Masaki Batoh "Smile Jesus Loves You (Drag City)"
From Drag City –
Batoh is back! Solo again after last fall’s new Silence album, the Japanese psychedelic guru makes some solo cuts, with others featuring Ghost and Silence family members, including free drumming legend of Fushitsusha and early Ghost, Hiroyuki Usui. In all-analog production, Batoh decries the existential opacity of our latter-day faith, drawing from the traditions of all countries, fused into new music for this century.
Check out the harmonics-laden intro of the chilled out “Uzumaki No Momento.”
Hazel English "Wake UP! (Polyvinyl)"
Listening to the record, it should come as no surprise that ‘Revolver’-era Beatles, The Mamas & The Papas, The Zombies and Jefferson Airplane were all at the forefront of her mind while recording. “Radical messages need a raw and vibrant backdrop to pop,” she says, and she’s kept her trademark sunshine-filled sound that fits her Los Angeles dwelling, but with bigger, stirring choruses. It’s a testament to English’s writing style and ear for a hook that she won’t make anything that she couldn’t play stripped back to its bones, refusing to rely on production to carry a song. Standouts like the infectious ‘Off My Mind’ and ‘Like A Drug’, with its swirling hypnosis, find English’s songcraft at its most accomplished.
Lead single ‘Shaking’ wears its ‘60s psych influences on its paisley patterned sleeve. Written by Hazel and frequent collaborator Blake Stranathan (Lana Del Rey), it was a painstaking effort: “I just couldn’t rest until I had gotten it to a place where it felt like I could sleep at night. And I’m really glad I did,” she says. Tackling themes of power, lust, manipulation, pleasure, and control, its Erin S. Murray-directed video strikes right at the heart of this idea, finding English as the charismatic ringleader of her own Manson-esque cult, manipulating her subjects in a babydoll dress and beehive hairstyle. “It presents the promise of a spiritual awakening as a kind of seduction,” she says.
Check out the aforementioned “Shaking.”
Savak "Rotting Teeth In The Horse’s Mouth (Ernest Jenning Record Co.)"
From Ernest Jenning Record Co.:
George Washington’s famous wooden dentures were actually crafted from hippopotamus ivory, brass and gold. The teeth currently occupying the Oval Office are just made of fallacies, narcissism and slime.
Rotting Teeth in the Horse’s Mouth, SAVAK’s fourth full-length LP in five years, shows truths about these delusions in the decay of democracy, but also invoke dreams for the daughters of the future. We’re finally in a new decade we only thought existed in the distance of a dystopian science-fiction novel, faced with a waning optimism overcome by the burdening weight of pessimism.
There’s no better time than now to welcome the arrival of an album that addresses a lot of the American anxieties which have been bubbling in our collective conscience. Recorded in SAVAK’s Gowanus, Brooklyn studio as the earth literally shook around them from the mechanisms of urban renewal, core SAVAK members and principal songwriters Michael “Jaws” Jaworski and Sohrab Habibion direct you into their headspace with a fiery pool of propulsive rhythms helmed by drummer Matt Schulz that shake in your blood and seep through your most permeable pores. Lyrically, they’re navigating the complexities of everyday life and how to grow and shape a better future in the face of adversity. Musically, they’re a cohesive, balanced package of punk in all its amalgamations, the trio acting as a unit that play off of each other and with each other, always asking what the next best move might be.
Check out “Listening.”
Maserati "Enter The Mirror (Temporary Residence)"
From Temporary Residence:
Marking their 20th year as a band, Maserati returns with their first new album in five years. Produced by the band and mixed by Grammy-winning producer, John Congleton (Explosions In The Sky, Swans, Angel Olsen), Enter The Mirror is Maserati’s most compelling mélange of triumphant guitar hooks, abstract synth-pop, and Wax Trax-inspired noise anthems.
The gated drums of Phil Collins and chorus-drenched guitars of INXS were prominent influences on Enter The Mirror, paired to magnificent effect with the increasingly dystopian lyrical themes (which, ironically, were also massive influences on popular music in the 1980s, and feel ever more relevant now). In addition to longtime members Coley Dennis, Matt Cherry, Chris McNeal, and Mike Albanese, Maserati are joined by friends and collaborators, Bill Berry (R.E.M.), Owen Lange, and Alfredo Lapuz Jr.
Check out “A Warning In The Dark.”