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Anything You Can Smoke, I Can Smoke Better: Breaking Down Gender Binaries in BBQ

Anything You Can Smoke, I Can Smoke Better: Breaking Down Gender Binaries in BBQ


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Big Apple BBQ may not have female headliners, but these women are out to prove that barbecue is no longer a man's job

There’s nothing “cute” about their ‘cue. (From left: Elizabeth Karmel and Melissa Cookston)

Smoked brisket with a perfectly juicy, pink center, savory ribs with just the right amount of sweet and tangy sauce slathered on top, all paired with a side of cool slaw and bread to mop it up. It’s certainly not bound by gender stereotypes.

This weekend is the 14th annual Big Apple BBQ festival in New York’s Madison Square Park, one of the largest celebrations of Southern-style meaty ‘cue this side of the Mason-Dixon line. But out of 13 celebrated pitmasters who will be showing off their chops (and shoulders and ribs), there are zero women headliners (Amy Mills of 17th Street Barbecue and Leslie Roark Scott of Ubon’s Barbeque are cooking with their legendary pitmaster dads at the festival this year). This was the same story in 2015 and the year before that too. In fact, there have been no solo female headliners at the festival as far back as Big Apple’s records go.

But don’t think that thriving lady smokers are an endangered species.

One ‘cue pioneer is Lee Ann Whippen, who was the first female finalist on the BBQ Pitmasters reality show and had two restaurants (Wood Chicks in Chesapeake, now closed, and Chicago Q, which she left to open Frozen Foodies — a specialty frozen food store).

“It’s kind of perplexing to me why more women aren’t drawn to the flame,” Barbecue consultant, “Grill Girl,” and former Hill Country Barbecue pitmaster Elizabeth Karmel said. She was on her way back from a barbecue summit in Cleveland where she was the only woman there. “It used to be that building a fire was seen as the man’s domain, but now that working with a grill is as easy as flipping a switch, more women should and are getting into this. Just not as many as we’d like.”


The dish

October turned out to be a great month for new music, perhaps boosted by five Fridays (I feel like music analytics would have to adjust for that). I also think that the pandemic and inadequate responses by many developed nations have left musicians and labels at the point where they don’t feel like they can keep delaying releases – movie studios have a financial incentive to keep kicking the can down the road, but record labels don’t. So this month I have 24 songs on the playlist, with over 90 minutes of new music, running the full gamut of musical styles I like. You can access the playlist here if you can’t see the widget below.

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Automation. Maybe the best guitar riff of the year. I don’t love everything King Gizzard does, but I’m always amazed by their musical shapeshifting. They can move from psychedelia to metal to blues rock and in between and still put out two albums a year.

Creeper – Annabelle. Creeper’s first album was a horror-themed punk record, but they’ve remade themselves on their sophomore album, Sex, Death & the Infinite Void, which is one of the best LPs of 2020, a mad, sprawling record that recalls Suede, the Killers, My Chemical Romance (in a good way), Americana, and elements of early 1980s post-punk/new wave. Some other standout tracks on the album include “Paradise,” “Cyanide,” and “Poisoned Heart,” but really the whole album is incredible.

HAERTS & Ed Droste – For the Sky. I don’t know if or when HAERTS will give us a new album – lead singer Nini Fabi just had a baby, which I’m sure impacts their timeline – but this one-off track with Grizzly Bear’s Ed Droste is a lovely interlude to tide us over.

Peking Duk & the Wombats – Nothing to Love About Love. I wasn’t familiar with the Australian “mad rock” duo Peking Duk, but this came on my Release Radar because I’m a huge fan of the Wombats – and this sounds like a Wombats song remixed.

Battles, DJ Dairy, & DJ Orient – Stirling Bridge. Battles put out a call for artists interested in remixing tracks from their 2019 album Juice B Crypts, and the resulting EP will come out on November 20 th . This track comes from two members of black midi, and it’s not a remix of any single song but a new creation from the raw tracks Battles recorded when making the original record.

Goodie Mob ft. Organized Noize – Frontline. Goodie Mob’s first album in seven years, Survival Kit, comes out on November 13 th , with tracks featuring André 3000, Big Boi, and Chuck D. This single is an anthem for Black Lives Matter protesters, with prominent mention of the federal government’s use of tear gas on peaceful demonstrators. Cee-Lo also appeared on a new track from Big Boi and Killer Mike called “We the Ones,” which has great work from the two MCs but sluggish music and mailed-in vocals from Cee-Lo, who is a pretty terrible person anyway.

Tori Handsley ft. Ruth Goller and Moses Boyd – What’s in a Tune. Tori Handsley is a jazz harpist who’s been playing with other artists since at least 2010, but is just now releasing her first music under her own name, leading a trio that includes drummer/producer Moses Boyd (whose Dark Matter is one of my favorite albums of 2020). I heard this song before knowing anything about Handsley, and I assumed Handsley was playing a guitar via two-handed tapping, or maybe a Chapman stick, but she gets sounds and patterns from the harp that I don’t associate with that instrument.

Jorja Smith ft. Popcaan – Come Over. This new track from the Mercury-nominated English singer-songwriter Smith appears to be a prelude to a sophomore album, although it’s at least her third single since Lost & Found came out in 2018. It has a more obvious reggae influence than the last few tracks and includes a contribution from dancehall artist Popcaan, although I don’t think he brings much to the table.

Arlo Parks – Green Eyes. Parks’ debut album is finished, and due for a release early in 2021, but this is at least her fifteenth single to date, at least according to her artist page on Spotify. I’ve been late to this party but her voice is gorgeous and whatever you might call her style of music – it’s soulful but not really soul, folk-ish but definitely not folk – I’m here for it.

TRAAMS – Intercontinental Radio Waves. I hadn’t heard TRAAMS before this song, but they released two albums in 2013 and 2015, and a song in 2016, before going dark for the last four years. Wikipedia calls their early music “krautrock” and that’s certainly still evident here, with a flat vocal delivery over a pulsing electronic backdrop.

Slow Pulp – Track. Slow Pulp’s music is indeed slow, and atmospheric, although here they sound more like Slow Smashing Pumpkins (the intro is a lot like the chord pattern from “Today”) – with lyrics about the lead singer’s mother’s anxiety over getting Alzheimer’s disease, which runs in their family.

Artificial Pleasure – The Movement of Sound. Artificial Pleasure released their second album, A New Joy, on Friday, so I haven’t had a chance to crack it yet – we’re seeing a flood of new material this fall, which is great except that I’m never in the car to listen to music at long stretches like I used to do – but it includes this banging track as well as last year’s “Boys Grow Up,” this year’s “Lose Myself Again,” and both parts of “Into the Unknown” as a single song.

Hot Chip ft. Jarvis Cocker – Straight to the Morning. I think I take Hot Chip for granted, because their singles are consistently good, just rarely great on the level of “Over and Over” or “Huarache Lights.” This track includes former Pulp lead singer Jarvis Cocker, although he’s barely noticeable, and the melody is strong enough that the song doesn’t need any help.

Deep Sea Diver – Hurricane. Deep Sea Diver grew out of a solo project of that name by Jennifer Dobson, now the lead singer/guitarist/songwriter of a full four-piece band. Sharon Van Etten makes a cameo on the band’s new album, Impossible Weight, which gives you some idea of their sound, although Dobson’s vocals are far superior and give this song a hint of pop.

The Struts ft. Joe Elliott and Phil Collen – I Hate How Much I Want You. It is entirely appropriate for a band as bombastic as the Struts to call in two members of hair metal icons Def Leppard for a song this ridiculous. I love it.

Dinosaur Pile-Up – It’s Tricky. Another snotty rock band covers another seminal early hip-hop track. This shouldn’t work, but it does.

Are We Static – Wildfire. This new track from AWS starts out a little like that annoying 2014 song “Geronimo” by Sheppard, but instead of turning into a poppy sing-along it converts that nervous energy into a swirling guitar-driven chorus, a quantum improvement in my mind.

Black Honey – I Like the Way You Die. I love Black Honey but this title is on the bleak side for a band this poppy.

All Them Witches – Lights Out. ATW’s Nothing as the Ideal has some incredible psychedelic sludge rock riffs across its eight songs, highlighted by this one and “Enemy of my Enemy,” although the six-minute-plus tracks go too long for their content.

Rob Zombie – The Triumph of King Freak (A Crypt of Preservation and Superstition). I did not foresee Rob Zombie dropping one of the best hard-rock tracks of 2020, I have to admit, but this is peak RZ content, even hinting back at the last White Zombie album Astro-Creep: 2000 with samples and electronic elements.

Pallbearer – Vengeance & Ruination. The kings of American doom metal – or just modern doom metal, period – just released their 4th album, Forgotten Days, and I think it’s their most accessible work to date, although it still has some longer tracks to satisfy diehards (and perhaps scare off folks looking for more radio-friendly lengths).

Killer Be Killed – Dream Gone Bad. Mastodon vocalist Troy Sanders is involved in two side projects that released new tracks this month this is the better of the two, as the latest Gone is Gone track didn’t do much for me. KBK includes Max Cavalera of Soulfly and formerly of Sepultura, but the sound is closer to Mastodon’s here, very bass-forward with thrash elements but mostly clean (and strong) vocals.

Dark Tranquility – Identical to None. DT’s newest album Moment will drop on November 20 th it seems like more classic Gothenburg melodic death metal, with some great thrash riffing below the growled vocals. I haven’t spent a ton of time on this but I think Gothenburg bands have a distinctive melodic sound that works more at the middle and higher ends of the guitar’s range in each song’s standout riffs, whereas comparable bands from other scenes just try to blow you away with speed or riffs at the bottom end of the range.

Carcass – Slaughtered in Soho. And this is the one exception to everything I just said – but Carcass is sort of an exception to a lot of generalizations about extreme metal, coming out of grindcore to create a ridiculous subgenre termed “goregrind” (which didn’t need its own name), only to abandon both the style and the lyrical content with Heartwork, among the greatest extreme metal albums in history and proof that you could craft compelling melodies without sacrificing speed, growled vocals, or other trappings of the death-metal genre. This track comes off their four-song EP Despicable, which just came out on Friday, with tracks that missed the cut for their next album. The riff on this one is great, and remarkably slow and grooved for Carcass.


The dish

October turned out to be a great month for new music, perhaps boosted by five Fridays (I feel like music analytics would have to adjust for that). I also think that the pandemic and inadequate responses by many developed nations have left musicians and labels at the point where they don’t feel like they can keep delaying releases – movie studios have a financial incentive to keep kicking the can down the road, but record labels don’t. So this month I have 24 songs on the playlist, with over 90 minutes of new music, running the full gamut of musical styles I like. You can access the playlist here if you can’t see the widget below.

