Long live the days of New Music Tuesday, when new music served as a source of small talk before Box Office Friday took hold. New music is now cramped alongside new movies and weekend plans as another priority that we have to sift through as our weeks wind down. Rather than cram another summary of recommendations into your busy weekend lives, The Fast Five is our attempt to take New Music Friday beyond the weekend. If you’re looking for a set of records to save on Spotify for the coming week of driving, working, or exercising, then this is the place to look each week.
This week has given us a good place to start the Fast Five, with The Menzingers providing a valuable addition to the “pop-punk for grownups” canon. Angel Olsen and Danny Brown are here to please old and new fans, with their latest records showing each of them at their finest. Indie rock/shoegaze sleepers DIIV breathe new purpose into their catalog, with a darker and moodier selection of tracks on their latest. PINE is a Canadian band whose full-length debut has flown under the radar since its release earlier in September. Read on to enjoy the first Fast Five of the brand new Mind Equals Blown.
The Menzingers – Hello Exile
Hello Exile sees The Menzingers return to the “adult pop-punk” scene that they helped create. The themes of fleeting youth and Midwestern paradoxes return to the forefront here, picking up right where After the Party left off. Opener “America (You’re Freaking Me Out)” sends the band into the political sphere, but framed within the uncertainty that comes with being a millenial in the shadow of Boomer politics. The band contrasts the long-term romance of “Anna” with the erasure of an ex on “Strangers Forever”. Tracks like “Anna”, “High School Friend” and “I Can’t Stop Drinking” manage to place the listener into a punk’s coming-of-age journey, including a mandatory allegiance to Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, while “Farewell Youth” rounds out the record’s acknowledgement that the line between being a punk and becoming an adult is even grayer than anyone would have expected.
Angel Olsen – All Mirrors
Anyone who has been on the internet this weekend is well aware of how beautiful All Mirrors is. While My Woman stands as a showcase of Olsen’s dual senses of melody and patience, this record dives into her full range as a leader in the indie sphere. “Lark” opens the record quietly, mirroring the intimacy of her earlier works, before its climax into a sea of orchestral prowess and catharsis. “New Love Cassette” is a simpler melodic fare that shadows the synthy work of Sharon Van Etten‘s latest, while “What It Is” stands close to what fans of the immaculate “Shut Up Kiss Me” may expect from Olsen. This record is a beautiful display of Olsen’s ability to think big and present results, with “Summer” serving as a sophisticated display of just how big her songwriting vision has become. All Mirrors possesses the diversity of sound that defined Olsen’s previous record, but the stakes are so much higher here, presenting an artist at her true peak.
Danny Brown – uknowhatimsayin¿
Danny Brown’s reign as Detroit alt-rap leader holds strong on uknowhatimsayin¿. The record stands as some of his most accessible work, but cements his status as a leader within his own world. Q-Tip’s executive production brings a fresh polish to tracks like “Best Life” and the closer “Combat”, but Brown remains attuned to bringing guests into his world. From Run the Jewels on “3 Tearz” to Blood Orange on “Shine”, the features on this record are clearly the works of guests within Danny’s world. The epitome of his leadership shines through on “Negro Spiritual”, which brings Brown on the track with alt stars Flying Lotus and Thundercat, as well as the next rising star in the alternative hip-hop scene, Jpegmafia. As someone who just moved to Detroit, there is a certain charm that comes with driving around the city while jamming out to this record, and that’s just one side of Danny’s House, as told by this record.
DIIV – Deceiver
New York’s DIIV makes their return to the scene with Deceiver, a broody collection of shoegaze-y energy that carries a punch with it. Lead singer Zachary Cole Smith says that the record’s dark material was inspired by his journey through substance abuse and recovery. The dark energy of producer Sonny Diperri, who has worked with Nine Inch Nails and My Bloody Valentine, helps bring the band’s gazey talents to another level. The sweeping wave of guitars on “Like Before You Were Born” and “For the Guilty” thrust the listener through the challenges of moving through hard times, showing a band in sync with itself. Even the lighter pedals on “Blankenship” are relative, with the layered guitars filled in by lyrics of regret and resent.
PINE – PINE
Ontario’s PINE quietly emerged on the scene in 2017 with their debut EP, Pillow Talk. Writing at the junction of shoegaze, 2000s female-fronted pop-punk and indie rock, the band’s dark style will feel right at home to those missing VersaEmerge and Paramore alike. “Discord” and “In Your Eyes” possess a dark grunge that is patient and layered, with Darlene Deschamps’s vocals gripping onto the heavy guitars and pounding drums with confidence. “Lusk” and “Maladroit” breathe a healthy amount of sunniness into the clouds, the latter serving as one of the strongest showcases on musicianship and precision on the record. It’s clear that PINE builds a healthy degree of intention into each track they put out, with their self-titled presenting a diverse range of gloomy charisma and guitar pedals to embolden both Fueled by Ramen romantics and Tiny Engines stans.