The Alt Weekly Roundup (8/24)

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.

Basic Bitches—”You Know I’m Right”

With the rise of reliance on Zoom meetings, the platform is solidly part of culture. Ultimately, this means it is now ripe for parody. New York punks Basic Bitches have put forth one of the first great offerings in the category with the video for their song “You Know I’m Right.” This band’s immense charisma is already tangible in their music, but the video gives them a new area in which to shine.

Eric Bennett | @seething_coast

Bartees Strange—”Boomer”

Imagine being so musically gifted that you could chart a summer hit in one of any, let’s say, three genres. In the new single “Boomer” from his forthcoming album Live Forever, chameleonic alternative artist Bartees Strange has a track that is simultaneously the summer’s best indie anthem, hip-hop bumper, and thumpin’ Southern banger. From the jump, a boppy rap verse transitions into a high-power chorus that recalls early 2010s electro indie-pop. Suddenly, a driving, twangy breakdown takes a hard left turn into dirty Southern rock. It’s as though every influence Strange has ever had, from his opera singer mother to the Black church music of rural Oklahoma to the emo and post-hardcore he embraced as a teen, materializes in every piece of music he writes. It’s impossible to discuss Strange’s music without contemplating genre, as it at once fits into all of them and none of them. And yet, what he has given us is music free from the boxes in which anyone would seek to put it.    

Michelle Bruton | @MichelleBruton

B-Roll—”Dog Days”

Detroit’s B-Roll may have released “Dog Days” in May, but it feels more at home in the August heat. With a sound falling somewhere between Ty Segall and Trace Mountains, its trudging tempo and fuzzed out vocals recall a time when summer felt freeing, even if its weather felt oppressive. 

Eric Bennett | @seething_coast

Antonioni—”Mary Bell”

Seattle’s Antonioni often float between gauzy and aggressive in their music, and their new single “Mary Bell” finds them at a perfect interaction  of those two modes. While it’s delightfully hooky chorus sounds serrated and overpowering, bandleader Sarah Pasillas strings dreamy, calm vocals along its verses, giving the song a push and pull that is mesmerizing.  

Eric Bennett | @seething_coast

Sufjan Stevens—”Video Game”

Sufjan Stevens has never been one to write the same album twice, and it looks like The Ascension will be his oddest LP yet. “Video Game,” the record’s second single, has tinges of Age of Adz’s electronic bombast in its DNA, but reframed as a kinder, gentler indie pop song. 

Zac Djamoos | @gr8whitebison

The Safest Ledge—The Space Between Words 

Youngstown, Ohio, four-piece The Safest Ledge focus with their music not on genre but on creating a feeling. Multiple 2020 releases have been packed with atmospheric rock anthems, and The Safest Ledge’s new EP, The Space Between Words, is one of the more intriguing ones. With some of the experimentality of a Thrice or Movements but with plenty of driving power riffs and singalong choruses, especially in standout track “Mountain Eyes,” The Space Between Words is packed with tracks that are made to be heard live. Hopefully before too long, The Safest Ledge can hit the road and do just that. 

Michelle Bruton | @MichelleBruton

Mike Huguenor—”Mitch McConnell’s Funeral”

Mike Huguenor’s upcoming instrumental album is his first solo effort, and the 2nd single is maybe the most peaceful song I have ever heard. It feels like a woozy summer night complete with insect lullabies, yet it was crafted with just acoustic and electric guitars. Huguenor named the song after “the most calming, peaceful thought of all”, Mitch McConnel’s inevitable death. So put on your headphones, lay in your bed, and let “Mitch McConnell’s Funeral” remind you that good things can still happen.

Jami Fowler | @audiocurio

Fake Dad—”Summer Hill”

In Fake Dad’s newest music video for “Summer Hill, ” the streets of NYC meld in and out with digital scenery behind dancer Jonathan Matthews, while the band blends together a synthy harmonized slow groove that reassures none of us are alone in our moments of weakness. Toto, are we still in Brooklyn? Idk but this dimension is nice, too.

Olivia Keasling | @residentkilljoy

Black Foxxes—”Swim”

Black Foxxes have returned yet again, with the five-and-a-half minute “Swim.” Like “Badlands,” it’s a bit of a departure from their previous work, placing much more emphasis on atmosphere and mood than on aggression or catchiness. Instead, “Swim” mostly toys with the same melodies in a hypnotic fashion before letting loose towards the end for a soaring conclusion. 

Zac Djamoos | @gr8whitebison

Sunday Morning—Nothing Matters

There’s a world in which Connecticut foursome Sunday Morning remained firm-footed in the pop-punk sound of their earliest iteration. And while there’s nothing wrong with that, the arrival of guitarist Dom Barone in 2019 saw the band continue to redefine contemporary post-hardcore. Their new EP, Nothing Matters, deftly blends the simple and the complex, from driving choruses that recall the early-2000s sound bands like Cartel and Acceptance perfected to melodic guitarwork and loud-soft dynamics that, along with acts like Boston Manor and Movements, are helping set a new standard for post-hardcore in 2020. Vocalist Wes Benjunas can deliver anything you’d want, from singalong choruses to guttural screaming bridges, and he knows exactly how to pick his moments.

Michelle Bruton | @MichelleBruton

Rico Nasty—”iPhone”

Rico Nasty had previously teamed up with 100 gecs on a remix of the latter’s “ringtone” earlier this year, but now she’s taken the lead on her new single “iPhone” (I’m sensing a theme here). It’s the closest she’s come to an all-out PC Music style single and, no surprise there, it’s one of her best. 

Zac Djamoos | @gr8whitebison

Cheekface—”Big Big Friend”

The LA group Cheekface has been releasing a steady stream of great one-off singles over the past few months, building upon their established body of excellent rock songs that offer a relentlessly witty and sarcastic critique of contemporary society. On their latest “Big Big Friend,” vocalist Greg Katz dryly sketches a character who skates by on nepotism and powerful connections as the rock song beneath skitters and bounces irreverently by. 

Jordan Walsh | @jordalsh

Pool Holograph—”Medieval Heart”

Pool Holograph’s latest single “Medieval Heart” is both scratchy and plush, an incongruous pairing that somehow works well. It’s similar to groups like Current Joys and Beach Fossils.

Bineet Kaur | @hellobineet

Familiar Spaces—Everyone in Search of an Exit

An older version of “Not Like It Used to Be,” the song that opens Familiar Spaces’ new EP Everyone in Search of an Exit, served to build anticipation for their new music in more than two years. The version that made the EP, which is a half-step down from the former, shows just how much they’ve grown. A restraint and effort to build to a meaningful close characterizes not just the lead track, but the whole five-song EP. 

Michelle Bruton |@MichelleBruton

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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