Tuesday, April 7, 2020

First Listen: New Releases for 3 April

Artist: Wu Fei and Abigail Washburn
Album: Wu Fei and Abigail Washburn
Quick Description: A great cross-cultural musical endeavor.
Why You Should Listen: Abigail Washburn and Wu Fei are both virtuosos in their own right.
Overall Thoughts: There's good music, there's important music, and then you get albums like this that are both good and important. Just a great work of art on its own with a lot of moments that really work great on their own, and the former college music major in me senses a lot of little bites of things to explore on future listens. There's no flaw in this at all, and it's something you should absolutely find time for.
Recommendation: A must-listen.

Artist: Parsonsfield
Album: Happy Hour on the Floor
Quick Description: Folk rock done right.
Why You Should Listen: Perfect mix of folk, rock, and country elements.
Overall Thoughts: This feels fun. It feels fun in the way that early Dawes and Avett Brothers records were, in that the musicianship is excellent and you can tell everyone on board is enjoying the process. In a week with a lot of odd listens and not a ton of excellent stuff, this is especially a breath of fresh air in how pure and great it is.
Recommendation: Make time this week.

Artist: The Lovely Eggs
Album: I Am Moron
Quick Description: Oddball indie psych/punk?
Why You Should Listen: This is going to get stuck in your head time and time again, and you'll like it.
Overall Thoughts: No clue how this band hit my radar, but no regrets. This will be both familiar and be weird and wonderful, and this duo is probably going to put a smile on your face. Don't overthink it, just give it a shot.
Recommendation: One of the fun listens of the week.

Artist: Ellis
Album: Born Again
Quick Description: Gorgeous, unexpected Canadian folk pop.
Why You Should Listen: This is one of the better listens of the year so far.
Overall Thoughts: I did not expect this to be something I'd love as much as I did. I don't know Ellis, and really only added it to the list on a whim, but my goodness is this great. Just the right level of all the pieces of a great, dreamy pop music across the board. I will likely be gushing about this album to a lot of people in the future, I'm just very surprised at how this one nearly flew under the radar.
Recommendation: One of the best of the year.

Artist: Purity Ring
Album: WOMB
Quick Description: The Latest from the indie electronic act.
Why You Should Listen: We've been waiting for this one for a while.
Overall Thoughts: Purity Ring is great. The presentation is both familiar to those who don't mind some electronics in their music, but between the light fragility of the vocals and the often-stark presentation of the instrumentation, there's a reason their songs stick with me for years and years after the albums get out of the cycle. For this one, it's no different, and, honestly, if "i like the devil" doesn't make you feel anything, I don't know what you're doing here. This is a worthy new effort from the group, and I'm glad we finally have it to listen to.
Recommendation: A great listen.

Of note:

* BROKEN UP - Soul Victim (Gives some serious School of Seven Bells vibes.)
* Clem Snide - Forever Just Beyond (Maybe their best effort in their more recent evolution.)
* Orion Sun - A Collection of Fleeting Moments and Daydreams (An odds-and-ends collection from earlier this year.)
* Locate S,1 - Personalia (The most Of Montreal album I've heard in 15 years.)
* Thievery Corporation - Symphonik (Provides arranged versions of some of their work.)
* Anna Burch - If You're Dreaming (Not transcendent like her previous work, but still great in its own right.)
* Johanna Warren - Gemini I/Gemini II (Don't miss this one. A lot of music here, but a lot to like.)
* Es - Less of Everything
* TOPS - I Feel Alive
* Born Ruffians - Juice
* Empress Of - I'm Your Empress Of
* Yves Tumor - Heaven to a Tortured Mind
* Ms Amy Birks - All That I Am and All That I Was
* Warm Digits - Flight of Ideas
* Logan Ledger - Logan Ledger
* James Elkington - Ever-Roving Eye
* Yaeji - What We Drew
* Pure Reason Revolution - Eupnea
* Melkbelly - PITH
* Peel Dream Magazine - Agitprop Alterna
* M. Ward - Migration Stories

Seven Song Albums:

* Deserta - Black Aura My Sun


* Zuzu - How it Feels (I hate the new version of "Get Off" compared to the old, but this is still great.)
* Amos the Kid - Mountain View ("What Did You Do" and "Jesus Cocaine Ketamine Christ" are awesome.)
* Emily Jane White - Dark Undercoat (B-Sides) (My kingdom for a full-band, full production version of "The Witch," please.)
* Crush - Sundown
* Snotty Nose Rez Kids - Born Deadly
* Shel - Wild Child
* Telyscopes - Recycled Bath Water 2
* Alva Leigh - Self/less EP
* Fiver and The Atlantic School of Spontaneous Composition - You Wanted Country? Volume 1
* Forever - Close to the Flame

Also out:

* tetema - Necroscape
* NNAMDI - Brat
* Enemy Radio - Loud is Not Enough

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