Wednesday, March 9, 2016

First Listen, Part Two: New Releases for March 4

And here we go with the other half!

Co-Album of the Week:

Artist: Thao and the Get Down Stay Down
Album: A Man Alive
Quick Description: Latest album by the criminally underrated indie rock act.
Why You Should Listen: It's an album that deserves a lot of attention and not to get overlooked.
Overall Thoughts: I was a latecomer of sorts to Thao Nguyen. Her songwriting didn't grab me right away with her "breakout" of sorts, "Bag of Hammers," but every album she's done since then has improved on the blueprint she brings, and A Man Alive might be the best one yet. It takes some time to truly get off the ground, but by the time "Nobody Dies" hits I was completely and totally on board. It's a challenging record, for sure, but in a good way - if you're not a fan yet, this album might take a few spins to get you on the bandwagon, but I promise there's plenty of room. This is a great release.
Recommendation: Awesome album for this week.

Artist: Wussy
Album: Forever Sounds
Quick Description: Latest album by the cult alt-country/rock act.
Why You Should Listen: Wussy is a band you either already love or is the next band you're going to love.
Overall Thoughts: I should love Wussy. Why they haven't fully connected with me, I don't know, but their continued evolution is here with Forever Sounds, an album that has a lot of solid things going for it on a whole. They're becoming a more traditional rock band in a lot of ways while still retaining the thing that makes them who they are, so if you liked Attica!, you might love this.
Recommendation: Worth a listen.

Artist: Greg Laswell
Album: Everyone Thinks I Dodged a Bullet
Quick Description: First album in a long time by the underrated singer-songwriter.
Why You Should Listen: Greg Laswell has a voice and style that you should already be listening to if you aren't already.
Overall Thoughts: On one hand, it's totes awkward to know that this is a breakup album of sorts when you're in a highish-profile marriage and then you title the album this. I mean, with that in mind, this is a darkish but interesting album that cements Laswell as a voice to hear in the singer-songwriter space. I hope this breaks him through for his original work in the way his covers have in the past.
Recommendation: Definitely worth some time this week.

Artist: M. Ward
Album: More Rain
Quick Description: New album from the indie singer/songwriter.
Why You Should Listen: M. Ward's 60s/70s-inspired songwriting has always been a must listen...
Overall Thoughts: ...but this album feels like a bit of a miss. My issue with it is more one of how restrained it feels, which is different from a musician that always seems to put the musicianship and music first. Atmosphere is one thing Ward does well, and this is full of it, but this almost feels more like a concept album than anything else. On one listen, I can't really judge it on its merits, and I need more time with it.
Recommendation: Passing judgement for now, an interesting release for sure.

Artist: Wintersleep
Album: The Great Detachment
Quick Description: New album by the breakout rockers.
Why You Should Listen: It's really one of the better rock albums out lately.
Overall Thoughts: So I thought this band was a different band when I lined this up this week. I don't know who I thought they were, but this was still a pleasant surprise and listen across the board. It's got the sort of quality, polished-yet-crunchy quality I feel is missing from a lot of rock music as of late, and I definitely think this deserves a bigger look.
Recommendation: Definite recommendation this week.

Artist: Methyl Ethel
Album: Oh Inhuman Spectacle
Quick Description: Debut album from Australian indie act.
Why You Should Listen: This is a buzz band for 2016 that might be poised for some breakout success.
Overall Thoughts: I can't say I lovedlovedloved this, but it had a lot of hints of the sort of odd-center indie acts I fell in love with a decade ago. In that sense, they're very much a modern throwback of sorts that scratches a very specific itch for me. I think we'll be hearing more from them soon, so get in on the ground floor.
Recommendation: Definitely worth a listen this week.

Artist: Rob Crow's Gloomy Place
Album: You're Doomed. Be Nice.
Quick Description: Solo effort from the Pinback lead.
Why You Should Listen: Power pop for daaaaaays!
Overall Thoughts: It's a shame this came out at the same time as Nada Surf, because this deserves a better look. It's a solid effort with a lot to love and some different themes throughout (I'm more partial to some of the poppier stuff, but songs like "Business Interruptus" are just as solid), and it's just a fun listen from start to finish. Don't sleep on this one.
Recommendation: Make it part of your rotation.

Also out this week:

* The Suitcase Junket - Dying Star (solid blues rock EP)
* Face to Face - Protection (straightforward solid classic punk)

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