Seemingly the thing on everyone's minds this week is the
missing Titanic submarine, a crazy news story that blink-182, Cardi B, and King Princess all ended up being part of. Meanwhile, in the New York music world, the big thing on our minds this week was The Cure's amazing Madison Square Garden run.
As for new albums, we're getting a much lighter load this week than
last week, but with no lack of heavy hitters. I highlight six new albums below, and Bill tackles Lloyd Cole, Cable Ties, Cory Hanson (Wand), Martin Frawley (ex-Twerps), and more in Indie Basement.
On top of those, this week's honorable mentions include Young Thug,
Thirsty Guys, Albert Hammond Jr, M. Ward, The Watson Twins, Coi Leray, Lunice, Kirin J Callinan, Git Some, Graf Orlock, Jenn Grant, Johanna Samuels, Xasthur, Swans, Austere, Destiny Bond, Kim Petras, Elijah Wolf, Geese, Thomas Andrew Doyle (TAD), Side Eyes, Loveboat Luciano, T.F. & 2 Eleven, Danny Towers & DJ Scheme, God of War (They Are Gutting A Body of Water + Hooky), Pardoner, Blue Lake, Rrose, High Priest, Mammatus, Grady Strange, Toodles & the Hectic Pity, Sword II, the Grist Mil EP, the Sleepy Gonzales EP, the Kedr Livanskiy EP, the Wallice EP, the Kenzo B EP, the Viral Sun EP, the Asteroid City soundtrack, the Wye Oak singles comp, the Confusion comp, Stewart Copeland's album of orchestral versions of Police songs, and the new posthumous Arthur Russell album.
Read on for my picks. What's your favorite release of the week?
Peso Pluma - Génesis Double P Records
Mexican singer Peso Pluma's voice is everywhere right now. As we speak, he has nine singles in the
Billboard Hot 100 as either a guest or a lead artist. Two of them are especially omnipresent, Eslabon Armado's "Ella Baila Sola" and Yng Lvcas' "La Bebé," the former of which became the first regional Mexican song to enter Top 10 in the history of Billboard's Hot 100. Regional Mexican music is a catch-all used by radio stations that encompasses rancheras, corridos, cumbias, boleros, norteño, sierreño, mariachi, and other styles of Mexican music, and Peso Pluma's music is often specifically categorized as corridos tumbados, a subgenre pioneered in large part by Natanael Cano that fuses traditional and acoustic styles of Mexican music with elements of more modern styles of music like hip hop and reggaeton. Natanael may have kicked open the door, but Peso Pluma barged through it and he's quickly become the biggest regional Mexican crossover artist in a very long time. He bridges generation gaps with instrumentation that embraces tradition, topped off with charisma, lyricism, and a youthful spirit that's caused his music to resonate with gen Z audiences.
Peso Pluma already has two albums, two live albums, an EP, and countless singles and guest appearances dating back to 2020, but
Génesis is his first album since he began his meteoric rise and it feels poised to be his breakthrough. His songs on the album are primarily fueled by fiery acoustic guitars, insistent horns, and only minimal percussion, and Peso Pluma tops it off with a voice and a knack for melody that are both truly addictive. He stands out when he guests on other artists' songs because of how distinct and ear-catching he always sounds, and on Génesis he keeps that going for the length of a 14-song album. he also brings in some of his own impressive guests, including the aforementioned Natanael Cano; fellow regional Mexican artists Junior H, Luis R Conriquez, Gabito Ballesteros, Jasiel Núñez, Darey Castro; and two songs with Tito Double P, the moniker of Peso Pluma's frequent producer/co-writer Tito Laija (whose recent debut single "Dembow Bélico" fuses Mexican bélico with Dominican dembow). Peso Pluma also branches out from Mexican music by bringing in Puerto Rican rapper Eladio Carrión on "77." It's easy to tell from this album alone why Peso Pluma has been able to break down regional, cultural, language, and genre barriers; his songs are undeniable, and you really can't put him or his music in a box.
Militarie Gun - Life Under The Gun Loma Vista
On their first full-length album, Militarie Gun boldly branch out from their hardcore roots, take a massive leap forward from their already-great EPs, and come out with one of the best rock albums of the year. We've got a
lengthy feature up with much more on this remarkable LP. Pick up our exclusive pink marble vinyl variant.
