Artist: Stella Donnelly
Album: Beware of the Dogs
Quick Description: Debut album from a very buzzworthy artist.
Why You Should Listen: We've loved what we've heard from her so far.
Overall Thoughts: We hopped on the bandwagon with Thrush Metal early, and to say this was one of our most anticipated releases this year would be an understatement. I don’t really know what I expected from this, but an upbeat, direct, almost-British-indie feeling record was an unexpected surprise for me. This is a really fun record in a lot of ways even if the subject matter in the songs is not always the same tone, and it’s something I want to spend a lot more time with if only because there are clearly so many layers to this. This won’t work for everyone, as I can imagine many listeners being turned off by the tone and presentation, but if you are willing to give this the proper time? This is a real gem.
Recommendation: Best of the week.
Artist: Xeno and Oaklander
Quick Description: New album from the synthy duo.
Why You Should Listen: You pine for an easier, newer wavey time.
Overall Thoughts: I’ve enjoyed what I’ve heard from this electronic act since I tripped up on them. This absolutely has an 80s synth rock vibe to it that’s going to be VERY appealing to a lot of listeners, and as someone who feels a little tired of that aesthetic as of late, this feels really energized and exciting in contrast to some acts stuck in a rut. So I’m not saying to get your legwarmers out or anything, but there’s a lot to love here.
Recommendation: A solid listen this week.
Artist: Potty Mouth
Quick Description: Great alt-rock by way of Northampton, MA.
Why You Should Listen: This is the dream of alt-rock realized in this early year.
Overall Thoughts: We somehow collectively missed this one last week, and I’m really glad we didn’t completely miss out (especially with how long we’ve been waiting for a new full-length). This is pitch-perfect indie pop with a solid alt/punk angle involved, and I’m not sure there’s a single song in here that isn’t rock solid. This is polished enough where I can’t help but think this might be a play for greater stardom, and I’m fine with that – you’re going to listen to this and think of bands like Ash, like Veruca Salt, and you’re probably going to love every moment.
Recommendation: Probably the best of last week.
Quick Description: Debut album from the ex-Cherry Glazerr guitarist.
Why You Should Listen: This is a really solid and complete record.
Overall Thoughts: I have been waiting for this one ever since she left Cherry Glazerr. An ambitious, sonically-interesting indie rock record, there is a lot here to take in, and while I cannot say for sure that I love everything I am hearing here, there also is not a lot like it out there and I have a feeling a lot of this will be growing on me. It’s a very specific and singular vision offered in this debut solo record, and it’s the type of listen I tend to gravitate toward. Hopefully you will, too.
Recommendation: Worth your time.
Artist: Clara Baker
Album: Things to Burn
Quick Description: Great, quiet singer-songwriter stuff.
Why You Should Listen: Straddles the familiar-yet-unique line perfectly.
Overall Thoughts: A lot of the roots music I find myself stuck to has sparse instrumentation and a lot of open space for the sound to play around in. Some non-roots acts try to remain sparse but the production keeps everything constrained anyway, so this album hit me as a real and genuine surprise. An empty and deliberate-sounding record, the result here is that every moment feels important and necessary. It’s a wonderful listen in many regards even if the mystery and the fragile nature of everything doesn’t quite work for you. I am very glad Ken sent this one over, as it’s something truly special.
Recommendation: A must-listen this week.
Album: Still On My Mind
Quick Description: Latest album by a pop favorite.
Why You Should Listen: Dido has been sneaky great for a long time.
Overall Thoughts: I could spend a lot of time on Dido (and maybe will someday) but the fact remains that Dido has never been bad, and is still great. “White Flag” is an underrated pop gem of its time, and I remember seeing her sometime in 2001 along with Travis (and Matthew Jay on a side stage!) and being super impressed. She never puts music out enough, but when she does, it’s great. The new album continues her crisp, clear vocals with understated instrumentation throughout, but there’s just something about her that remains compelling and immediate no matter what. “Take You Home” had me nearly immediately, but “Hurricanes” opens the album with a track that feels different and yet still classic. I can’t complain at all – I fear this might get overlooked, as her aesthetic has never fully fit into any specific era and especially doesn’t match anything right now, but seriously: Ken and I both admitted to each other that she was always good, and this album definitely proves that mainstream adult music doesn’t have to be pigeonholed as such.
Recommendation: One of the best of the week.
Artist: Rosie Tucker
Album: Never Not Never Not Never Not
Quick Description: Solid indie rock.
Why You Should Listen: This is really fun and upbeat.
Overall Thoughts: Of the many female indie musicians out there, Rosie Tucker is putting herself more in the oddball territory in some regards. Nontraditional song structures in many cases, but other times still really impressive and addictive hooks throughout the rest. An energetic record from start to finish, songs like "Habit," "Lauren," and "Spinster Cycle" show a lot of interesting range for an album that I feel like could become a favorite this year as it is for this week.
Recommendation: One of the better releases this week.
* The Coathangers - The Devil You Know (Very subdued compared to their previous album and some of the releases in the last year, especially compared to Potty Mouth.)
* The Wild Reeds - Cheers (Poppy and infectious in many ways.)
* Ryan Dugre - The Humors (Gorgeous instrumental guitar.)
* Sigrid - Sucker Punch (Setting the bar for pop in 2019 (you heard me, Ariana). Lots of great stuff here, but don’t miss “Sucker Punch,” especially.)
* Meat Puppets - Dusty Notes (Believe it or not, this is better than you think.)
* Alice Phoebe Lou - Paper Castles (Solid and strange in many regards.)
* The Gala - Bad News
* Patty Griffin - Patty Griffin
* Leggy - Let Me Know Your Moon
* The Gentlemens - Triage
* Shallow Pool - Spring (Very nu-metal at times, but worth a listen.)
* Hannah Georgas - Imprints (An interesting collection of covers.)
* Call Me Loop - Drama
* ANNAVR - II: Vibration
* Underworld - Drift Episode 2 - ATOM
* Take Us Home - Boston Roots Reggae: 1979 to 1988
* Amanda Palmer - There Will Be No Intermission
* David Gray - Gold in a Brass Age
* Foals - Part 1 Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost