It's another big week in the music world. Botch and Joni Mitchell both just announced their first proper shows in over 20 years, and this weekend finally brings the much-talked-about When We Were Young Festival to Las Vegas. It's also yet another stacked week for new releases, as just about every week this fall has been so far. I highlight 13 new albums below, and Bill's Indie Basement is filled with even more reviews, including Dry Cleaning, Robyn Hitchcock, King Gizzard, The Soft Pink Truth, Sloan, Goat, Hagop Tchaparian, and more.
On top of all that, honorable mentions include: Tegan & Sara, Frankie Cosmos, Their / They're / There, Whitmer Thomas, Exhumed, Twain, Armani Caesar, Bibio, a-ha, MVW, Simple Minds, Roshambo, Lowertown, Arny Margaret, Dave Harrington & Tim Mislock, Mt. Oriander, Persher (Pariah + Blawan), CARM, Elite Gymnastics, They Are Gutting A Body of Water, Cumulus, 84 Tigers (Small Brown Bike, The Swellers), Pearla, Ariel Zetina, Jesse Tabish (Other Lives), Bedouin Soundclash, Nick Hakim, YoungBoy Never Broke Again, Snoop Dogg & DJ Drama, Jeezy & DJ Drama, Snow Tha Product, Uji, iLe, Jordaan Mason & Their Orchestra, Ibises, Architects, the Burial EP, the Full of Hell EP, the Circuit des Yeux & Claire Rousay EP, the Serj Tankian EP, the Kathryn Mohr EP, the Cages EP, the Roid Rage EP, the Jobber EP, the Loshh EP, the Duckwrth EP, the Oversize EP, the Terre & Maggie Roche album of previously unreleased & live recordings, and the Sleater-Kinney tribute LP (ft. St. Vincent, Wilco, Courtney Barnett, Jason Isbell & Amanda Shires, Low & more).
Read on for my picks. What's your favorite release of the week?
Pinkshift - Love Me Forever
The same weekend we get the much-talked-about When We Were Young Festival with headliners My Chemical Romance and Paramore, we also get the debut album by Pinkshift, a much-talked-about newer band whose great 2021 debut EP has been compared to both of those bands on multiple occasions. As good as that EP was, Love Me Forever takes a massive leap forward. It's one of the strongest debut albums to come out of the punk scene in quite some time.
On Love Me Forever, Pinkshift expand upon those mid-aughts emo/pop punk influences, leaning even harder into their love of '90s grunge, looking to the music that their contemporaries and peers are currently making, and looking outside of punk too. (They made us a list of music that influenced the album, which ranges from Nirvana to Arctic Monkeys to Turnstile.) And Pinkshift have also really come into their own in a big way since that already-great debut EP. They've fused all of these influences into a sound that already feels unique to Pinkshift. Ashrita Kumar's voice is huge and expressive, Paul Vallejo busts out the kind of heroic guitar riffs that the modern punk scene could use a lot more of, and the whole band nails a balance between antagonizing aggression and welcoming melodies. Pinkshift said that many of these songs deal with "the confusion, hopelessness, and fear that the pandemic brought in the wake of graduating school," as well as "the injustices and failings of the government that were revealed during the peak pandemic years," and these angry, sneering songs are the perfect vessels to convey all of that. At the same time, these are pop songs, and really catchy ones at that. The big, beefy production (by Will Yip) makes them sound both heavier and catchier than they did on their EP. There are moments that are nearly in metal territory, and there's also "in a breath," an emotional piano ballad that's just as effective as their harder stuff. What they really have in common with the likes of Nirvana and Turnstile -- more so than any borrowed melodies that may exist -- is a knack for writing pop music that you can rock the fuck out to.
Pick up Pinkshift's new LP on black vinyl.