The Alt Weekly Roundup (6/27)

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.

Dogbreth – “Valley of the Moon”

Dogbreth has just announced their new LP Believe This Rain alongside a new single, “Valley of the Moon.” The track is placid and breezy, perfect to soundtrack the insane heat wave currently tearing through southeastern North Carolina.

Zac Djamoos | @gr8whitebison

Essential Machine – Exponential Crisis

Building its sound off swirling synths and lead guitar over a mainly acoustic-led rhythm section, Essential Machine’s Exponential Crisis is a lovely and engaging collection of grandiose, far-reaching indie rock tunes. The group aims high, as most of the tunes crescendo into soaring codas that seem to take the listener up into the clouds with the active synths, but it never comes off as overreaching, and every tune on Exponential Crisis seems to build naturally to those pinnacles. The driving, relentless forward motion of the irresistible “Constant Dream” is indicative of the rest of the record, while “It’s All Over” and “Tablecloth” add some chunky electric guitar as the tempos pick up more and the synths become wilder. If you’re into the more immediate rocking tunes “It’s All Over” is a sure standout, but the more contemplative, patient “Late Summer” might be the band’s high point here, stretching past the seven-minute mark to close out the record with an impressive jam.

Aaron Eisenreich | @slobboyreject

Short Fictions – Every Moment of Every Day

In Short Fictions’ world, the sweetest thing you can say to someone is what Sam Treber sings in the bridge of “Heather”: “You make me want to not die.” To listen to a Short Fictions record is nearly to give into despair. The band’s last LP, Fates Worse Than Death, chronicled urban decay and climate change. Their new record is called Every Moment of Every Day and, like their previous, is a fair bleak affair. Billionaires, ineffectual politicians, and a socioeconomic system that privileges property over human lives are all taken to task on the record, but even the things that should bring joy seem to fall short. “Don’t start a band / unless you like picking fights with your best friends,” Treber counsels on “Don’t Start a Band.” The only hope, it seems, is to find the people who make you want to live, and maybe then you can create something worth living for.

Zac Djamoos | @gr8whitebison

Perspective, a Lovely Hand to Hold – Phantasmagorialand

Phantasmagorialand is the perfect emo/power-pop synthesis for beer in the sun. It’s got some mathy fun in its guitar licks and a lighthearted retro motif running through the record’s 8-bit synths and occasional vocoder that you’ve got to be a cold, cold person not to enjoy at some level. Amongst the more straightforward songwriting, instrumental tracks filled with piano, strings, and acoustic guitar are scattered throughout the album, culminating in the 9-minute finale “The Executionist” and all of its movements and suites. There’s a guitar solo longer than most of the songs on the entire record on that bad boy. I highly recommend!

Chris Burleson | @chris_b_kreme44

Narrow Head – “TWIN”

Every successive Narrow Head release pulls the band farther and farther away from the misty shoegaze of their Far Removed EP and dives deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole of groovy, muddy grunge. “TWIN,” the band’s latest single, follows this pattern, a buzzing, straightforward ripper. It’s a bit less heavy than most of the material on 12th House Rock, but it’s just as good.

Zac Djamoos | @gr8whitebison

downt – SAKANA e.p. 

downt strikes a wonderful balance between dreamy, spacey sections and wild instrumental runs with ripping guitar riffs on SAKANA e.p. for an enticing fifteen minutes of atmospheric rock. Following the hazy, pulled-back opener, “シー・ユー・アゲイン” kicks things into gear after a slow build, hitting a dramatic turn around the three-minute point, while “minamisenju” cranks the tempos up a little more with a killer vocal melody overtop the active rhythm section and guitar. “Fis Tel” draws the pace back a bit allowing the vocals to take center stage over a churning bassline. After the ethereal, transitory “ー . 5 . ー,” downt close out strong with “I couldn’t have done this without you,” a midtempo rocker that feels like a perfect merging of the sounds present on the rest of the record. The group also mashed the EP up with their previous self-titled record and resequenced the tracks for an Anthology LP available through Dog Knights.

Aaron Eisenreich | @slobboyreject

Zola Jesus – Arkhon

Arkhon is one of the most ornate expressions of melancholy and the internal thrashes against it that I’ve heard this year. It’s as bleak as it is triumphant, moving from ballads to war marches with the pace of a symphony. The woodwind and string sections sound massive and sprinkle a few warm notes of humanity amidst the industrial drums and effects of most of the tracks. Even the more traditional pop anthems that round out the record are filtered through Zola’s electronic soundscapes without being blunted. It’s a record that deserves a close listen with headphones—a close listen surely filled with the same strained tears as mine.

Chris Burleson | @chris_b_kreme44

Greet Death – New Low

Over the past year, Greet Death’s released a string of singles that stretch their sound to its very furthest edges, from dreary, gazey indie rock on “I Hate Everything” to harmonica-laden, alt-country tinged slowcore on “Your Love Is Alcohol” to fuzzed-out slowcore on “Punishment Existence” to driving, melodic shoegaze on “Panic Song.” They’ve pulled all those tracks together to form the New Low EP, along with the exclusive title track. Just like the EP mixes all those styles together, the song “New Low” feels like it dips into all those sounds through its four-and-a-half-minute runtime. Maybe it’s recency bias, but it’s among the best songs the Flint, Michigan, four-piece have ever put out, and the whole of New Low is the band’s most exciting work yet.

Zac Djamoos | @gr8whitebison

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.

The Alternative is ad-free and 100% supported by our readers. If you’d like to help us produce more content and promote more great new music, please consider donating to our Patreon page, which also allows you to receive sweet perks like free albums and The Alternative merch.