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Capsule Reviews: Records Released on May 24, 2019

May 30, 2019 | by No Recess! Staff

Every Wednesday (or Thursday this week) we're rounding up the NR! staff for a healthy handful of capsule record reviews released the previous Friday. Check out this installment with record releases from May 24, 2019.

Amyl and The Sniffers

Monsoon Rock

(Rough Trade)

Grade: C

This band is from Australia, the same country that gave us Cosmic Psychos and Bloodloss, so right there we’re off to a good start and expectations are high. From what I can tell, these songs are great, but the vocals are FAR too high in the mix and getting in the way of everything else, including the lyrics. It’s a grave mistake. Who’s responsible? Producer Ross Orton? Someone in the band? Their A&R person? I need names! Some folks out there may dig this record (and I hope they do), but it’s not representational of their sound. Eleven great songs all but ruined. This BETTER NOT be one of those situations where the singer is pushed out in front of the others as a mere selling point in order to gain maximum publicity; that kinda thing happens all the time, kids. So frustrating. – Andrew K. Lau

Watch the video for "Monsoon Rock" below and buy the album here

Black Mountain



Grade: B-

Their streak of great record covers continues with this one but, mostly, this is a slower, moodier batch of '70s-inspired rock accessorized with synths; not too different from their rest of their catalog. The overall sound is huge, warm, and some of the arrangements keep you guessing a bit ("Horns Arising" in particular takes a few nice curves). Sometimes it’s uninspired, other times not… but… well, I was hoping something like "Boogie Lover" would kick things up a bit, but it’s more of a slow-moving water beast of a song with a catchy chorus and a fuzzed-out bass line rather than the ZZ Top-styled rave-up I was envisioning. But that kinda sums things up with Black Mountain. – Andrew K. Lau

Watch the video for "Boogie Lover" below and buy Destroyer here

Cate Le Bon



Grade: B+

With Reward, Cate Le Bon's avant pop continues to move away from her stylistic acoustic minimalism and gravitate toward more orchestrated, varied, and often surreal songs. This album was also a product of moving away to live in solitude and take up crafting furniture for a year or so, which resulted in lines like "Everything is slowly losing its meaning / Always keep your hand behind the chisel." Le Bon is also a master at using duel meaning of language to enforce our own absurdities into view — "reward" being a word that evokes a positive emotion in people, but could be the opposite depending on the relationship between the giver and receiver — leaving the listener to reconsider what they take at face value. – Jocelyn Hoppa

Listen to "Daylight Matters" below and buy Rewards here


Full Upon Her Burning Lips

(Sergeant House)

Grade: A

Well there’s an album title for ya. Now that Dylan Carlson and Adrienne Davis have your full, ahem, attention, let’s get to what’s so great about Earth’s latest album: Everything. Seriously, deconstructing this record to explain the slight nuances of this versus the last Earth record or the one before that seems besides the point (although, yes, some of their love for minimalism does dissipate here into some noisy stuff like "The Colour of Poison"… you know, for Earth). Instead, we should all find a nice evening, a comfortable seat, and listen to this record until we’re absorbed into the sky. – Jocelyn Hoppa

Listen to "The Colour of Poison" below and buy Full Upon Her Burning Lips here

Faye Webster Atlanta Millionaires Club (Secretly Canadian)

Grade: A-

Good luck finding a box to put this rising 21 year-old singer/songwriter in. Her third LP is a gorgeous collection of lovelorn strummers with touches of country, folk, R&B, and soul. Originally signed to Atlanta rap oddballs Awful Records, Webster’s music is gleefully unencumbered — naturally veering off in whatever direction her tastes take her. For example, “Right Side of My Neck” is a swooning country ballad, while the waltzing “Jonny” pairs her voice with gorgeous, late-night R&B keys and “Flowers” features a verse from Awful head honcho Father. Impressively, it all feels so cohesive and unforced, as Webster’s easy, languid vocals effortlessly glue all the sounds around her together. – Daniel Alvarez

Watch the video for "Room Temperature" below and buy Atlanta Millionaires Club here

