Tuesday, September 8, 2015

First Listen: New Releases for September 4

Waaaaaaay too much out this week, and none of it is especially mind-blowing.

Album of the Week:

Artist: Widowspeak
Album: All Yours
Quick Description: Dreamy folk rock.
Why You Should Listen: It's the prettiest album released this week, and does a lot of interesting things.
Overall Thoughts: I had a visualization of this band that was much different than the end result. It's definitely a strange record in some regards, but its beauty more than makes up for the challenge. In a week where there's a lot of straightforward music out (the new Miley notwithstanding), this does stand out.
Recommendation: Best release of the week.

Artist: Family of the Year
Album: Family of the Year
Quick Description: Latest, more mainstream, album from the indie rock band.
Why You Should Listen: Pop folk is your thing.
Overall Thoughts: The first thing that came to mind during this listen was how polished it was. "Make You Mine" has radio hit written all over it, and the rest of the album is along the same lines. It's not bad, but the indieness of this band appears to be gone. That's probably going to impact your judgement more than anything else.
Recommendation: Worth a listen, the parts might be better than the whole, though.

Artist: Oh Wonder
Album: Oh Wonder
Quick Description: What if the Civil Wars really liked Kanye West's 808 and Heartbreak?
Why You Should Listen: There's a Civil Wars-shaped hole in your heart that only some singer-songwriter duets can fix.
Overall Thoughts: I liked this album. I think. Every so often the traditional modernness of the whole thing throws an unexpected curveball that makes listening more interesting than you'd expect. It might not be for everyone, but I definitely know I'll go back for more.
Recommendation: Might not be for everyone, but should be heard.

Artist: Dan Bern
Album: Hoody
Quick Description: Latest folkish album from the longtime singer-songwriter.
Why You Should Listen: You're a fan of Dan Bern. Or Bob Dylan. Or politically-oriented folk songs.
Overall Thoughts: This is a perfectly okay album on a whole. It's one I thought was fine when I listened but I don't know if I'd actually go back, especially considering a lot of the more interesting folk albums that have come out as of late.
Recommendation: Probably for fans only, unless you're really into this style. You'll know quickly.

Artist: Fidlar
Album: Too
Quick Description: Skate punk at it's finest/most obnoxious.
Why You Should Listen: You still have an old beat up pair of Vans in your closet; you think Blink 182 sold out with "Dammit."
Overall Thoughts: I mean, listen. I'm 34 years old, a wife, a kid, a mortgage. I am not the audience for this. It's fun, it's goofy, and I think 15 year old me might find some meaning in this that I just can't anymore. I don't know if this blog is even close to its intended audience, but this album works at what it's trying to do.
Recommendation: Not for me, but maybe for you.

Artist: Public Image Ltd.
Album: What the World Needs Now
Quick Description: What if McLusky and The Fall had a really weird lookin' kid.
Why You Should Listen: You like this band already or you're feeling really adventurous.
Overall Thoughts: I had never actually heard any PiL prior to this, and, well, I don't see myself going back. Let's just leave it at that.
Recommendation: Ehhh....

Artist: Cold Beat
Album: Into the Air
Quick Description: Late 1980s/early 1990s alt rock stylings from a west coast indie band.
Why You Should Listen: You know the drill: this is a nostalgia trip you want to go on.
Overall Thoughts: I don't know if anyone remembers that song "Crash" by The Primitives, maybe best known to American audiences via Dumb and Dumber. This album gives me a huge vibe like that song, and I am on board.
Recommendation: Great listen, definitely recommended this week.

Artist: Diane Coffee
Album: Everybody's a Good Dog
Quick Description: Foxygen side project that feels like a 1970s rock record.
Why You Should Listen: You're a fan of Foxygen and you find this appealing.
Overall Thoughts: Another album that didn't really work for me, it's just a weird album that feels a little out of place and is clearly more of a passion project than anything else.
Recommendation: You'll know within minutes if it's for you, but be wary.

Artist: Painted Palms
Album: Horizons
Quick Description: A mix between synth pop and psych rock.
Why You Should Listen: You wish the Elephant Six folks did more with synths?
Overall Thoughts: I feel like the description is kind of it for this. I liked this album, but I didn't love it and it didn't stick in my head for long. I'll want to spend more time, but, in a crowded week...
Recommendation: Give it a shot if you have the time.

Artist: Lou Barlow
Album: Brace the Wave
Quick Description: Lou Barlow (of Dinosaur Jr and Sebadoh) does a divorce record.
Why You Should Listen: You're into Lou Barlow.
Overall Thoughts: This is a stark, kind of heavy album, as one can imagine. I've always been up and down with Barlow's stuff, and this is no different for me. It's stripped down and interesting enough to be worthy of a listen.
Recommendation: Give this a shot if you're into what Barlow offers.

Artist: The Arcs
Album: Yours, Fondly
Quick Description: Psych side project of Dan Auerbach (The Black Keys).
Why You Should Listen: You're a Black Keys fan looking for some retro rock.
Overall Thoughts: Honestly, Temples does it better. I get that a lot of the appeal of The Black Keys is how they update the sort of blues rock genre, and this is an attempt to do so with a slightly different genre, so that's noteworthy, but I just didn't find it all that catchy on a whole - and that's going in with low expectations.
Recommendation: Unless you're a Black Keys fan, skip it.

Also out this week:

* Against Me! - 23 Live Sex Acts
* Miley Cyrus - Miley Cyrus and her Dead Petz
* Thunderbitch - Thunderbitch

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