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Automation. Maybe the best guitar riff of the year. I don’t love everything King Gizzard does, but I’m always amazed by their musical shapeshifting. They can move from psychedelia to metal to blues rock and in between and still put out two albums a year.

Creeper – Annabelle. Creeper’s first album was a horror-themed punk record, but they’ve remade themselves on their sophomore album, Sex, Death & the Infinite Void, which is one of the best LPs of 2020, a mad, sprawling record that recalls Suede, the Killers, My Chemical Romance (in a good way), Americana, and elements of early 1980s post-punk/new wave. Some other standout tracks on the album include “Paradise,” “Cyanide,” and “Poisoned Heart,” but really the whole album is incredible.

HAERTS & Ed Droste – For the Sky. I don’t know if or when HAERTS will give us a new album – lead singer Nini Fabi just had a baby, which I’m sure impacts their timeline – but this one-off track with Grizzly Bear’s Ed Droste is a lovely interlude to tide us over.

Peking Duk & the Wombats – Nothing to Love About Love. I wasn’t familiar with the Australian “mad rock” duo Peking Duk, but this came on my Release Radar because I’m a huge fan of the Wombats – and this sounds like a Wombats song remixed.

Battles, DJ Dairy, & DJ Orient – Stirling Bridge. Battles put out a call for artists interested in remixing tracks from their 2019 album Juice B Crypts, and the resulting EP will come out on November 20 th . This track comes from two members of black midi, and it’s not a remix of any single song but a new creation from the raw tracks Battles recorded when making the original record.

Goodie Mob ft. Organized Noize – Frontline. Goodie Mob’s first album in seven years, Survival Kit, comes out on November 13 th , with tracks featuring André 3000, Big Boi, and Chuck D. This single is an anthem for Black Lives Matter protesters, with prominent mention of the federal government’s use of tear gas on peaceful demonstrators. Cee-Lo also appeared on a new track from Big Boi and Killer Mike called “We the Ones,” which has great work from the two MCs but sluggish music and mailed-in vocals from Cee-Lo, who is a pretty terrible person anyway.

Tori Handsley ft. Ruth Goller and Moses Boyd – What’s in a Tune. Tori Handsley is a jazz harpist who’s been playing with other artists since at least 2010, but is just now releasing her first music under her own name, leading a trio that includes drummer/producer Moses Boyd (whose Dark Matter is one of my favorite albums of 2020). I heard this song before knowing anything about Handsley, and I assumed Handsley was playing a guitar via two-handed tapping, or maybe a Chapman stick, but she gets sounds and patterns from the harp that I don’t associate with that instrument.

Jorja Smith ft. Popcaan – Come Over. This new track from the Mercury-nominated English singer-songwriter Smith appears to be a prelude to a sophomore album, although it’s at least her third single since Lost & Found came out in 2018. It has a more obvious reggae influence than the last few tracks and includes a contribution from dancehall artist Popcaan, although I don’t think he brings much to the table.

Arlo Parks – Green Eyes. Parks’ debut album is finished, and due for a release early in 2021, but this is at least her fifteenth single to date, at least according to her artist page on Spotify. I’ve been late to this party but her voice is gorgeous and whatever you might call her style of music – it’s soulful but not really soul, folk-ish but definitely not folk – I’m here for it.

TRAAMS – Intercontinental Radio Waves. I hadn’t heard TRAAMS before this song, but they released two albums in 2013 and 2015, and a song in 2016, before going dark for the last four years. Wikipedia calls their early music “krautrock” and that’s certainly still evident here, with a flat vocal delivery over a pulsing electronic backdrop.

Slow Pulp – Track. Slow Pulp’s music is indeed slow, and atmospheric, although here they sound more like Slow Smashing Pumpkins (the intro is a lot like the chord pattern from “Today”) – with lyrics about the lead singer’s mother’s anxiety over getting Alzheimer’s disease, which runs in their family.

Artificial Pleasure – The Movement of Sound. Artificial Pleasure released their second album, A New Joy, on Friday, so I haven’t had a chance to crack it yet – we’re seeing a flood of new material this fall, which is great except that I’m never in the car to listen to music at long stretches like I used to do – but it includes this banging track as well as last year’s “Boys Grow Up,” this year’s “Lose Myself Again,” and both parts of “Into the Unknown” as a single song.

Hot Chip ft. Jarvis Cocker – Straight to the Morning. I think I take Hot Chip for granted, because their singles are consistently good, just rarely great on the level of “Over and Over” or “Huarache Lights.” This track includes former Pulp lead singer Jarvis Cocker, although he’s barely noticeable, and the melody is strong enough that the song doesn’t need any help.

Deep Sea Diver – Hurricane. Deep Sea Diver grew out of a solo project of that name by Jennifer Dobson, now the lead singer/guitarist/songwriter of a full four-piece band. Sharon Van Etten makes a cameo on the band’s new album, Impossible Weight, which gives you some idea of their sound, although Dobson’s vocals are far superior and give this song a hint of pop.

The Struts ft. Joe Elliott and Phil Collen – I Hate How Much I Want You. It is entirely appropriate for a band as bombastic as the Struts to call in two members of hair metal icons Def Leppard for a song this ridiculous. I love it.

Dinosaur Pile-Up – It’s Tricky. Another snotty rock band covers another seminal early hip-hop track. This shouldn’t work, but it does.

Are We Static – Wildfire. This new track from AWS starts out a little like that annoying 2014 song “Geronimo” by Sheppard, but instead of turning into a poppy sing-along it converts that nervous energy into a swirling guitar-driven chorus, a quantum improvement in my mind.

Black Honey – I Like the Way You Die. I love Black Honey but this title is on the bleak side for a band this poppy.

All Them Witches – Lights Out. ATW’s Nothing as the Ideal has some incredible psychedelic sludge rock riffs across its eight songs, highlighted by this one and “Enemy of my Enemy,” although the six-minute-plus tracks go too long for their content.

Rob Zombie – The Triumph of King Freak (A Crypt of Preservation and Superstition). I did not foresee Rob Zombie dropping one of the best hard-rock tracks of 2020, I have to admit, but this is peak RZ content, even hinting back at the last White Zombie album Astro-Creep: 2000 with samples and electronic elements.

Pallbearer – Vengeance & Ruination. The kings of American doom metal – or just modern doom metal, period – just released their 4th album, Forgotten Days, and I think it’s their most accessible work to date, although it still has some longer tracks to satisfy diehards (and perhaps scare off folks looking for more radio-friendly lengths).

Killer Be Killed – Dream Gone Bad. Mastodon vocalist Troy Sanders is involved in two side projects that released new tracks this month this is the better of the two, as the latest Gone is Gone track didn’t do much for me. KBK includes Max Cavalera of Soulfly and formerly of Sepultura, but the sound is closer to Mastodon’s here, very bass-forward with thrash elements but mostly clean (and strong) vocals.

Dark Tranquility – Identical to None. DT’s newest album Moment will drop on November 20 th it seems like more classic Gothenburg melodic death metal, with some great thrash riffing below the growled vocals. I haven’t spent a ton of time on this but I think Gothenburg bands have a distinctive melodic sound that works more at the middle and higher ends of the guitar’s range in each song’s standout riffs, whereas comparable bands from other scenes just try to blow you away with speed or riffs at the bottom end of the range.

Carcass – Slaughtered in Soho. And this is the one exception to everything I just said – but Carcass is sort of an exception to a lot of generalizations about extreme metal, coming out of grindcore to create a ridiculous subgenre termed “goregrind” (which didn’t need its own name), only to abandon both the style and the lyrical content with Heartwork, among the greatest extreme metal albums in history and proof that you could craft compelling melodies without sacrificing speed, growled vocals, or other trappings of the death-metal genre. This track comes off their four-song EP Despicable, which just came out on Friday, with tracks that missed the cut for their next album. The riff on this one is great, and remarkably slow and grooved for Carcass.


The dish

October turned out to be a great month for new music, perhaps boosted by five Fridays (I feel like music analytics would have to adjust for that). I also think that the pandemic and inadequate responses by many developed nations have left musicians and labels at the point where they don’t feel like they can keep delaying releases – movie studios have a financial incentive to keep kicking the can down the road, but record labels don’t. So this month I have 24 songs on the playlist, with over 90 minutes of new music, running the full gamut of musical styles I like. You can access the playlist here if you can’t see the widget below.

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Automation. Maybe the best guitar riff of the year. I don’t love everything King Gizzard does, but I’m always amazed by their musical shapeshifting. They can move from psychedelia to metal to blues rock and in between and still put out two albums a year.

Creeper – Annabelle. Creeper’s first album was a horror-themed punk record, but they’ve remade themselves on their sophomore album, Sex, Death & the Infinite Void, which is one of the best LPs of 2020, a mad, sprawling record that recalls Suede, the Killers, My Chemical Romance (in a good way), Americana, and elements of early 1980s post-punk/new wave. Some other standout tracks on the album include “Paradise,” “Cyanide,” and “Poisoned Heart,” but really the whole album is incredible.

HAERTS & Ed Droste – For the Sky. I don’t know if or when HAERTS will give us a new album – lead singer Nini Fabi just had a baby, which I’m sure impacts their timeline – but this one-off track with Grizzly Bear’s Ed Droste is a lovely interlude to tide us over.

Peking Duk & the Wombats – Nothing to Love About Love. I wasn’t familiar with the Australian “mad rock” duo Peking Duk, but this came on my Release Radar because I’m a huge fan of the Wombats – and this sounds like a Wombats song remixed.

Battles, DJ Dairy, & DJ Orient – Stirling Bridge. Battles put out a call for artists interested in remixing tracks from their 2019 album Juice B Crypts, and the resulting EP will come out on November 20 th . This track comes from two members of black midi, and it’s not a remix of any single song but a new creation from the raw tracks Battles recorded when making the original record.

Goodie Mob ft. Organized Noize – Frontline. Goodie Mob’s first album in seven years, Survival Kit, comes out on November 13 th , with tracks featuring André 3000, Big Boi, and Chuck D. This single is an anthem for Black Lives Matter protesters, with prominent mention of the federal government’s use of tear gas on peaceful demonstrators. Cee-Lo also appeared on a new track from Big Boi and Killer Mike called “We the Ones,” which has great work from the two MCs but sluggish music and mailed-in vocals from Cee-Lo, who is a pretty terrible person anyway.

