NEW MUSIC – Week of September 5, 2016

Last week, for some reason, was an incredibly exciting week for new releases: an album from Boston-born band IAN SWEET, and new singles from Somerville’s Will Henriksen, Sam Ray of Teen Suicide, and Harmony Tividad of Girlpool.

On September 9, IAN SWEET’s new LP Shapeshifter came out, available on their bandcamp. Originally a solo project of Jillian Medford (who also happens to be a member of the great band Mega Bog) during her time at the nearby Berklee College of Music, IAN SWEET has become an energetic three-piece band that is one of my favorites to see live. They are currently touring to promote their LP, and most recently performed in Cambridge at the Middle East Upstairs on September 6th, but they will surely be back in town soon.

At best, IAN SWEET plays cathartic, high-energy music as a cohesive ensemble of three. At worst, they can fall into cheap rock tricks and monotonous loud noise. That said, Shapeshifter favors the best parts of the former identity. Their LP shows their greatest emotional range, and songs like “Slime Time Live” and “All Skaters Go to Heaven”  have the most interesting melodies and narratives of any of their songs.

Some singles from the first half of this month to look out for include “Staircase” by Will Henriksen. Henriksen was the lead singer of the band Harmoos until it broke up last year, and although that breakup was heartbreaking, “Staircase” brings him back to the emotional depths that Harmoos approached so well. “Staircase” is available on Boston Hassle’s website.

Members of two great bands, Teen Suicide and Girlpool, have also demonstrated their talent as solo artists this week. Ricky Eat Acid is the solo project of Sam Ray from Teen Suicide, and its newest song “hey,” available on Stereogum, is beautifully mixed, haunting almost.

Harmony Tividad and Cleo Tucker, members of weird and wonderful DIY punk duo Girlpool, have also been slaying as solo artists. Tividad’s song “Costume Jewelry” is much more lo-fi than her work with Girlpool, and was posted with a new music video on Stereogum this week. Tucker also released new music this week, a lovely short album called “Looking Pretty At the Wall,” on her Bandcamp.


– Peter Diamond