Fever Ray, "To the Moon and Back" (Mute). I want this song from Fever Ray's comeback album Plunge (due February 23, 2018) to become ubiquitous—not only because it's a damnably cute and quirky electro-pop confection, but also because of Karin Dreijer's queer, lusty af lyrical slant. The line "I want to run my fingers up your pussy" blasting in retail establishments, clubs, late-night TV shows, out vehicle windows, and wherever else pop airs nowadays would be a wonderful slap upside the head of people who think Trump's doing a good job. "To the Moon and Back" is the most levitational track I've heard from Dreijer in either Fever Ray or the Knife (it was produced by Johannes Berglund, Peder Mannerfelt, and Dreijer), and it makes for a nice tangent from her prevalent decadent despondency.
Thunderpussy, "Speed Queen" (Stardog/Republic). Wait, what... Seattle's Thunderpussy are now part of America's biggest label consortium, Universal? Well well well. Molly Sides (vocals), Whitney Petty (guitar), Leah Julius (bass), and Ruby Dunphy (drums) still sound like they're on their AC/DC-Led Zeppelin grind here, with drums as heavy as "When the Levee Breaks," guitars and bass that flaunt behemoth-y, classic-rock heft, a climactic rave-up, and lyrics about the titular subject—a female motorcyclist, as it happens—who likes to "keep her engine clean." Don't wanna jinx it, but I think these women are going to be stars, god damn it.
Ride, "Pulsar" (self-released). British Creation Records luminaries give us more of that classic early-'90s shoegaze biz. If you're gung-ho about this sound (and many of you rightly are), "Pulsar" will saturate your sweet spot with that distant, wistful approach that Ride have used to soar their way into your heart since their first flurry of EPs circa 1989-1990. Nothing new here, but as fuzz-laden guitar rock goes, "Pulsar"—inspired by the Tornados' "Telstar" and created to serve as a "space anthem about light, existence, travel and return," according to drummer Loz Colbert—is A+ comfort food.
Blanck Mass, "The Rat" (Sacred Bones). If you dig Fuck Buttons' electronic-rock anthems for scaling Mt. Everest, you'll likely want to clamp your ears to Blanck Mass, the solo project of FB's Benjamin Power. With Blanck Mass, Power continues to explore the manifold possibilities of maximalist synth music and skyscraper-trembling beats. The goal appears to make listeners feel invincible and to overwhelm synapses, as the new World Eater album evinces in spades. "The Rat" barges out of the gate with bulbous, splattering drums that hark back to Gary Glitter Band's "Rock & Roll Pt. 2" and a synth riff of grandiose menace. It makes me think a Hollywood director should license it for a climactic battle scene that's so over the top, it would make The Matrix look like a low-budget indie production. Blanck Mass plays Barboza Saturday, November 4 with Egyptrixx.
High-Rise, "Mainliner" (Black Editions). Bless Black Editions for reissuing the crucial comp of Japanese psychedelia, Tokyo Flashback (originally released by the legendary PSF label in 1991). At the time of its initial appearance, Tokyo Flashback offered a blurred snapshot of Japan's molten rock underground, collecting tracks by Ghost, Keiji Haino, White Heaven, Fushitsusha, and others. High Rise were the Land of the Rising Sun's MC5 in terms of sonic girth and combustibility, but they took the Detroit quintet's maximum rock and roll into even higher overdrive and greater density. "Mainliner" gives you a massive shot of adrenaline, as Nanjo's primal bass riff and Narita's wildcard, wildcat guitar soloing obsessively compulsively pulverize you. The reissue's deluxe 2xLP packaging and insightful liner notes (allegedly written by PSF owner Hideo Ikeezumi under a pseudonym) add luster to this essential document.
Noteworthy November 3 album releases: U-Men, U-Men (Sub Pop); Billy Bragg, Bridges Not Walls (Cooking Vinyl); Throbbing Gristle, 20 Jazz Funk Greats; The Second Annual Report of Throbbing Gristle (Mute reissues); Converge, The Dusk in Us (Epitaph); Bibio, Phantom Brickworks (Warp); Lost Horizons, Ojalá (Bella Union); Cannibal Corpse, Red Before Black (Metal Blade); Rabit, Les Fleurs du Mal (Halcyon Veil); AUTOBAHN, The Moral Crossing (label); Shamir, Revelations (Father/Daughter); Daphni, Joli Mai (Jiaolong); Lee Hazlewood, Requiem for an Almost Lady (Light in the Attic reissue); Jonti, Tokorats (Stones Throw); Blitzen Trapper, Wild and Reckless (LKC); James Holden & the Animal Spirits, Animal Spirits (Border Community).