Music update, November 2017.

Solid enough month for new tracks, including a bunch of early releases from albums due out in the first two months of next year (which might presage a poor December for new releases). I’ll do my annual music rankings, songs and albums, after the winter meetings, so we do get a few more weeks in for new songs to appear.

If you can’t see the Spotify widget below, you can access the playlist directly here.

The Wombats – Lemon to a Knife Fight. A new Wombats song is an automatic inclusion for me. I loved Glitterbug and am thoroughly excited for the new album.

Hatchie – Sure. Noisey called Hatchie’s music “shoegaze with a dream pop edge;” I think there’s more dream pop here, with a very strong early Cranberries vibe. She has released two singles so far, this song (my favorite of the two) and “Try.”

Shy Technology – Déjà Vu. Shy Technology made my top 100 in 2015 with “High Strung,” and this lead single from their next album provides more of what I liked from that earlier single, which has a singer-songwriter vibe with the fuller arrangement of a large band. They remind me of tons of bands I liked in the early mid-90s, including James, Ben Folds Five, Better than Ezra, and Our Lady Peace.

Django Django – In Your Beat. We have a release date – January 26th – for the Mercury Prize-nominated British act’s third album. Marble Skies.

Van William – The Country. Dodgers fan & WATERS lead singer/songwriter Van Pierszalowski – yep, still have to check that spelling every single time, because of AJ Pierzynski – will release his first solo album, Countries, on January 19th.

Gillbanks – A Walk in the Park. A new London-based quintet with just four one-off singles to their name, Gillbanks reminds me a bit of Gardens & Villa if they’d gotten stoned and listened to Disintegration on repeat.

Ride – Pulsar. Ride went 21 years between albums, released Weather Diaries in June, and now are already back with a new, non-album track, this one in a similar vein, shoegaze but with clear vocals mixed more towards the front. The lads are aging quite nicely.

Thrice – Red Telephone. Not technically a new song, “Red Telephone” is a B-side from their 2009 album Beggars and was just re-released ahead of their mini-tour with Circa Survive.

The Fratellis – The Next Time We Wed. It’s no “Chelsea Dagger,” but it’s certainly catchy in more of a pop/rock way and less of a “we’re all drunk at 1:30 am” fashion.

Black Honey – Dig. Black Honey, an indie quartet from Brighton, England, showed up twice on my top 100 last year with poppy tracks that reminded me of vintage Velocity Girl; this song is slower, almost mournful, although it sneaks up on you with a heavy guitar riff about 2/3 of the way through.

WAVVES with Culture Abuse – Up and Down. WAVVES’ Nathan Williams is one of the most prolific writers in music today; I swear he releases a new song somewhere every couple of weeks. This new track, with Bay Area punksters Culture Abuse (of whom I’d never heard of until this song appeared), sounds quite a bit like WAVVES’ most recent album, You’re Welcome.

HAERTS – No Love for the Wild. HAERTS put out a great EP in 2013, a strong album with those same four songs in 2014, and since then it’s been just random singles. This song came out in May, and there’s another one, “The Way,” due out next Friday (the 8th), so I’m hopeful we’ll get a full record some time early next year. It’s long overdue.

The Big Moon – Love in the 4th Dimension. The Big Moon’s album, of which this is the title track, was nominated for the Mercury Prize this year, but lost out to R&B/electronic singer-songwriter Sampha. I think I like the Big Moon’s sound more than their individual songs, as the album is consistent but could use some stronger hooks.

Stars – Hope Avenue. Stars had the #40 song on the first real year-end song ranking I ever posted on this site, my top 40 songs of 2012, with “Hold On When You Get Love and Let Go When You Get It.” Their latest album, There is No Love in Fluorescent Light, doesn’t have anything so catchy, but has several … um, “pleasant” sounds like a backhanded insult, but I don’t mean it that way. This was my favorite song from the record.

Quicksand – Fire this Time. Is this the fifth straight playlist with a Quicksand song on it? Their comeback album Interiors feels like a lock to make my ranking of my favorite albums of 2017, however long I choose to make the list this year.

Corrosion of Conformity – Cast the First Stone. Legit thought these guys had broken up a decade ago … which they did, and then came back with a different lineup for albums in 2012 and 2014 that I missed entirely. I really remember CoC mostly from their earliest work, which had a stronger hardcore influence, while this is more of an aggressive stoner-metal track, like QotSA with a hint of Pantera.

Joe Satriani – Thunder High on the Mountain. I admit to being a guitar geek back in the day; I absolutely wore out Steve Vai’s Passion and Warfare. Satriani had his moments too, including “Summer Song,” but that whole subgenre of music fell out of favor pretty quickly with the expansion of extreme metal on one side and of garbage rap-metal demon spawn on the other. This song, which features two distinct movements of great guitar hooks, is a nice throwback to the heyday of instrumental shredder albums, with a nice nod to the heavier style more in vogue today.

Godflesh – Post Self. I have a strong memory of seeing a capsule review of Godflesh’s seminal 1989 debut album, Streetcleaner, that borrowed a line from Poltergeist: “Godflesh knows what scares you.” Often lumped erroneously in with the contemporaneous grindcore movement, Godflesh is a founder of the subgenre of industrial metal, and if their music brings “teh fear” it’s because of their repetition of droning phrases and harsh percussive sounds. This is the first song and title track from their latest album, released on November 17th.

Tribulation – The Lament. This Swedish melodic death-metal band’s 2015 album Children of the Night took the group out of the generic extreme-metal sounds of their first two albums and brought far more of a classic-rock vibe, with obvious influences from Judas Priest and Black Sabbath, as well as some thrash riffing and a generally stronger sense of musical proficiency. This song rocks in a way that even a lot of truly melodic songs in this area don’t; it’s like a great driving song that happens to have death growls instead of the high-wire vocals of a Halford or a Dickinson. It’s a good sign for their upcoming fourth album, Down Below, due out on January 26th.

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