Our music contributor, Luke Graves, is back with his roundup of new releases to check out this month. See which albums made the list and listen to March's Listen Up! playlist.
Mount Eerie – Now Only
Photo by Geneviève Elverum/Courtesy of the artist
No one knows.
But, from one Mountain to another, thank you for sharing.
Now Only released on March 16 via P.W. Elverum & Sun.
of Montreal – White Is Relic/Irrealis Mood
With his fifteenth studio album as of Montreal, Kevin Barnes returns at his most pop and paranoid on White Is Relic/Irrealis Mood, the follow up to 2017’s Rune Husk EP and 2016’s Innocence Reaches. Here, the prolific pontificator forgoes the collaborative spirit of previous records, opting instead for digital drum samples and programmed divulgences of romantic love, government surveillance, and simulated realities. “On intersectional highs and usurpation lows, it's hard to stop the impact of one's offensive ways,” Barnes’ signature prose cascades out in streams of ones and zeros over danceable damnations of whiteness and late capitalism—the final result something like a Pynchon adaptation of They Live with a twist of Malcolm X for good measure.
White Is Relic/Irrealis Mood released on March 9 via Polyvinyl Records.
David Byrne – American Utopia
David Byrne also returns in March, painting his own version of “America the Great” with his first solo record in fourteen years titled American Utopia. Authoritarian distrust? Check. Societal collapse? Check. Unrelenting hope in the face of unrelenting tragedy? Check. American Utopia certainly has all the markings of an album released in the year of our Lord two-thousand-and-eighteen, and the former Talking Heads frontman’s characteristic satire and penchant for making sense out of the senseless could not have come at a more necessary time.
“We are dogs in our own paradise in a theme park of our own, doggy dancers doing doody, doggy dreaming all day long,” the eccentric auteur croons over dramatic strings on “Dog’s Mind.” And Byrne’s final benediction which emphasizes the importance of mindfulness may present at least one small reason to be cheerful during these turbulent times, in that we are all united in this moment together persevering, “Here is a region of abundant details, here is a region that is seldom used, here is a region that continues living, even when the other sections are removed.”
American Utopia released on March 9 via Todo Mundo and Nonesuch Records.
Soccer Mommy – Clean
Nashville singer-songwriter Sophie Allison, better known as Soccer Mommy, is making Music City perk its ears to a different tune with her endlessly relatable and infinitely replayable brand of bedroom-pop. On her debut album, Clean, Soccer Mommy journals nostalgia-tinged reminiscences of schoolyard crushes, personal insecurities, and summers past. Fuzzy guitars and catchy melodies abound, Clean offers an intimate glimpse into adolescence without ever breaking “cool” and breathes fresh life into the Nashville music scene choking and sputtering in its smoke-filled honky tonks and dingy dive bars.
Clean released on March 2 via Fat Possum Records.
Yo La Tengo – There’s a Riot Going On
Photo by GODLIS
“If it’s not too late… whenever there's hurt and when things are uncertain, maybe I could be that guy," singer Ira Kaplan self-actualizes on Yo La Tengo’s latest record, There’s a Riot Going On. Drawing on the Sly & the Family Stone album of the same name, the Hoboken indie-rock band’s fifteenth studio release is a hauntingly beautiful entry in the storied history of music as sociopolitical activism. Sleepwalking from hallucinatory shoegaze to Eno-esque ambient explorations and back, Yo La Tengo return in top form with an introspective listen that challenges not only the listener but the artform as a means of advocating change.
There’s a Riot Going On released on March 16 via Matador Records.
Also check out:
- Frankie Cosmos – Vessel (March 30, Sub Pop)
- Cut Chemist – Die Cut (March 2, A Stable Sound)
- No Joy, Sonic Boom – No Joy / Sonic Boom (March 30, Joyful Noise Recordings)
- Preoccupations – New Material (March 23, Jagjaguwar)
Luke Graves is a latchkey designer, printmaker, and occasional writer of words based in Nashville. Find more of Luke's contributions, here.
This feature is brought to you by Original Fuzz Magazine. Find more articles in this month's magazine, here.