Tuesday, November 24, 2015

First Listen: New Releases for November 20

A quieter week than normal as we approach the American Thanksgiving holiday. I'd also review the new Adele, but, well...

Album of the Week:

Artist: Sheer
Album: Uneasy
Quick Description: Shoegazey-style indie alt-rock.
Why You Should Listen: You are looking for that nostalgia hit this week, but want something really great
Overall Thoughts: Ken posted about the title track last month and I fell in love with it right away as well. The full album, thankfully, is about as good as the single, and that means great things for a band that I don't think is getting enough attention yet. It's just one of those solid, surprise albums that make it fun to discover new music. It's one you'll want to tell your friends about.
Recommendation: Highly recommended album of the week, and it's not even close.

Artist: Kingsley Flood
Album: The Good Fight
Quick Description: Latest EP from a favorite of ours.
Why You Should Listen: You look for more of a rootsy feel than a pop-rock feel from your local indie stalwarts.
Overall Thoughts: I'm close to the point of saying "Kingsley Flood can do no wrong," as this EP is another winner. Definitely more roots-based, the lead track sets an impressive, pleasant tone and it ends up being pretty solid throughout. A short listen, but a worthy one.
Recommendation: Absolutely something to listen to.

Artist: Freddie Gibbs
Album: Shadow of a Doubt
Quick Description: Latest surprise album from the buzzworthy rapper.
Why You Should Listen: You want to be on the cutting edge of the rap scene.
Overall Thoughts: I'll be honest, I didn't really get this or connect with it at all. It's on the edge of mainstream and strange, which is fine, but it's hard to see this fitting into the other rap/R&B I've enjoyed this year, and what I know of Gibbs seems to be that his persona and activities are almost as important as his music. So I reserve judgement, but this might not be for everyone.
Recommendation: In a short week, it might be worth it, but be wary.

Artist: Holly and Ken Stringfellow
Album: The Record
Quick Description: A "country opera" project from Holly and Posies singer Ken Stringfellow.
Why You Should Listen: Stringfellow's involvement should be enough, but even so, this is an enjoyable record.
Overall Thoughts: I didn't know what to expect going in. I don't know Holly at all, and I know Stringfellow more through his connections to R.E.M. than his Posies work, but this is a really pleasant homage to classic country that probably deserves a bit of your time. Really interesting, really well-done.
Recommendation: A definite recommendation this week.

Artist: Arca
Album: Mutant
Quick Description: Latest album from the R&B producer.
Why You Should Listen: Weird electronica's your thing; you've really enjoyed the music from FKA Twigs more than perhaps the total package.
Overall Thoughts: I liked Xen from last year, but I'll be honest in saying that this didn't grab me the same way. It's along the same lines, but I'm wondering if a longer, weirder electronic experiment is within my bounds these days. I know a lot of people who might dig this, but, like the last album...
Recommendation: ...be wary.

Artist: Foo Fighters
Album: Saint Cecelia
Quick Description: Free surprise EP from Foo Fighters!
Why You Should Listen: Free surprise EP from Foo Fighters!
Overall Thoughts: At this point, you know whether you're interested in this. With that said, they're going a little harder than usual with this one, so if you're expecting Sonic Highways, you might be surprised.
Recommendation: A listen I enjoyed, and you might, too.

Artist: Punch Brothers
Album: The Wireless
Quick Description: A new EP from bluegrass heroes Punch Brothers.
Why You Should Listen: The group typically tries different things on their EPs and this isn't any different in that regard.
Overall Thoughts: I won't say this is my favorite release of theirs by a longshot, but their sort of prog-grass really shines through on this EP. As extras from the Phosphorescent Blues sessions, they sometimes feel like throwaways, but your enjoyment of this will ultimately come down to your enjoyment of that album, I think.
Recommendation: Punch Brothers are always worth the time, especially for an EP.

Artist: Shovels and Rope
Album: Busted Jukebox Volume 1
Quick Description: A covers album from Shovels and Rope. Need I say more?
Why You Should Listen: Covers album + sassy alt-country duo = perfection.
Overall Thoughts: I only wish I knew more of these songs. The duo teamed up with favorite acts to record favorite songs, and it's great. If you can't get with the version of "Patience" featuring the Milk Carton Kids, I don't know what to tell you.
Recommendation: Highly recommended this week. Lots of fun.

Also out this week:

* Pure Beauty - Pure Beauty

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