Wednesday, October 11, 2017

First Listen, Part Two: More New Releases for October 6

The rest for the week:

Artist: Cults
Album: Offering
Quick Description: Latest from the buzzy reverb rockers.
Why You Should Listen: Cults has made enough of a splash that they're worth a listen.
Overall Thoughts: Everyone knows "Go Outside," but this third album moves in a bit more of a poppy direction for them, and it works in the sense that they absolutely have hit their stride as a band, but this is a sound that hasn't quite stayed as relevant as one might expect. I feel like I'm damning this with faint praise, but this album is just good, but not essential in a busy week.
Recommendation: Perhaps a fans-only affair.

Artist: Liam Gallagher
Album: As You Were
Quick Description: Former Oasis frontman with his debut solo effort.
Why You Should Listen: You really liked Oasis.
Overall Thoughts: This is an okay album. It's not good, it's not bad. But Liam will always be compared to Noel, and we have a High Flying Birds record coming soon, and this is just unfortunate and unnecessary. It's fine, but there's better efforts out there.
Recommendation: Skip this.

Artist: Wolf Parade
Album: Cry Cry Cry
Quick Description: New album from the Canadian indie act.
Why You Should Listen: Wolf Parade has traditionally been fairly interesting.
Overall Thoughts: Every time I see a new album from Wolf Parade, I'm surprised because I forget that they didn't break up. The new album sounds somewhat like their older stuff, and that's fine, but there's not a lot that's exciting about this to point out.
Recommendation: Meh.

Artist: The Weather Station
Album: The Weather Station
Quick Description: New album from the Amaricana-tinged indie rock act.
Why You Should Listen: The Weather Station has been sneakily producing some solid listens lately.
Overall Thoughts: I'm trying to figure out why I love The Weather Station but have basically had it with The War on Drugs. There's the same sort of prog feel in a lot of ways, but the things The Weather Station are doing on this album is a great leap forward. If "Thirty" doesn't do it for you, I question the existence of your soul. This is one of the better listens of the week, and needs to be heard.
Recommendation: Give this a listen.

Artist: Yumi Zouma
Album: Willowbank
Quick Description: Latest from the retro-ish rock act.
Why You Should Listen: In a crowded field in this genre, Yumi Zouma sometimes stands out...
Overall Thoughts: ...but doesn't always on this album. There's a distinct lack of growth on this album compared to their last, and that's too bad because there's a lot to like on a whole. I still think they peaked with "Song for Zoe and Gwen," and I keep waiting to get some of that brilliance again. It's not bad, just like so much of this week, but it could be so much better.
Recommendation: Not essential this week, but might be worth some time.

Artist: Kelela
Album: Take Me Apart
Quick Description: Buzzy R&B with a unique sound.
Why You Should Listen: You enjoy acts like FKA Twigs.
Overall Thoughts: This is absolutely the most interesting listen this week in a run of good albums from Kelela. I want to love this, and I generally do, but this might be a breakthrough for her that we haven't seen yet. There's a lot in the media about this one, so if you're into a more challenging R&B record that pushes the accessibility envelope, this could be worth your time.
Recommendation: A good listen this week.

Artist: Ducktails
Album: Jersey Devil
Quick Description: Laid back indie rock from a former member of Real Estate
Why You Should Listen: We like Ducktails here and this is a good listen.
Overall Thoughts: I find Ducktails hard to describe for whatever reason. Laid back seems right, but that almost seems to give the album a tone that it isn't maybe trying to put out there. The songwriting is crisp, the songs don't take a lot of risky chances, and the result is a really solid album that may not get the due it deserves. But in a busy week, it's still deserving of your time.
Recommendation: Give this a listen.

Artist: Matt Patershuk
Album: Same as I've Ever Been
Quick Description: Traditional rootsy country.
Why You Should Listen: Nothing like it this week.
Overall Thoughts: Instead of saying a lot of the same things I say week after week on a lot of these somewhat interchangeable country records, know that Patershuk has a really good voice for it and the songwriting here is sharper than most. More listens might reveal some really good stuff here, but for a first listen it doesn't 100% stand out.
Recommendation: Worth your time for a roots listen.

Artist: Slane vs. Termanology
Album: Anti-Hero
Quick Description: Boston-area indie rap.
Why You Should Listen: This is a good blend of old and new.
Overall Thoughts: I thoroughly enjoyed this listen on a whole, there's a lot to love here. The instrumentation feels a little hokey and dated, but the rapping is good enough to ultimately cover for a record that feels about ten years too late in all the right ways.
Recommendation: Find time for this.


* Andrew Bird - Echolocations: River

Also out:

* The Church - man woman life death infinity
* Marilyn Manson - Heaven Upside Down

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