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The Best Releases of August: Music Staff Picks

Tropical Fuck Storm – Deep States Aussie noise rock band Tropical Fuck Storm’s third album, Deep States, is as messy and disorienting as the doomed political landscape it was birthed out of. Reflecting mind-poisoning social media discourse twisted through the filter of a distortion pedal, vocalists Gareth Liddiard and Fiona Kitschin deliver some of their most compelling melodies over lacerating guitar and synth lines. The opening track, “The Greatest Story Ever Told”, writes from the perspective of Jesus’ second coming to Earth to proclaim in a grand chorus “There ain’t no end of days.” Even at its loudest, a sense … Continued

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The Best Releases of June: Music Staff Picks

Spellling – The Turning Wheel The Turning Wheel, Chrystia Cabral’s third album under the project Spellling, offers bewitchingly captivating progressive folk and neo-soul songs. A shift towards natural instrumentation marks a stark change from 2019’s synth-heavy Mazy Fly, giving these songs a new liveliness, and pushing Cabral’s songwriting towards the theatrical. The sonic palette on its own can be bewildering at first–veering off without warning into performances of soul, hard rock, classical, folk, and of course, synthwave. It’s no surprise that the personnel list reveals more than thirty performers–all of whom sound great. The songs are left with an enchanting … Continued

Squid – Bright Green Field Long before the release of their debut LP, Squid has been making waves in the post-punk community with their own brand of angular and uniquely provocative songwriting that has set them apart from peers in the genre. With the often deranged and purposely erratic vocal delivery of singer Ollie Judge and the driving pseudo-punk melodies conducted by the rest of the band, there is no doubt the group has emotional, musical, and lyrical potency. In their most recent works, including the two singles they released in 2020 and their latest LP, Squid has begun to incorporate … Continued

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Niiice. – internet friends  On Niiice.’s sophomore album internet friends, the band combines punk energy with tender introspection to pull together one of the most memorable emo records of the year. By the time last year’s Never Better EP was released, the band had already cemented themselves as Midwest DIY staples. Now, after a Summer of banned Twitter accounts and fake leaks, they prove their staying power. Across the new album’s 12 tracks, distorted chords melt into mathy breakdowns and vocalist Roddie Gadeberg’s soft melodies explode into throat-shredding screams. The drums only relent for moments of poignance before driving into another punk banger. Lyrically, the album focuses primarily on the desire to stay/leave home, friendship turmoil, and weed. On “coachella”, a song that diverges from these themes, Gadesberg focuses his pen towards … Continued

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Written contributions from Jaden Amjadi, Sydney Sjobakken, and Derek Tate Illuminati Hotties – Free I.H: This is not the One You’ve Been Waiting For Everything about the presentation of this new record from Illuminati Hotties–from its status as a mixtape to its name–implies it is meant to be taken more as an interim before their real sophomore album. And yet, this may go down as one of the most memorable punk records of the year. Core member Sarah Tudzin takes the foundation of power-pop and plays with its boundaries with songs that are still fun and immediate. The opener, “will … Continued

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