Aaaaaaaaaand we're back!
Artist: Julia Jacklin
Album: Don't Let the Kids Win
Quick Description: Debut album from a favorite here.
Why You Should Listen: She's a modern throwback in all the best ways.
Overall Thoughts: We've spilled a lot of digital ink on Jacklin over the last year, so to finally have a solo album is great, and the fact that it's meeting and exceeding expectations is just icing on the cake. This was very nearly my album of the week, and the promise that came with "Pool Party" and "Leadlight" was fulfilled, plain and simple.
Recommendation: Listen to this album. It's a must.
Artist: Springtime Carnivore
Album: Midnight Room
Quick Description: Second album from another retro-styled duo.
Why You Should Listen: When the melodies are on, they are on.
Overall Thoughts: I fell in love with this act with "Name in the Matchbook" from their debut, so seeing a new album was exciting. This continues the same sort of dreamy, poppy sound that we started out with, but with some more modern(ish) inflections. Overall, a fun listen for anyone who likes the sort of indie pop that harkens to an earlier time.
Recommendation: Worth a listen.
Artist: Joyce Manor
Quick Description: Punk act takes it a little slower.
Why You Should Listen: A song like "Fake ID" will grab you, but there's a lot more to it here.
Overall Thoughts: Looking this up a bit, I was surprised to hear they're traditionally punk, because "Fake ID" (a recent Discover Weekly find) felt more indie rock and this album doesn't scream punk to me on first listen (especially in a week where NOFX has an album out). So the surprises within this quick hit of an album are great in and of themselves, but the full listen is absolutely worth it.
Recommendation: Should make your list this week.
Artist: Pony Hunt
Album: Heart Creak
Quick Description: Lo-fi country-folk.
Why You Should Listen: You wish Hooray for the Riff Raff wasn't so polished.
Overall Thoughts: I don't know if there are any drawbacks to this album. It's quiet and lovely, with singer/songwriter Jessie Antonick's melodies just flowing over everything so beautifully. There are so many wonderful, gorgeous things going on here that I can't wait to get back to the album because it's that good. The Julia Jacklin album is likely to get a lot of the press, but do not sleep on this, as it was also an album of the week contender. Just really amazing stuff here for an independent folk artist that wasn't on a lot of radars.
Recommendation: Another must-listen in a week full of them.
Artist: Hiss Golden Messenger
Album: Heart Like a Levee
Quick Description: The indie folkster comes back with something barebones.
Why You Should Listen: You're a fan and somehow the other folk offerings aren't doing it for you.
Overall Thoughts: It's almost a shame that this was the release date for Heart Like a Levee. On one hand, Hiss Golden Messenger is pretty well known, but when you have such great folk albums out this week, it's hard for this to break through. It may be good on its own, but next to Pony Hunt and Jacklin, it feels more uninspired.
Recommendation: Might work, but maybe save it for later.
Artist: Lewis Del Mar
Album: Lewis Del Mar
Quick Description: Glitchy alt-rock.
Why You Should Listen: You can't wait for the next Alt-J record.
Overall Thoughts: I make the Alt-J reference very specifically because, frankly, I don't think this album exists without them. There's the bass-heavy beats, the stilted melodies, the strange instrumentation, and it all works. It definitely has a major label/production sheen over it where Alt-J leaves a little of the rough patches, but that's really the only downside on what's easily the most interesting release this week. You can get a good idea from single "Loud(y)" as to whether this will work for you, but it worked for me.
Recommendation: Definitely worth a shot.
Also out this week:
* NOFX - First Ditch Effort (this is really good, I just have nothing to say about it)
* Brookzill - Throwback to the Future