Tori Handsley ft. Ruth Goller and Moses Boyd – What’s in a Tune. Tori Handsley is a jazz harpist who’s been playing with other artists since at least 2010, but is just now releasing her first music under her own name, leading a trio that includes drummer/producer Moses Boyd (whose Dark Matter is one of my favorite albums of 2020). I heard this song before knowing anything about Handsley, and I assumed Handsley was playing a guitar via two-handed tapping, or maybe a Chapman stick, but she gets sounds and patterns from the harp that I don’t associate with that instrument.

Jorja Smith ft. Popcaan – Come Over. This new track from the Mercury-nominated English singer-songwriter Smith appears to be a prelude to a sophomore album, although it’s at least her third single since Lost & Found came out in 2018. It has a more obvious reggae influence than the last few tracks and includes a contribution from dancehall artist Popcaan, although I don’t think he brings much to the table.

Arlo Parks – Green Eyes. Parks’ debut album is finished, and due for a release early in 2021, but this is at least her fifteenth single to date, at least according to her artist page on Spotify. I’ve been late to this party but her voice is gorgeous and whatever you might call her style of music – it’s soulful but not really soul, folk-ish but definitely not folk – I’m here for it.

TRAAMS – Intercontinental Radio Waves. I hadn’t heard TRAAMS before this song, but they released two albums in 2013 and 2015, and a song in 2016, before going dark for the last four years. Wikipedia calls their early music “krautrock” and that’s certainly still evident here, with a flat vocal delivery over a pulsing electronic backdrop.

Slow Pulp – Track. Slow Pulp’s music is indeed slow, and atmospheric, although here they sound more like Slow Smashing Pumpkins (the intro is a lot like the chord pattern from “Today”) – with lyrics about the lead singer’s mother’s anxiety over getting Alzheimer’s disease, which runs in their family.

Artificial Pleasure – The Movement of Sound. Artificial Pleasure released their second album, A New Joy, on Friday, so I haven’t had a chance to crack it yet – we’re seeing a flood of new material this fall, which is great except that I’m never in the car to listen to music at long stretches like I used to do – but it includes this banging track as well as last year’s “Boys Grow Up,” this year’s “Lose Myself Again,” and both parts of “Into the Unknown” as a single song.

Hot Chip ft. Jarvis Cocker – Straight to the Morning. I think I take Hot Chip for granted, because their singles are consistently good, just rarely great on the level of “Over and Over” or “Huarache Lights.” This track includes former Pulp lead singer Jarvis Cocker, although he’s barely noticeable, and the melody is strong enough that the song doesn’t need any help.

Deep Sea Diver – Hurricane. Deep Sea Diver grew out of a solo project of that name by Jennifer Dobson, now the lead singer/guitarist/songwriter of a full four-piece band. Sharon Van Etten makes a cameo on the band’s new album, Impossible Weight, which gives you some idea of their sound, although Dobson’s vocals are far superior and give this song a hint of pop.

The Struts ft. Joe Elliott and Phil Collen – I Hate How Much I Want You. It is entirely appropriate for a band as bombastic as the Struts to call in two members of hair metal icons Def Leppard for a song this ridiculous. I love it.

Dinosaur Pile-Up – It’s Tricky. Another snotty rock band covers another seminal early hip-hop track. This shouldn’t work, but it does.

Are We Static – Wildfire. This new track from AWS starts out a little like that annoying 2014 song “Geronimo” by Sheppard, but instead of turning into a poppy sing-along it converts that nervous energy into a swirling guitar-driven chorus, a quantum improvement in my mind.

Black Honey – I Like the Way You Die. I love Black Honey but this title is on the bleak side for a band this poppy.

All Them Witches – Lights Out. ATW’s Nothing as the Ideal has some incredible psychedelic sludge rock riffs across its eight songs, highlighted by this one and “Enemy of my Enemy,” although the six-minute-plus tracks go too long for their content.

Rob Zombie – The Triumph of King Freak (A Crypt of Preservation and Superstition). I did not foresee Rob Zombie dropping one of the best hard-rock tracks of 2020, I have to admit, but this is peak RZ content, even hinting back at the last White Zombie album Astro-Creep: 2000 with samples and electronic elements.

Pallbearer – Vengeance & Ruination. The kings of American doom metal – or just modern doom metal, period – just released their 4th album, Forgotten Days, and I think it’s their most accessible work to date, although it still has some longer tracks to satisfy diehards (and perhaps scare off folks looking for more radio-friendly lengths).

Killer Be Killed – Dream Gone Bad. Mastodon vocalist Troy Sanders is involved in two side projects that released new tracks this month this is the better of the two, as the latest Gone is Gone track didn’t do much for me. KBK includes Max Cavalera of Soulfly and formerly of Sepultura, but the sound is closer to Mastodon’s here, very bass-forward with thrash elements but mostly clean (and strong) vocals.

Dark Tranquility – Identical to None. DT’s newest album Moment will drop on November 20 th it seems like more classic Gothenburg melodic death metal, with some great thrash riffing below the growled vocals. I haven’t spent a ton of time on this but I think Gothenburg bands have a distinctive melodic sound that works more at the middle and higher ends of the guitar’s range in each song’s standout riffs, whereas comparable bands from other scenes just try to blow you away with speed or riffs at the bottom end of the range.

Carcass – Slaughtered in Soho. And this is the one exception to everything I just said – but Carcass is sort of an exception to a lot of generalizations about extreme metal, coming out of grindcore to create a ridiculous subgenre termed “goregrind” (which didn’t need its own name), only to abandon both the style and the lyrical content with Heartwork, among the greatest extreme metal albums in history and proof that you could craft compelling melodies without sacrificing speed, growled vocals, or other trappings of the death-metal genre. This track comes off their four-song EP Despicable, which just came out on Friday, with tracks that missed the cut for their next album. The riff on this one is great, and remarkably slow and grooved for Carcass.


The dish

October turned out to be a great month for new music, perhaps boosted by five Fridays (I feel like music analytics would have to adjust for that). I also think that the pandemic and inadequate responses by many developed nations have left musicians and labels at the point where they don’t feel like they can keep delaying releases – movie studios have a financial incentive to keep kicking the can down the road, but record labels don’t. So this month I have 24 songs on the playlist, with over 90 minutes of new music, running the full gamut of musical styles I like. You can access the playlist here if you can’t see the widget below.

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Automation. Maybe the best guitar riff of the year. I don’t love everything King Gizzard does, but I’m always amazed by their musical shapeshifting. They can move from psychedelia to metal to blues rock and in between and still put out two albums a year.

Creeper – Annabelle. Creeper’s first album was a horror-themed punk record, but they’ve remade themselves on their sophomore album, Sex, Death & the Infinite Void, which is one of the best LPs of 2020, a mad, sprawling record that recalls Suede, the Killers, My Chemical Romance (in a good way), Americana, and elements of early 1980s post-punk/new wave. Some other standout tracks on the album include “Paradise,” “Cyanide,” and “Poisoned Heart,” but really the whole album is incredible.

HAERTS & Ed Droste – For the Sky. I don’t know if or when HAERTS will give us a new album – lead singer Nini Fabi just had a baby, which I’m sure impacts their timeline – but this one-off track with Grizzly Bear’s Ed Droste is a lovely interlude to tide us over.

Peking Duk & the Wombats – Nothing to Love About Love. I wasn’t familiar with the Australian “mad rock” duo Peking Duk, but this came on my Release Radar because I’m a huge fan of the Wombats – and this sounds like a Wombats song remixed.

Battles, DJ Dairy, & DJ Orient – Stirling Bridge. Battles put out a call for artists interested in remixing tracks from their 2019 album Juice B Crypts, and the resulting EP will come out on November 20 th . This track comes from two members of black midi, and it’s not a remix of any single song but a new creation from the raw tracks Battles recorded when making the original record.

Goodie Mob ft. Organized Noize – Frontline. Goodie Mob’s first album in seven years, Survival Kit, comes out on November 13 th , with tracks featuring André 3000, Big Boi, and Chuck D. This single is an anthem for Black Lives Matter protesters, with prominent mention of the federal government’s use of tear gas on peaceful demonstrators. Cee-Lo also appeared on a new track from Big Boi and Killer Mike called “We the Ones,” which has great work from the two MCs but sluggish music and mailed-in vocals from Cee-Lo, who is a pretty terrible person anyway.

Tori Handsley ft. Ruth Goller and Moses Boyd – What’s in a Tune. Tori Handsley is a jazz harpist who’s been playing with other artists since at least 2010, but is just now releasing her first music under her own name, leading a trio that includes drummer/producer Moses Boyd (whose Dark Matter is one of my favorite albums of 2020). I heard this song before knowing anything about Handsley, and I assumed Handsley was playing a guitar via two-handed tapping, or maybe a Chapman stick, but she gets sounds and patterns from the harp that I don’t associate with that instrument.

Jorja Smith ft. Popcaan – Come Over. This new track from the Mercury-nominated English singer-songwriter Smith appears to be a prelude to a sophomore album, although it’s at least her third single since Lost & Found came out in 2018. It has a more obvious reggae influence than the last few tracks and includes a contribution from dancehall artist Popcaan, although I don’t think he brings much to the table.

Arlo Parks – Green Eyes. Parks’ debut album is finished, and due for a release early in 2021, but this is at least her fifteenth single to date, at least according to her artist page on Spotify. I’ve been late to this party but her voice is gorgeous and whatever you might call her style of music – it’s soulful but not really soul, folk-ish but definitely not folk – I’m here for it.

TRAAMS – Intercontinental Radio Waves. I hadn’t heard TRAAMS before this song, but they released two albums in 2013 and 2015, and a song in 2016, before going dark for the last four years. Wikipedia calls their early music “krautrock” and that’s certainly still evident here, with a flat vocal delivery over a pulsing electronic backdrop.

Slow Pulp – Track. Slow Pulp’s music is indeed slow, and atmospheric, although here they sound more like Slow Smashing Pumpkins (the intro is a lot like the chord pattern from “Today”) – with lyrics about the lead singer’s mother’s anxiety over getting Alzheimer’s disease, which runs in their family.

Artificial Pleasure – The Movement of Sound. Artificial Pleasure released their second album, A New Joy, on Friday, so I haven’t had a chance to crack it yet – we’re seeing a flood of new material this fall, which is great except that I’m never in the car to listen to music at long stretches like I used to do – but it includes this banging track as well as last year’s “Boys Grow Up,” this year’s “Lose Myself Again,” and both parts of “Into the Unknown” as a single song.

Hot Chip ft. Jarvis Cocker – Straight to the Morning. I think I take Hot Chip for granted, because their singles are consistently good, just rarely great on the level of “Over and Over” or “Huarache Lights.” This track includes former Pulp lead singer Jarvis Cocker, although he’s barely noticeable, and the melody is strong enough that the song doesn’t need any help.

