Tuesday, November 12, 2019

First Listen: New Releases for 8 November

There is so much good music out this week.

Artist: FKA Twigs
Quick Description: Left-of-center R&B act back with more interesting tunes.
Why You Should Listen: FKA Twigs is among the most adventurous artists in her lane.
Overall Thoughts: If there’s one thing FKA Twigs is known for, it’s taking chances. No one in the R&B space is quite like her, and her new album, while still delightfully weird, is probably more noteworthy for how relatively accessible it is. Sure, these aren’t Lizzo bangers but they aren’t impenetrable, either, and that makes a difference here. If you’ve held off up to now, this is definitely a worthwhile onramp, but there’s certainly enough here for fans to really enjoy. (Also “fallen alien” is amazing.)
Recommendation: A must-hear.

Artist: HANA
Quick Description: Sort-of retro pop music.
Why You Should Listen: This is one of my favorites of the week.
Overall Thoughts: For as much as I like 90s alt-rock, I have a similar affinity for 90s techno/dance music, and if HANA isn't mirroring those sorts of higher-concept, soaring techno anthems of that era, I must be losing my mind. Songs like "Anxious Alien" and "Nu Leaf" would fit right into that time period and been awesome then, and it doesn't feel dated now. This is such a great listen, and worth it with or without nostalgia glasses on.
Recommendation: Sneaky great.

Artist: Fox Medicine
Album: Procedures Mystiques
Quick Description: Lopud, brash indie... metal?
Why You Should Listen: In a lot of ways, this shouldn't be as good as it is.
Overall Thoughts: I shouldn’t like this. It’s sludgey noisy metal-adjacent music, but somehow the sing-songy approach with the melodic underpinnings just works for me. It’s such a fresh approach that I am just as interested in going into their back catalog as I am to get back to this album. I won’t pretend that this will work for everyone, but it is definitely one of my favorites this week, and might have some staying power.
Recommendation: Give this a chance.

Artist: Raelyn Nelson Band
Album: Don't
Quick Description: Willie's granddaughter's rockin' delight.
Why You Should Listen: She has the genetics and the bonafides.
Overall Thoughts: I have been semi-obsessed with Raelyn Nelson since “Brother,” and years of singles have finally led to a debut as good as anything out there. This granddaughter of Willie knows how to bring a punk aesthetic to rockabilly-style country, and this is just a really fun record from start to finish. They’re not trying to change the world, but if this sets a few fires along the way, all the better (and don’t sleep on the Bikini Kill cover at the end of the album, either).
Recommendation: A really great listen.

Artist: Me Not You
Album: Already Gone
Quick Description: Loud, abrasively melodic indie rock.
Why You Should Listen: No one sounds quite like this act.
Overall Thoughts: Another group I have been waiting forever for a full-length on, and while none of these songs reach the soaring, noisy heights of their earliest EPs, the shoegazey tendencies of this record more than make up for it. There’s an added urgency as well that provides a real interesting feeling that I fully enjoyed. This is a busy week for music, for sure, but...
Recommendation:... this one really shouldn’t be missed.

Album: The Theatrical Death of Julie Delicious
Quick Description: New album from the loud, poppy indie act.
Why You Should Listen: This is a delightful little adventure.
Overall Thoughts: Show me a more fun album this year. I’ll wait. There’s just an infectious joy to this record that I can’t resist, and I really enjoyed my time with this one. I can’t wait to go back, and this has some fairly broad appeal for both pop addicts and those looking for interesting indie works.
Recommendation: A great listen.

Artist: The Hackles
Album: A Dobritch Did as a Dobritch Should
Quick Description: Solid, surprising folk-adjacent tunes.
Why You Should Listen: This feels different and unique.
Overall Thoughts: This is a great, rootsy effort that feels bold and forward-thinking while remaining as familiar as ever. Great music, great harmonies, and really one of the better folky efforts in a few weeks. If you like the roots stuff we feature here, this absolutely needs to find some time in your rotation this week.
Recommendation: Give it a listen.

Artist: Kate Davis
Album: Trophy
Quick Description: Addictive indie pop.
Why You Should Listen: Kate Davis has something special here.
Overall Thoughts: This is some really solid indie rock/pop, reminiscent of the recent Noel Wells record or some of Jenny Owen Youngs’s output. Kate Davis knows how to put a song together, and the result here is a solid album from start to finish with some truly memorable moments. Granted, I am biased in the sense that I could get down with most of this genre, but there’s something special here.
Recommendation: Make time for this.

Artist: DJ Manipulator
Album: The Soviet Tape
Quick Description: Splicing Russian media with hip hop beats.
Why You Should Listen: The concept alone is amazing.
Overall Thoughts: This is a fairly simple concept that is just too great to ignore. DJ takes some Russian records and audio, mixes them up, creates dance/turntable masterpiece. And it won’t interfere in your elections!
Recommendation: A great listen.

Of note:

* Mark Lind and the Unloved - The Last Bastion (Fine, but not for me.)
* Various Artists - Too Late to Pray: Defiant Chicago Roots (Lots of gems in this comp.)
* Thees Handz - Thees Handz (Collaboration between The Grouch and Murs.)
* Rachael Dadd - FLUX (Solid indie folk.)
* Brother Ali - Secrets & Escapes
* Louise Burns - Portraits
* Russian Baths - Deepfake
* Mount Eerie and Julie Doiron - Lost Wisdom Pt. 2
* Josienne Clarke - In All Weather

Seven Song Albums:

* Lucy Dacus - 2019 (A collection of singles this year plus some fun covers.)


* Andrew Bird - HARK!
* Hercules & Love Affair - Change EP

Also out:

* Snow Patrol - Reworked (Collects the reworked EPs and more.)
* Agnostic Front - Get Loud!

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