Tuesday, August 14, 2018

First Listen: New Releases for 10 August

Some great ones this week.

Album of the Week:

Artist: Bear Grass
Album: LEFT
Quick Description: Gorgeous and compelling indie folk.
Why You Should Listen: It's reminiscent of so many things, yet exists as its own unique album.
Overall Thoughts: Wow. I had never heard of this band coming in, but I was intrigued through song one and in love by the end of the second. This album is a weird hit of mid-2000s indie with some folk rock elements and a really fragile-sounding structure that I fell for over and over again. I told Ken how much I liked it early on, and he told me that he nearly presented it as “guaranteed to be in your 2018 top 10,” and… well, he might not be wrong.
Recommendation: An amazing album seemingly out of nowhere, and definitely one of the best of the year.

Artist: The Beths
Album: Future Me Hates Me
Quick Description: Debut album from a favorite here.
Why You Should Listen: This is probably the indie rock album of the summer.
Overall Thoughts: If it weren't for Bear Grass, this would be my favorite this week. I got turned onto this band years ago thanks to their EP, where album track "Whatever" first got released and my favorite Beths song, "Idea/Intent," didn't make the new album's cut. This is better produced, louder, more melodic, and just a realization of a band hitting their stride at just the right time. I fear that this isn't quite poppy enough to hook in enough people, which means that a LOT of people are going to miss out on one of the best albums of the summer.
Recommendation: Do not miss this.

Artist: Lola Kirke
Album: Heart Head West
Quick Description: Debut full-length from another folkie type.
Why You Should Listen: Some of her songs will blow your mind.
Overall Thoughts: I’ve been fairly obsessed with “Monster” since I first heard it, and the album largely met my heightened expectations. The album gives me a bit of an grittier version of early Tristen vibes in some regards, and songs like “Supposed To” really do a good job of keeping on board. If you like most of what we push here, this should be on your list.
Recommendation: Give this a shot.

Artist: Odetta Hartman
Album: Old Rockhounds Never Die
Quick Description: Follow-up to the solid 222
Why You Should Listen: Odetta Hartman is getting some solid buzz.
Overall Thoughts: I liked this well enough, but this was a much-anticipated release for me that I hoped to love. Instead, we have a rootsy album with a lot of solid moments and many unexpected twists and turns, but a first listen does not provide the sort of throughline I was ultimately hoping for.
Recommendation: Good, just not great.

Artist: Jake Shears
Album: Jake Shears
Quick Description: Solo debut from the Scissor Sisters frontman.
Why You Should Listen: It's solid cabaret-ish pop.
Overall Thoughts: The Scissor singer has a solo album which definitely has a mainstream cabaret feel to it that is fully and completely on-brand in one regard, but also would fit right in on a lot of pop radio stations. This really does not go too far off of the classic SS mold, and that’s perfectly fine.
Recommendation: Worth a listen if you're a fan.

Of note:

* Tomberlin i At Weddings (quiet, haunting folk stuff)
* Lights - Scorpion Side B (acoustic cover of a Drake album I’ve never heard)
* War and Treaty - Healing Tide (bluesy roots for people who might not like bluesy roots)
* The Coral - Move Through the Dawn (their best effort in years)
* Bird Streets - Bird Streets
* The Perceptionists - Low Resolution
* Kathryn Joseph - From When I Wake the Want Is
* Miles Kane - Coup de Grace
* Robbie Fulks and Linda Gail Lewis - Wild! Wild! Wild!


* Tigerman Woah! - Do It All Again
* FOXTROTT - Meditations II
* Sammy Brue - Down With Desperation

Also out:

* Stella Sommer - 13 Kinds of Happiness
* Shooter Jennings - Shooter
* Liz Cooper and the Stampede - Window Flowers
* Foxing - Nearer My God