A lot to get to, and a delay at that? No wasting time!
Lady Gaga - Artpop
: Lady Gaga has transformed from pop princess to strange cultural touchstone to some sort of avant garde performance art project. Artpop
, when taken in the context of her increased interest in a lot of the sort of postmodern, outsider art, is an interesting listen if only because it's so weird in the context of top 40 pop music. I say "interesting" because the album itself isn't really good musically, and I say this as someone who was a fan of her first two albums. This isn't to say there aren't highlights ("Manicure," "Donatella," "Dope") but if you're expecting a "Telephone" or "Poker Face," you're going to be disappointed. On the other hand, I'm probably the only one who would be reading this site and saying "hm, I think I want to know more about the new Lady Gaga album," so maybe I'll just move on...
Tindersticks - Across Six Leap Years
: Tindersticks has been a band in the background of a lot of stuff I listen to, and this was probably my first purposeful exposure to them. It's not for me - it's loungey, slow stuff that doesn't really grab me at all. I can see who might like this (and if that minor description excites you, you'll likely dig this), but it really hasn't impacted me at all.
Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs - Under the Covers Volume 3
: I'm a sucker for a good covers album, and a while back Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs put out an album of their versions of their favorite songs from the 1960s. It's one of my favorite cover albums ever. Volume 2 took on the 1970s and wasn't as great, but still had some solid highlights. Volume 3 is all about the 1980s, which is interesting given that both Hoffs and Sweet had their heyday in this era. None of these are necessarily hitting me as great versions, unfortunately - "Free Fallin'" is interesting, and it's always weird to hear groups take on R.E.M. songs (and Sweet was in a band with Michael Stipe's sister for a time, which makes for a weird aside), but on a whole, the idea of 80s songs without the overproduced gloss just doesn't always work for me. More a curiosity than a solid listen for me.
Los Campesinos! - No Blues
: Los Campesinos! is not the most accessible band with some indie success. "You! Me! Dancing!" was a high point, and I feel like I'm always waiting for another song like it that doesn't come. It's definitely a more interesting album than I've heard as of late, but I'm not sure how much patience I'll have for it, either. Good for fans, for sure.
Cate le Bon - Mug Museum
: Cate le Bon was another random Amie Street pickup for me for her album Me Oh My
, and I really enjoyed the follow-up. This album turns the weirdness dial up a bit, exchanging accessible melodies over interesting instrumentation for more complicated song structures. Some of it I really loved on first listen, some not as much. This one is one I'll be giving a longer shot in the short term, for sure, but those who are expecting similarities to her earlier albums might be disappointed.
Also out this week:
* Trampled by Turtles - Live at First Avenue
(a decent, if inessential, listen)
* Various Artists - Songs for Slim
(includes tracks from Jeff Tweedy, Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle, etc)