Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

5 new releases we love: Algiers’ urgent return, Georgia’s perfect dance pop, and more

Illustration for article titled 5 new releases we love: Algiers’ urgent return, Georgia’s perfect dance pop, and more
Photo: Christian Högstedt

There’s a lot of music out there. To help you cut through all the noise, every week The A.V. Club is rounding up A-Sides, five recent releases we think are worth your time. You can listen to these and more on our Spotify playlist.

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Algiers, There Is No Year

[Matador, January 17]

There Is No Year offers an unequivocal mission statement straight away that brazenly suffuses Algiers’ spectacular third album, and it’s a damn urgent one. Frontman Franklin James Fisher rings the clarion on the titular opener as he implores, “Now it’s two minutes to midnight and they’re building houses of cards,” conveying that the only clock worth looking at is doomsday’s, and he gazes into its abyss regularly. While sonically redolent of Gang Of Four, Suicide, and The Birthday Party, Algiers never deign to proselytize, and aren’t nostalgic revisionists. They’re decidedly forward-thinking, daring to imagine a future worth existing in. Fisher mournfully bleats, “Don’t wanna hear the song / It sings again” on “We Can’t Be Found,” a woozy lament to revolutions past, assuaging only in its recognition that strength exists in numbers. Algiers is too damn self-aware to quixotically believe that music can change the world. Still, There Is No Year suggests that perhaps people who love it can. Borrowing from the vernacular of like-minded contemporaries Idles, this act of resistance is a cathartic, cacophonous, and ultimately joyful gesture. [John Everhart]

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Georgia, Seeking Thrills

[Domino Recording Co., January 10]

Imagine the pressure of being the offspring of a successful musician and wanting to follow in the same path. Georgia is the daughter of Leftfield’s Neil Barnes, but she is not suffering at all. With her second album, Seeking Thrills, which comes five years after her unremarkable self-titled debut, Georgia knows herself a lot better. The self-taught drummer and producer has changed her personal binging eating and drinking habits, and with that, all the uncertainty of Georgia. Her voice comes through unaltered, clear and sweet, set against analog-made beats that take their cues from end-of-’80s Detroit techno, Chicago house, and stripped-back electro. Heard through a current-day pop filter, the result has Georgia likened to stars Robyn and Christine And The Queens. The perfectly balanced dance-pop of opener “Started Out” marks the direction for Seeking Thrills, whose amalgamation of sounds is fully realized on the smart “About Work The Dancefloor” and exuberant “24 Hours.” [Lily Moayeri]

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Holy Fuck, Deleter

[Last Gang, January 17]

Anyone who’s been a longtime listener of Canadian electronic quartet Holy Fuck over the group’s 15-year career might be surprised to find its fifth album, Deleter, opens with perhaps the most pop-forward track it’s ever released. Featuring vocals from Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor, the retro-house beats and club-style build of “Luxe” is somewhat of a left turn from Holy Fuck’s usual approach—but then again, experimentation has always been a hallmark of its sound. Drawing on the ’90s dance music of the band’s youth, Deleter connects the dots between Holy Fuck’s underlying influences (synthpop, krautrock, deep house) while taking maximum advantage of its high-profile guests (Liars’ Angus Andrew takes the lead on the infectious title track, and Pond’s Nick Allbrook turns up on the glitchy “Free Gloss”). In an era when the algorithm thinks it knows best, Holy Fuck’s ever-evolving creative-chaos approach might just be the antidote. [Tabassum Siddiqui]

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Caroline Rose, “Feel The Way I Want”

[New West, January 7]

On her ebullient 2018 breakout, LONER, Caroline Rose combated misogyny using humor-laced, third-person stories. Follow-up Superstar, due in March, keeps the jokes while turning Rose’s lens toward the ridiculousness of fame and performance. Each song is narrated by a fictional, gender-neutral protagonist who spontaneously ditches their humdrum life for a shot at international glamour, and it’s this character whom Rose introduces in the video for the synthy pop strut “Feel The Way I Want.” As this character travels across the country for a small-time audition in Hollywood (Florida, not California), Rose sings about their ego inflating so severely that they’ll do anything to feel the way they want. “What once was pain is now pleasure of mine,” Rose narrates over a thick bass groove and springing but shapeless synths. Joke’s on us, though—a character who looks and sounds this good is a star in the making. [Max Freedman]

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Bombay Bicycle Club, Everything Else Has Gone Wrong

[Caroline International/Island, January 17]

Even the most upbeat tunes on Everything Else Has Gone Wrong, London indie-rock outfit Bombay Bicycle Club’s first release in six years, soak in the melancholy of aging: The older you get, the more you lose your looks, your chums, your motivation to drag your slag heap of a body off the couch and get a job. In the band’s defense, the 2010s, and the 2020s to date as well, are a bummer time for growing into adulthood, which likely explains the ennui mellowing beneath the surface on songs like “Is It Real”; often that ennui bubbles over, notably on the title track, and on “Good Day,” which may be the album’s statement piece. There’s no more contemporary way of tying Everything Else Has Gone Wrong to the present than with a sad-sack lament about being left behind by your matured friends while the ice caps slowly melt. Best to bop your way toward oblivion. [Andrew Crump]

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