, greatly paced, and incredibly heavy, I hear a lot of The Swan Thief on this album, especially in how elegantly they balance huge riffs with delicate, calm moments. A must-listen!
Well, 2020 seems to be great for post-metal. Wren have many qualities, but their greatest achievement is easily their fantastic feeling for the right pulse. Waves upon waves are crushing onto the shore, washing away the coarseness. Groundswells carries a lot of light in its gloominess, which lets the album shine in the most unexpected moments.
Pyrrhon keep being a super interesting metal act; Abscess Time shines high above many of its peers. Engineered by the multi-talented Colin Marston, the album embraces its noisy chaos in a symphony of dissonance. It’s challenging, yes, but being overwhelmed by this record feels absolutely incredible. Nearly psychedelic at times, Abscess Time blasts you away into cacophonous bliss.
Mansur is the new project by Jason Kohnen, who is primarily known for his projects The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble and The Mount Fuji Doomjazz Corporation. His new release, Temple, is out via Denovali. Am I done now? That should be reason enough for you to stop scrolling and delve right into this record. And yes, it’s really, REALLY good on top of that. There is a lot going on here, and you are up for quite an adventure, which is such a rewarding experience.
Let’s talk about ‘prog’s best kept secret’, although it’s not your typical prog, and it’s not that secretive either. So screw that first sentence; I just wanted to grab your attention, because this is what Nadine Shah needs. More attention. Kitchen Sink is definitely different, it’s catchy, mysterious, artsy, and hypnotic. The art rock term would be the best one to describe her style, but it kinda undersells her wild sound. Guess you have to check for yourself.
I already praised Blue Note in this feature, so to have a third release from the label as part of this article kinda cements my initial statement. Derrick Hodge is an American bassist, best known for his work with the amazing Robert Glasper, which is also how I stumbled upon him. Checking out who plays in the bands surrounding musicians like Glasper or Kendrick Lamar is a fantastic source to find amazing artists, with Hodge being a great example. Color Of Noize is colorful, vibrant and elegant, and one of smoothest jazz offerings of the year.
Österreich – 四肢
June 26 // Perfectmusic
No The Noise Of articles without at least one Japanese math rock release, right? I eagerly awaited a new release by the cleverly named math pop outfit Österreich, and they didn’t disappoint. Similar to Gesu No Kiwami Otome, you have your usually j-pop soundscape, just with a lot more going on. And with your typical Japanese (which means perfect) execution. 四肢 is catchy and accessible, and contains tons of great ideas for the interested music enthusiast. A fun release.
Thanks for scrolling!