Wednesday, September 16, 2015

First Listen: New Releases for September 11 - Part Two

And the b-sides of this week's releases:

Artist: Garfunkel and Oates
Album: Secretions
Quick Description: Latest album from the comedy duo.
Why You Should Listen: They're really funny, and you've enjoyed their last albums.
Overall Thoughts: You know what you're getting with G&F, and the only addition to some of these redone songs is the added instrumentation. It's a fun album, and your enjoyment of it will be directly correlated with your tolerance of comedy music. I liked it.
Recommendation: Worth a listen if you're into comedy music.

Artist: Jess Glynne
Album: I Cry When I Laugh
Quick Description: Debut album from the European singer everyone's buzzing about.
Why You Should Listen: You've enjoyed the Europop I've featured here in the past; you like being ahead of the European music trends.
Overall Thoughts: I enjoyed this a lot. Some hints of that modern disco revival at times, other times it feels like a retread, and none of it feels new, but that doesn't mean it's bad. If you're looking for innovation, you might want to look elsewhere, but if you're into something a little different than the rest this week?
Recommendation: A solid listen.

Artist: Empress Of
Album: Me
Quick Description: Much-buzzed about debut indie album.
Why You Should Listen: You like pretty things; the sort of pseudo-R&B thing that so many indie rock groups are doing speaks to you.
Overall Thoughts: I struggle to describe this, actually. I feel I've heard it before, but never like this. I feel this is something special, and can't place why. It's defying a lot of my expectations as well as my ways to describe it, and that might be what makes it great. If the new Gary Clark Jr is the #1 album this week, this one is a close #2.
Recommendation: A mandatory listen. Worth a few listens.

Artist: Craig Finn
Album: Faith in the Future
Quick Description: Latest solo album from the Hold Steady frontman.
Why You Should Listen: You're still into The Hold Steady; Springsteen's still your jam.
Overall Thoughts: I'm currently in a full-blown Frank Turner addiction, and his latest album still feels like it does The Hold Steady better than The Hold Steady has of late. In that I didn't love Finn's first solo album and, frankly, haven't been loving the latest Hold Steady output, this really didn't do anything for me. Fans might feel differently, but this just feels like a bit of a miss.
Recommendation: Maybe a fans-only affair.

Artist: Shannon and the Clams
Album: Gone by the Dawn
Quick Description: A garage rock effort.
Why You Should Listen: You're looking for something a little more rockish to get the taste of the Hollywood Vampires record out of your mouth.
Overall Thoughts: The only thing worse than this group's name is this album cover, and it looks so amateurish and out there that it felt like an independent record I was supposed to avoid at all costs. I'm glad I listened, though - while there isn't a ton of standout stuff here, they're doing some interesting things musically and, once you get past the really strange first track, it might be worth it. Maybe.
Recommendation: Handle with care, but a lot of readers here might love this.

Artist: Low
Album: Ones and Sixes
Quick Description: Latest album from the indie rock favorites.
Why You Should Listen: It's Low. If you need an explanation, go listen to The Great Destroyer and then come back.
Overall Thoughts: Sometimes bands fall into a comfortable rhythm that just works. I feel like Low tried to shake themselves out of that with Drums and Guns a few years back, but the overall result as of late has been a solid effort from the band every time. Ones and Sixes is no different than their past efforts in that regard, complete with some songs you love and some songs that fill out the rest of the album in a great way. I don't know if I could dislike Low at this point, and I'm glad this isn't the album I need to find out.
Recommendation: Definitely worth your time.

Artist: The Legendary Shack Shakers
Album: Surreal Summer
Quick Description: First album in five years from the, well, legendary rockers.
Why You Should Listen: Their version fo Southern rock interests you, you're missing that sort of flair in your recent listens.
Overall Thoughts: I feel like this is a group that has an established everything. If you know them, you either like them or you don't, and if you don't know them, you think you can figure them out. They're a critic-proof band and, with the understanding that I barely qualify as a critic, this is exactly what I expected and that's all you ultimately need to know. A strong effort.
Recommendation: You ultimately know what to do.

Also out this week, round two:

* Stereophonics - Keep the Village Alive

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