Tuesday, September 1, 2020
First Listen: New Releases for 28 August
Artist: Carla J Easton
Quick Description: An instant favorite serving of indie pop.
Why You Should Listen: This is weird enough to be outside of the mainstream, but poppy enough to have broad appeal.
Overall Thoughts: This one came out of nowhere and shot directly to the top of my list for 2020. There's so much to love about this entire thing - it feels like a long lost 80s pop record sometimes, others it's like a strange modern indie piece. All of it is wonderful, and it's something I absolutely adored. Don't miss out.
Recommendation: One of the best of the year.
Artist: The Avett Brothers
Album: The Third Gleam
Quick Description: A new short album by the alt-country act in their Gleam series.
Why You Should Listen: If you're typically more down with their introspective folk side, the Gleam records deliver.
Overall Thoughts: The last Avetts album was hit-or-miss in a lot of ways, but seeing a new Gleam release brought it all back around for me. This is definitely comfort food in a lot of ways, but it's also a reminder that, when the Avett Brothers do the sort of country-folk stuff that initially made them famous, there are few acts better at it.
Recommendation: A must hear.
Artist: Molly Tuttle
Album: ...but i'd rather be with you
Quick Description: New album from the bluegrass favorite.
Why You Should Listen: Molly Tuttle has succeeded in making a solid pandemic-friendly Americana album.
Overall Thoughts: Molly Tuttle is a favorite around here, and for good reason. Her previous efforts were great, and this came highly antipated. Tuttle delivers with an album that feels a little isolated and personal by design, which is perfect for these strange times. I really loved this, and it's one I'm absolutely looking forward to giving another spin.
Recommendation: A solid listen this week.
Quick Description: Latest album from the indie rock act.
Why You Should Listen: Widowspeak has always been good at their sound, and this might be their best effort yet.
Overall Thoughts: I've never really considered Widowspeak as a favorite band of mine, but Plum is making me wonder if I should start. This is a gorgeous album with so much going for it: sometimes the songs hit like a breezy springtime, other times the music is a little darker in mood, and yet it always works. This balance makes them great, and Plum is a great effort and a wonderful jumping on point if you're new to the act.
Recommendation: Don't miss out.
Album: Use Me
Quick Description: Some great local dark rock/pop reminiscent of Meg Myers.
Why You Should Listen: It's worth getting a bit of a counterbalance to a lot of the upbeat recent pop efforts.
Overall Thoughts: I don't have a ton to say about PVRIS other than the fact that I love this sort of pop music, and PVRIS provides an under-the-radar effort that deserves a lot more attention here. This is a great listen, and if you're into more challenging rock/pop music and perhaps want a counterweight to the Dua Lipa club bangers out this week, put this in your rotation.
Recommendation: A fun listen.
Artist: Caitlin Pasko
Quick Description: End-of-relationship concept album with a lot to say.
Why You Should Listen: This is one of the more interesting releases this week.
Overall Thoughts: I liked Pasko's previous release, and this one is definitely a little different, but not in a bad way at all. It's a fascinating effort that is extremely introspective and is worth hearing in this era, but is also a solid musical effort with a lot of quiet parts to go along with the tone Pasko sets. This isn't a difficult listen musically, but it's a hard listen and one you want to hear.
Recommendation: Make some time for this one.
Artist: Deli Girls
Quick Description: Latest from the techno/punk hybrid act.
Why You Should Listen: I shouldn't love this act as much as I do, but the jarring and abrasive feel hits me right.
Overall Thoughts: I got addicted to their previous album, I Don't Know How to Be Happy, at some point early this year, and I was excited when this dropped in my list this week. Ken described them as if "Atari Teenage Riot stopped being so melodic," and I think what draws me in more is just how visceral the experience is. Nothing is held back with Deli Girls, and that's what makes it work for me in a way a lot of other acts like this don't. This won't work for everyone, but if you like it, you'll probably love it.
Recommendation: Give this a shot.
Quick Description: Some interesting alt/indie music.
Why You Should Listen: It's the sort of off-kilter guitar-based indie rock that kept bubbling under through much of the 2000s.
Overall Thoughts: To me, this is almost as if The Weakerthans listened to a few too many prog records. There's a lot to like here, and there are many layers to this listen that I hope to uncover, but this was a pleasant surprise sent over by Ken and I'm looking forward to spending more time with it.
Recommendation: An intriguing listen this week.
Artist: Wood & Wire
Album: No Matter Where It Goes From Here
Quick Description: Latest from the folk act.
Why You Should Listen: Wood & Wire have a good thing going that you don't want to miss.
Overall Thoughts: I don't have a ton to say about the latest from Wood & Wire, either, but I didn't want it to go unnoticed in a busy week. There are a lot of fun songs on this, and as one of our favorite folk acts here, it's got a lot going for it in a busy week.
Recommendation: Worth making time for.
Artist: Dream Nails
Album: Dream Nails
Quick Description: British female punks with a fun effort.
Why You Should Listen: It's what fun punk should be.
Overall Thoughts: Listen, they have a song called "Vagina Police 2.0," a skit called "Women and Non-Binary People to the Front," and the 15 tracks clock in at under 30 minutes. I think you get the picture, so absolutely fire this one up and have some fun with it. I know I did.
Recommendation: A great album.
Album: Happy Birthday
Quick Description: Some punk-adjacent music from Washington, DC.
Why You Should Listen: This is well in line with a lot of what we like here.
Overall Thoughts: I get a firm Priests vibe from this album we missed last week. It's a rollicking good time as an album and something that deserves a lot more attention, as it's out there enough to turn heads but accessible enough where it could end up breaking out. It's a busy week, but make some time for this one, because...
Recommendation: ...you're not likely to hear anything else like it this week.
* Angel Olsen - Whole New Mess (Demos and alternate versions of recent songs.)
* Samia - The Baby (Lots of solid stuff here.)
* Zephania OHora - Listening to the Music (Still some of the best classic country in modern times.)
* Charlotte Hatherley and TJ Allen - Traveller (Great dark/ambient collab between the former Ash guitarist and well-known Portishead/Bat for Lashes producer.)
* The Slow Painters - The Slow Painters (Continually surprising.)
* Jazzmyn Red - Redvolution (Good jazzy hip-hop.)
* The Sea The Sea - Stumbling Home
* Half Gringa - Force to Reckon
* Pussycat and the Dirty Johnsons - Beast
* Sarah Walk - Another Me
* Aluna - Renaissance
* Washington - Batflowers
* Disclosure - ENERGY
* Sevdaliza - Shabrang
* Kelly Lee Owens - Inner Song
* Nelson Can - Solo Desire: Remixed Together, Vol. 6 (Dream Waves)
* Dua Lipa - Club Future Nostalgia
* Bettye LaVette - Blackbirds
* Oklou - Galore
* MarthaGunn - Caught Up and Confused EP
* The Ophelias - For Luck
* GRAE - Permanent Maniac
* Zella Day - Where Does the Devil Hide
* Olivia Lane - The One
* Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Bonus Tracks
* Toots and the Maytals - Got to Be Tough
* Powerman 5000 - The Noble Rot