Here are our five favorite underground releases of the week.
If you're anything like us, you're probably overwhelmed by the sheer number of albums being released on a weekly basis.
Popdust's weekly column, Indie Roundup, finds the five best albums coming out each week so that you don't have to. Every Friday, we'll tell you what's worth listening to that might not already be on your radar.
On their fifth album, Palberta5000, New York City trio Palberta level up their adventurous indie rock, calling to mind dance-punk greats of the '80s while maintaining a forward-thinking spirit. Across the album, members Ani Ivry-Block, Lily Konigsberg, and Nina Ryser utilize three-part harmonies and jagged, layered guitar riffs. With an infectious DIY spunk and smart sense of humor in their lyrics, Palberta are reinforcing their status as commanders of New York's modern-day underground scene.
Founded by singer/guitarist Johanna Healy and singer/bassist Ashley Kossakowski, Brooklyn band Groupie create fiery post-punk informed by their favorite riot grrrl bands as well as the written work of Patti Smith. Their debut album Ephemeral is "about the ephemerality of teenage idols and, as an adult, questioning what they truly meant to you," as Kossakowski explained in a recent essay for Talkhouse. The album tackles these topics of adoring distant heroes — "Who do ya think you're looking up to / With that I don't give a fuck attitude?" goes the chorus of "Thick As Glue" — but intersperses those moments of rage with quieter solitude: "Industry," inspired by buying flowers to fend off depression, laments on capitalism's role in daily life, while "Daleko" is a gutting ode to faraway family and feeling disconnected from your roots in another country.
Camp Trash, Downtiming EP
Florida-based quartet Camp Trash have made their long-awaited debut with Downtiming, an EP that's chock full of heavy riffs and sunny, earworm melodies. While the band take obvious inspiration from their emo forefathers — "You're the best adaptation of cheap beer and cigarettes," vocalist Bryan Gorman sings on "Bobby," as if to poke fun at such cliches — these four songs invoke aughts pop-punk nostalgia without ever feeling tired or hackneyed. Downtiming is a promising introduction for Camp Trash, who are bound to make the last moments of a brutal winter feel a little more warm.
Lande Hekt, Going to Hell
Lande Hekt's lyrics tackle traumatic events with grace. The title track of Going to Hell, the solo debut from the member of pop-punk band Muncie Girls, delineates the experience of being pushed out of the Catholic church for being queer. Over soothing folk-punk, Hekt sings as though she's finally been given the safe space to live her truth. But her topics also reach a wider audience: Throughout Going to Hell, she also discusses topics like climate change and the confusing nature of intimacy, giving the album's title a fitting double-meaning.
Blending spare electronica with impassioned R&B, Rhye — the moniker of Canadian musician Michael Milosh — is tailor-made for endless Spotify playlists titled something along the lines of "chill vibes." But cliches aside, Milosh's low-key sheen is still working magic four albums later on Home. This album is still just as dreamy and seductive as its predecessors, but additions like a vocal choir, disco-tinged strings, and a flour-on-the-floor groove give Home a welcome level of depth that might inspire some living room dance sessions.