Deafheaven’s fusion of black metal, shoegaze and post-rock continues to grow richer and bolder on their third album. Following the crossover success of their much-celebrated second album, Sunbather, it may have been tempting for the band to trim off their rough edges — namely, the black metal influence that accounts for a large part of their sound — to focus on the more accessible parts. The fact that they didn’t speaks highly of their integrity, sure, but it’s also ensured Deafheaven stays an original. With five extended tracks, New Bermuda feels like one massive, evolving piece, making it easier to point to moments rather than entire songs that speak to you — the way “Luna” folds melodic chords into its double-bass barrage and ends up in a scenic place as lovely as anything on Souvlaki or Agaetis Byrjun; or how “Come Back” clears the way for Kerry McCoy’s chugging power chords and harmonic descending scales and George Clark’s shriek from the depths; or “Baby Blue’s” heroic, Pumpkinsy wah-wahed solos. Any metal fan can extoll the genre’s ability to soothe not in spite of, but because of its brutality and decibel level. There’s something about the music’s capacity to overwhelm and obliterate outside noise, memories, anxiety and trauma that’s rather unparalleled. Deafheaven’s commitment to bringing that sound into an indie-rock setting and vice versa has helped make them the best and most important metal crossover act since Metallica. Whatever your preferred noise is in which to lose yourself, New Bermuda is a crucial meeting point.
The soundtrack to the Kurt Cobain doc Montage of Heck, featuring a score of Cobain’s home demos, will be released on Nov. 13 on CD and Super Deluxe CD and Dec. 11 on double LP. You can preorder the soundtrack on Amoeba.com now.
Montage Of Heck: The Home Recordings features short demos, experiments and snippets of tunes that would end up as songs on Nirvana albums according to Rolling Stone. The regular CD version has 13 tracks, while the deluxe LP version has 31.
The super deluxe CD version also includes a deluxe edition of the film, with 48 minutes of bonus interviews, as well as a 160-page hardbound book with interviews, a puzzle, movie poster, postcards and a bookmark. It’s the only way to get the 31-track version of the album on CD.
The regular Montage of Heck DVD and Blu-ray also come out Nov. 13. Also seeing release is a Cobain 7” featuring a cover of The Beatles’ “And I Love Her,” backed by an early demo called “Sappy.” You can pick up the 7” at Amoeba stores on Nov. 20. Meanwhile, Nirvana's self-titled greatest hits album will see release on a double-LP Nov. 13.
This week was a huge one for new releases. Instead of doing my usual handful of album picks, I’m picking out nine that stand out.
Scottish trio Chvrches made electro-pop gems splattered with emotion on their beguiling debut. For album No. 2, they just get craftier, creating songs that sound like the soundtrack to your wildest dreams. “Never Ending Circles” opens the album on a note of big, open-armed camaraderie, the kind of drinking song or team anthem that’s nearly impossible to pull off. That sense of momentum carries through song after song. “Leave a Trace” finds frontwoman Lauren Mayberry’s vocals at their strongest — hers is the kind of voice that makes it impossible to feel lonely or sad when you’re listening to it. “Keep You On My Side” is a hi-NRG-inspired jam that calls to mind the best of Erasure or early Depeche Mode with its fluttering synths, but its hard-hitting beat updates the sound for the EDM generation. Every Open Eye doesn’t quite have a song that lands with the same power as “The Mother We Share” or “Gun,” but The Bones of What You Believe was an album of peaks and valleys, whereas this one is a steadier ride, coasting on the band’s increased confidence. It’s life-embracing pop music of the highest order, something we all need from time to time.
Wavves – “Pony”
The third track we’ve heard from Wavves’ upcoming V is the catchiest of the pack, a lovelorn jam that sneaks soul-searching lyrics into its surging power-pop chords. V is due Oct. 2 on Ghost Ramp/Warner.
James Ferraro – “Skid Row”
As avant-R&B artist James Ferraro may have based his last album, the neo-brutalist NYC HELL 3am, on a bleak view of the NYC landscape, the first song off his new album pulls a similar feat with his adopted second home of L.A. “Skid Row” feels like an art-damaged, half-awake reading of our particular version of urban decay, of 7-Elevens and acid rain and hip-hop beats rumbling in the distance and something beautiful (or sinister) lurking in the hallway. Recorded in L.A., Skid Row is due Nov. 13 on Break World.
Deconstructionist indie rock band Battles create music that defies expectation. Ian Williams, Dave Konopka and John Stanier interact like triplets, crafting live loops of staccato guitar and synth noise with which Stanier creates mammoth, syncopated live beats, wielding his crash cymbal like Thor’s hammer. Epic opener “The Yabba” stops and starts with chopsocky electronics, swaying guitar swells and a skittering groove, building to an intense climax of all cylinders firing. On “Dot Net,” stuttering Konopka and Williams’ loops seem to communicate with one another like two robots speaking in binary, over which Stanier lays an expressive beat as counterpoint. The muscular groove of “FF Bada” ends up building to an anxious synth melody for one of the album’s most intense moments, while “Summer Simmer” recalls brainy analog electronic groups like The Art of Noise, if they were reborn as trance-inducing drill sergeants. You won’t miss former vocalist Tyondai Braxton on this release, as Battles instead focus all of their energies on their chemistry as a trio, with results that are rarely short of breathtaking. For fans of this kind of innovative, body-awakening music, La Di Da Di is truly an awesome experience.