Deep Sea Diver – Hurricane. Deep Sea Diver grew out of a solo project of that name by Jennifer Dobson, now the lead singer/guitarist/songwriter of a full four-piece band. Sharon Van Etten makes a cameo on the band’s new album, Impossible Weight, which gives you some idea of their sound, although Dobson’s vocals are far superior and give this song a hint of pop.

The Struts ft. Joe Elliott and Phil Collen – I Hate How Much I Want You. It is entirely appropriate for a band as bombastic as the Struts to call in two members of hair metal icons Def Leppard for a song this ridiculous. I love it.

Dinosaur Pile-Up – It’s Tricky. Another snotty rock band covers another seminal early hip-hop track. This shouldn’t work, but it does.

Are We Static – Wildfire. This new track from AWS starts out a little like that annoying 2014 song “Geronimo” by Sheppard, but instead of turning into a poppy sing-along it converts that nervous energy into a swirling guitar-driven chorus, a quantum improvement in my mind.

Black Honey – I Like the Way You Die. I love Black Honey but this title is on the bleak side for a band this poppy.

All Them Witches – Lights Out. ATW’s Nothing as the Ideal has some incredible psychedelic sludge rock riffs across its eight songs, highlighted by this one and “Enemy of my Enemy,” although the six-minute-plus tracks go too long for their content.

Rob Zombie – The Triumph of King Freak (A Crypt of Preservation and Superstition). I did not foresee Rob Zombie dropping one of the best hard-rock tracks of 2020, I have to admit, but this is peak RZ content, even hinting back at the last White Zombie album Astro-Creep: 2000 with samples and electronic elements.

Pallbearer – Vengeance & Ruination. The kings of American doom metal – or just modern doom metal, period – just released their 4th album, Forgotten Days, and I think it’s their most accessible work to date, although it still has some longer tracks to satisfy diehards (and perhaps scare off folks looking for more radio-friendly lengths).

Killer Be Killed – Dream Gone Bad. Mastodon vocalist Troy Sanders is involved in two side projects that released new tracks this month this is the better of the two, as the latest Gone is Gone track didn’t do much for me. KBK includes Max Cavalera of Soulfly and formerly of Sepultura, but the sound is closer to Mastodon’s here, very bass-forward with thrash elements but mostly clean (and strong) vocals.

Dark Tranquility – Identical to None. DT’s newest album Moment will drop on November 20 th it seems like more classic Gothenburg melodic death metal, with some great thrash riffing below the growled vocals. I haven’t spent a ton of time on this but I think Gothenburg bands have a distinctive melodic sound that works more at the middle and higher ends of the guitar’s range in each song’s standout riffs, whereas comparable bands from other scenes just try to blow you away with speed or riffs at the bottom end of the range.

Carcass – Slaughtered in Soho. And this is the one exception to everything I just said – but Carcass is sort of an exception to a lot of generalizations about extreme metal, coming out of grindcore to create a ridiculous subgenre termed “goregrind” (which didn’t need its own name), only to abandon both the style and the lyrical content with Heartwork, among the greatest extreme metal albums in history and proof that you could craft compelling melodies without sacrificing speed, growled vocals, or other trappings of the death-metal genre. This track comes off their four-song EP Despicable, which just came out on Friday, with tracks that missed the cut for their next album. The riff on this one is great, and remarkably slow and grooved for Carcass.


The dish

October turned out to be a great month for new music, perhaps boosted by five Fridays (I feel like music analytics would have to adjust for that). I also think that the pandemic and inadequate responses by many developed nations have left musicians and labels at the point where they don’t feel like they can keep delaying releases – movie studios have a financial incentive to keep kicking the can down the road, but record labels don’t. So this month I have 24 songs on the playlist, with over 90 minutes of new music, running the full gamut of musical styles I like. You can access the playlist here if you can’t see the widget below.

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Automation. Maybe the best guitar riff of the year. I don’t love everything King Gizzard does, but I’m always amazed by their musical shapeshifting. They can move from psychedelia to metal to blues rock and in between and still put out two albums a year.

Creeper – Annabelle. Creeper’s first album was a horror-themed punk record, but they’ve remade themselves on their sophomore album, Sex, Death & the Infinite Void, which is one of the best LPs of 2020, a mad, sprawling record that recalls Suede, the Killers, My Chemical Romance (in a good way), Americana, and elements of early 1980s post-punk/new wave. Some other standout tracks on the album include “Paradise,” “Cyanide,” and “Poisoned Heart,” but really the whole album is incredible.

HAERTS & Ed Droste – For the Sky. I don’t know if or when HAERTS will give us a new album – lead singer Nini Fabi just had a baby, which I’m sure impacts their timeline – but this one-off track with Grizzly Bear’s Ed Droste is a lovely interlude to tide us over.

Peking Duk & the Wombats – Nothing to Love About Love. I wasn’t familiar with the Australian “mad rock” duo Peking Duk, but this came on my Release Radar because I’m a huge fan of the Wombats – and this sounds like a Wombats song remixed.

Battles, DJ Dairy, & DJ Orient – Stirling Bridge. Battles put out a call for artists interested in remixing tracks from their 2019 album Juice B Crypts, and the resulting EP will come out on November 20 th . This track comes from two members of black midi, and it’s not a remix of any single song but a new creation from the raw tracks Battles recorded when making the original record.

Goodie Mob ft. Organized Noize – Frontline. Goodie Mob’s first album in seven years, Survival Kit, comes out on November 13 th , with tracks featuring André 3000, Big Boi, and Chuck D. This single is an anthem for Black Lives Matter protesters, with prominent mention of the federal government’s use of tear gas on peaceful demonstrators. Cee-Lo also appeared on a new track from Big Boi and Killer Mike called “We the Ones,” which has great work from the two MCs but sluggish music and mailed-in vocals from Cee-Lo, who is a pretty terrible person anyway.

Tori Handsley ft. Ruth Goller and Moses Boyd – What’s in a Tune. Tori Handsley is a jazz harpist who’s been playing with other artists since at least 2010, but is just now releasing her first music under her own name, leading a trio that includes drummer/producer Moses Boyd (whose Dark Matter is one of my favorite albums of 2020). I heard this song before knowing anything about Handsley, and I assumed Handsley was playing a guitar via two-handed tapping, or maybe a Chapman stick, but she gets sounds and patterns from the harp that I don’t associate with that instrument.

Jorja Smith ft. Popcaan – Come Over. This new track from the Mercury-nominated English singer-songwriter Smith appears to be a prelude to a sophomore album, although it’s at least her third single since Lost & Found came out in 2018. It has a more obvious reggae influence than the last few tracks and includes a contribution from dancehall artist Popcaan, although I don’t think he brings much to the table.

Arlo Parks – Green Eyes. Parks’ debut album is finished, and due for a release early in 2021, but this is at least her fifteenth single to date, at least according to her artist page on Spotify. I’ve been late to this party but her voice is gorgeous and whatever you might call her style of music – it’s soulful but not really soul, folk-ish but definitely not folk – I’m here for it.

TRAAMS – Intercontinental Radio Waves. I hadn’t heard TRAAMS before this song, but they released two albums in 2013 and 2015, and a song in 2016, before going dark for the last four years. Wikipedia calls their early music “krautrock” and that’s certainly still evident here, with a flat vocal delivery over a pulsing electronic backdrop.

Slow Pulp – Track. Slow Pulp’s music is indeed slow, and atmospheric, although here they sound more like Slow Smashing Pumpkins (the intro is a lot like the chord pattern from “Today”) – with lyrics about the lead singer’s mother’s anxiety over getting Alzheimer’s disease, which runs in their family.

Artificial Pleasure – The Movement of Sound. Artificial Pleasure released their second album, A New Joy, on Friday, so I haven’t had a chance to crack it yet – we’re seeing a flood of new material this fall, which is great except that I’m never in the car to listen to music at long stretches like I used to do – but it includes this banging track as well as last year’s “Boys Grow Up,” this year’s “Lose Myself Again,” and both parts of “Into the Unknown” as a single song.

Hot Chip ft. Jarvis Cocker – Straight to the Morning. I think I take Hot Chip for granted, because their singles are consistently good, just rarely great on the level of “Over and Over” or “Huarache Lights.” This track includes former Pulp lead singer Jarvis Cocker, although he’s barely noticeable, and the melody is strong enough that the song doesn’t need any help.

Deep Sea Diver – Hurricane. Deep Sea Diver grew out of a solo project of that name by Jennifer Dobson, now the lead singer/guitarist/songwriter of a full four-piece band. Sharon Van Etten makes a cameo on the band’s new album, Impossible Weight, which gives you some idea of their sound, although Dobson’s vocals are far superior and give this song a hint of pop.

The Struts ft. Joe Elliott and Phil Collen – I Hate How Much I Want You. It is entirely appropriate for a band as bombastic as the Struts to call in two members of hair metal icons Def Leppard for a song this ridiculous. I love it.

Dinosaur Pile-Up – It’s Tricky. Another snotty rock band covers another seminal early hip-hop track. This shouldn’t work, but it does.

Are We Static – Wildfire. This new track from AWS starts out a little like that annoying 2014 song “Geronimo” by Sheppard, but instead of turning into a poppy sing-along it converts that nervous energy into a swirling guitar-driven chorus, a quantum improvement in my mind.

Black Honey – I Like the Way You Die. I love Black Honey but this title is on the bleak side for a band this poppy.

All Them Witches – Lights Out. ATW’s Nothing as the Ideal has some incredible psychedelic sludge rock riffs across its eight songs, highlighted by this one and “Enemy of my Enemy,” although the six-minute-plus tracks go too long for their content.

Rob Zombie – The Triumph of King Freak (A Crypt of Preservation and Superstition). I did not foresee Rob Zombie dropping one of the best hard-rock tracks of 2020, I have to admit, but this is peak RZ content, even hinting back at the last White Zombie album Astro-Creep: 2000 with samples and electronic elements.

Pallbearer – Vengeance & Ruination. The kings of American doom metal – or just modern doom metal, period – just released their 4th album, Forgotten Days, and I think it’s their most accessible work to date, although it still has some longer tracks to satisfy diehards (and perhaps scare off folks looking for more radio-friendly lengths).

Killer Be Killed – Dream Gone Bad. Mastodon vocalist Troy Sanders is involved in two side projects that released new tracks this month this is the better of the two, as the latest Gone is Gone track didn’t do much for me. KBK includes Max Cavalera of Soulfly and formerly of Sepultura, but the sound is closer to Mastodon’s here, very bass-forward with thrash elements but mostly clean (and strong) vocals.

