Wednesday, March 8, 2017

First Listen, Part Two: More New Releases for March 3

And here's the rest from this week!

Artist: Nadia Reid
Album: Preservation
Quick Description: Folkish music.
Why You Should Listen: Nothing like it this week.
Overall Thoughts: I don’t know for sure what I expected from this, but in terms of what is effectively a quiet, folk-adjacent effort, I definitely enjoyed it. While I doubt this will blow your mind or end up on your best-of list, this is a solid listen in a week without a lot of this sort of thing
Recommendation: Give it a shot.

Artist: Why?
Album: Moh Llean
Quick Description: Latest from the oddball rockers.
Why You Should Listen: Why? is always interesting, at least.
Overall Thoughts: Why? is a weird band, and they make no efforts to not be strange. That’s what makes the relatively straightforward nature of this new album so weird in and of itself. A distinct lack of twists and turns that I noticed on first listen means that a lot of Why?’s selling point is kind of lost. I’ll need to spend more time with this, but there’s a chance the appeal here might be lacking.
Recommendation: Probably won't work for everyone.

Artist: Minus the Bear
Album: VOIDS
Quick Description: Latest from the alt rock act.
Why You Should Listen: You like your rock music straightforward, no frills.
Overall Thoughts: I don’t have a lot of good to say about this at all. It’s fine as a mainstream rock effort, but there’s nothing here at all to help stand out.
Recommendation: Skip it.

Artist: Temples
Album: Volcano
Quick Description: Retro act returns with a sophomore act.
Why You Should Listen: Their first album was so good, a second helping is almost mandatory.
Overall Thoughts: Temples had a surprisingly fun retro debut, and this second album, like so many sophomore efforts, tries to diminish what worked toward a more evolved sound. I don’t know if they needed it, especially when the best highlights of the album come from when you get that 60s/70s-era sound peppering the proceedings. Overall, it’s a decent listen...
Recommendation: ...but could have been a lot better.

Artist: Noam Pikelny
Album: Universal Favorite
Quick Description: New solo record from the Punch Brother.
Why You Should Listen: Great musicianship and modern bluegrass. A good mix.
Overall Thoughts: Noam Pikelny is the banjo player for Punch Brothers, and that’s clear from the start on this solo album. I absolutely enjoyed this listen and it’s the sort of progressive bluegrass that I tend to gravitate toward, and now I’m kicking myself that I’ve yet to explore his solo catalog.
Recommendation: A favorite from this week.

Artist: Adia Victoria
Album: How It Feels
Quick Description: (Mostly) French-language EP from a blog favorite.
Why You Should Listen: This is gorgeous and awesome.
Overall Thoughts: I was a big fan of Adia Victoria’s debut album, and this is a short EP, mostly in French, that keeps her sound while expanding the template a bit. At the end of the day, I think the lead track, "Laissez tomber les filles," is a favorite song of mine anyway and her take on it (slightly poppy, slightly dirgey) is super interesting.
Recommendation: Definitely find time for this.

Artist: Jenn Grant
Album: Paradise
Quick Description: Singer-songwriter with an ethereal sort of quality to her sound.
Why You Should Listen: This is a beautiful album.
Overall Thoughts: A little challenging, a little timeless, a little reminiscent of a lot of different things for me. The title track absolutely brought me somewhere, and I can't quite place it but I love where it ended up. This is a sleeper album for me, I can sense this sticking with me for a while.
Recommendation: A must listen this week.

Also out this week:

* Ibibio Sound Machine - Uyah
* Nnamdi Ogbonnaya - DROOL

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