Keeping track of new music can be difficult for today’s students, as they try to discover new artists and upcoming albums amid cluttered class, work and sleep schedules.
Luckily, Tuesday saw an unusually large amount of new record releases, spanning pop and punk genres as well as large and local labels.
Depending on students’ tastes, there is enough new music to span the week’s remaining study sessions and those unending searches for parking.
Below, The Oracle reviews five musical releases this week that will please the ears.
Superchunk – “Majesty Shredding”
Scrappy, North Carolina-based indie pop-punkers Superchunk offer a comeback story with “Majesty Shredding,” their first full-length release in nine years.
Since 2001’s “Here’s to Shutting Up,” the band members have focused on other musical projects or on Merge Records – a label started by singer Mac McCaughan and bassist Laura Ballance that houses Billboard charters like Arcade Fire and Spoon.
In some ways, the band’s sound hasn’t diverged from the early ’90s. McCaughan’s voice still sounds nasal in the best way possible, the guitars and drums still exude noisy energy and the band’s sense of humor is still present in a song titles like, “My Gap Feels Weird.”
Yet, the song’s lyrics now ruminate on aging and the tempo even briefly relents in “Fractures in Plaster.”
Superchunk will make another return Sept. 20 when they perform on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” – their first television appearance since 1994.
Weezer – “Hurley”
Weezer is no stranger to questionable pop-culture flourishes – from Lil Wayne cameos to Weezer themed Snuggies – so it makes sense that their eighth record’s cover and title would come from loveable “Lost” character Hurley.
However, “Hurley” also looks musically and lyrically to the past. Critics have favorably compared the album’s guitar hooks to the band’s sophomore album “Pinkerton.”
Meanwhile, songs like “Run Away” and “Time Flies” show Weezer growing up and viewing the world with a quiet nostalgia – with singer and songwriter Ryan Adams contributing to the former.
Of course, there’s also a song about mistaking the word “socks” for “sex” and a Michael Cera mandolin appearance, so latter-day Weezer fans shouldn’t worry about a total reversion.
Of Montreal – “False Spirit”
Athens, Ga. outfit Of Montreal has been mixing psychedelia, pop, funk and indie for more than a decade – and “False Spirit” further blends the combination.
Frontman Kevin Barnes’ new collaborators on the album include film composer Jon Brion and soul singer Solange Knowles.
Barnes’ falsetto singing stands out among Brion’s production and dance floor bass lines. Lyrically, sex and sadness are the common motifs within songs like “Sex Karma” and “Our Riotous Defects.”
For students looking to hear the longstanding band without sifting through nine other album’s worth of material – including the lo-fi Elephant 6 recordings – “False Spirit” might prove an accessible entryway.
Screaming Females – “Castle Talk”
From New Brunswick basement shows to tours with the Arctic Monkeys, New Jersey garage-rock trio Screaming Females have quickly expanded their fan base for their fourth full-length album “Castle Talk.”
Vocalist and guitarist Marissa Paternoster has been praised as by Village Voice and the Washington Post for her guitar shredding abilities – even touring with Dinosaur Jr.’s ’90s-alternative guitar virtuoso J Mascis. Plenty of distorted guitar solos appear throughout the new album.
Yet “Castle Talk” features less of her screaming than the band’s name or earlier albums might suggest. The single “I Don’t Mind It” is downright melodic, with Paternoster’s demure voice swirling around crunchy guitar lines and subtle bass and drum parts.
The band will soon visit Florida, hitting Orlando’s the Social on Oct. 13 with Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, in support of the new record.
Grinderman – “Grinderman 2”
In 30 years, songwriter Nick Cave has recorded everything from poetic piano ballads to gloomy guitar-driven rock – but now he has returned to his punk-blues side project Grinderman.
Listeners can expect darkly witty come-ons that wouldn’t be out of place coming from the predatory protagonist in Cave’s novel “The Death of Bunny Munro,” and uniquely noisy instruments like electric mandolin and bouzouki.
However, “Grinderman 2” also includes a few breathers such as “Palaces of Montezuma,” which features simple piano chords and slow “oohs.”
Students looking for heavier music than Tuesday’s other offerings should dive into this snarling, nine-song collection – or see if the album’s wildly bizarre YouTube trailers match their sensibilities.