And the rest!
Album: Like an Island
Quick Description: First proper album from half of Paper Airplanes.
Why You Should Listen: It's tricky indie rock with a folk bent.
Overall Thoughts: Nearly my album of the week, this is sneaky great. Bryde takes the quiet->loud dynamic and sits directly on the edges of both, providing a surprising style that feels unpredictable even as you hear certain songs multiple times. The entire approach here is familiar, yet has a unique enough spin that you won’t feel bored.
Recommendation: Really worth giving a shot.
Artist: Mr. Fingers
Album: Cerebral Hemispheres
Quick Description: The return of a house legend.
Why You Should Listen: It's like a time capsule of 1980s dance.
Overall Thoughts: It’s been 20-odd years since this important house music artist put anything new together, and this album feels like a dose of retro dance music from start to finish. The problem with it is the overall lack of evolution in the sound – I personally expected something a little more evolved, but I am also not completely up on the current house trends, so this may be fairly representative. So from my completely uninformed perspective, you may be bored if interesting electronic acts do it for you today, but may love it if house music is your thing.
Recommendation: Be wary, but worth a listen.
Artist: Wood and Wire
Album: North of Despair
Quick Description: Great bluegrass music.
Why You Should Listen: You like a well-polished roots act.
Overall Thoughts: I knew from the moment I saw this act that I would love it. Their label does a tremendous job of getting crisp, pure roots music out there for the masses, and this is the best I’ve heard as of late. Bump this to the top of your list.
Recommendation: A must listen.
Artist: War on Women
Album: Capture the Flag
Quick Description: Latest from the punk act.
Why You Should Listen: Resistance rock is somewhat lacking these days.
Overall Thoughts: On one hand, it's a solid record from a band known to make solid records. On the other? In a really busy week, however, not much here stands out.
Recommendation: There are better options, to be frank.
Artist: Manic Street Preachers
Album: Resistance is Futile
Quick Description: Latest from the legendary British rock act.
Why You Should Listen: It's the Manics. Come on.
Overall Thoughts: The Manic Street Preachers were the first live band I ever saw back when they opened for Oasis on the Morning Glory tour. They’ll always hold a spot in my heart, but they have been at this for a looooong time and this definitely feels like an album from an act that had its better days earlier on.
Recommendation: Good for fans, but not really worth the time otherwise.
Quick Description: New R&B album from a popular artist on the brink of taking off.
Why You Should Listen: Good R&B can sometimes be hard to find.
Overall Thoughts: Cardi B has sucked a lot of the air out of the room for rap/R&B, and what’s left is being grabbed by Janelle Monae, so Tinashe’s buzz-worthy release runs the risk of being overlooked because it doesn’t offer a ton to gain notice at the moment. Servicable feels like a bad word to use due to the implications, but without a specific stand-out moment or theme...
Recommendation: ...this just floats there under the radar for me.
Artist: John Prine
Album: The Tree of Forgiveness
Quick Description: New album from the longtime roots legend.
Why You Should Listen: John Prine should be an automatic for anyone who likes Americana.
Overall Thoughts: John Prine is one of the elder statesmen of the roots movement today, and his latest album isn’t afraid to put his age right on display for everyone to see. This sort of vulnerability doesn’t often come across in the roots music, but it does the trick here and creates an album that needs to be heard. Less a great roots record and more of a piece of art, everyone should hear it at least once.
Recommendation: Give this a spin.
Artist: Mouse on Mars
Album: Dimensional People
Quick Description: Latest from another legendary act, this time on the electronic side.
Why You Should Listen: Mouse on Mars revolutionized what electronic music can be.
Overall Thoughts: On one hand we had Mr Fingers this week. On the other, a new album from Mouse on Mars comes about, and a lot of the strangeness we come to expect from them feels similarly blunted when put up against acts like Ben Frost or Jenny Hval. This is excellent, don’t get me wrong, but if you were previously into Mouse on Mars for a weirdness quotient, you may find it wanting.
Recommendation: Try it out.
* GFOTY - GFOTYBUCKS: RED CUPS
* Derek Smalls - Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing) (no one was asking for a Spinal Tap solo album, but here we are)
* A Place to Bury Strangers - Pinned