Tuesday, October 20, 2020

First Listen: New Releases for 16 October

Artist: beadadoobee
Album: Fake It Flowers
Quick Description: Big on Tiktok singer-songwriter with an amazing album.
Why You Should Listen: Don't let her buzz on an app we're all too old for steer you away from this.
Overall Thoughts: Ken found her first with her great "I Wish I Was Stephen Malkmus," but her song "Coffee" and a remixed version have a combined 782 plays on Spotify due to its prevalance on TikTok. But we're not here to talk about that, but rather this great album. It absolutely feels like a 1990s Juliana Hatfield record in so many ways, and it's super great. This is super likely to be a big hit this year, so get in on the ground floor (or at least what's left of it for those not on TikTok) and enjoy.
Recommendation: One of the best of the year.

Artist: Lauren Mann
Album: Memory and Desire
Quick Description: Canadian folkie back with another great record.
Why You Should Listen: Lauren Mann has a history of hook-filled folk songs.
Overall Thoughts: I've loved nearly everything Lauren Mann has done up to this point, and this album is about as good as all the rest. Maybe a little quieter than some of her earlier work, but there are plenty of songs in here that are almost certain to get stuck in your head. If you're not on the bandwagon yet, by all means hop on now.
Recommendation: Absolutely worth your time.

Artist: Malin Pettersen
Album: Wildhorse
Quick Description: Lovely Nordic folk/roots music.
Why You Should Listen: A little more contemplative than her debut, but still another solid effort.
Overall Thoughts: There's something about the Norway/Sweden area that pumps out folk and Americana artists that rival some of the best here in the States. Malin Petterson is no different in that regard, provioding a surprisingly great album here that is different enough from her debut to be considered a shift, yet still cohesive and complete enough to make for a great listen. It's a busy week, so you'll want to make some time for this.
Recommendation: Make room for this one.

Artist: Annie
Album: Dark Hearts
Quick Description: First album in close to a decade from the pop/electro singer.
Why You Should Listen: She's come a long way from "Chewing Gum."
Overall Thoughts: She's been a favorite of mine for ages, and I was nearly convinced that she was done with music, but here is Dark Hearts, definitely a more measured affair. On first listen, there aren't a lot of club bangers here, but this is an album you might expect from a dance pop singer who is getting older. Either way, I'm glad she's back, and I'm glad this album exists.
Recommendation: A solid listen.

Artist: Mipso
Album: Mipso
Quick Description: Genre-bending four-piece with a great folk sound.
Why You Should Listen: This is really different in many ways, with some rootsy genre mashups in here that are high-quality.
Overall Thoughts: I think Ken sent this one over, and I'm super glad he did. This album is something special, in part because of the familiarity mixed with a record that sounds unlike anything you've heard before. Mipso does what they do extremely well. There's quite a bit to love about this album, and I'm looking forward to spending more time with this and seeing what else it has to uncover.
Recommendation: Don't miss out.

Artist: Boyish
Album: Garden Spider
Quick Description: A sneaky good, often quiet one we missed.
Why You Should Listen: This has all the markings of an alt-rock inide album, but does more than enough interesting things to set it apart.
Overall Thoughts: This came out early in 2020, pre-pandemic, but it has all the feelings of an isolated, distant rock record. The song titles imply a feeling that I don't know is quite present, but the listen on a whole is very enjoyable on a whole and one that I'm glad I found before it was too late.
Recommendation: Make some time.

Artist: Dorian Electra
Album: My Agenda
Quick Description: Sophomore effort from the glitchy dance-punk PC music-style singer.
Why You Should Listen: It's angry, it's angsty, and it features The Village People and Rebecca Black.
Overall Thoughts: Dorian Electra has a lot to say, and doesn't hold back on pretty much anything on this album. It's extremely overt in its messaging and its statements, and it's something that enhances the entire theme as opposed to it being a cringy drawback. On a whole, I really like this album, and the stuff that would otherwise feel like stunt casting (such as the Rebecca Black-featuring "Edgelord") works in context. This won't be for everybody, but it absolutely worked for me.
Recommendation: Give this a shot.

Artist: Growing Concerns Poetry Collective
Album: Big Dark Bright Futures
Quick Description: Fusion of hip-hop and poetry.
Why You Should Listen: This is something very unique and special.
Overall Thoughts: I didn't want to let this pass by, as this is something truly great that is less a musical album and more an artistic statement. While poetry slams and the like might have a questionable cultural rep these days, the seriousness and the beauty of this presentation makes it something worth hearing at least once and, for me, something I'll definitely go back to. It won't work for everyone, but you owe it to yourself to give it a listen.
Recommendation: Mandatory listening this week.

Of note:
* Quintron and Miss Pussycat - Goblin Alert (Weird and wonderful.)
* Good Sad Happy Bad - Shades (This is subtle in a lot of ways, but something I enjoyed.)
* Matt Berninger - Serpentine Prison (Excellent folk music this week.)
* Kevin Morby - Sundowner (Another excellent folk record.)
* William Elliott Whitmore - I'm With You (Don't sleep on "MK Ultra Blues.")
* Sturgill Simpson - Cuttin' Grass - Volume 1 (Some stripped down, rootsy versions of his stuff that are often better than the originals.) * Jax Anderson (fka Flint Eastwood) - Bedroom B-Sides: Volume 1
* Becca Mancari - The Greatest Part
* Manu Grace - No Room for Error
* Nadine Shah - Kitchen Sink
* Leith Ross - Motherwell
* Holy Motors - Horse
* The Proctors - Summer Lane
* Mr. Gnome - The Day You Flew Away
* Helena Deland - Someone New
* Homeboy Sandman - Don't Feed the Monster
* HEALTH - DISCO4::Part I
* Autechre - SIGN
* Open Mike Eagle - Anime, Trauma, and Divorce
* The Old Rochelle - Pony Steps

EPs:
* Tomberlin - Projections
* The Damned - The Rockfield Files
* Osees - Metamorphosed
* The Mastersons - Red, White, and I Love You Too
* Finlay - Edge of Mine (acoustic)
* Sally Haze - Wet Dream
* John Mark Nelson - Start Over

Also out:
* Sasha Sloan - Only Child
* Astrid S - Leave It Beautiful
* Gulfer - Gulfer
* Tom Petty - Wildflowers & All the Rest

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