Wednesday, September 20, 2017

First Listen, Part 2: More New Releases for September 15

Artist: Foo Fighters
Album: Concrete and Gold
Quick Description: Latest from the alt-rock legends.
Why You Should Listen: I suppose it's not to the point where the Foos are a nostalgia act, right?
Overall Thoughts: Oh, Foo Fighters. On one hand, you have one of the premier alt-rock bands of the post-grunge era with a new album. On the other, I’m not sure they’ve had a truly great (or even good) album in well over a decade. This feels like a mess of rock excess that’s trying too hard, and that might be generous. It makes me wonder whether The Colour and the Shape is actually good at all, given the taste this left in my mouth.
Recommendation: Don’t make my mistake, just pretend this didn’t happen.

Artist: Angus and Julia Stone
Album: Snow
Quick Description: New album from the Aussie duo.
Why You Should Listen: These two continue to be some of the better mainstream acts running.
Overall Thoughts: A favorite of the coffee shop folk music set, this album is as rock-solid as the rest of their work. No, there’s probably no “Big Jet Plane” here, but it doesn’t need it – this duo continues to put out mainstream-friendly folk music that’s still appealing to those of us who rarely listen to the radio, and that’s a feat.
Recommendation: In a weird week, this is certainly deserving of your time.

Artist: Emily Haines and the Soft Skeleton
Album: Choir of the Mind
Quick Description: First Emily Haines solo project in 10 years.
Why You Should Listen: Metric is so good that the side projects deserve notice.
Overall Thoughts: Her first album credited to The Soft Skeleton in a decade, the Metric frontwoman goes a little weird and a little repetitive here, and the result is a bit of a methodical affair that feels a lot longer than its overall runtime. As someone who is really a big fan of Metric, this was a major disappointment for me. I think there’s a class of people who will find a lot of this to be solid and deliberative, but for me? More of a drag than anything else.
Recommendation: Skip this.

Artist: Seth MacFarlane
Album: In Full Swing
Quick Description: Latest swing album from the Family Guy creator.
Why You Should Listen: He still has the right voice for this.
Overall Thoughts: Love him or hate him, his swing efforts have been solid, and Seth MacFarlane has such a reverence for this era of music that this is difficult to ignore. If you like the genre, listen to this. If you like MacFarlane, listen to this. If you can't stand him, you will be annoyed by this release. As for me? It works like all his others.
Recommendation: I enjoyed this!

Artist: Dee Dee Bridgewater
Album: Memphis... Yes, I'm Ready
Quick Description: Latest album of jazz music from the longtime singer.
Why You Should Listen: If MacFarlane is just playing at his stuff, this is much more pure.
Overall Thoughts: As someone who's not much of a jazz guy, I don't have a lot to say about this on a whole except that I did enjoy this listen. There are a lot of solid takes on this album, and it's a pleasant listen even if it's not really groundbreaking. It doesn't have to be, though - the quality in this is in the authenticity, and that's what you're getting here.
Recommendation: Great for jazz fans, good for those who aren't really into it.

EPs of note:

* Hope Sandoval and the Warm Inventions - Luck of a Lady

Also out:

* Philip Selway - Let Me Go soundtrack
* Lee Ranaldo - Electric Trim (legitimately the weirdest release of the year)
* Son Little - New Magic

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