Tuesday, February 16, 2016

First Listen: New Releases for February 12

A fascinating week this week. It should be noted that Kanye West's album did come out at some point this weekend, but it won't hit non-Tidal services until next weekend. I will almost certainly cover the album as soon as I have reasonable access to it. With that said...

Album of the Week:

Artist: Radiation City
Album: Synestetica
Quick Description: A fun, synthy indie album.
Why You Should Listen: You deserve something fun like this album for this week.
Overall Thoughts: I think this came out of nowhere for me this week, and that might be part of why I'm so into it. A sometimes dancey, sometimes retro-feeling album, you'll know pretty quickly into "Oil Show" whether this is right for you, but I don't think I've been more excited to get back to a surprise album the way I was for this.
Recommendation: My favorite of the week, so check it out.

Artist: Lissie
Album: My Wild West
Quick Description: Lissie goes independent on her third release.
Why You Should Listen: Lissie is a must listen, and if you haven't gotten on board yet, you should do that.
Overall Thoughts: Lissie's albums have been must-listen affairs for me since I first learned of her, and I was extremely excited for this album. I hate to use the word "unfortunately," because that's not accurate, but this album is a lot slower and more deliberative than her previous efforts. Outside of "Don't You Give Up On Me," there isn't that breakout, immediate song that grabs you, and many songs feel almost more experimental in some regards. This is not to say it's bad. In fact, it's very good, and was a favorite of mine this week, but it perhaps isn't what I expected. So that's the only negative, and this one feels like it'll be a grower.
Recommendation: Recommended for sure, one of the better releases this week.

Artist: Basia Bulat
Album: Good Advice
Quick Description: Fourth album from the Canadian singer-songwriter.
Why You Should Listen: If you're not a fan, she does very great indie folk. If you are a fan, this is a return to form of sorts.
Overall Thoughts: I've loved Basia Bulat since her first album, and this new one is absolutely more reminiscent of that early work than her more recent stuff. "La La Lie" put a smile on my face within seconds, and it basically stayed with me through the whole listen (even though this is apparently a breakup album of sorts). Still, it's always great to get a Basia Bulat album, so this is a nice plus this week.
Recommendation: Another solid release for this week.

Artist: The Jezabels
Album: Synthia
Quick Description: Third album from the Australian rock group.
Why You Should Listen: The Jezebels put out some of the most interesting and accessible rock music at present.
Overall Thoughts: In a week where it's established artists doing something a little different, The Jezebels return with an album that feels a lot more raw and unpolished than their previous work. This, as with the others, is not a bad thing. The band has dealt with some situations over the last few years that absolutely speak to what's happening on this album, and the result is maybe a lot more personal than we're used to. Still, this might be a good entry point for some, and then work backward from there.
Recommendation: A solid listen, worth your time.

Artist: Foxes
Album: All I Need
Quick Description: Second album from the pop singer trying hard to break through.
Why You Should Listen: You need your pop fix this week.
Overall Thoughts: Foxes's first album was better than I think a lot of people gave credit for, and she had a good turn on an EDM track a couple years back, but this second album just feels like it's missing something. Is it too much of a try hard? Maybe, but without a real solid, hooky song and without a major reason to propel itself above artists possibly doing this better (like, for example, Alessia Cara), this just feels like it falls flat.
Recommendation: Not really recommended this week.

Artist: You Say Party
Album: You Say Party
Quick Description: Canadian dance punks return and play it straight.
Why You Should Listen: You're looking for a different sound this week.
Overall Thoughts: Formerly You Say Party! I Say Die!, the band had some losses and a short hiatus, but return with an album that sounds more deliberate and much slower than what we've come to expect from them. Fans of the band might be turned off, but if you weren't into them before this might be a new change of pace. As for me, I'm on the fence. It's good, but it's unexpected and I might need more time.
Recommendation: Might be worth a slot in your rotation.

Artist: Cloud Cult
Album: The Seeker
Quick Description: Second album from rock supergroup.
Why You Should Listen: If you loved their first album...
Overall Thoughts: ...this might be up your alley, or might be a little weird. A concept album to tie along with Josh Radnor's (How I Met Your Mother) upcoming movie, this is one of those albums that probably works better in context. On its own, though, the musicality shines through and fans of their first album will probably find something to like.
Recommendation: A wait-and-see for me.

Artist: The Suffers
Album: The Suffers
Quick Description: Debut album from Southern soul rock group.
Why You Should Listen: We don't feature soul music much here, so that should tell you something.
Overall Thoughts: It's good! It's not my genre, but I really enjoyed it for what it was. I don't know enough about the genre to say how it stacks up, but if you're looking for a new voice...
Recommendation: I liked it a lot!

Artist: The Frights
Album: You Are Going to Hate This
Quick Description: Good old-fashioned garage rock.
Why You Should Listen: Nothing rocks like this does this week or recently.
Overall Thoughts: You'll know how you feel by listening to the title track, but overall, this is fun. When Ken sent this over, I thought the album title was his editorial for me, but it turns out there's a lot of irony in the album title. Absolutely a fun release, one of the better ones this week. Absolutely vital if you're into good rock music.
Recommendation: A definite listen this week.

Artist: Alex Dezen
Album: Alex Dezen
Quick Description: Solo album from a member of The Damnwells
Why You Should Listen: You're a fan of The Damnwells or perhaps the sort of 80s Don Henley rock it's mimicking at times.
Overall Thoughts: This is super polished and I don't know if it's great, or good, or just passable. "A Little Less Like Hell" is pretty representative, and it's not a bad song, but, like the rest of the album, I just waited for it to explode and it never quite gets there. This is an okay listen, but it's far from great.
Recommendation: Not essential in what is a busy week.

Artist: Flowers
Album: Everybody's Dying to Meet You
Quick Description: Some retro-style indie rock.
Why You Should Listen: If you listen to the lead track, hear that reverb, and get taken back someplace in the deep recesses of your memory, you'll know why.
Overall Thoughts: The good thing about this album, from a band I don't feel I know or remember, is that they're fresh sounding while still having a very distinct sound they're playing at. I haven't heard guitar sounds like that in ages, and that's where the charm comes from, but they're not afraid to go loud in a chorus, either, meaning you don't feel like you're constantly waiting for more. I can quibble about a lot of things from this album, but in terms of a simply enjoyable listen, this does it.
Recommendation: Worth some time if you have the interest.

Artist: The Record Company
Album: Give It Back to You
Quick Description: Roots rock from a buzzworthy west coast band.
Why You Should Listen: You're looking for more traditional American rock this week.
Overall Thoughts: This band does what they do really well, and it's authentic sounding without feeling like it's trying too hard, which is difficult to do on a whole. This might not be for everyone, but if you've liked the sort of rootsy stuff we offer here, this one exists off the beaten path a bit.
Recommendation: Give it room if you like the genre.

Also out this week:

* Blowfly - 77 Rusty Trombones (juvenile as all get out, but you'll know if you're looking for something like this.)
* The Coffin Daggers - Aggrivatin' Rhythms (surf rock!)

1 comment:

  1. We happen to meet a great people there and started to chat with them and drink w/them too. I had a great time here, glad we found this place by accident. Will definitely come to the venues in NYC again as anyone will make this a regular spot easily.