Tuesday, March 7, 2017

First Listen: New Releases for March 3

So many new releases, so little time...

Nothing crazy stands out this week, though.

Artist: Bleached
Album: Can You Deal?
Quick Description: Bleached goes for a cleaner, power pop sound.
Why You Should Listen: Bleached has been really good for a while, and this continues that trend.
Overall Thoughts: This EP probably isn't the shift that I think it is, but it feels like it is anyway. The first two songs are among the best they've done, and this is just a solid, quick listen for some alt-rock tinged indie. If "Flipside" doesn't get stuck in your head, I don't know what to tell you.
Recommendation: A great listen this week.

Artist: The Knitts
Album: Retreat
Quick Description: 15 years later, we're still trying to emulate The Strokes.
Why You Should Listen: You're into non-ironic straightforward rock music.
Overall Thoughts: This isn't good. And it's not bad in a "it's passe" way (though it is) or that it's years too late (though it is), it's just really straightforward and uninspired and feels woefully overproduced. It might not even be their fault. But there's too much good out this week to spend more time on it.
Recommendation: Skip this.

Artist: Grandaddy
Album: Last Place
Quick Description: Comeback album for the beloved early-aughts indie band.
Why You Should Listen: Grandaddy was always interesting, and this is a pleasant return.
Overall Thoughts: I know people who love this band more than me, and, as far as I'm concerned, The Sophtware Slump was far and away their best work. This evokes a lot of those memories even if, on first listen, there's not a song that stands out. Still, one doesn't always expect a band to be in good form after such a long layoff and this works in a lot of ways. It just might not be your favorite.
Recommendation: A good listen, lots of nostalgia.

Artist: Colin Hay
Album: Fierce Mercy
Quick Description: Men at Work frontman's latest.
Why You Should Listen: This is a good album!
Overall Thoughts: ...until the rap song comes in. By then, I realized how long this album was and how jarring the whole thing was, and, really, what could have been a good short album ends up being a little too much. Colin Hay has had a pretty solid track record as a solo artist, and most of this isn't a misstep, but the totality of this effort just left a bad taste in my mouth.
Recommendation: Maybe worth a listen, but it's not crazy great.

Artist: Sleaford Mods
Album: English Tapas
Quick Description: The most divisive group of the blog has a new album...
Why You Should Listen: ...and I kind of dig it!
Overall Thoughts: This group hasn't done it for me at all. I find them to be woefully uninteresting and sometimes grating, even though Ken digs it. This album is the first one that has really caught my ear in any real way, and while I was still kind of exhausted by it at the end, I think I might be into where they might be going. I dunno.
Recommendation: Fans will enjoy, and this might be worth trying if you're not on board yet.

Artist: Future
Quick Description: A pair of rap albums by one of the top popular artists.
Why You Should Listen: If anything, to figure out what the kids are listening to.
Overall Thoughts: But seriously, this is good. I think I avoided Future because I stupidly thought he had something to do with Odd Future. He doesn't. This is a little more chill, a little more standard and accessible, and while it's not setting my world on fire, I've enjoyed the releases and I will be exploring his back catalog. Truly, HNDRXX might be the better album, but it's probably smarter to treat them as a whole.
Recommendation: Solid hip-hop this week.

Artist: Brooke Waggoner
Album: Sweven Remixes
Quick Description: Folkie goes electric.
Why You Should Listen: Remix albums are typically interesting.
Overall Thoughts: Brooke Waggoner is sneaky great, and these eight remixes of Sweven tunes ends up being an enjoyable listen for what it is. I found a lot to enjoy here, but I’m also predisposed to enjoying weird remix albums. You wouldn’t think her music would lend itself to this sort of treatment, but you might be surprised at how well it works.
Recommendation: Worth a listen.

Artist: Tim Kasher
Album: No Resolution
Quick Description: Latest solo effort from the Cursive frontman.
Why You Should Listen: You're a Cursive fan; his solo work has grabbed you.
Overall Thoughts: Tim Kasher is best known for his work with Cursive, but his solo work hasn’t really caught me and this isn’t honestly much different. His songwriting and singing doesn’t lend itself well to the sounds that are put forward in this album. A complete and total miss for me.
Recommendation: Skip it.

Also out this week:

* The Magnetic Fields - 50 Song Memoir
* Rosamov - This Mortal Road

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