Tuesday, August 4, 2015

First Listen: New Releases for July 31

The dog days of summer are truly upon us.

Album of the Week:

Artist: Have Gun, Will Travel
Album: Science From an Easy Chair
Quick Description: Interesting indie rock album with roots influences about Shackleton's excursion 100 years ago.
Why You Should Listen: You like concept albums or albums that tend to subvert typical expectations.
Overall Thoughts: In what is a very short week for releases, this is a lot of fun but would likely be overlooked otherwise. It's got a lot of really great moments that make it worth your while, though.
Recommendation: Probably the one essential album for this week.

Artist: Titus Andronicus
Album: The Most Lamentable Tragedy
Quick Description: New album by indie art rockers.
Why You Should Listen: You're enjoyed Titus Andronicus before; challenging indie rock is sometimes your thing.
Overall Thoughts: Titus Andronicus hasn't ever really done it for me, and this album has a lot of good moments mixed in with some really strange conceptual stuff. You'll know pretty quickly how long your tolerance is for this - mine was about an hour.
Recommendation: Probably for fans only, and you'll get a better idea of what this band is about with their debut.

Artist: Lianne La Havas
Album: Blood
Quick Description: Second album by Prince-associated alt-R&B artist.
Why You Should Listen: You don't mind more groovy R&B but tend to look for something more.
Overall Thoughts: I grabbed this solely because she has toured with Prince/in his touring band. This is a very unique and different album that, in a way, defies characterization, and when it works, it is rather brilliant.
Recommendation: Worth a listen, you're very likely to find something you'd like.

Artist: Joss Stone
Album: Water For Your Soul
Quick Description: Latest reggae-inspired album by the young soul singer.
Why You Should Listen: You're a fan of her previous work and embarrassing lyrics don't bother you.
Overall Thoughts: This is not so bad musically, but, especially as someone who rarely notices lyrics, this is really painful to listen to. "Star" in particular is especially ridiculous.
Recommendation: Skip this. Even fans might find this a little hard to bear.

Artist: Albert Hammond Jr
Album: Momentary Masters
Quick Description: Strokes guitarist with a new album.
Why You Should Listen: You like your indie rock straightforward; The Strokes and his previous work did it for you.
Overall Thoughts: I liked "Born Slippy" a lot when I first heard it and offered it up here at the blog. What's stunning about Momentary Masters in particular is how momentary the album truly is. I listened to this and promptly forgot basically all of it shortly after. I think I liked it? It's just not memorable.
Recommendation: Give it a listen.

Artist: Russkaja
Album: Peace, Love, and Russian Roll
Quick Description: Russian ska-punk band with their influences front and center.
Why You Should Listen: You wish Gogol Bordello was more like a 1950s/60s rock band; you enjoy well-crafted ska-punk.
Overall Thoughts: I really enjoyed this album. It's imperfect for sure, and perhaps too all-over-the-place to really have any lasting qualities, but when I hear some old-school rockabilly breakdowns in the middle of a ska song, or when the acoustic love song hits in the middle? It's hard not to be charmed.
Recommendation: A must listen for this week, if only for the experience. You might even end up loving it.

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