Notable Releases of the Week (7/5)

It’s July Fourth Weekend, which is pretty much the exact midpoint of the year and also a short break in the ever-busy album release cycle. We took the opportunity to tell you about our 40 favorite albums of 2024 so far (plus more favorites within rap, metal, punk/hardcore, emo/post-hardcore, and Indie Basement), and 64 albums we’re anticipating for the rest of this summer, not to mention we also ran through the best punk songs and best rap albums of June. There isn’t much in the way of new music out this week, but I highlight three great new albums below.

On top of those, this week’s honorable mentions include Cassie Ramone, 42 Dugg, Fire-Toolz, Lesser Halves, Kasabian, Kiasmos (Ólafur Arnalds & Janus Rasmussen), Kokoko!, Wormed, Xasthur, Subdued, the SUMAC remix EP, the DIME EP, the Hold My Own EP, the Tendertwin EP, the oreglo EP, the Julia Gaeta EP, and the Art Brut comp.

Read on for my picks. What’s your favorite release of the week?

Zach Bryan – The Great American Bar Scene

Steven Hyden recently suggested that the music that’s stood out the most recently has come from artists whose popularity was a surprise. Zach Bryan’s popularity isn’t exactly news at this point, but his steady rise to stardom continues to pleasantly baffle me; there’s really no one else like him in popular music right now. He’s the Ticketmaster-hating, Bon Iver and Joyce Manor-loving country singer who’s ascended to arena headliner status without following any of the rules of mainstream country music. He makes modest, plain-sounding albums that sound more like indie rock or mid ’70s Neil Young than current pop Nashville, and he’s just as likely to tour and collaborate with living legends like Bruce Springsteen as he is with more cultishly-loved acts like Jason Isbell, Turnpike Troubadours, Sierra Ferrell, The Middle East, and the aforementioned Bon Iver. He quickly made it to the top and he’s using his platform to show the world that there’s so much more out there than the 1% that dominates such a large majority of popular music.

Springsteen and John Mayer both appear on Zach’s new album The Great American Bar Scene, as do up-and-coming singer/songwriter Noeline Hoffman and another of those more cultshly-loved artists, John Moreland (whose recently-released Visitor is not to miss if you’re a Zach Bryan fan). Zach’s never been one for brevity, and this album offers up 19 songs that clock in at an hour and three minutes. Remarkably, it never drags once, and maybe it’s just because it came out on a day when almost no other music was released (July 4th), but I played it three times in a row the first time I heard it and still instantly wanted more. It’s one of Zach’s best albums yet, with everything we’ve come to expect from him: storytelling that stops you in your tracks, melodies you can’t get out of your head, and arrangements that range from bare-bones acoustic guitars to Crazy Horse-style rock freakouts. The song with Springsteen has echoes of “I’m On Fire” and the song “28” sounds more than a little influenced by the aforementioned Jason Isbell, and Zach knows how to tip his hat to his musical heroes without ever coming off like pale imitation. He’s the next generation’s musical hero in the making, especially if he keeps making great albums like this one.

Bacchae Next Time

Bacchae – Next Time
Get Better Records

While some artists choose to release music on Fourth of July Week for celebratory reasons, I’d wager that Bacchae picked this week because they either 1) don’t care, or 2) overtly wanted to release an anti-capitalist, dystopian post-punk record the same week that everyone around them is celebrating America. Bacchae hail from our nation’s capital, and they spend a lot of Next Time lashing out against the oppressive societal norms that stem from powerful people in that very city. They also address more introspective topics, and they sing about all of it in a way that comes straight from the heart. It’s in the lyrics, but even more so, it’s in the way that singer/keyboardist Katie McD emotes and the way that her voice truly soars–you can’t fake that kind of emotion. It’s Bacchae’s second consecutive album produced by Jawbox’s J. Robbins, and it finds them dishing out twitchy post-punk with the punk edge of the DC/Dischord scene that people like J. Robbins helped shape. Next Time pairs really well with the new Ekko Astral album, another 2024 album from a sociopolitically conscious DC band putting the punk in post-punk, and what’s really remarkable about both of these records is how much fresh new energy they bring to their genre and scene. Next Time scratches a similar itch as Rip It Up and Start Again-era post-punk, Dischord punk, and newer torch-carriers like Priests and Downtown Boys, but Bacchae never sound exactly like any of those things. They’ve got a personality that’s all their own.

Blind Girls - An Exit Exists

Blind Girls – An Exit Exists
Persistent Vision

Screamo is not always the easiest genre to stand out in, but Australia’s Blind Girls have just released a killer new LP that cuts through all the noise. Lead vocalist Sharni Brouwer says that the album “was written during and after two separate instances dealing with abuse from those I loved” and that “each song is a reflection on the emotions and process I went through, from realization, feeling trapped, guilt, defeat, acceptance, and eventually finding a safe way out,” and you can feel all of those emotions coming through in her pained screams. It’s a common thing to say that writing music is a form of therapy, and the screams on An Exit Exists sound like a genuinely therapeutic release. Matching the crippling sincerity are some of Blind Girls’ most jaw-dropping instrumentals yet, with songs that range from ’90s-style OG screamo to mathcore chaos to black metal fury to screeching noise rock to gorgeously clean emo/post-rock passages. And Blind Girls do all of this with 12 songs that hover around the one- and two-minute marks. Always a treat when such towering, overwhelming music also whips by at lightning speed.

Looking for more recent releases? Browse the Notable Releases and Indie Basement archives.

Looking for a podcast to listen to? Check out our new episode with Saosin.

Pick up the BrooklynVegan x Alexisonfire special edition 80-page magazine, which tells the career-spanning story of Alexisonfire and comes on its own or paired with our new exclusive AOF box set and/or individual reissues, in the BV shop. Also pick up the new Glassjaw box set & book, created in part with BrooklynVegan.

And, if you haven’t already, subscribe to the new BrooklynVegan digital magazine for free! Our first three editions are out now, with cover stars Jessica Pratt, Mannequin Pussy and Paramore.

Jessica Pratt BrooklynVegan Magazine
cover photo by Renee Parkhurst