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Bummer’s noise-rock rippers provide a glimpse into their midwestern nightmare

Since 2013, Kansas City trio Bummer have been belting out full-tilt, bludgeoning sludge that’s heightened by their dark-humored taste for grim obsessions and disaffected existence. Over a handful of EPs and one previous full-length, guitarist-vocalist Matt Perrin, bassist Mike Gustafson, and drummer Sam Hutchinson have railed against the ennui of their dead-end daily routines with […]

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The Body and Big|Brave draw on the Band and Appalachia for Leaving None but Small Birds

The Body and Big|Brave are both known for their takes on pulverizing, minimalist postmetal, but their new collaborative album, Leaving None but Small Birds (Thrill Jockey), gazes at the infinite possibilities of traditional folk music through a warped and weathered all-seeing eye. Crafted in the studio with engineer-producer Seth Manchester (a frequent collaborator of the […]

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Chicago indie-rock mainstays Eleventh Dream Day celebrate their 14th album, Since Grazed

When Chicago indie-rock stalwarts Eleventh Dream Day released their 14th album (and first in five years), Since Grazed, in April 2021, the pandemic prevented them from having a proper release party. The group, formed in 1983, are creeping up on their 40th anniversary, and though they didn’t hold together this long by being impatient, they […]

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Colleen’s The Tunnel and the Clearing is a perfect summer breeze of an album

Under the name Colleen, French composer and multi-instrumentalist Cécile Schott has spent the past two decades traversing musical styles: She explored hypnagogic looped samples on her 2003 debut, Everyone Alive Wants Answers, dulcet folktronica on 2005’s The Golden Morning Breaks, and chamber-music ambience on 2007’s Les Ondes Silencieuses. Schott’s work is consistent in its arresting […]

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The Body kick off 2021 with the their heaviest, noisiest, and bleakest record yet

Categorizing the doomsday sonic bludgeon wielded by Providence duo the Body over their two-decade reign of terror isn’t an easy task. Guitarist and screamer Chip King and drummer Lee Buford slice and dice doom, sludge, noise, and avant-metal into a monolithic, nails-on-chalkboard wall of sound. Buford’s hip-hop-mangled thumping and pounding and King’s six-feet-under caterwaul could […]

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Malian guitarist Sidi Touré dials it back on an all-acoustic, digital-only album

Count Sidi Touré among the billions of people around the world who’ve had to revise their plans in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Malian singer-guitarist’s previous album, Toubalbero, was recorded live in Bamako’s best studio in order to best showcase his band’s vibrant combination of electric guitars and traditional regional instruments. But between the […]

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Wrekmeister Harmonies face the darkness before the dawn on We Love to Look at the Carnage

Enigmatic former Chicagoans Wrekmeister Harmonies wrote their seventh full-length, We Love to Look at the Carnage (Thrill Jockey), in a cold, isolated farmhouse in upstate New York and recorded it in Brooklyn the following summer with producer Martin Bisi. This time around, the core duo of J.R. Robinson and Esther Shaw added insightful, versatile percussionist […]

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Cellist Helen Money explores grief on her meditative new album, Atomic

California-born Chicagoan cellist Alison Chesley, aka Helen Money, studied at Northwestern, played in 90s indie-rock band Verbow, and often collaborates with the likes of Sanford Parker, Bruce Lamont, and Russian Circles. As a solo artist she’s cut her own road through the hills of heavy music, drone, and avant-garde. Her brand-new album, Atomic (Thrill Jockey), […]

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Admission is the best record yet from ‘thunder pop’ forefathers Torche

Miami band Torche have always been like heavy metal’s cotton candy, and their recent fifth album, July’s Admission (Relapse), is their most delicious yet. Since rising from the ashes of stoner-rock group Floor in 2004, Torche have specialized in what they call “thunder pop”—a hard-hitting, wall-of-sound brand of sludgy doom metal that’s topped off with […]

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Sequoyah Murray was born to make uncategorizable pop

Twenty-two-year-old Atlanta singer and multi-instrumentalist Sequoyah Murray grew up in a musical family, and you can tell. He makes music the way a dolphin swims—effortlessly, playfully, and with supreme confidence. Murray’s remarkable debut full-length, Before You Begin (Thrill Jockey), recalls Prince not so much in its approach or themes as in its ambitiously openhearted eclecticism. […]