Conspiracy time: Maybe the light release week was because musicians knew of the heat wave before we did? Oh, it’s a holiday weekend? I sound unreasonable? Whatever, because we still got some bangers to prepare for a hot, sweaty and rockin’ July. Practice your synchronized swimming in the kiddie pool with The Go! Team playing in the background, or have a house kickback with Laura Mvula’s ‘80s-infused style. Perhaps G Herbo is your grilling music of choice, and Snapped Ankles can accompany you when you may have had one too many burgers before you pass out in the aforementioned kiddie pool. We won’t judge. Have a safe and happy long weekend from the Paste staff and find a new album to tide you over until next week!
Desperate Journalist: Maximum Sorrow!
London rockers Desperate Journalist demanded our attention with the April release of “Fault,” the lead single from their fourth full-length Maximum Sorrow! The follow-up to 2019’s In Search of the Miraculous, the album lives up to that song’s promise, with Jo Bevan (vocals), Rob Hardy (guitar), Simon Drowner (bass) and Caz Helbert (drum) consistently delivering moody, tightly-wound post-punk that’s occasionally brightened by flashes of ethereally melodic dream-pop (e.g., “Personality Girlfriend,” “Utopia,” and the particularly light “The Victim”), like a flare turning night into day. Bevan’s vocals bring to mind the late Dolores O’Riordan; meanwhile, her bandmates couch her contemplations of fear, uncertainty and conflict in shimmering waves of instrumentation. The overwhelming sense you get from Maximum Sorrow! is one of confidence and control, as if Desperate Journalist know the ’70s gothic rock tradition they’re operating within both inside and out, and are uniquely equipped to carry it forward. —Scott Russell
The Go! Team: Get Up Sequences Part One
The sixth album from English indie-pop collective The Go! Team, and their first since 2018’s Semicircle, Get Up Sequences Part One is a characteristically vivid mosaic of samples and melody, certain to add some color and verve to your holiday weekend. The album’s upbeat brightness belies the tribulations bandleader Ian Parton endured during its making: He began losing his hearing due to Meniere’s disease while recording, recalling in a statement, “The trauma of losing my hearing gave the music a different dimension for me and it transformed the album into more of a life raft.” Whatever the corresponding pain in your own life may be, Get Up Sequences Part One is a safe bet to whisk you away from it, if only for a little while. From the horns and steel drums of “We Do it but Never Know Why” and shuffling groove of “A Bee Without Its Sting” to Indigo Yaj’s singsongy, flute-backed raps on “Cookie Scene” and the battering ram toms of closer “World Remember Me Now,” The Go! Team have added another kaleidoscopic entry to their joyous, technicolor universe. —Scott Russell
G Herbo: 25
The fourth album from Chicago’s G Herbo, 25 sprawls at 19 tracks and nearly an hour of runtime, with buzzy collaborators including Polo G, 21 Savage, Gunna, Lil Tjay and The Kid LAROI chipping in verses. Herbie peppers his gritty prestige raps with just enough bounce and melody to make them go down easy, but it’s the heft of his subject matter that deserves close attention: A devoted advocate for destigmatizing mental health issues in his community, the Windy City emcee offers his perspective on the hard-knock life many can only imagine: “Broad day, had guns blazin’ with the bravest, for real / Seen action like a movie but that shit was real / Then bein’ too courageous got my n*gga killed,” he raps on “Stand the Rain,” letting the beat ride for a full minute as he speaks plainly to PTSD and the cycle of violence he remains trapped in: “I’m only 25 but I feel like I’ve lived ten lifetimes.” Rather than using street violence as a superficial stylistic trademark, G Herbo puts the implications of that life on full display, telling his truth in songs with downright operatic power. —Scott Russell
Laura Mvula: Pink Noise
A few months after 2016’s A Dreaming Room was released, Laura Mvula was dropped from her label. So, she did what anyone else would do: made a kickass pop album to show them what they were missing out on. Her righteous return on Pink Noise is a crisp homage to the ‘80s, with elements of Michael Jackson and Prince finding a fitting home within Mvula’s impressive artistry that extends far past the music into the entire aesthetic (have you seen those press photos?). Mvula didn’t get bitter, she got better, and it’s a refreshing comeback if we’ve ever seen one. —Jade Gomez
Snapped Ankles: Forest of Your Problems
At times recalling the best of indie-pop stalwarts Animal Collective and Yeasayer, Snapped Ankles create a captivating and unique sound completely their own on Forest Of Your Problem. Taking inspiration from the forest, the band draws from that kind of mysticism to effortlessly hop across genres, moving from the acid basslines of “Psythurhythm” to the new wave influence of “Undilated Lovers,” leading to the ecstatic conclusion of “Xylophobia.” Through their explosive music and unique style of production, as well as their mysterious performative antics, Snapped Ankles in recent years have proven themselves to be one of the most intriguing acts coming out of London, and that’s only bolstered by Forest Of Your Problem. —Jason Friedman
And don’t forget to check out… Bobby Gillespie and Jehnny Beth: Utopian Ashes, Chinatown Slalom: Meet The Parents EP