Dark Tranquility – Identical to None. DT’s newest album Moment will drop on November 20 th it seems like more classic Gothenburg melodic death metal, with some great thrash riffing below the growled vocals. I haven’t spent a ton of time on this but I think Gothenburg bands have a distinctive melodic sound that works more at the middle and higher ends of the guitar’s range in each song’s standout riffs, whereas comparable bands from other scenes just try to blow you away with speed or riffs at the bottom end of the range.

Carcass – Slaughtered in Soho. And this is the one exception to everything I just said – but Carcass is sort of an exception to a lot of generalizations about extreme metal, coming out of grindcore to create a ridiculous subgenre termed “goregrind” (which didn’t need its own name), only to abandon both the style and the lyrical content with Heartwork, among the greatest extreme metal albums in history and proof that you could craft compelling melodies without sacrificing speed, growled vocals, or other trappings of the death-metal genre. This track comes off their four-song EP Despicable, which just came out on Friday, with tracks that missed the cut for their next album. The riff on this one is great, and remarkably slow and grooved for Carcass.


The dish

October turned out to be a great month for new music, perhaps boosted by five Fridays (I feel like music analytics would have to adjust for that). I also think that the pandemic and inadequate responses by many developed nations have left musicians and labels at the point where they don’t feel like they can keep delaying releases – movie studios have a financial incentive to keep kicking the can down the road, but record labels don’t. So this month I have 24 songs on the playlist, with over 90 minutes of new music, running the full gamut of musical styles I like. You can access the playlist here if you can’t see the widget below.

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Automation. Maybe the best guitar riff of the year. I don’t love everything King Gizzard does, but I’m always amazed by their musical shapeshifting. They can move from psychedelia to metal to blues rock and in between and still put out two albums a year.

Creeper – Annabelle. Creeper’s first album was a horror-themed punk record, but they’ve remade themselves on their sophomore album, Sex, Death & the Infinite Void, which is one of the best LPs of 2020, a mad, sprawling record that recalls Suede, the Killers, My Chemical Romance (in a good way), Americana, and elements of early 1980s post-punk/new wave. Some other standout tracks on the album include “Paradise,” “Cyanide,” and “Poisoned Heart,” but really the whole album is incredible.

HAERTS & Ed Droste – For the Sky. I don’t know if or when HAERTS will give us a new album – lead singer Nini Fabi just had a baby, which I’m sure impacts their timeline – but this one-off track with Grizzly Bear’s Ed Droste is a lovely interlude to tide us over.

Peking Duk & the Wombats – Nothing to Love About Love. I wasn’t familiar with the Australian “mad rock” duo Peking Duk, but this came on my Release Radar because I’m a huge fan of the Wombats – and this sounds like a Wombats song remixed.

Battles, DJ Dairy, & DJ Orient – Stirling Bridge. Battles put out a call for artists interested in remixing tracks from their 2019 album Juice B Crypts, and the resulting EP will come out on November 20 th . This track comes from two members of black midi, and it’s not a remix of any single song but a new creation from the raw tracks Battles recorded when making the original record.

Goodie Mob ft. Organized Noize – Frontline. Goodie Mob’s first album in seven years, Survival Kit, comes out on November 13 th , with tracks featuring André 3000, Big Boi, and Chuck D. This single is an anthem for Black Lives Matter protesters, with prominent mention of the federal government’s use of tear gas on peaceful demonstrators. Cee-Lo also appeared on a new track from Big Boi and Killer Mike called “We the Ones,” which has great work from the two MCs but sluggish music and mailed-in vocals from Cee-Lo, who is a pretty terrible person anyway.

Tori Handsley ft. Ruth Goller and Moses Boyd – What’s in a Tune. Tori Handsley is a jazz harpist who’s been playing with other artists since at least 2010, but is just now releasing her first music under her own name, leading a trio that includes drummer/producer Moses Boyd (whose Dark Matter is one of my favorite albums of 2020). I heard this song before knowing anything about Handsley, and I assumed Handsley was playing a guitar via two-handed tapping, or maybe a Chapman stick, but she gets sounds and patterns from the harp that I don’t associate with that instrument.

Jorja Smith ft. Popcaan – Come Over. This new track from the Mercury-nominated English singer-songwriter Smith appears to be a prelude to a sophomore album, although it’s at least her third single since Lost & Found came out in 2018. It has a more obvious reggae influence than the last few tracks and includes a contribution from dancehall artist Popcaan, although I don’t think he brings much to the table.

Arlo Parks – Green Eyes. Parks’ debut album is finished, and due for a release early in 2021, but this is at least her fifteenth single to date, at least according to her artist page on Spotify. I’ve been late to this party but her voice is gorgeous and whatever you might call her style of music – it’s soulful but not really soul, folk-ish but definitely not folk – I’m here for it.

TRAAMS – Intercontinental Radio Waves. I hadn’t heard TRAAMS before this song, but they released two albums in 2013 and 2015, and a song in 2016, before going dark for the last four years. Wikipedia calls their early music “krautrock” and that’s certainly still evident here, with a flat vocal delivery over a pulsing electronic backdrop.

Slow Pulp – Track. Slow Pulp’s music is indeed slow, and atmospheric, although here they sound more like Slow Smashing Pumpkins (the intro is a lot like the chord pattern from “Today”) – with lyrics about the lead singer’s mother’s anxiety over getting Alzheimer’s disease, which runs in their family.

Artificial Pleasure – The Movement of Sound. Artificial Pleasure released their second album, A New Joy, on Friday, so I haven’t had a chance to crack it yet – we’re seeing a flood of new material this fall, which is great except that I’m never in the car to listen to music at long stretches like I used to do – but it includes this banging track as well as last year’s “Boys Grow Up,” this year’s “Lose Myself Again,” and both parts of “Into the Unknown” as a single song.

Hot Chip ft. Jarvis Cocker – Straight to the Morning. I think I take Hot Chip for granted, because their singles are consistently good, just rarely great on the level of “Over and Over” or “Huarache Lights.” This track includes former Pulp lead singer Jarvis Cocker, although he’s barely noticeable, and the melody is strong enough that the song doesn’t need any help.

Deep Sea Diver – Hurricane. Deep Sea Diver grew out of a solo project of that name by Jennifer Dobson, now the lead singer/guitarist/songwriter of a full four-piece band. Sharon Van Etten makes a cameo on the band’s new album, Impossible Weight, which gives you some idea of their sound, although Dobson’s vocals are far superior and give this song a hint of pop.

The Struts ft. Joe Elliott and Phil Collen – I Hate How Much I Want You. It is entirely appropriate for a band as bombastic as the Struts to call in two members of hair metal icons Def Leppard for a song this ridiculous. I love it.

Dinosaur Pile-Up – It’s Tricky. Another snotty rock band covers another seminal early hip-hop track. This shouldn’t work, but it does.

Are We Static – Wildfire. This new track from AWS starts out a little like that annoying 2014 song “Geronimo” by Sheppard, but instead of turning into a poppy sing-along it converts that nervous energy into a swirling guitar-driven chorus, a quantum improvement in my mind.

Black Honey – I Like the Way You Die. I love Black Honey but this title is on the bleak side for a band this poppy.

All Them Witches – Lights Out. ATW’s Nothing as the Ideal has some incredible psychedelic sludge rock riffs across its eight songs, highlighted by this one and “Enemy of my Enemy,” although the six-minute-plus tracks go too long for their content.

Rob Zombie – The Triumph of King Freak (A Crypt of Preservation and Superstition). I did not foresee Rob Zombie dropping one of the best hard-rock tracks of 2020, I have to admit, but this is peak RZ content, even hinting back at the last White Zombie album Astro-Creep: 2000 with samples and electronic elements.

Pallbearer – Vengeance & Ruination. The kings of American doom metal – or just modern doom metal, period – just released their 4th album, Forgotten Days, and I think it’s their most accessible work to date, although it still has some longer tracks to satisfy diehards (and perhaps scare off folks looking for more radio-friendly lengths).

Killer Be Killed – Dream Gone Bad. Mastodon vocalist Troy Sanders is involved in two side projects that released new tracks this month this is the better of the two, as the latest Gone is Gone track didn’t do much for me. KBK includes Max Cavalera of Soulfly and formerly of Sepultura, but the sound is closer to Mastodon’s here, very bass-forward with thrash elements but mostly clean (and strong) vocals.

Dark Tranquility – Identical to None. DT’s newest album Moment will drop on November 20 th it seems like more classic Gothenburg melodic death metal, with some great thrash riffing below the growled vocals. I haven’t spent a ton of time on this but I think Gothenburg bands have a distinctive melodic sound that works more at the middle and higher ends of the guitar’s range in each song’s standout riffs, whereas comparable bands from other scenes just try to blow you away with speed or riffs at the bottom end of the range.

Carcass – Slaughtered in Soho. And this is the one exception to everything I just said – but Carcass is sort of an exception to a lot of generalizations about extreme metal, coming out of grindcore to create a ridiculous subgenre termed “goregrind” (which didn’t need its own name), only to abandon both the style and the lyrical content with Heartwork, among the greatest extreme metal albums in history and proof that you could craft compelling melodies without sacrificing speed, growled vocals, or other trappings of the death-metal genre. This track comes off their four-song EP Despicable, which just came out on Friday, with tracks that missed the cut for their next album. The riff on this one is great, and remarkably slow and grooved for Carcass.


The dish

October turned out to be a great month for new music, perhaps boosted by five Fridays (I feel like music analytics would have to adjust for that). I also think that the pandemic and inadequate responses by many developed nations have left musicians and labels at the point where they don’t feel like they can keep delaying releases – movie studios have a financial incentive to keep kicking the can down the road, but record labels don’t. So this month I have 24 songs on the playlist, with over 90 minutes of new music, running the full gamut of musical styles I like. You can access the playlist here if you can’t see the widget below.

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Automation. Maybe the best guitar riff of the year. I don’t love everything King Gizzard does, but I’m always amazed by their musical shapeshifting. They can move from psychedelia to metal to blues rock and in between and still put out two albums a year.

Creeper – Annabelle. Creeper’s first album was a horror-themed punk record, but they’ve remade themselves on their sophomore album, Sex, Death & the Infinite Void, which is one of the best LPs of 2020, a mad, sprawling record that recalls Suede, the Killers, My Chemical Romance (in a good way), Americana, and elements of early 1980s post-punk/new wave. Some other standout tracks on the album include “Paradise,” “Cyanide,” and “Poisoned Heart,” but really the whole album is incredible.

HAERTS & Ed Droste – For the Sky. I don’t know if or when HAERTS will give us a new album – lead singer Nini Fabi just had a baby, which I’m sure impacts their timeline – but this one-off track with Grizzly Bear’s Ed Droste is a lovely interlude to tide us over.

