June 23 King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard, “Murder Of The Universe”Supposedly, these Australian psychonauts are trying to release five albums this year, and though it seems a monumental task, here comes their second already. “Murder of the Universe” is a strange collection of three chapters consisting of five to 10 mini songs each, all linked with strange spoken word interludes. The highlight of the record for me was “Han-Tyumi and The Murder of The Universe,” a bizarre tale of a cyborg who wants to destroy the universe with his vomit. Sonically, the band isn’t really treading any new ground here, but lo-fi psych rock with two drummers is never an unwelcome thing in my book. The bits of spoken word do wonders to make the record feel much older than it is, reminding me of some of the crazier Hawkwind recordings.
Vince Staples, “Big Fish Theory”Coming off of one of the best hip-hop albums in 2015 with “Summertime ’06,” as well as a string of high-profile features culminating with the opening track to Gorillaz’ newest album “Humanz,” Vince Staples is poised to take over the world with his new record. And the Kendrick Lamar feature certainly isn’t going to hurt. “Big Fish Theory” features some gnarly instrumentals that wouldn’t feel foreign to fans of early Odd Future or even Death Grips. The only real gripe I have with Staples, and the only complaint I can really see any fan of hip-hop leveling at him, is that his voice isn’t for everyone. His delivery is high pitched and fast, and as someone who likes everything about Kendrick Lamar except for his voice, I could understand that complaint. But, “Big Fish Theory” lives up to the hype, and Staples isn’t bogged by the big-name features that pepper the release.
Dying Fetus, “Wrong One To F*** With”Dying Fetus has been making some of the most intense death metal since the year I was born, and it has been five years since their last record, “Reign Supreme.” “WOTFW” is a beast of a record, filled to the brim with ridiculously fast instrumentals, and the dual assault of vocals from both the guitarist and bassist actively tries to pummel the listener into submission. And if the vocals don’t get you, the moments of groove that pepper each and every song lock you into a headbanging frenzy, as if possessed by a demon trying to crack the foundations of the earth with its forehead. Having seen these guys live multiple times, I knew I was going to love this album. Sometimes you need nuance, emotion, and depth of theme. And sometimes you need an album called “Wrong One To F*** With.”
Municipal Waste, “Slime And Punishment”Municipal Waste is almost single-handedly responsible for the re-emergence of thrash as a subgenre within metal music, and that is both a good and a bad thing. I never had much of a taste for that style of music. Slayer never did anything for me, same with Exodus or Anthrax or Suicidal Tendencies. But Municipal Waste brought in the humor that the music was missing. They have never seemed to take themselves seriously, and that leads to songs about alcoholic sharks. “Slime and Punishment” is a great thrash record, it makes me want to skate and drink 40s and wear a headband. The entire thing is fuel for a circle pit, and if that isn’t a sign of a good thrash record, then I don’t know what is.