Best New Releases February 2024

First of all, I did it again. The list I have to present to you this month is of the tiny variety. As I said last month, what the tiny list lacks in quantity, it certainly does not lack in quality.

That being said, February certainly wasn't a disappointing month musically. My favorite thing about February's new releases was seeing a spotlight on grunge, the genre that will always have a tenacious hold on my heart. Some grunge crossovers showed up in the form of some grunge/blues and grunge/sludge bands, both of which I've never really heard before. Furthermore, I heard some great representations of the two genres that I'm currently getting way more into: instrumental stoner/psych and space rock.  A very intriguing, interesting month indeed, great for exploring new interests and building upon beloved old ones in my case. 

Now, I present to you my top five favorite new heavy underground releases for February 2024:

 1. Deadpeach - The Cosmic Haze and the Human Race 

With The Cosmic Haze and the Human Race, heavy psych instrumental masters Deadpeach provide us with what is, in effect, a good trip. In the same manner as an artist paints with a brush, Deadpeach masterfully utilizes music and song to paint dazzling sonic landscapes, dreams, moods, and some pretty rad situations. The pace of the album does a great job of moving from peaceful and atmospheric to altogether rollicking and adventurous, never leaving the listener bored. Even though it's the amazing instrumentals that are at the forefront of this album, the hypnotic vocals are the icing on the cake, reminding me of a comforting subconscious voice that checks in every once in a while to make sure you're still enjoying the ride. And you will be, trust me. I would highly recommend this album to those who are like me: intrigued by instrumental stoner/psychedelic music but are easily bored by tracks that kind of drone on forever and don't have much "movement" within them.

2. Disastroid - Garden Creatures

I don't have to tell you that I'm beyond excited to see the recent invasion of grunge crossovers. I've been seeing an increase in grunge/stoner releases and even some grunge/blues as heard on Birds of Vale's new album. Enter San Francisco's Disastroid, who plays grunge/sludge. This is something totally new to me, and the phrase alone definitely piqued my attention. However, I had no idea what to expect. Let me tell you, grunge/sludge as delivered by Disastroid is exactly what it sounds like: A grungy creature with stoner rock influences that spends a good portion of its time trudging through some viscous swamp water. This slows it down, muddles it, makes it strain, even pisses it off a bit at times. In the end, it always makes it to the other side and clearer, brighter waters. Nod along, get lost in a daydream, sing your lungs out, or jump in the pit; it's all fair game with Garden Creatures. 


3. Sundrifter - An Earlier Time

Space rock has an uncanny ability to use music to create a sense of vastness and awe combined with a feeling of danger and impending doom. However, vocals in this genre are often non-existent or rather languid, taking a bit of a back seat in favor of more intense, reverb-heavy instrumentals. On An Earlier Time, the alternatively heavy and serene musical atmospheres are joined on the front lines with the powerful vocals of Craig Peura. These vocals serve as a guide through the great unknown, ensuring that you never get too dissociated while adding a massive amount of passion to the album. Interestingly, the band utilizes the tag "space grunge" on their Bandcamp page. While this term is new to me, it's one that I can certainly get behind. It's also a very accurate descriptor of the vocals here; one of the first things I noticed about them was their comparability to some of the more melodic grunge crooners of the 90s. I probably don't have to tell you that melodic grunge-style vocals on a space rock album is incredibly unique, and equally cool. Sundrifter is a three-piece band, but they’re able to create a colossal, multi-faceted sound that will not only rattle your insides with thundering cosmic riffs, but will stir your imagination with dreamy auditory panoramas. An Earlier Time is a phenomenal album for even the most seasoned space rock fan, but it's also perfect for those who are just dipping their toes into the genre and for my fellow alternative rock/grunge fans out there who want to try something a little different yet familiar.   

4. Shroom Eater - God of the Gaps

The first thing I noticed about Shroom Eater's album, God of the Gaps, was the description the band supplied for it on Bandcamp:

"Once upon a time, when the mysteries of phenomena eluded our scientific grasp, mankind, in their yearning for understanding, oft turned to the divine or the supernatural to fill the void.

This album chronicles humanity's odyssey in quest of the divine and their idols, born from myriad events and circumstances. Moreover, it unveils the tale of past epochs and civilizations, unfurling their narrative into the present age. As humanity began to feel paramount and forged deities in their own likeness, or fashioned new images and egos of the Divine, the downfall of every civilization ensued, for humanity lost control over their desires and impulses, driven by greed and an ever-corroding super ego. 

Yet, this album concludes with a glimmer of hope, reminding us that there still exists a path untrodden, if only we grasp it with unwavering resolve in the straight path." 

Okay, you certainly have my attention. 
Based upon this description and the album's cover art, I fully expected God of the Gaps to be a doom-laden, sludgy epic. It is, but not exceedingly or stereotypically so. In fact, I would venture to describe this album as "sludge lite"; it's sludgy, but with rather clean production. Vocals are also relatively clean and melodic, but again, not overly so. It's quite possible that the sludge element of the band's sound is primarily lightened by some palpable garage, psychedelic, and proto-doom influences that are present throughout the album. If you're like me and you're not always into the super chaotic, guttural-screamy side of heavy music, you'll greatly appreciate what Shroom Eater does here. I most enjoyed this album for its unique ability to provide a narrative about some heavy subject matter in an altogether thoughtful, collected, and listenable way that's never boring. 


5. Birds of Vale - Limbo

Birds of Vale modestly calls themselves a "rock n' roll band from Athens, Greece". It doesn't take a listener long to figure out that this band is so much more than that. Birds of Vale's sound has heavy blues at its core, but the vocals give it a noticeable grunge feel. Naturally, when you combine these two things, you get a byproduct of southern rock as well. This combination is something that can be heard in several American grunge bands, such as Seven Mary Three and Screaming Trees, but Birds of Vale's vibe is unique in that it's absolutely dripping with that heavy blues sound. If you were to tell me that this band is from Memphis, I wouldn't even blink; it's that spot-on. 

As someone who greatly appreciates but is rather picky about the heavy blues they elect to listen to, I would highly recommend Limbo for its incredible layers of blues and grunge, skillfully melding some of the best elements of each genre. As alluded to earlier, the vocals here are also top-notch, powerful and soulful. 

And there you have it! I hope you enjoy these amazing albums from February as much as I did. Don't forget to show your favorite underground artists some much-deserved love; follow, share, and take advantage of Bandcamp Fridays! 

Until next month,


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