Peking Duk & the Wombats – Nothing to Love About Love. I wasn’t familiar with the Australian “mad rock” duo Peking Duk, but this came on my Release Radar because I’m a huge fan of the Wombats – and this sounds like a Wombats song remixed.

Battles, DJ Dairy, & DJ Orient – Stirling Bridge. Battles put out a call for artists interested in remixing tracks from their 2019 album Juice B Crypts, and the resulting EP will come out on November 20 th . This track comes from two members of black midi, and it’s not a remix of any single song but a new creation from the raw tracks Battles recorded when making the original record.

Goodie Mob ft. Organized Noize – Frontline. Goodie Mob’s first album in seven years, Survival Kit, comes out on November 13 th , with tracks featuring André 3000, Big Boi, and Chuck D. This single is an anthem for Black Lives Matter protesters, with prominent mention of the federal government’s use of tear gas on peaceful demonstrators. Cee-Lo also appeared on a new track from Big Boi and Killer Mike called “We the Ones,” which has great work from the two MCs but sluggish music and mailed-in vocals from Cee-Lo, who is a pretty terrible person anyway.

Tori Handsley ft. Ruth Goller and Moses Boyd – What’s in a Tune. Tori Handsley is a jazz harpist who’s been playing with other artists since at least 2010, but is just now releasing her first music under her own name, leading a trio that includes drummer/producer Moses Boyd (whose Dark Matter is one of my favorite albums of 2020). I heard this song before knowing anything about Handsley, and I assumed Handsley was playing a guitar via two-handed tapping, or maybe a Chapman stick, but she gets sounds and patterns from the harp that I don’t associate with that instrument.

Jorja Smith ft. Popcaan – Come Over. This new track from the Mercury-nominated English singer-songwriter Smith appears to be a prelude to a sophomore album, although it’s at least her third single since Lost & Found came out in 2018. It has a more obvious reggae influence than the last few tracks and includes a contribution from dancehall artist Popcaan, although I don’t think he brings much to the table.

Arlo Parks – Green Eyes. Parks’ debut album is finished, and due for a release early in 2021, but this is at least her fifteenth single to date, at least according to her artist page on Spotify. I’ve been late to this party but her voice is gorgeous and whatever you might call her style of music – it’s soulful but not really soul, folk-ish but definitely not folk – I’m here for it.

TRAAMS – Intercontinental Radio Waves. I hadn’t heard TRAAMS before this song, but they released two albums in 2013 and 2015, and a song in 2016, before going dark for the last four years. Wikipedia calls their early music “krautrock” and that’s certainly still evident here, with a flat vocal delivery over a pulsing electronic backdrop.

Slow Pulp – Track. Slow Pulp’s music is indeed slow, and atmospheric, although here they sound more like Slow Smashing Pumpkins (the intro is a lot like the chord pattern from “Today”) – with lyrics about the lead singer’s mother’s anxiety over getting Alzheimer’s disease, which runs in their family.

Artificial Pleasure – The Movement of Sound. Artificial Pleasure released their second album, A New Joy, on Friday, so I haven’t had a chance to crack it yet – we’re seeing a flood of new material this fall, which is great except that I’m never in the car to listen to music at long stretches like I used to do – but it includes this banging track as well as last year’s “Boys Grow Up,” this year’s “Lose Myself Again,” and both parts of “Into the Unknown” as a single song.

Hot Chip ft. Jarvis Cocker – Straight to the Morning. I think I take Hot Chip for granted, because their singles are consistently good, just rarely great on the level of “Over and Over” or “Huarache Lights.” This track includes former Pulp lead singer Jarvis Cocker, although he’s barely noticeable, and the melody is strong enough that the song doesn’t need any help.

Deep Sea Diver – Hurricane. Deep Sea Diver grew out of a solo project of that name by Jennifer Dobson, now the lead singer/guitarist/songwriter of a full four-piece band. Sharon Van Etten makes a cameo on the band’s new album, Impossible Weight, which gives you some idea of their sound, although Dobson’s vocals are far superior and give this song a hint of pop.

The Struts ft. Joe Elliott and Phil Collen – I Hate How Much I Want You. It is entirely appropriate for a band as bombastic as the Struts to call in two members of hair metal icons Def Leppard for a song this ridiculous. I love it.

Dinosaur Pile-Up – It’s Tricky. Another snotty rock band covers another seminal early hip-hop track. This shouldn’t work, but it does.

Are We Static – Wildfire. This new track from AWS starts out a little like that annoying 2014 song “Geronimo” by Sheppard, but instead of turning into a poppy sing-along it converts that nervous energy into a swirling guitar-driven chorus, a quantum improvement in my mind.

Black Honey – I Like the Way You Die. I love Black Honey but this title is on the bleak side for a band this poppy.

All Them Witches – Lights Out. ATW’s Nothing as the Ideal has some incredible psychedelic sludge rock riffs across its eight songs, highlighted by this one and “Enemy of my Enemy,” although the six-minute-plus tracks go too long for their content.

Rob Zombie – The Triumph of King Freak (A Crypt of Preservation and Superstition). I did not foresee Rob Zombie dropping one of the best hard-rock tracks of 2020, I have to admit, but this is peak RZ content, even hinting back at the last White Zombie album Astro-Creep: 2000 with samples and electronic elements.

Pallbearer – Vengeance & Ruination. The kings of American doom metal – or just modern doom metal, period – just released their 4th album, Forgotten Days, and I think it’s their most accessible work to date, although it still has some longer tracks to satisfy diehards (and perhaps scare off folks looking for more radio-friendly lengths).

Killer Be Killed – Dream Gone Bad. Mastodon vocalist Troy Sanders is involved in two side projects that released new tracks this month this is the better of the two, as the latest Gone is Gone track didn’t do much for me. KBK includes Max Cavalera of Soulfly and formerly of Sepultura, but the sound is closer to Mastodon’s here, very bass-forward with thrash elements but mostly clean (and strong) vocals.

Dark Tranquility – Identical to None. DT’s newest album Moment will drop on November 20 th it seems like more classic Gothenburg melodic death metal, with some great thrash riffing below the growled vocals. I haven’t spent a ton of time on this but I think Gothenburg bands have a distinctive melodic sound that works more at the middle and higher ends of the guitar’s range in each song’s standout riffs, whereas comparable bands from other scenes just try to blow you away with speed or riffs at the bottom end of the range.

Carcass – Slaughtered in Soho. And this is the one exception to everything I just said – but Carcass is sort of an exception to a lot of generalizations about extreme metal, coming out of grindcore to create a ridiculous subgenre termed “goregrind” (which didn’t need its own name), only to abandon both the style and the lyrical content with Heartwork, among the greatest extreme metal albums in history and proof that you could craft compelling melodies without sacrificing speed, growled vocals, or other trappings of the death-metal genre. This track comes off their four-song EP Despicable, which just came out on Friday, with tracks that missed the cut for their next album. The riff on this one is great, and remarkably slow and grooved for Carcass.


The dish

October turned out to be a great month for new music, perhaps boosted by five Fridays (I feel like music analytics would have to adjust for that). I also think that the pandemic and inadequate responses by many developed nations have left musicians and labels at the point where they don’t feel like they can keep delaying releases – movie studios have a financial incentive to keep kicking the can down the road, but record labels don’t. So this month I have 24 songs on the playlist, with over 90 minutes of new music, running the full gamut of musical styles I like. You can access the playlist here if you can’t see the widget below.

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Automation. Maybe the best guitar riff of the year. I don’t love everything King Gizzard does, but I’m always amazed by their musical shapeshifting. They can move from psychedelia to metal to blues rock and in between and still put out two albums a year.

Creeper – Annabelle. Creeper’s first album was a horror-themed punk record, but they’ve remade themselves on their sophomore album, Sex, Death & the Infinite Void, which is one of the best LPs of 2020, a mad, sprawling record that recalls Suede, the Killers, My Chemical Romance (in a good way), Americana, and elements of early 1980s post-punk/new wave. Some other standout tracks on the album include “Paradise,” “Cyanide,” and “Poisoned Heart,” but really the whole album is incredible.

HAERTS & Ed Droste – For the Sky. I don’t know if or when HAERTS will give us a new album – lead singer Nini Fabi just had a baby, which I’m sure impacts their timeline – but this one-off track with Grizzly Bear’s Ed Droste is a lovely interlude to tide us over.

Peking Duk & the Wombats – Nothing to Love About Love. I wasn’t familiar with the Australian “mad rock” duo Peking Duk, but this came on my Release Radar because I’m a huge fan of the Wombats – and this sounds like a Wombats song remixed.

Battles, DJ Dairy, & DJ Orient – Stirling Bridge. Battles put out a call for artists interested in remixing tracks from their 2019 album Juice B Crypts, and the resulting EP will come out on November 20 th . This track comes from two members of black midi, and it’s not a remix of any single song but a new creation from the raw tracks Battles recorded when making the original record.

Goodie Mob ft. Organized Noize – Frontline. Goodie Mob’s first album in seven years, Survival Kit, comes out on November 13 th , with tracks featuring André 3000, Big Boi, and Chuck D. This single is an anthem for Black Lives Matter protesters, with prominent mention of the federal government’s use of tear gas on peaceful demonstrators. Cee-Lo also appeared on a new track from Big Boi and Killer Mike called “We the Ones,” which has great work from the two MCs but sluggish music and mailed-in vocals from Cee-Lo, who is a pretty terrible person anyway.

Tori Handsley ft. Ruth Goller and Moses Boyd – What’s in a Tune. Tori Handsley is a jazz harpist who’s been playing with other artists since at least 2010, but is just now releasing her first music under her own name, leading a trio that includes drummer/producer Moses Boyd (whose Dark Matter is one of my favorite albums of 2020). I heard this song before knowing anything about Handsley, and I assumed Handsley was playing a guitar via two-handed tapping, or maybe a Chapman stick, but she gets sounds and patterns from the harp that I don’t associate with that instrument.

Jorja Smith ft. Popcaan – Come Over. This new track from the Mercury-nominated English singer-songwriter Smith appears to be a prelude to a sophomore album, although it’s at least her third single since Lost & Found came out in 2018. It has a more obvious reggae influence than the last few tracks and includes a contribution from dancehall artist Popcaan, although I don’t think he brings much to the table.

Arlo Parks – Green Eyes. Parks’ debut album is finished, and due for a release early in 2021, but this is at least her fifteenth single to date, at least according to her artist page on Spotify. I’ve been late to this party but her voice is gorgeous and whatever you might call her style of music – it’s soulful but not really soul, folk-ish but definitely not folk – I’m here for it.

