Tuesday, August 13, 2019

First Listen: New Releases for 9 August

Things appear to be picking up for the fall...

Artist: Spirit Family Reunion
Album: Ride Free
Quick Description: First album in far too long from a favorite here.
Why You Should Listen: Spirit Family Reunion is criminally underrated.
Overall Thoughts: At this point, can we just call Spirit Family Reunion the best kept secret in roots/folk? From the moment Ken and I saw them open for David Wax Museum back at the church in Boston, they have consistently put out some of the best music in their genre, and after a long break and some lineup shuffling? As far as I’m concerned, they haven’t missed a step. There’s not a missed moment on this record, and it feels as pure and authentic as ever.
Recommendation: Do not miss this album – it’s not only the best thing out this week, but perhaps one of the best records of this year.

Artist: Lilith
Album: Safer Off
Quick Description: Long-awaited debut from some indie alt rockers.
Why You Should Listen: This is a solid album with a lot going for it.
Overall Thoughts: I’ve been waiting on this album for some time, and it pretty much delivers. The sort of female-fronted alt-rock that has been ruling the indie airwaves around these parts as brought us to Lilith, an act that keeps it largely midtempo and introspective throughout its runtime to solid results. There’s a lot to love here, with a key highlight being "G.O.Y.T." I’m just as excited to listen to this again as I am to see where the next step ends up.
Recommendation: One of the best this week.

Artist: Marika Hackman
Album: Any Human Friend
Quick Description: New album from an alt-rock singer-songwriter.
Why You Should Listen: Hackman took a big step forward with this album.
Overall Thoughts: How is she not famous on the level of artists like KT Tunstall or Sara Barrieles? That’s the question I asked repeatedly throughout this album, which has a great singer-songwriter sensibility but then has songs like “I’m Not Where You Are,” or “Conventional Ride,” or “Hand Solo,” any of which should really be ruling the adult alternative charts. I really liked her last album, but this is such a leap forward it’s almost a shock. I was excited already, but this is a really great listen that should not be allowed to get lost in the shuffle?
Recommendation: A must hear.

Artist: Infinity Crush
Album: Virtual Heaven
Quick Description: Quiet, delicate singer-songwritery folk.
Why You Should Listen: This album surprised me over and over again.
Overall Thoughts: Every so often I add an album to my list based on the cover alone, and I felt like this would be a pretty interesting listen based on initial presentation. What I didn’t expect was something so stark and so fascinating. There’s a fragility to this that is only magnified by the instrumentation throughout. I don’t know if this is something truly different, but it sure sounds like it and that goes a long way for me.
Recommendation: Don’t sleep on this one.

Artist: Purple Mountains
Album: Purple Mountains
Quick Description: Now-final album from David Berman.
Why You Should Listen: Listen as a tribute, but listen also because it's good.
Overall Thoughts: We missed this one from the former Silver Jews frontman, but given his tragic suicide last week I felt it necessary to take a listen. The context of the time (especially with some of the early tracks) feel especially haunting on a listen, and the album ends up having an additional amount of sadness as a result. While this album might hit differently a month ago or with proper distance, for now it is an interesting work with a lot more weight.
Recommendation: Give this a listen if you can.

Artist: Smooth Hound Smith
Album: Dog in a Manger
Quick Description: Great rootsy music with a mainstream feel.
Why You Should Listen: This album throws a few curveballs, all of which are great.
Overall Thoughts: I didn't want to leave this out this week, but if you're into the sort of newer country with an alternative/classic flair, this needs to hit your rotation. It won't be for everyone, but it's a listen that I'm glad Ken sent over because I enjoyed it so much. Looking forward to spending more time with it.
Recommendation: Another quality listen.

Of note:

* Beth Bombara - Evergreen (Solid, mainstream-friendly alt-country)
* The Regrettes - How Do You Love? (A good listen even if it’s not up to their debut)
* Ra Ra Riot - Superbloom (Typical quality from an indie mainstay)
* Feeder - Tallulah (A little dated, but better than it has any right to be)
* Che Apalache - Rearrange My Heart (Reminds me of David Wax Museum and I am here for it.)
* Chris Carroll and Adam Carroll - Good Farmer
* Seeker Lover Keeper - Wild Seeds
* Oompa - Cleo
* Ainslie Wills - All You Have Is All You Need
* P.P. Arnold - The New Adventures of... P.P. Arnold


* Snow Patrol - Reworked (EP 1)
* Olivia Lane - The One
* Clara Bond - Crown
* Rudimental - Distinction EP
* UV Rays - The Right Stuff


* Maybe April - The Other Side
* Pete Yorn - Caretakers
* Marc Cohn and The Blind Boys of Alabama - Work to Do
* Matt Muse - Love and Nappyness
* Mutlu - Good Trouble
* Bon Iver - i,i

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