Tuesday, November 22, 2016

First Listen: New Releases for November 18

We're starting to hit the end of the year doldrums in terms of releases. There are a few more solid weeks coming up, though.

Artist: Justice
Album: Woman
Quick Description: The indie dance act with their latest album.
Why You Should Listen: Indie electronic dance music is sort of a thing right now.
Overall Thoughts: People love Justice, and with good reason. For me, they've never quite connected, and I don't know how this album sits in comparison to anything else they've done, but this is a perfectly good representation of what Justice is in my brain. The songs are catchy, the beat good, and that's all I was looking for. Will it be enough for you, though? That, I don't know.
Recommendation: A good listen, might not be great for longtime fans.

Artist: Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats
Album: A Little Something More From...
Quick Description: An EP of some odds and ends following their breakthrough this year.
Why You Should Listen: This is probably closer to what you want from this band.
Overall Thoughts: Not a ton to say about what is basically a b-sides collection in any other era, but there is a lot of great stuff here that delves more into the rootsy aspect of what makes this band great. Absolutely worth it for fans, and might be a good entry point for those who weren't turned on by "S.O.B."
Recommendation: A great quick listen.

Artist: Various Artists
Album: Let All The Children Boogie: A Tribute to David Bowie
Quick Description: Does what it says on the tin.
Why You Should Listen: Because these tribute albums, always hit-or-miss, should typically get a shot. But it's for a good cause, which matters.
Overall Thoughts: The Ted Leo song is great, the "Lady Stardust" and "Ziggy Stardust" takes are solid, but this might be more of a hardcore fan effort than anything else. In terms of tribute albums, this is fine, but I can't say I got a TON out of it in the grand scheme of things. Fun fact, though: local-ish children's author/illustrator Jarrett Krosoczka did the artwork for the cover!
Recommendation: Worth at least one listen.

Artist: Zach Jones and the Tricky Bits
Album: Rendezvous With a Comet
Quick Description: Standard indie rock without pretense.
Why You Should Listen: There's nothing else like it this week, and Jenny Owen Youngs guests on a track.
Overall Thoughts: The Jenny Owen Youngs link is what turned me onto this, and the result is a good but not amazing EP from a group that has a lot of potential. Come for "Mushroom Suit," stay for the rest, and keep an eye on this one.
Recommendation: Worth a listen this week.

Artist: Our Girl
Album: Normally
Quick Description: Indie rock EP with a little PJ Harvey and a little 1990s grunge.
Why You Should Listen: The most interesting release of the week.
Overall Thoughts: I preface this by saying it's not perfect. It's also only four songs and not nearly long enough, and I really want to know what Our Girl can do with a full album. For now, we have songs like "No Big Deal" that really scratch a few specific itches for me. There's a quality to this that feels familiar but still really off-center and awkward, and sometimes the best music can come from that.
Recommendation: A top recommendation this week.

Artist: Royal Teeth
Album: Amateurs
Quick Description: Singer-songwritery indie pop.
Why You Should Listen: Ingrid Michaelson-esque music is your thing, but you wish there was more Of Monsters and Men to her stuff.
Overall Thoughts: I should love this. As it is, I only kind of like it. It's maybe too polished, and it's not weird enough, but I can see this really breaking through into something big. Keep an ear on this one, but this might not work for everyone.
Recommendation: A tentative recommendation.

Also out this week:

* Wildheart - Shine
* Metallica - Hardwired... to Self-Destruct (it sounds like Metallica, and that was enough for me.)
* Little Mix - Glory Days
* Prateek Podar - Walking in My Sleep (solid if unassuming folk)

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