Tuesday, October 24, 2017

First Listen: New Releases for October 20

A slower week, but an abbreviated post given my schedule blowing up again.

The Plan - Nervous Energy: This is a different one, for sure. The Plan is absolutely going the strange, stilted indie rock route with this, and the returns are interesting in and of themselves. I can’t say for sure whether I liked it, but this is an album of odd song structures and challenging listens. I didn’t love it on first listen, but this is absolutely an album I want to revisit. I recommend giving it a shot, especially in a slower week.

Various Artists - Tegan and Sara Present The Con X: A tribute/covers record of Tegan and Sara’s The Con. It’s not my favorite T&S record at all, and my familiarity with the songs has deteriorated with time. The versions here? As with any album like this, it’s hit-or-miss. Some interesting takes, other ones that just don’t work. Take what you like and leave the rest, I think.

Dori Freeman - Letters Never Read: We enjoyed Dori Freeman’s previous record, and this new one feels like a pretty solid step forward for her sound. She’s starting to remind me a bit of Nora Jane Struthers right before she kind of broke out a bit, and that’s a good sign for Freeman. I don’t think there’s a bad song on this album, and I look forward to spending more time with it.

Elizabeth and the Catapult - Keepsake: Ken was raving about their new song a few months back, and “Shoelaces” from her previous album is an all-time favorite of mine. This album, though? I regret to say that this didn’t grab me. It’s a little slower, a little more methodical, and that’s not always what I’m looking for from this act. It’s not bad, it’s just a little unexpected. If you’re looking for something a little more pop light rock, this might do it for you.

Tracy Bonham - Modern Burdens: Dunno if we’re calling this a return album or something else, but it kicks off with a new take on Bonham’s one big hit and has a ton of guests you love. I don’t know where Tracy Bonham ranks in the sort of late-1990s alt-rock thing these days, but this is a hit of nostalgia on one end and… not the best revival on the other. If there’s a sort of “fans only” thing for her, that might be where this sits.

Twain - Modern Burdens: If Andrew Bird whistled less, rode horses, and hung out with Conor Oberst, you might get Twain. This is a compliment, as this is a pretty decent record on a whole. It has the sort of alt/indie/folk thing to it that’s the rage of late, and has a lot of interesting things happening with the somewhat sparse instrumentation and above-average musicality. This is definitely one you want to keep on your radar this week.

Bully - Losing: If Wolf Alice took a step back, Bully took a big step forward with this one. A more mature, more cohesive listen across the board. Make time for this.

Margo Price - All American Made: No one else sounds like Margo Price in the current musical landscape, and this really feels like it comes straight out of the Opry. There is nothing wrong with this at all, and Margo Price is a national treasure, period.

Lindstrom - It's Alright Between Us As Is: Solid, danceable electronic music with just a hint of strangeness within. Solid listen.

Other albums of note:

* Jessie Ware - Glasshouse
* John Davis and the Cicidas - El Pulpo
* Makthaversan - III

EPs of note:

* Frankmusik - Aw17 (some of his best work)
* Grandaddy - Things Anyway
* Beach Slang - We Were Babies and We Were Dirtbags

Also out:

* Gwar - The Blood of Gods
* Willie and the Boys - Willie's Stash Vol. 2
* Colleen - A flame my love, a frequency (great minimalist electronic music)

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