Wednesday, June 3, 2020

First Listen: New Releases for 29 May

Midweek lunchtime tunes for you.

Artist: Lady Gaga
Album: Chromatica
Quick Description: Latest album from the pop megastar.
Why You Should Listen: It's Lady Gaga, she's the Madonna of our time.
Overall Thoughts: We've come a long way from wearing lunch meat as a dress, but the new Lady Gaga is very much a back-to-basics effort that reminds us why she's the top of the heap when it comes to pop music. The two lead singles from this have both been great, there are other solid parts throughout, and it's just one of the better pop efforts out there this year so far. The question will be whether it ultimately has legs, but for now, it's a great listen.
Recommendation: Don't miss out.

Artist: Jake Blount
Album: Spider Tales
Quick Description: Raw roots effort.
Why You Should Listen: It's a great record from a local-ish artist.
Overall Thoughts: I never had Providence as a hotbed of folk music, but I should really change my perspective, as some of my favorite roots records of the last decade or so come from our neighbor to the south. Jake Blount is a name I'm going to keep an eye on, and if you can listen to his version of "Where Did You Sleep Last Night" and not be moved by it, what are you even doing listening to music?
Recommendation: A must-listen.

Artist: Hansan
Album: Nattflykt
Quick Description: Folk duo featuring blog favorite Sofia Talvik.
Why You Should Listen: Sofia Talvik is a must-listen around these parts, but this full-on dive into Nordic folk is totally worth it.
Overall Thoughts: I don't understand the words, but I do understand Sofia Talvik and her perpetual importance to music for me. I wish she was a bigger deal, and I hope that this Hansan project exposes her to a different audience who can appreciate what she brings to the table. This is a gorgeous record, so don't let the language gap keep you from enjoying this. No better time than now to expand your horizons.
Recommendation: Mandatory listening, as far as I'm concerned.

Artist: Square Loop
Album: Mom Come Pick Me Up
Quick Description: More local indie rock.
Why You Should Listen: You should support local music when you can, but especially when it's good.
Overall Thoughts: They'll put themselves in an emo bucket (which, given they're from Worcester, not a shocker), but I had a really nice indie rock feel from this act that, if there's any justice, will go places with this record. Yeah, they're hitting my nostalgia notes with an image of Ralph's Diner on the cover, but they're also putting out solid alt-rock that sometimes feels out of fashion these days, and they do it well enough that the right ears and the right publicity could put it back into fashion. Long and short? Make time for this one.
Recommendation: A good local listen.

Artist: Bryde
Album: The Volume of Things
Quick Description: New music from a personal favorite.
Why You Should Listen: Bryde is another artist that should be huge and isn't.
Overall Thoughts: I've loved everything Bryde has put out so far, and The Volume of Things continues along those same lines. I was excited when "The Trouble Is" hit streaming services a while back, and the whole album is a joy to hear. I really hope this is her breakthrough (I feel like I'm saying that a lot this week).
Recommendation: Make time for this one.

Artist: Jaime Wyatt
Album: Neon Cross
Quick Description: More country-style singer-songwriter efforts.
Why You Should Listen: Jaime Wyatt knows how to put together a country tune.
Overall Thoughts: In what ended up being a busy week, I wanted to make sure to highlight this effort. There are a lot of alt-country/outlaw Americana stuff that comes across our weekly listens here, but Jaime Wyatt stood out to me as feeling a little more sincere and a little more urgent. I really liked this listen, and you probably will, too.
Recommendation: Put this in your rotation.

Artist: PINS
Album: Hot Slick
Quick Description: Party rock? Party rock, sure, let's go with it.
Why You Should Listen: It's the most fun you're going to have with an album this week.
Overall Thoughts: PINS is a band that's difficult to pigeonhole, but man is this an enjoyable 30 minutes. If "Bad Girls Forever" doesn't grab you, maybe "Love You To Death" will, but whatever the mood, PINS is bringing it. Just a really fun record, especially in a time right now where nothing seems all that fun at all.
Recommendation: Give this a shot.

Artist: Nicole Atkins
Album: Italian Ice
Quick Description: Great alt-country from a favorite.
Why You Should Listen: Nicole Atkins always succeeds in making great roots music.
Overall Thoughts: I can't say anything about Nicole Atkins that countless others haven't before. On her fifth release, she's hit that sweet spot on how to make accessible, critical country-tinged tunes, and whether it's a song like "Domino" or her multi-artist effort "Never Going Home Again," this feels like a familiar and warm embrace. Don't miss this one.
Recommendation: A solid effort.

Of note:

* Anna Tivel - The Question (Live and Alone) (The exact type of pandemic content I'm looking for.)
* 2nd Grade - Hit to Hit (Great, fun power pop/punk in really small doses.)
* Jade Hairpins - Harmony Avenue (Lots of great moments here.)
* Flying Lotus - Flamagra
* Ghost of the Machine and DJ Proof - Heroes for Hire
* Angelica Garcia - Cha Cha Palace
* Inventions - Continuous Portrait
* Sebastian Tellier - Domesticated
* Sweet Spirit - Trinidad
* Christian Lee Hutson - Beginners
* The Reflectors - First Impression
* Sweet Whirl - How Much Works
* Marin Patenaude - Sight Unseen
* Holy Hive - Float Back to You
* Teddy Thompson - Heartbreaker Please


* Alex Lahey - Between the Kitchen and the Living Room (More great pandemic content.)
* Joyce Manor - Songs From Northern Torrence (Best described as demo-style quick hits.)
* i_o and Lights - AM 444 (Some great electronic pop here.)
* Esther Rose - My Favorite Mistakes (Lovely EP of covers.)
* Cady Groves - Bless My Heart
* EMS Synthi 100 and Soulwax - DEEWEE Sessions Volume 1
* Atwater Punx - The Flea Draws Blood
* Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs - I Can Hear the Birds
* GFOTY - Ham Chunks and Wine

Also out:

* Threadbare - Silver Dollar
* Freddie Gibbs and The Alchemist - Alfredo
* Joell Ortiz and KXNG Crooked - H.A.R.D.
* Deerhoof - Future Teenage Cave Artists
* Hania Rani - Home
* ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead - Sessoes Selo Sesc #9

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