TRAAMS – Intercontinental Radio Waves. I hadn’t heard TRAAMS before this song, but they released two albums in 2013 and 2015, and a song in 2016, before going dark for the last four years. Wikipedia calls their early music “krautrock” and that’s certainly still evident here, with a flat vocal delivery over a pulsing electronic backdrop.

Slow Pulp – Track. Slow Pulp’s music is indeed slow, and atmospheric, although here they sound more like Slow Smashing Pumpkins (the intro is a lot like the chord pattern from “Today”) – with lyrics about the lead singer’s mother’s anxiety over getting Alzheimer’s disease, which runs in their family.

Artificial Pleasure – The Movement of Sound. Artificial Pleasure released their second album, A New Joy, on Friday, so I haven’t had a chance to crack it yet – we’re seeing a flood of new material this fall, which is great except that I’m never in the car to listen to music at long stretches like I used to do – but it includes this banging track as well as last year’s “Boys Grow Up,” this year’s “Lose Myself Again,” and both parts of “Into the Unknown” as a single song.

Hot Chip ft. Jarvis Cocker – Straight to the Morning. I think I take Hot Chip for granted, because their singles are consistently good, just rarely great on the level of “Over and Over” or “Huarache Lights.” This track includes former Pulp lead singer Jarvis Cocker, although he’s barely noticeable, and the melody is strong enough that the song doesn’t need any help.

Deep Sea Diver – Hurricane. Deep Sea Diver grew out of a solo project of that name by Jennifer Dobson, now the lead singer/guitarist/songwriter of a full four-piece band. Sharon Van Etten makes a cameo on the band’s new album, Impossible Weight, which gives you some idea of their sound, although Dobson’s vocals are far superior and give this song a hint of pop.

The Struts ft. Joe Elliott and Phil Collen – I Hate How Much I Want You. It is entirely appropriate for a band as bombastic as the Struts to call in two members of hair metal icons Def Leppard for a song this ridiculous. I love it.

Dinosaur Pile-Up – It’s Tricky. Another snotty rock band covers another seminal early hip-hop track. This shouldn’t work, but it does.

Are We Static – Wildfire. This new track from AWS starts out a little like that annoying 2014 song “Geronimo” by Sheppard, but instead of turning into a poppy sing-along it converts that nervous energy into a swirling guitar-driven chorus, a quantum improvement in my mind.

Black Honey – I Like the Way You Die. I love Black Honey but this title is on the bleak side for a band this poppy.

All Them Witches – Lights Out. ATW’s Nothing as the Ideal has some incredible psychedelic sludge rock riffs across its eight songs, highlighted by this one and “Enemy of my Enemy,” although the six-minute-plus tracks go too long for their content.

Rob Zombie – The Triumph of King Freak (A Crypt of Preservation and Superstition). I did not foresee Rob Zombie dropping one of the best hard-rock tracks of 2020, I have to admit, but this is peak RZ content, even hinting back at the last White Zombie album Astro-Creep: 2000 with samples and electronic elements.

Pallbearer – Vengeance & Ruination. The kings of American doom metal – or just modern doom metal, period – just released their 4th album, Forgotten Days, and I think it’s their most accessible work to date, although it still has some longer tracks to satisfy diehards (and perhaps scare off folks looking for more radio-friendly lengths).

Killer Be Killed – Dream Gone Bad. Mastodon vocalist Troy Sanders is involved in two side projects that released new tracks this month this is the better of the two, as the latest Gone is Gone track didn’t do much for me. KBK includes Max Cavalera of Soulfly and formerly of Sepultura, but the sound is closer to Mastodon’s here, very bass-forward with thrash elements but mostly clean (and strong) vocals.

Dark Tranquility – Identical to None. DT’s newest album Moment will drop on November 20 th it seems like more classic Gothenburg melodic death metal, with some great thrash riffing below the growled vocals. I haven’t spent a ton of time on this but I think Gothenburg bands have a distinctive melodic sound that works more at the middle and higher ends of the guitar’s range in each song’s standout riffs, whereas comparable bands from other scenes just try to blow you away with speed or riffs at the bottom end of the range.

Carcass – Slaughtered in Soho. And this is the one exception to everything I just said – but Carcass is sort of an exception to a lot of generalizations about extreme metal, coming out of grindcore to create a ridiculous subgenre termed “goregrind” (which didn’t need its own name), only to abandon both the style and the lyrical content with Heartwork, among the greatest extreme metal albums in history and proof that you could craft compelling melodies without sacrificing speed, growled vocals, or other trappings of the death-metal genre. This track comes off their four-song EP Despicable, which just came out on Friday, with tracks that missed the cut for their next album. The riff on this one is great, and remarkably slow and grooved for Carcass.


The dish

October turned out to be a great month for new music, perhaps boosted by five Fridays (I feel like music analytics would have to adjust for that). I also think that the pandemic and inadequate responses by many developed nations have left musicians and labels at the point where they don’t feel like they can keep delaying releases – movie studios have a financial incentive to keep kicking the can down the road, but record labels don’t. So this month I have 24 songs on the playlist, with over 90 minutes of new music, running the full gamut of musical styles I like. You can access the playlist here if you can’t see the widget below.

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Automation. Maybe the best guitar riff of the year. I don’t love everything King Gizzard does, but I’m always amazed by their musical shapeshifting. They can move from psychedelia to metal to blues rock and in between and still put out two albums a year.

Creeper – Annabelle. Creeper’s first album was a horror-themed punk record, but they’ve remade themselves on their sophomore album, Sex, Death & the Infinite Void, which is one of the best LPs of 2020, a mad, sprawling record that recalls Suede, the Killers, My Chemical Romance (in a good way), Americana, and elements of early 1980s post-punk/new wave. Some other standout tracks on the album include “Paradise,” “Cyanide,” and “Poisoned Heart,” but really the whole album is incredible.

HAERTS & Ed Droste – For the Sky. I don’t know if or when HAERTS will give us a new album – lead singer Nini Fabi just had a baby, which I’m sure impacts their timeline – but this one-off track with Grizzly Bear’s Ed Droste is a lovely interlude to tide us over.

Peking Duk & the Wombats – Nothing to Love About Love. I wasn’t familiar with the Australian “mad rock” duo Peking Duk, but this came on my Release Radar because I’m a huge fan of the Wombats – and this sounds like a Wombats song remixed.

Battles, DJ Dairy, & DJ Orient – Stirling Bridge. Battles put out a call for artists interested in remixing tracks from their 2019 album Juice B Crypts, and the resulting EP will come out on November 20 th . This track comes from two members of black midi, and it’s not a remix of any single song but a new creation from the raw tracks Battles recorded when making the original record.

Goodie Mob ft. Organized Noize – Frontline. Goodie Mob’s first album in seven years, Survival Kit, comes out on November 13 th , with tracks featuring André 3000, Big Boi, and Chuck D. This single is an anthem for Black Lives Matter protesters, with prominent mention of the federal government’s use of tear gas on peaceful demonstrators. Cee-Lo also appeared on a new track from Big Boi and Killer Mike called “We the Ones,” which has great work from the two MCs but sluggish music and mailed-in vocals from Cee-Lo, who is a pretty terrible person anyway.

Tori Handsley ft. Ruth Goller and Moses Boyd – What’s in a Tune. Tori Handsley is a jazz harpist who’s been playing with other artists since at least 2010, but is just now releasing her first music under her own name, leading a trio that includes drummer/producer Moses Boyd (whose Dark Matter is one of my favorite albums of 2020). I heard this song before knowing anything about Handsley, and I assumed Handsley was playing a guitar via two-handed tapping, or maybe a Chapman stick, but she gets sounds and patterns from the harp that I don’t associate with that instrument.

Jorja Smith ft. Popcaan – Come Over. This new track from the Mercury-nominated English singer-songwriter Smith appears to be a prelude to a sophomore album, although it’s at least her third single since Lost & Found came out in 2018. It has a more obvious reggae influence than the last few tracks and includes a contribution from dancehall artist Popcaan, although I don’t think he brings much to the table.

Arlo Parks – Green Eyes. Parks’ debut album is finished, and due for a release early in 2021, but this is at least her fifteenth single to date, at least according to her artist page on Spotify. I’ve been late to this party but her voice is gorgeous and whatever you might call her style of music – it’s soulful but not really soul, folk-ish but definitely not folk – I’m here for it.

TRAAMS – Intercontinental Radio Waves. I hadn’t heard TRAAMS before this song, but they released two albums in 2013 and 2015, and a song in 2016, before going dark for the last four years. Wikipedia calls their early music “krautrock” and that’s certainly still evident here, with a flat vocal delivery over a pulsing electronic backdrop.

Slow Pulp – Track. Slow Pulp’s music is indeed slow, and atmospheric, although here they sound more like Slow Smashing Pumpkins (the intro is a lot like the chord pattern from “Today”) – with lyrics about the lead singer’s mother’s anxiety over getting Alzheimer’s disease, which runs in their family.

Artificial Pleasure – The Movement of Sound. Artificial Pleasure released their second album, A New Joy, on Friday, so I haven’t had a chance to crack it yet – we’re seeing a flood of new material this fall, which is great except that I’m never in the car to listen to music at long stretches like I used to do – but it includes this banging track as well as last year’s “Boys Grow Up,” this year’s “Lose Myself Again,” and both parts of “Into the Unknown” as a single song.

Hot Chip ft. Jarvis Cocker – Straight to the Morning. I think I take Hot Chip for granted, because their singles are consistently good, just rarely great on the level of “Over and Over” or “Huarache Lights.” This track includes former Pulp lead singer Jarvis Cocker, although he’s barely noticeable, and the melody is strong enough that the song doesn’t need any help.

Deep Sea Diver – Hurricane. Deep Sea Diver grew out of a solo project of that name by Jennifer Dobson, now the lead singer/guitarist/songwriter of a full four-piece band. Sharon Van Etten makes a cameo on the band’s new album, Impossible Weight, which gives you some idea of their sound, although Dobson’s vocals are far superior and give this song a hint of pop.

The Struts ft. Joe Elliott and Phil Collen – I Hate How Much I Want You. It is entirely appropriate for a band as bombastic as the Struts to call in two members of hair metal icons Def Leppard for a song this ridiculous. I love it.

Dinosaur Pile-Up – It’s Tricky. Another snotty rock band covers another seminal early hip-hop track. This shouldn’t work, but it does.

Are We Static – Wildfire. This new track from AWS starts out a little like that annoying 2014 song “Geronimo” by Sheppard, but instead of turning into a poppy sing-along it converts that nervous energy into a swirling guitar-driven chorus, a quantum improvement in my mind.