Flying Lotus

Flamagra (Warp)

Grade: A-

Steven Ellison's first album in 5 years continues to prove how incredibly adept and adaptive he is as a producer of jazz, hip-hop, and his own signature avant blend. Per what you'd expect from a Flying Lotus record, an incredible and disparate cast of musicians contributed to Flamagra — from George Clinton, Shabazz Palaces, and Solange to Anderson .Paak and David Lynch, the latter featured on the album’s lead single (with its crazypants video), the spoken-word "Fire Is Coming." – Angela Zimmerman

Watch the video for "Fire Is Coming" below and buy Flamagra here

Hayden Thorpe Diviner (Domino)

Grade: B+

With Wild Beasts (RIP) or as a solo artist, Hayden Thorpe’s evocative, singular falsetto will always be the first thing that sticks out about his music. On Diviner, his first solo project since the dissolution of Wild Beasts, Thorpe leans hard on his signature instrument — opting for a mostly tranquil, piano-led arrangements that magnify both its unique timber and emotional resonance it wields. Though sonically he misses the baritone foil of bandmate Tom Fleming, the negative space lends plenty of space for Thorpe to explore, and the result is his most intimate, personal project to date. – Daniel Alvarez

Watch the video for "Diviner" below and buy the album here


In Plain Sight

(Marathon Artists)

Grade: C+

With no prior knowledge of this Glaswegian sprite, In Plain Sight defied expectation by incorporating not an ounce of Belle and Sebastian-style chamber pop, instead relying on fuzzy guitars, ‘80s synths, and a fair amount of attitude to propel most of its 11 tunes. Imagine Jenny Lewis fronting Yeah Yeah Yeahs, produced by Ian McCulloch. Come to think of it, that sounds pretty awesome. This album isn’t quite that good, but there are certainly enough hooks and shimmery touches to keep it interesting. Extra points for borrowing the floor tom shuffle from Iron Maiden’s “Running Free” to kick off “A Kiss From the Devil.” You guys are getting all these references, right? – Braden Towne

Watch "She's a Nightmare" below and buy In Plain Sight here

Hundred Watt Heart

Turbulent Times

(Whole Leap Records)

Grade: B

All hail the return of the power trio. The Roots’ "Captain" Kirk Douglas turns back the clock about 25 years to deliver a platter full of earnest and concise fucking guitar rock. Remember when people did that? But no mere throwback, this. Over the course of 8 tracks the good Captain shows us just about everything a simple guitar-bass-drums format can do, pairing muscular riffs with soulful melodicism, all along the way resisting the urge to enlist the help of his surely countless famous friends begging to be a part of something this genuine. A worthwhile journey. – “Admiral” Braden Towne

Listen to "Turbulent Times" below and buy Turbulent Times here


Act Surprised


Grade: B

So many years between Sebadoh records these days. Well, some Sebadoh is better than no Sebadoh — that’s my life mantra. Keep making records, fellas, and I’ll try to act surprised. The material here isn’t as bracing or weird as their earlier output, but there’s plenty of solid tracks on their ninth studio LP, where they seem freer than ever to just rock the fuck out. And they still have some cool tricks up their tattered indie sleeves that elevate songs like “medicate,” “vacation,” and “belief” — things purely Sebadoh that ought to make a true fan happy. If this is what it’s like growing up and growing old with a band you love, I’m here for it. – Jocelyn Hoppa

Listen to "Act Surprised" below and buy the album here

Steve Lacy

Apollo XXI (AWAL Recordings)

Grade: B

On his second full-length, the Compton-based 21 year-old announced that he is ready to step out of the background and into the spotlight. Already a respected musician, songwriter, and producer from his work with people like The Internet, Kendrick Lamar, Blood Orange, and Vampire Weekend, Apollo XXI will likely go a long way to cementing Lacy as a legit artist and bandleader in his own right. A loose, funky collection of jazzy soul songs that somehow feels super modern yet also could have dropped in 1972, the project is full of twists and turns and soul-searching lyrics. – Daniel Alvarez

Listen to "Basement Jack" below and buy Apollo XXI here

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