Every Friday, I scour the internet for new music releases. The weekly Friday Awards will highlight my favorite discovery each week, with a special emphasis on artists that are new, new-ish, or new to me.

Deceiver by DIIV, © 2019 Captured Tracks

This inaugural Friday Award was a toss-up between Bayside’s newest, Interrobang, and DIIV’s Deceiver. While both records are fantastic, hard-hitting rockers, I ultimately went with DIIV because they were the biggest surprise to me. I had never listened to this band before, but after seeing some hearty recommendations on my favorite music forum website, Chorus.FM, I decided to give it a go.

While new to me, Deceiver is DIIV’s third album, and I was surprised, while reading about past releases, to see that DIIV is primarily known as a dream-pop and shoegaze band. Here, the warped and spacey elements that define the shoegaze genre get buried beneath some of the thickest, dirtiest guitar sounds you’ll hear this year, owing much more to 90’s grunge and post-punk than other dream pop and shoegaze artists like Beach House and My Bloody Valentine. Yet bands like Teenage Wrist (on their debut Chrome Neon Jesus) have proven to me that shoegaze and grunge make a perfect mix, as displayed once again here.

Bandleader Zachary Cole Smith has a light, whispery voice that balances out the music nicely, making this “heavy” music that isn’t really punk, metal, or hardcore at all (although a few guitar riffs have successfully metal edges to them). On tracks like “Taker,” Smith layers his voice with harmonies and bgv’s, transforming the proceedings into something remarkably beautiful, even when the guitars reemerge at their most cacophonous.

I could imagine this album appealing to fans of any of the aforementioned artists all the way to fans of Swervedriver, Mew, Smashing Pumpkins, and more. DIIV have crafted a fascinating mixture of sounds here that left me very ready to revisit the album as soon as it had finished.

10.4.19 Honorable Mentions: Lacy O’Connor, Bayside, Mika, The Menzingers, City & Colour, Hiromi, Chick Corea, Jacky Terrasson

P.S. If you didn’t hear, my brother and I also co-released our debut singles on October 4th! On “Night & Day,” Taylor’s take on pop leans toward modern R&B, with touches of guitar and 90’s alternative. On “Matter,” my take on pop borrows from math rock and emo-pop, with all the instruments recorded by yours truly. Both tracks can be streamed here.

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