Big Freedia - Central City
Big Freedia - Central City Queen Diva
Veteran New Orleans bounce trailblazer Big Freedia is always busy with one thing or another, but it's been almost a decade since she released a full-length album. Her last was 2014's
Just Be Free, and now she finally followed it with Central City. It's also her first album since being featured/sampled on chart-topping singles by Beyoncé and Drake (sometimes credited, sometimes not), and it feels now more than ever like Big Freedia's pop appeal is obvious to mainstream America. It also feels like Freedia leans into that on Central City, which is full of radio-friendly guest vocalists and countless songs that feel like they could be singles. Guests include rappers Kamaiyah and Lil Wayne, belters Kelly Price, Ciara, and Faith Evans, New Orleans brass band The Soul Rebels, past Freedia collaborator Boyfriend, and singer/songwriter Sonyae. Speaking about the album, Freedia promised an album "where I pay homage to my city, my roots, hip-hop, and to the art of creating a new sound," and that's exactly what this is. There's a great mix of familiarity and innovation, there's a lot of hip hop, a lot of New Orleans, and it feels like an album anyone could get behind, whether you're a longtime Freedia diehard or you first heard her voice on "Break My Soul."
Portugal. The Man - Chris Black Changed My Life
Portugal. The Man - Chris Black Changed My Life Atlantic
13 years and eight years into Portugal. The Man's fruitful, rewarding career, they scored their first hit with "Feel It Still" from 2017's
Woodstock. It's a very catchy song that's deserving of its success, but it's kind of a fluke hit. Portugal. The Man didn't really do anything on the song that they hadn't done before, and it certainly never seemed like they were trying to score a hit. Even in the years following its success, Portugal. The Man continued to put on weird, jammy live shows and "Feel It Still" started to seem almost like an obligation. The last time I saw them, they handed the mic off to the singer of another band on the bill to sing it. They also waited six years--their longest gap between albums yet--to follow Woodstock, and new album Chris Black Changed My Life (named after a close friend of the band who passed) does not seem at all like an attempt to capitalize on the success of "Feel It Still." It feels overall like the weirdest, most unpredictable Portugal. The Man album since they signed to a major label over a decade ago. It has a motley crew of guests, ranging from a song with Roots frontman Black Thought and Mexican singer/songwriter Natalia Lafourcade to songs with Canadian sing-rapper Sean Leon, New Zealand psych-pop revivalists Unknown Mortal Orchestra, blues rock veteran Edgar Winter and veteran songwriter Paul Williams. The songwriting is as all-over-the-place as the list of guests, and the album doesn't have any song that feels like "Feel It Still" part two. What it does have are plenty of the gorgeous falsetto harmonies, kaleidoscopic melodies, groovy rhythms, and streamlined production styles that have become Portugal. The Man's trademark. Chris Black Changed My Life sounds like an album by a band that isn't concerned with outside expectation; they're just concerned with making a record that they and their longtime fans might like.
Burner - It All Returns To Nothing Church Road
Before Pupil Slicer released their killer sophomore album
, singer/guitarist Kate Davies spoke to us for our Blossom metal bands to watch in 2023 feature and picked Burner for the list, saying, "The UK metal/hardcore scene is absolutely thriving right now but one band that still seems to be lurking beneath the surface is Burner." As a big fan of Burner's 2022 EP , I agree with this assessment, and their debut full-length A Vision of the End It All Returns To Nothing is too good for Burner to remain beneath the surface for much longer. The record feels spawned from the controlled chaos of 2000s-era Converge, and not in a way where it feels like Burner are just rehashing old sounds. It's crisp and refreshing, and it's hard not to be thrilled by how impeccably tight this band is.
Amanda Shires Bobbie Nelson
Amanda Shires & Bobbie Nelson - Loving You ATO
"Much of my path seemed possible because I saw a woman working and making a career of music at a young age, and that woman was Bobbie Nelson," says Amanda Shires, referring to the talented pianist who played as a member of her younger brother Willie Nelson's band before passing away in 2022. Amanda met Bobbie in 2013, and prior to Bobbie's death, the pair recorded a covers album. It's got a couple twangy country songs (Ernest Tubb's "Waltz Across Texas" and Merle Haggard's "Old Fashioned Love"), but it's heaviest on piano ballads, including oft-covered songs like "Dream a Little Dream of Me," "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," "Summertime" (with guest vocals from Willie Nelson), "Always On My Mind" (also famously covered by Willie), and "Tempted and Tried" (also known as "Farther Along"). They also do a version of Willie's own "Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground," and Bobbie does a couple piano instrumentals. They're timeless songs, the arrangements are great, and Amanda sings the hell out of them.
Indie Basement for more new album reviews, including Lloyd Cole, Cable Ties, Cory Hanson (Wand), Martin Frawley (ex-Twerps), and more.
Looking for more recent releases? Browse the
Notable Releases archive or scroll down for previous weeks.
Looking for a podcast to listen to? Check out our new episode with author
Chris Payne on his new emo book.