Black Honey – I Like the Way You Die. I love Black Honey but this title is on the bleak side for a band this poppy.

All Them Witches – Lights Out. ATW’s Nothing as the Ideal has some incredible psychedelic sludge rock riffs across its eight songs, highlighted by this one and “Enemy of my Enemy,” although the six-minute-plus tracks go too long for their content.

Rob Zombie – The Triumph of King Freak (A Crypt of Preservation and Superstition). I did not foresee Rob Zombie dropping one of the best hard-rock tracks of 2020, I have to admit, but this is peak RZ content, even hinting back at the last White Zombie album Astro-Creep: 2000 with samples and electronic elements.

Pallbearer – Vengeance & Ruination. The kings of American doom metal – or just modern doom metal, period – just released their 4th album, Forgotten Days, and I think it’s their most accessible work to date, although it still has some longer tracks to satisfy diehards (and perhaps scare off folks looking for more radio-friendly lengths).

Killer Be Killed – Dream Gone Bad. Mastodon vocalist Troy Sanders is involved in two side projects that released new tracks this month this is the better of the two, as the latest Gone is Gone track didn’t do much for me. KBK includes Max Cavalera of Soulfly and formerly of Sepultura, but the sound is closer to Mastodon’s here, very bass-forward with thrash elements but mostly clean (and strong) vocals.

Dark Tranquility – Identical to None. DT’s newest album Moment will drop on November 20 th it seems like more classic Gothenburg melodic death metal, with some great thrash riffing below the growled vocals. I haven’t spent a ton of time on this but I think Gothenburg bands have a distinctive melodic sound that works more at the middle and higher ends of the guitar’s range in each song’s standout riffs, whereas comparable bands from other scenes just try to blow you away with speed or riffs at the bottom end of the range.

Carcass – Slaughtered in Soho. And this is the one exception to everything I just said – but Carcass is sort of an exception to a lot of generalizations about extreme metal, coming out of grindcore to create a ridiculous subgenre termed “goregrind” (which didn’t need its own name), only to abandon both the style and the lyrical content with Heartwork, among the greatest extreme metal albums in history and proof that you could craft compelling melodies without sacrificing speed, growled vocals, or other trappings of the death-metal genre. This track comes off their four-song EP Despicable, which just came out on Friday, with tracks that missed the cut for their next album. The riff on this one is great, and remarkably slow and grooved for Carcass.


The dish

October turned out to be a great month for new music, perhaps boosted by five Fridays (I feel like music analytics would have to adjust for that). I also think that the pandemic and inadequate responses by many developed nations have left musicians and labels at the point where they don’t feel like they can keep delaying releases – movie studios have a financial incentive to keep kicking the can down the road, but record labels don’t. So this month I have 24 songs on the playlist, with over 90 minutes of new music, running the full gamut of musical styles I like. You can access the playlist here if you can’t see the widget below.

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Automation. Maybe the best guitar riff of the year. I don’t love everything King Gizzard does, but I’m always amazed by their musical shapeshifting. They can move from psychedelia to metal to blues rock and in between and still put out two albums a year.

Creeper – Annabelle. Creeper’s first album was a horror-themed punk record, but they’ve remade themselves on their sophomore album, Sex, Death & the Infinite Void, which is one of the best LPs of 2020, a mad, sprawling record that recalls Suede, the Killers, My Chemical Romance (in a good way), Americana, and elements of early 1980s post-punk/new wave. Some other standout tracks on the album include “Paradise,” “Cyanide,” and “Poisoned Heart,” but really the whole album is incredible.

HAERTS & Ed Droste – For the Sky. I don’t know if or when HAERTS will give us a new album – lead singer Nini Fabi just had a baby, which I’m sure impacts their timeline – but this one-off track with Grizzly Bear’s Ed Droste is a lovely interlude to tide us over.

Peking Duk & the Wombats – Nothing to Love About Love. I wasn’t familiar with the Australian “mad rock” duo Peking Duk, but this came on my Release Radar because I’m a huge fan of the Wombats – and this sounds like a Wombats song remixed.

Battles, DJ Dairy, & DJ Orient – Stirling Bridge. Battles put out a call for artists interested in remixing tracks from their 2019 album Juice B Crypts, and the resulting EP will come out on November 20 th . This track comes from two members of black midi, and it’s not a remix of any single song but a new creation from the raw tracks Battles recorded when making the original record.

Goodie Mob ft. Organized Noize – Frontline. Goodie Mob’s first album in seven years, Survival Kit, comes out on November 13 th , with tracks featuring André 3000, Big Boi, and Chuck D. This single is an anthem for Black Lives Matter protesters, with prominent mention of the federal government’s use of tear gas on peaceful demonstrators. Cee-Lo also appeared on a new track from Big Boi and Killer Mike called “We the Ones,” which has great work from the two MCs but sluggish music and mailed-in vocals from Cee-Lo, who is a pretty terrible person anyway.

Tori Handsley ft. Ruth Goller and Moses Boyd – What’s in a Tune. Tori Handsley is a jazz harpist who’s been playing with other artists since at least 2010, but is just now releasing her first music under her own name, leading a trio that includes drummer/producer Moses Boyd (whose Dark Matter is one of my favorite albums of 2020). I heard this song before knowing anything about Handsley, and I assumed Handsley was playing a guitar via two-handed tapping, or maybe a Chapman stick, but she gets sounds and patterns from the harp that I don’t associate with that instrument.

Jorja Smith ft. Popcaan – Come Over. This new track from the Mercury-nominated English singer-songwriter Smith appears to be a prelude to a sophomore album, although it’s at least her third single since Lost & Found came out in 2018. It has a more obvious reggae influence than the last few tracks and includes a contribution from dancehall artist Popcaan, although I don’t think he brings much to the table.

Arlo Parks – Green Eyes. Parks’ debut album is finished, and due for a release early in 2021, but this is at least her fifteenth single to date, at least according to her artist page on Spotify. I’ve been late to this party but her voice is gorgeous and whatever you might call her style of music – it’s soulful but not really soul, folk-ish but definitely not folk – I’m here for it.

TRAAMS – Intercontinental Radio Waves. I hadn’t heard TRAAMS before this song, but they released two albums in 2013 and 2015, and a song in 2016, before going dark for the last four years. Wikipedia calls their early music “krautrock” and that’s certainly still evident here, with a flat vocal delivery over a pulsing electronic backdrop.

Slow Pulp – Track. Slow Pulp’s music is indeed slow, and atmospheric, although here they sound more like Slow Smashing Pumpkins (the intro is a lot like the chord pattern from “Today”) – with lyrics about the lead singer’s mother’s anxiety over getting Alzheimer’s disease, which runs in their family.

Artificial Pleasure – The Movement of Sound. Artificial Pleasure released their second album, A New Joy, on Friday, so I haven’t had a chance to crack it yet – we’re seeing a flood of new material this fall, which is great except that I’m never in the car to listen to music at long stretches like I used to do – but it includes this banging track as well as last year’s “Boys Grow Up,” this year’s “Lose Myself Again,” and both parts of “Into the Unknown” as a single song.

Hot Chip ft. Jarvis Cocker – Straight to the Morning. I think I take Hot Chip for granted, because their singles are consistently good, just rarely great on the level of “Over and Over” or “Huarache Lights.” This track includes former Pulp lead singer Jarvis Cocker, although he’s barely noticeable, and the melody is strong enough that the song doesn’t need any help.

Deep Sea Diver – Hurricane. Deep Sea Diver grew out of a solo project of that name by Jennifer Dobson, now the lead singer/guitarist/songwriter of a full four-piece band. Sharon Van Etten makes a cameo on the band’s new album, Impossible Weight, which gives you some idea of their sound, although Dobson’s vocals are far superior and give this song a hint of pop.

The Struts ft. Joe Elliott and Phil Collen – I Hate How Much I Want You. It is entirely appropriate for a band as bombastic as the Struts to call in two members of hair metal icons Def Leppard for a song this ridiculous. I love it.

Dinosaur Pile-Up – It’s Tricky. Another snotty rock band covers another seminal early hip-hop track. This shouldn’t work, but it does.

Are We Static – Wildfire. This new track from AWS starts out a little like that annoying 2014 song “Geronimo” by Sheppard, but instead of turning into a poppy sing-along it converts that nervous energy into a swirling guitar-driven chorus, a quantum improvement in my mind.

Black Honey – I Like the Way You Die. I love Black Honey but this title is on the bleak side for a band this poppy.

All Them Witches – Lights Out. ATW’s Nothing as the Ideal has some incredible psychedelic sludge rock riffs across its eight songs, highlighted by this one and “Enemy of my Enemy,” although the six-minute-plus tracks go too long for their content.

Rob Zombie – The Triumph of King Freak (A Crypt of Preservation and Superstition). I did not foresee Rob Zombie dropping one of the best hard-rock tracks of 2020, I have to admit, but this is peak RZ content, even hinting back at the last White Zombie album Astro-Creep: 2000 with samples and electronic elements.

Pallbearer – Vengeance & Ruination. The kings of American doom metal – or just modern doom metal, period – just released their 4th album, Forgotten Days, and I think it’s their most accessible work to date, although it still has some longer tracks to satisfy diehards (and perhaps scare off folks looking for more radio-friendly lengths).

Killer Be Killed – Dream Gone Bad. Mastodon vocalist Troy Sanders is involved in two side projects that released new tracks this month this is the better of the two, as the latest Gone is Gone track didn’t do much for me. KBK includes Max Cavalera of Soulfly and formerly of Sepultura, but the sound is closer to Mastodon’s here, very bass-forward with thrash elements but mostly clean (and strong) vocals.

Dark Tranquility – Identical to None. DT’s newest album Moment will drop on November 20 th it seems like more classic Gothenburg melodic death metal, with some great thrash riffing below the growled vocals. I haven’t spent a ton of time on this but I think Gothenburg bands have a distinctive melodic sound that works more at the middle and higher ends of the guitar’s range in each song’s standout riffs, whereas comparable bands from other scenes just try to blow you away with speed or riffs at the bottom end of the range.

Carcass – Slaughtered in Soho. And this is the one exception to everything I just said – but Carcass is sort of an exception to a lot of generalizations about extreme metal, coming out of grindcore to create a ridiculous subgenre termed “goregrind” (which didn’t need its own name), only to abandon both the style and the lyrical content with Heartwork, among the greatest extreme metal albums in history and proof that you could craft compelling melodies without sacrificing speed, growled vocals, or other trappings of the death-metal genre. This track comes off their four-song EP Despicable, which just came out on Friday, with tracks that missed the cut for their next album. The riff on this one is great, and remarkably slow and grooved for Carcass.


Watch the video: Landmann ψήσιμο.