Odd Future cohort Earl Sweatshirt can be forgiven for his claustrophobic album title. At only 16, he was plucked from his budding rap career by his mother, responding to his drug use and poor grades, and sent to a reform school in Samoa. Since returning, he’s talked about having a tumultuous time partying on tour and struggling to get his life and health back. The result of all that back and forth is I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside, and album that doubles down on the grim paranoia set forth by his last album, the excellent Doris. Earl has a way of expressing his pain honestly while keeping his rhymes engaging instead of seeming like a diary pour—“ Picked the road that got twists/I'm holding my dick and playing cautious,” he says on “Mantra.” On the grim “Faucet,” he raps about not knowing where to call home and who to call a friend (“I feel like I'm the only one pressin' to grow upwards”). The stunning “Grief” offers imagery of Earl facing panic attacks, grabbing for the Xanax bottle and reminiscing about drugs and girls on tour over a murky beat but ultimately coming out of the haze, finishing off with the lines, “I just want my time and my mind intact/When they both gone, you can't buy ’em back.” I Don’t Go Outside is focused nearly to a fault, but in keeping the album as variations on a theme, it helps further establish Earl as a compelling character—the tortured wayward son, reveling in and revolted by his own hedonism—crafting a potent statement in the process. The distilled paranoia of I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside easily makes for one of the most memorable hip-hop albums of the year.
Death Valley Girls – “Summertime”
L.A.’s Death Valley Girls get you ready for barbecue weather with this scorching slice of guitar rock. A simple loping riff doubles in size at the chorus and hits like a plume of smoke, while Bonnie Bloomgarden makes her cry of “I see you in the summertime” sound like a threat. Summertime is coming out April 12 on Manimal, and they’ll be at S.F.’s Knockout April 21 and Oakland’s Night Light April 22. Hear the track below via Noisey.
Froth – “Postcard Radio” video
L.A.’s Froth stand out from the L.A. garage-rock pack with their textured guitarwork and ’80s college-rock melodicism. “Postcard Radio” builds from a headlong rush into a catchy four-note riff with some nice shoegaze touches—it’s deceptively simple but perfectly made. Bleak, the follow-up to 2013’s Patterns, is out May 5 on Burger.
Like Tame Impala? Nuts for Drake? Sure, they're great. But a big part of Coachella also has been the chance to see legendary bands reunite and take the stage, as well as long-established artists alongside the newcomers. Here are 10 great albums by reunited or established artists you should know before heading to the desert next weekend.
The album that started the Brian Johnson era of AC/DC (following the death of lead singer Bon Scott) is their biggest and has many of their best-loved hits, including “You Shook Me All Night Long” and the title track. It’s good to know the rest of the songs, even if you’re not especially sober by the time AC/DC goes on (which is probably how they’re best heard anyway).
Katie Crutchfield’s Waxahatchee project has grown from the home recordings of a promising young singer/songwriter to the full-bodied sound we hear on Ivy Tripp. Over a river of fuzz and organ drone, Crutchfield sings more warmly and confidently than ever on opener “Breathless.” Lyrically she can be oblique on songs like “Poison” (“Your birthday party tongue dripping/You'll summarize/Travel the world ivy tripping”), but the scenes she paints are evocative nonetheless. She pushes her sound further into brightly hued Pavement-style indie rock on tracks like “Under a Rock” and ’80s college rock on “The Dirt” while expanding it with a simple electronic beat and catchy backup vocals on “La Loose.” But some of the most stirring moments on Ivy Tripp are its sparest, as she turns staring at the ceiling midday and turning over love and life choices into Ivy Tripp’s best track, “Stale By Noon,” singing over a simple organ lick. I wasn’t sold when I heard her last album, Cerulean Salt, but Ivy Tripp feels whittled down to perfection. It’s an impressive songwriting showcase for Crutchfield and a significant leap forward.
Best Coast – “Heaven Sent” video
Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino looks fetching in a rose crown and lace dress in the video she co-directed with Lana Kim for “Heaven Sent,” off the band’s upcoming California Nights, due May 4 on Harvest. Definitely channeling some Paisley Underground vibes with this look and song, like The Bangles filtered through Ride’s amps. The band’s spring/summer tour will hit L.A.’s Wiltern June 27. Watch below via Ray-Ban’s Never Hide Noise.
LA Font – “Whisperer”
On their latest track, Los Angeles power-pop band LA Font sink their teeth into a supple groove before unleashing whirlwind guitars at the song’s climax. You might need a cigarette. It’s on their upcoming Hangtime Vol. 1 EP, which is due April 28, just after the band plays in-store at Amoeba Hollywood April 23, as part of the Converse Rubber Tracks series. Hear it below via Stereogum.