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Six Songs We’re Listening to This Week While Waiting For Our Parolee To Let Us Know If We Can See Slayer At Riot Fest

Another week, another slew of new music that you can’t be bothered to listen to. What happened to you? You used to have your finger on the pulse, man. In fact, you WERE the pulse. Now look at you. Scrolling through your phone on the couch while a rerun of “The Office” plays in the background for the millionth time. Good god. We’d say it’s depressing, but there has to be a worse and more dramatic word for whatever this situation is.

It’s time to fix yourself, dear reader. Time to shake off the dust from an uneventful period of your time on this Earth and start living again. Because we know this will be hard for you, we’re giving you a head start with some of the best songs we’ve been listening to this week.

Laura Jane Grace “Punk Rock In Basements”

Last week, Laura Jane Grace released her excellent solo album, ‘Hole In My Head.’ After two relatively stripped-down releases, ‘Stay Alive’ and ‘At War With the Silverfish,’ Grace’s latest is a return to form as refreshing as it is electric. Classics abound on this one as the songwriter combines subdued acoustics with more uproarious numbers, never once dialing back the intensity that has come to define her. The unbridled vulnerability of her lyricism shines throughout as one would expect, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a song as nostalgic and aged as ‘Punk Rock In Basements.’

Alcest “L’Envol”

Underground black metal and shoegaze legends, Alcest just announced their seventh album ‘Les Chants De L’Aurore,’ their first since 2019’s ‘Spiritual Instinct.’ The lead single ‘L’Envol’ – which is French for ‘flight’ – skews more heavily toward the duo’s predilection shoegaze, as it’s slow, meandering, and gorgeous arrangement soars over peaks of peaks of fuzzed out bliss before diving into valleys of proggy, dreamy soundscapes. Maybe we’re taking the flight metaphor too far here, but tell us with a straight face that you don’t feel like some sort of chimeric bird while spinning this one.

Too Many Zooz “Nowhere Else to Go”

Every week we bring you the latest in punk, hardcore, and indie. We have a great time doing it, too, but as our Managing Editor pointed out while threatening to publicly release our Google search history on the main page of the site: we rarely bring you fringe, genre-less instrumental jams. It’s not just our embarrassing WebMD search that made us realize she’s right. Enter Too Many Zooz, whose career thus far has seen them transform from New York City subway buskers to overnight viral sensation who collaborate with fucking Beyoncé. Their latest single ‘Nowhere Else to Go’ is a chaotic multi-genre mash-up that will burrow its way into your already decaying brain faster than you can say ‘what the fuck is this?’

MGMT “Dancing In Babylon (feat. Christine and the Queens)”

Your dealer may be out of shrooms again, but he’s definitely picked up a deluxe version of MGMT’s new album ‘Loss of Life’ which finally dropped earlier this week. You didn’t have time to listen since you immediately left upon hearing of the aforementioned stock issue, but it’s still worth a visit. The album marks a return to the band’s experimental forays into psychedelia heard on their divisive sophomore ‘Congratulations’ but with a more theatrical bent. Their latest single, ‘Dancing In Babylon,’ which features Christine and the Queens, plays out like a cast recording from a rejected late ’80s Broadway production. That might not sound like a compliment, but we can assure you we would absolutely watch the hell out of that play if it existed.

Empty Heaven “Hauntology”

San Antonio’s Empty Heaven is crafting some of the most satisfying emo-core we’ve heard in years. Imagine a fictional supergroup composed of members of Say Anything, Cursive, mewithoutYOU, and so on, and it would still be hard to get close to the chaos that permeates the duo’s latest single ‘Hauntology.’ Dissonant guitars fight an impassioned vocal for the spotlight as the metaphorical stage gets smaller and smaller. Things feel increasingly claustrophobic by the track’s end. If by this point you feel like you’ve been through the emotional wringer, we’d have to guess that means the composition had the desired effect, although it’s possible that’s just your MO. We know it’s been a rough couple months for you, it’s okay.

Slayer “Raining Blood”

You may have heard your drunkest and loudest friend screaming ‘SLAAAAAYERRRRR’ earlier this week. This isn’t out of the ordinary for them, so you likely thought nothing of it when it occurred. Turns out, your ol’ chap had a valid reason this time, as the band announced two reunion sets at this year’s Riot Fest and Louder Than Life. This exciting and unexpected announcement definitively proves the old adage: ‘if you miss a legendary band’s final tour, just wait a few years until they run out of money and play Riot Fest.’ To ensure productivity remains a top priority, Hard Times HQ have made both Riot Fest and Louder Than Life PTO blackout days. As a reminder to all employees reading this, ‘blackout’ means you can’t request vacation time, not ‘get pants-pissing drunk at the Slayer show.’

Even though you just said ‘sick, I’ll check it out later,’ we know you better at this point. You have no intention of listening to any of these songs. Admit it. That’s why we created a playlist for you, so all you need to do is click here, and let the tunes roll. We update it every week too, so there’s no excuse not to have better taste from this point forward.