in Review

April wasn’t quite as hot of a month music-wise as the other two I’ve covered so far this year. Which is perfectly ok since March 25 saw the release of so many noteworthy albums that I’ll have plenty to talk about here. In addtion Destroyer’s last album (which I covered last month), the first three albums I’ll be covering actually came out on that release date and served as some of my most-listened-to albums throughout April.

Camp Cope – Running With The Hurricane

Camp Cope’s first few albums were scrappy little DIY endeavors with a whole lot of vulnerability that I found to be pretty charming. After a four-year break between albums, I’m not sure I was prepared to like a new album by them quite as much as I like Running With The Hurricane, but that speaks to how the band has shifted their sound into something slightly more mature, but just as raw and affecting. Lead singer/songwriter Georgia Maq remains a captivating presence on every song, singing each line with a kind of beleaguered anxiety that I think we can all relate to these days.

It’s hard not to think of Waxahatchee’s St. Cloud — one of my favorite albums of the young decade — when listening to Running With The Hurricane, as it sees a similarly indie rock-leaning band delving into more folk and country sounds. Yet there’s no forced twang here to hide the fact that this band is still very punk and still very Australian. Instead, you get a subtle rootsy plaintiveness added to the band’s bedrock of angst that feels as sincere and honest as ever.

Ibibio Sound Machine – Electricity

This album just kinda plopped into my eardrums when I was listening to KEXP one day and I couldn’t help but be struck by how funky and distinctive this UK band is. Many of the members of Ibibio Sound Machine have African roots in one way or another, and are therefore influenced by the afro-funk and afrobeat genres (which I’ll admit are blind spots for me) while mixing in modern dance and pop music influences. It’s just a strange, spacey mix of sounds that are pretty infectious in their tight grooves and repetitive, ethereal vocals courtesy of lead singer Eno Williams.

Denzel Curry – Melt My Eyez See Your Future

2022 has seen the release of a few hip-hop albums I’ve liked, such as Saba’s Few Good Things and Vince Staples’ Ramona Park Broke My Heart, but the latest from this Florida rapper has probably been my favorite. Granted, it’s probably likely that most of the noteworthy hip-hop albums from 2022 are about to get steamrolled conversation-wise by Kendrick Lamar’s album coming out in two weeks. Still, Melt My Eyez definitely made me see why Denzel Curry has been one of the more hyped rappers over the past few years, riding a fine line between mainstream and underground hip-hop. The team of producers he uses here create a whispy, somewhat eccentric sound indebted to ’90s hip-hop while Curry’s lyrical dexterity is a refreshing mix of poise and anxiety over the fact that even the most respected rappers’ shelf-lives only last a few precious years.

Romero – Turn It On!

It would be pretty easy for you to be non-plussed by a band like Romero, who mix big punky riffs with glam-rock-inspired swagger, since they don’t do a ton to distance themselves from other recent arbiters of this sound like Ex Hex or Sheer Mag. But then again, you’d also be kind of an asshole. That’s because this is an extremely fun album that never lets up, while lead singer Alanna Oliver’s big boisterous voice keeps every tune’s raucousness from ever becoming wearing. I’ve become hesitant to assign the title “Great Summer Album” to any new releases after how bizarre the pandemic made the last two summers, but at least for now, this feels like a great album to crank up on a hot summer night.

Wet Leg – Wet Leg

This is another album that would be easy to write off considering you could construe Wet Leg as a band that’s been a bit overhyped by the UK music press, all in the name of an album whose lyrics border on incomprehensible. But again, you’d also be kind of an asshole. I’m not sure I would go as far as calling Wet Leg the next great indie band, but it’s pretty darn easy to get into these songs. They’re concise and catchy and give you the sense that the duo at the heart of the band are having a great time playing around with creating guitar-driven music that doesn’t take itself too seriously.