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Record Release Recap: May 3, 2019

May 8, 2019 | by No Recess! Staff

Every Wednesday we're rounding up the NR! staff for a healthy handful of capsule record reviews released the previous Friday.


The Dots

House Anxiety

Grade: B- The debut album from ALASKAALASKA unfolds like the beginning of the moodiest summer of your life. It lies the center of a Venn diagram of jazz, electropop, and eight other things that could easily sound garbled in less capable hands. – Amanda Scigaj

Watch the video for "Moon" below and buy The Dots here

Bad Religion

Age of Unreason


Grade: C For the 17th LP from Bad Religion, it’s more West Coast skate punk hooks, harmonies, and Greg Graffin’s keen history lessons we know them for. The title is a twist on Thomas Paine's Age of Reason, and this album is a direct lament of Adolf Twitler’s America we’re currently suffering under. However, even if our political landscape feels about as hopeless and shitty as it gets, the music here isn’t therefore more affected or inspired — it’s another Bad Religion album, for sure, but one where the musical fury doesn’t maintain the consistency nor the power of Graffin’s lyrics, as it once did. – Jocelyn Hoppa

Listen to "Faces of Grief" below and buy Age of Unreason here


Happy to Be Here


Grade: B

Ambient dream pop finds a happy home with NYC’s Barrie, and they are, in fact, happy to be here. The five members come from different parts of the world, making for an eclectic, dreamy sound mostly driven by warm synths and lead singer’s Barrie Lindsey’s soft vocal delivery. A fresh record for the onset of summer and, ideally, some lighter days ahead. – Jocelyn Hoppa

Listen to "Clovers" below and buy Happy to Be Here here

Big Thief



Grade: A- In just under three years, the Brooklyn quartet has managed to drop three LPs, as well as solo albums from vocalist Adrianne Lenker and guitarist Buck Meeks. And even while moving at this breakneck pace, the quality is incredibly improving from album to album. U.F.O.F. is their strongest project to date, packed with 12 expertly-crafted, versatile slices of folk-adjacent magic. Somehow, “Orange” reminds me of prime Mark Kozelek, and the whispered “Betsy” is an absolute showstopper. Who says you can’t have quantity and quality? – Daniel Alvarez

Listen to "UFOF" below and buy U.F.O.F. here

Caroline Spence

Mint Condition


Grade: B

With her lush wisp of a voice and evocative songwriting, Caroline Spence's third record, Mint Condition, is a country charmer. The Virginia-born, Nashville-based singer deftly blends hushed, acoustic folk like the aching "Sit Here and Love Me" with the more uptempo twang of "What You Don't Know" and "Who's Gonna Make My Mistakes." Either way, Spence's 11 poignant vignettes seduce and surprise with their modest, grainy realism. – Greg Gaston

Listen to "What You Don't Know" below and buy Mint Condition here


Useless Coordinates

Captured Tracks

Grade: B-

The debut full-length album from Yorkshire, England's Drahla finds the trio moving into a more dissonant direction, to the point where the band's sound is now more no wave than post-punk. Providing 10 songs in a tight 30 minutes, Drahla's latest release features singer/guitarist Lucile Brown delivering her detached, cryptic poetry in a style similar to a less-raspy Kim Gordon. If you liked Drahla's 2018 mini-LP A Compact Cassette, but wished it had been more avant-garde, you're going to love Useless Coordinates. – Andy Mascola

Watch the video for "Stimulus for Living" below and buy Useless Coordinates here

Filthy Friends

Emerald Valley

Kill Rock Stars

Grade: C+

This is the second LP from supergroup Filthy Friends, which features Corin Tucker of Sleater-Kinney and Peter Buck of REM. This is yet another album rebuke of the current political state we're in, and Corin is one of the best to deliver such sermons, but you really have to hang in there with this album to be rewarded with those moments of blissful vitriol. – Jocelyn Hoppa

Listen to "Last Chance County" below and buy Emerald Valley here


Failed Entertainment

Run for Cover

Grade: B+

A new school hardcore record that expands on the sounds and central themes. Fury's lyrical content gets fairly heady and literate contemplating the general discomfort of life. – Jocelyn Hoppa

Watch the video for "Vacation" below and buy Failed Entertainment here

Kedr Livanskiy

Your Need


Grade: B

Like her previous work, the Russian producer’s second album lives in the grey area between rave, indie-pop, and ambient. At its best, her shape-shifting sound channels the best elements of each genre: the driving pulse of the dancefloor, enough off-kilter hooks to sink your teeth into, and deep, hypnotic synths. There’s isn’t a lot of immediacy here — you probably aren’t going to fall in love with one of its singles right away — but you’ll be rewarded a little more with every repeat listen. – Daniel Alvarez

Watch the video for "Kiska" below and buy Your Need here


Scatter the Rats


Grade: D

The first L7 album in 20 years — heed the warning, don’t come at this expecting the wildness or creative force of their former selves. This record isn’t going to stoke flames under their once white-hot grunge legacy. Listening to Scatter the Rats is not unlike the feeling after a long night of lighting cigarettes with cigarettes whilst binge drinking your way to a hangover before you’ve had a chance to pass out with your clothes on. Just, bleh. – Jocelyn Hoppa

Watch the video for "Burn Baby" below and buy Scatter the Rats here

Vampire Weekend

Father of the Bride


Grade: A

If the Father of the Bride cover art wonders whether you've pre-ordered your 2020 Earth Day tote bag, the LP itself wonders when you'll stock up on hacky sacks. With Rostam Batmanglij effectively gone, Ezra Koenig opens his heart wide, and mellow jam-band granola, sentimentalist Cheeze Whiz, country duets, and austere ballads pour out. Certainly, Vampire Weekend — Koenig, Ariel Rechtshaid, Danielle Haim, whomever else the brand includes at this point — find poetry and beauty in domesticity and parenthood. Yet a newfound lightness of touch helps establish Bride as this project finest dispatch yet. – Raymond Cummings

Watch the video for "Sunflower" below and buy Father of the Bride here



Hardly Art

Grade: A

This Seattle-based band cut their teeth on the stoner metal music scene before settling into what they are now: You’ll hear plenty of ‘90s slacker influences with distortion and feedback for that frenetic, dissonant feel. Though not so much laced in disillusionment, Versing’s 10000 sounds at ease, comfortable, their noise rock need not be in your face but is still full of grainy goodness. – Jocelyn Hoppa

Watch the video for "Tethered" below and buy 10000 here

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