Tuesday, November 17, 2020

First Listen: New Releases for 13 November

Artist: Aesop Rock
Album: Spirit World Field Guide
Quick Description: Latest effort from the indie underground rapper.
Why You Should Listen: He's a consistent voice and this effort is as high quality as anything he's produced.
Overall Thoughts: This is his first album of material that isn't a collaboration or a soundtrack effort in close to five years. While he hasn't stayed idle, he hasn't missed a beat, either, and the maturity that surrounds this (while it's a lot to expect someone nearing 40 to resonate with a rap album, a lot of stuff here cuts deep) makes it something a little more special than the other rap efforts this week. The album is fairly conceptual, but also succeeds in having parts that work great independent of the whole. This is a great starting point if you've never listened before, but longtime fans like myself will find plenty to enjoy.
Recommendation: A great listen this week.

Artist: William Basinski
Album: Lamentations
Quick Description: New album from the ambient composer.
Why You Should Listen: I'm new to Basinski, but I wish I found him earlier.
Overall Thoughts: I learned of William Basinski from a podcast, probably Radiolab. His best-known work is The Disintegration Tapes, a series of four lengthy looping pieces of a tape as it dissolves within the player. It's an interesting listen, and since then I've dug deeper into his catalog. Basinski's work, including this, involve a lot of looping of found and created tape, providing a really rich experience that is enough to cut through the silence while simultaneously revealing layers of complexity. I love it, and I love this.
Recommendation: It won't be for everyone, but it's definitely worth an attempt.

Artist: Hachiku
Album: I'll Probably Be Asleep
Quick Description: Debut album from an Aussie dream pop act.
Why You Should Listen: This sets itself apart with a strong, unique sound.
Overall Thoughts: This album starts with a sort of feedback guitar hum normally held for the closing of a song. While the noise brings forth expectations of something harsh or loud, it never really comes in that song or anywhere else in this effort. There's a pensive, halting feel to this that makes you feel like you're peeking in on something secret as opposed to observing something out in the open, and I found myself utterly compelled by the whole package. A solid listen any time, but longtime readers here will find lots to love.
Recommendation: Make time for this.

Artist: Gwenifer Raymond
Album: Strange Lights Over Garth Mountain
Quick Description: Rootsy acoustic instrumentals.
Why You Should Listen: It's interesting in a way most solo acoustic guitar isn't.
Overall Thoughts: I know solo instrumental guitar has a bit of a pretentious feel to it, but man, does Gwenifer Raymond know how to put it together. This instrumentalist with the excellent last name puts forth a set of songs that are sometimes familiar, sometimes different, but always gorgeous and compelling. Not much else to say about this except to make time for it.
Recommendation: A great listen.

Artist: Ben Morey and the Eyes
Album: Still Life
Quick Description: Roots rock.
Why You Should Listen: It's like if R.E.M. stayed in the south and never head of T. Rex.
Overall Thoughts: While the 1990s provided any number of "jangle pop" acts brought up on IRS-era R.E.M., there just isn't much out there these days that tap into the classic sound of R.E.M., The Byrds, and so on. Ben Morey and the Eyes definitely come at us with a fair bit of twang, but there's a mainstream acoustic rock mentality here that sticks with you almost from the start. It's an enjoyable listen with a fair number of earworms, so be wary.
Recommendation: One of the best of the week.

Artist: Told Slant
Album: Point the Flashlight and Walk
Quick Description: Gorgeous, folky tunes.
Why You Should Listen: It's not exactly delicate, but it's fairly intricate.
Overall Thoughts: I don't have a ton to say about this album, truthfully, but it still stood out as the sort of quiet yet commanding effort we like to highlight around these parts. No album stuck with me quite the way this one did, and I'm excited to get back to this.
Recommendation: Add it to your rotation.

Of note:

* Jessie Ware - What's Your Pleasure? (A disco-tastic release we missed.)
* Lambchop - TRIP (Don't miss the great cover of Wilco's "Reservations.")
* Marika Hackman - Covers (Highlights include Elliott Smith's "Between the Bars" and Alvvays's"In Undertow.")
* The Flat Five - Another World (Interesting Chicago-area supergroup including Scott Ligon, Kelly Hogan, and Nora O'Connor.)
* Molly Parden - Rosemary (Don't sleep on this.)
* Somerset Thrower - Paint My Memory
* Falcon Jane - Faith
* Beyries - Encounter
* Bent - Up in the Air
* Emily A. Sprague - Hill, Flower, Fog
* Cry Club - God I'm Such a Mess
* BENEE - Hey u x
* Fatima Yamaha - Spontaneous Order
* Gillian Welch - Boots No. 2: The Lost Songs, Vol. 3
* Qwestlife - Prophecy
* Goodie Mob - Survival Kit
* Mr. Lif and Stu Bangas - Vangarge
* Jesu - Terminus
* Roisin Murphy - Roisin Machine
* Katy J Pearson - Return
* Fallulah - All My Eyes Are Open
* Palona Faith - Infinite Things


* Keep Shelly in Athens - Defy Me
* Soley - Harmonik I & II
* Dizzy - Basement Covers
* KATYA - Vampire Fitness
* Hayley Ross - Moving All ARound EP
* August, Yours Truly - Screamer EP
* Baby Queen - Medicine
* Ginesse - Somewhere to Die
* Lauren Aquilina - Ghost World
* Lockette - Into Lungs
* Chloe Foy - Live from Abbey House
* Meg Myers - Thank U 4 Taking Me 2 The Disco/I'd Like 2 Go Home Now
* GRACEY - The Art of Closure

Also out:

* Seba Kaapstad - Konke
* Camila Fuchs - Kids Talk Sun
* Frank Turner and Jon Snodgrass - Buddies II: Still Buddies
* Woodes - Crystal Ball
* The Nels Cline Singers - Share the Wealth
* Sunny Sweeney - Recorded Live at the Machine Shop Recording Studio
* Margo Price - Perfectly Imperfect at The Ryman


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