Tuesday, March 29, 2016

First Listen: New Releases for March 25

Some very solid stuff out this week.

Album of the Week:

Artist: Margo Price
Album: Midwest Farmer's Daughter
Quick Description: Debut classic country album via Third Man Records.
Why You Should Listen: If you have any sort of love for classic country in the vein of Loretta Lynn, you need to add this to your list.
Overall Thoughts: I enjoyed this far, far more than I anticipated, as it's the perfect blend of the modern and the old school and results in one of the more fun albums of recent times for me. There's not a missed note on this, and really just further demonstrates that Third Man is putting out just some of the highest quality music out there. Margo Price is a name you need to know, because this might end up blowing up unexpectedly, it's that good.
Recommendation: One of the best things I've heard in 2016 so far. A must listen.

Artist: RJD2
Album: Dame Fortune
Quick Description: Latest album from the electronica producer.
Why You Should Listen: You like electronic music with diverse influences.
Overall Thoughts: RDJ2 is different than most electronic acts I listen to in his unpredictability and the interesting soundscapes he puts out there. What I find interesting about this album, though, is that it feels, on first listen, a little more straightforward than his previous works. I want to spend more time with it, but I didn't find this nearly as sonically interesting as his previous work. Not bad, just different.
Recommendation: Worth it for fans, maybe be wary otherwise.

Artist: The Thermals
Album: We Disappear
Quick Description: Newest album from punk-esque band The Thermals.
Why You Should Listen: The Thermals are typically a good time, and this is a return to form.
Overall Thoughts: I think "Pillar of Salt" might be the song that got me hooked on this band, but their more recent albums have left me a little cold. Thankfully, We Disappear feels like a return to form, a more typical Thermals record with a lot to love here. I felt like this was what I've wanted from this band for a while, and that should say something. So if those golden albums of a half-decade ago are your thing, jump on board, you'll love this.
Recommendation: A great release this week.

Artist: Skating Polly
Album: The Big Fit
Quick Description: Great indie punk-adjacent tunes from a female-led duo.
Why You Should Listen: You miss Be Your Own Pet?
Overall Thoughts: I kind of love this album. It was very nearly my album of the week, but that's not a slag on this, which is such a fun listen and has a lot of fun stuff going on. The softer side with "Cosmetic Skull," the great "Perfume for Now," I just love what's happening here. This tends to be down my alley in terms of the female-fronted stuff, so give this a listen.
Recommendation: Awesome album this week, tons of fun.

Artist: Bob Mould
Album: Patch the Sky
Quick Description: Latest album by the indie legend.
Why You Should Listen: It's Bob Mould, yo.
Overall Thoughts: There's nothing I can say about this that will change anyone's mind, but Bob Mould can still rock as hard 30+ years into his career as anyone, and that's just awesome. Patch the Sky is more of the same, for sure, but when the same is this good, why complain? Great album.
Recommendation: A must listen.

Artist: Birdy
Album: Beautiful Lies
Quick Description: Third album from the British pop singer.
Why You Should Listen: She's only 19 and is hitting a groove.
Overall Thoughts: I figured she was 10 years older than she is given the leaps and bounds made with this album. It sounds a lot like the current pop trends, which is fine, but she's always had a slightly different take on things on a whole, and this does shine through. And, again, she's only 19. We're past the point of cover albums for her and starting to get an idea as to what to expect moving forward and, so far, this is some truly good stuff.
Recommendation: If you like pop music, you need to check this one out. If you don't, you might still find something to love.

Artist: Lee Harvey Osmond
Album: Beautiful Scars
Quick Description: Unfortunately titled band with some fortunate blues-rock.
Why You Should Listen: This will definitely hit those looking for a more deliberative blues rock.
Overall Thoughts: This won't be for everyone, but this has a bit of an old-style, grungy feel to it that sometimes worked for me. I can't say I absolutely loved this, and I have little to say about it, but it's a pretty good release.
Recommendation: Good for those looking for this genre.

Artist: Parker Milsap
Album: The Very Last Day
Quick Description: Solid Americana.
Why You Should Listen: It's more modern but more mainstream than Margo Price.
Overall Thoughts: Another solid Americana release, for sure, and one I definitely enjoyed. Another album I don't have a ton to say about, in part because it's just so well done and perfectly executed that it's just something Americana fans should really just be adding to their lineup this week as well. If the title track doesn't grab you, I honestly don't know what to tell you. A great listen, another one of the best of the week.
Recommendation: A must listen.

Also out this week:

* Littler - Of Wandering
* The Joy Formidible - Hitch
* Open Mike Eagle and Paul White - Hella Personal Film Festival
* Plague Vendor - BLOODSWEAT

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