The Alt Weekly Roundup (11/16)

Posted: by The Editor

The Alternative Weekly Roundup is a column where our staff plugs a variety of new releases in a concise, streamlined format. Albums, singles, videos, and live sets. Check back each Monday to see what we were jamming the week prior.

American Fail—American Fail

American Fail is the latest project from indie rock stars Bobby Darling and Casey Bates, and it’s a 20-minute pop-punk protest anthem broken into 22 songs. Imagine Joyce Manor covering all of American Idiot and you’re close.

Zac Djamoos | @gr8whitebison

Cliffdiver—”Gas City”

Cliffdiver’s new single, “Gas City,” has the context and catchy hook of a weed emo band with the technical dynamism and instrumentation of a post-rock dance hit. There’s driven guitar and math rock leads to please the emo listeners, saxophone bridges to break up the choruses, and an Owl City-reminiscent outro. Cliffdiver packs a lot of effective technique into one song here.

Luciano Ferrara | @lucianorferrara

Nothing But Thieves—Moral Panic

Nothing But Thieves’ third album, Moral Panic, is rife with ruminations on life’s strong emotions—alarm, optimism, and anger. The latter oozes from the tenth track on the project, “Can You Afford to Be An Individual?” While the track is filled with fury from the start, it continues to escalate and build with political outrage, leaving only the last song on the album to soothe. 

Jordan Snowden | @snowden_jordan

CHAI—”Donuts Mind if I Do”

CHAI have signed to Sub Pop and released a super chill, synth groove of a song in “Donuts Mind if I do”. In a statement, CHAI said: “When you’re feeling vigorous, when you’re feeling sick, You like what you like! No changing that! Even if what I like is as simple as a donut <3. It’s this type of song!” That’s such a CHAI thing to write about. The Hideto Hotta directed video shows the band eating donuts and having a blast together in a field as both young and old women, and it is just the wholesomeness we all need right now. Also, now I really want donuts.

Jami Fowler | @audiocurio

Rico Nasty—”OHFR?” 

Every new song Rico Nasty releases is better than the last somehow, and “OHFR?” is a no exception. The Maryland rapper is gearing up to release her long-awaited Nightmare Vacation LP, and each single’s shown off a different side of her. Some of them have focused on her hyperpop sensibilities, but “OHFR?” shows that, when left to her own devices, Rico Nasty is a hell of a rapper. It’s a rough around the edges banger that best expresses Rico’s ethos: “fuck how you feel.”

Zac djamoos | @gr8whitebison

Kat Saul—Made in the 90s

Kat Saul’s sophomore EP, Made in the 90s, sounds exactly like it’s title. Ricocheting between inner turmoil, relationship woes, and existing as a twenty-something in 2020, the pop singer burns through topics like a nostalgia-inducing voicemail crackling through a recording machine. The EP wades through Saul’s dreamiest of bedroom pop as it unfolds a coming of age story that is messy and left without an end. I believe that’s the best part of Made in the 90’s— underneath the personal and professional growth is a young millennial existing in a liminal space as she documents the events that pass her by. Relationships don’t have a clear conclusion. Existential crises’ have no set resolution. Life is messy and unpredictable. It’s in this ability to embrace the end’s unknown that evokes the most empathy out of Saul through these five beautifully written tracks. There’s a clear outline drenched in a powdery pop foundation that leads Saul into a much stronger arena as an artist here, and it makes for her most relatable and conscious work to date.

Hope Ankney | @hope_ankleknee

Soccer Mommy—Color Theory

Soccer Mommy’s Color Theory is one of the best albums of the year, so it’s a real treat to get to hear Sophie Allison’s early demos for the record. Color Theory highlight “circle the drain” becomes a downbeat ballad, and an already haunting track like “stain” gets even more melancholic. 

Zac Djamoos | @gr8whitebison

BENEE—”Happen To Me”

After gaining popularity with shimmery tracks like “Glitter” and the Top 40 hit “Supalonely,” New Zealand alt-pop singer BENEE has taken a darker turn. Her most recent release is hazy and homely, yet chronicles overthinking and the ever-lurking promise of death. 

Jordan Snowden | @snowden_jordan

Thank You Thank You—”K P”

You might know Tyler Bussey from his work in Strange Ranger or TWIABP, but now he’s got a new solo project. “K P” is the debut single from Thank You Thank You, and it’s a beautiful first taste of the project, a shimmery ballad to rival the best work of either of his old bands. 

Zac Djamoos | @gr8whitebison

Tülips—”Love Chain”

Tülips shared “Love Chain,” a snappy song complemented by hearty vocals. Lyrically, it’s about yearning for a full-fledged romance instead of one that’s tepid. 

Bineet Kaur | @hellobineet 

Gal Gun—”Motherboard”

Chicago garage-rock band Gal Gun has been doing something different as a group since the pandemic hit. Committed to releasing a new song every month as part of their #GG2020 series, their latest, “Motherboard” is a sludge of power-pop and ’90s grunge. Following many ’90s alternative bandits, the group has a knack for masquerading pessimistic lyricism as upbeat pop songs. Aiken to the tough exterior of Weezer and the softer edges of Iron & Wine, there’s something about their sound that is familiar yet refreshing—almost like the fizzing fun of mentos in a coke bottle. Their debut album, Critical Hit, is out next month, and if it’s anything like “Motherboard,” the music scene is in for one helluva treat.

Hope Ankney | @hope_ankleknee

Teddy Grossman—”What I Owe”

Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Teddy Grossman channels his sandy city’s penchant for outlaw country and Americana on his debut single “What I Owe.” With its pedal steel noodling, delicate vocals, and intricate, melodic bassline, the Ryan Pollie produced track sounds like driving up Eagle Rock Boulevard with the windows down on a lazy Saturday. Equal parts Townes Van Zandt and Elliott Smith, the song is a promising teaser of what’s to come from Grossman.

Ted Davis | @tddvsss

Elder Island—”Feral”

“Feral” by the english electro-pop trio Elder Island is a song that’s been bouncing around my head ever since it’s drop. Pulsating with a light bossa nova beat, the vocals are almost chant-like as they head into darker electronic territory the longer the song plays on. Feeling like the lovechild of Arctic Monkeys’ A.M. and Warpaint’s Head’s Up, the swanky pop sound plays a tug-o-war with dark and light. Lyrically, the song documents childhood memories of fear and the forces at play that cause our fear. Leading as the aggressively captivating single off their upcoming 2021 album, it’ll be interesting to see how this bite-sized track preview will further develop the group’s sound as the band gears up to drop their sophomore album.

Hope Ankney | @hope_ankleknee

Kacey Johnasing—”No Better Time”

As a touring member of rising mellow indie rock act Hand Habits, Kacey Johansing is no stranger to channeling the wood paneled comfort of ‘70s AM radio rock. “No Better Time,” the lead single from her album of the same name out on November 20th, marries the upbeat, synth-heavy pop of Alvvays with the urbane smokiness of the best Stevie Nicks cuts. Pop the single on while you soak in the splendor of late-November’s calming chilliness.

Ted Davis | @tddvsss

The Alternative’s ‘New Music Friday’ playlist

Each week our editor Lindsy Carrasquillo compiles a playlist of songs our staff has been jamming. We’ll post it on Fridays on Twitter and then include it in each edition of the ‘Weekly Roundup’ to make sure you don’t miss all of the great music we’re recommending.

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