April 1st Release Day -Caustic Commentary: Duster, Christian Lee Hutson, Nigo, Alabaster DePlume

In a new weekly roundup, Glide drops caustic commentary on selected tracks from release day Friday.

Duster – “Feel No Joy”

Duster’s 2019 reunion album was no fluke. The space rock/slowcore group is back, and their surprise new album is just as great as their previous work. “Feel No Joy” especially, finds the band toeing the line between the Stratosphere sound and a newer, more vibrant impulse. Much like Low’s recent resurgence, the track pushes the emotive, guitar focus of slowcore to its breaking point, wringing every drop of pity and anger out of the vocals, even when you can’t understand the lyrics.

Christian Lee Hutson – “Sitting Up with a Sick Friend”

Behind the scenes for a bit, Hutson has probably made more waves flirting with boygenius and Pearl Charles than with the string of positively received records he’s made up until now. Quitters probably won’t win over the pre-initiated, but “Sitting Up with a Sick Friend” sure should. Rarely can anyone, let alone someone backing up Lucy Dacus, blend class, love and nostalgia into something quite so heartbreaking, but maybe that’s where he learned it from.

Nigo – “Come On, Let’s Go”

I would say stick to clothing, but that’s never exactly been my Nigo preference either. As the creator of A Bathing Ape, Nigo has always appealed to Hip Hop, not just as musician himself but as the creative force behind some of the 2000s biggest fashion trends. His album is not as successful, but at the very least he brings in the heavy hitters. Tyler, the Creator’s “Come On, Let’s Go” stands highest as a proper Tyler track and one that comes off as effortlessly as anything else he’s released in the last five years. At least Nigo got that right.

Alabaster DePlume – “I’m Gonna Say Seven”

DePlume’s newest is getting a lot of traction, but his cosmic blend of jazz, spoken word and experimentalism, that’s become so popular these days, has been done better elsewhere. That being said, it’s still a good, if not overblown album, and one that actually works the best when DePlume himself focuses on his own personality and introspection. “I’m Gonna Say Seven”s soft acoustic plucking and swells of harmony work well but the somber lilt of DePlume’s vocals is what best recalls the most frustrated Leonard Cohen tracks. When over the course of three minutes he can find this much nuance to a one-ten scale, he deserves more than a seven.

Pillow Queens – “House That Sailed Away”

Usually, I find the kind of breathy melisma of Cathy McGuiness and Sarah Corcoran’s vocals too grating and especially too familiar, but Pillow Queens’ songwriting and instrumental prowess is impossible to ignore. Still, their standout “House That Sailed Away” is noticeably muted, if only vocally. The track itself unfolds simply for the first three minutes before an incongruous synth sneaks in. The band is then really able to build on the catharsis of “I want to die for you”, a line so cliched it easy to forget how hard it is to pull off, and that’s with a vocal handicap.

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