My time management was really, really poor this weekend from a blogging standpoint. I watched three crappy movies and an awesome one in It Follows (which has a killer soundtrack/score, by the way) instead of doing the requisite stuff for First Listen this week. Please forgive me, especially given as there's 20-something new releases out there this week.
Melkbelly - Nothing Valley: Latest entry in the female-fronted alt-rock thing, but really deserves your time. Shades of Dinosaur Jr here, easily my favorite release of the week.
William Hut and Gisli - 22: His best solo effort (duo, really) in a long time, and is the closest to classic Poor Rich Ones we’ve seen in a long time on his half. The Gisli half is gorgeous in entirely different ways, but both are worth it.
Jeffrey Martin - One Go Around: Solid roots music, lots to love here.
Stars – There is No Love in Fluorescent Light: Best Stars album in 15 years, and a return to form for a band that’s been hit-or-miss lately.
Courtney Barnett/Kurt Vile – Lotta Sea Lice: I don’t love Kurt Vile, but this album simply works from beginning to end. The two here complement each other nicely.
Beck – Colors: His best album in a long time, and one of the more enjoyable listens he’s put out at that. This is what I think of when I think of Beck, and it’s surprising he can put out something like this after being at it for so long.
WORTH SOME TIME:
Lenka – Attune: I still don’t know who she’s supposed to appeal to, but no matter – she’s good at what she does even if she’s probably not going to be your first choice popster.
Terra Lightfoot - New Mistakes: A good listen, but it can’t decide if it’s more roots or more alt-rock, and that lack of clarity dragged it down a lot for me.
Lydia Loveless - Boy Crazy and Single(s): A reissue of her first EP, which is a reminder of why we're so into her. The singles are a lot of covers, which is great.
Barr Brothers – Queens of the Breakers: Gorgeous Canadian folk, its only flaw is its overall lack of heft/impact.
Robert Plant – Carry Fire: If you liked Raising Sand, this is largely along those lines. It’s hard to separate the man from the album, though – if this were someone who wasn’t Robert Plant doing this, I bet I’d like it more.
King Khan – Murderburgers: A solo effort that sounds a lot like his non-solo efforts. This is fine.
The Rural Alberta Advantage – The Wild: This is a very reliable and dependable band. Nothing mind-blowing here, but I can see myself coming back to this over and over.
Wu Tang Clan – The Return: This is better than you think it will be, although not as great as you want it to be. Still, the grooves are great and the rapping solid.
St Vincent – MASSEDUCTION: I really wanted to like this more than I did on first listen. Her albums are often growers, though.
Ransom Pier – Beauty and Demise: This won’t work for everyone, but if the vocals and instrumentation work for you, it might become a near-instant favorite for you.
Dead Leaf Echo - Beyond.Desire: Reminds me of those reverb-heavy 80s indie bands. Pretty solid.
Pale Honey – Devotion: Considering how good their first album was, the direction they go here ends up being disappointingly unmemorable. One of my most anticipated albums of the month, and I don’t really know what to say about it.
Neil Finn – Out of Silence: Neil Finn is super important on a whole, but this album generally didn’t work for me.
Elin Ruth Sigvardsson - Fel
Caroline Spence – Secret Garden: Great to hear her music hold up in a stripped-down format.
Mountain Goats – Marsh Witch Visions: Why couldn’t his last album be more like this?
Electric Six - How Dare You
The Front Bottoms - Going Gray