Tuesday, January 10, 2017

First Listen: New Releases for the Week of January 6

Three new releases this week and another late 2016 find round out this early-year slow week.

Artist: Dropkick Murphys
Album: 11 Short Stories of Pain and Glory
Quick Description: The Boston Irish punks offer more beer-soaked rockers.
Why You Should Listen: You're a contractually-obligated New Englander or enjoy this sort of thing.
Overall Thoughts: Regardless of how I feel about the Dropkicks, they'll be forever intertwined with the Red Sox in these parts, and they've become a Boston institution the way the Bosstones were before them. The new album sounds like the sort of Irish punk sea shanties that we assume they keep pumping out, complete with songs about the Marathon Bombing and and so on and so forth. As someone who generally isn't a fan, I was honestly surprised by how much I enjoyed this on a whole. I don't know if I'll go back to it often, but (especially in a slow week) this might be worth your time.
Recommendation: A surprisingly fun listen.

Artist: Gone is Gone
Album: Echolocation
Quick Description: Sludgey, epic metal from a supergroup of sorts.
Why You Should Listen: You really need some heavier music in your life.
Overall Thoughts: This is a group consisting of members of Queens of the Stone Age, Mastodon, and At the Drive In, and it sounds like it. Whether that's a good or bad thing is completely up to your tastes, but this is not a listen I was completely on board with, even though it had its moments. If you like metal, this might be a little strange for you, and if you don't like metal, the metal elements might be a turnoff. So, ultimately, I don't know who this will appeal to, but it's still an interesting listen nonetheless.
Recommendation: Be wary, but you might find something to love.

Artist: David Bowie
Album: No Plan
Quick Description: Posthumous EP release from the legendary rocker.
Why You Should Listen: It's Bowie. C'mon.
Overall Thoughts: Ken liked Blackstar more than I did, but this release, billed as the final four songs he recorded, is really solid. I'm definitely into it, and it made me revisit Blackstar and really appreciate it a lot more. There's a stark feeling to this, and if there was any question that Bowie knew his fate during the recording of the final album, this should put it to rest. A beautiful piece of art, and a bittersweet goodbye.
Recommendation: Absolutely give this a listen.

Artist: Tattletale Saints
Album: Tattletale Saints
Quick Description: Rock-friendly roots. Or is it roots-friendly rock?
Why You Should Listen: You've always wondered what the love child of Shovels & Rope and Knopfler/Harris would sound like.
Overall Thoughts: I don't know how I tripped up on this, but I was shocked at how it seems to meld two genres together in a very different way. The result here is a rootsy record that I really enjoyed in part because of how it continually threw off my expectations as to what a rootsy record should sound like. It's not Rockabilly, but it's not alt-country, either. Part of the beauty is the enigma, and so...
Recommendation: ...you should absolutely give this a go.

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