Tuesday, February 23, 2021

First Listen: New Releases for 19 March

Artist: Psymon Spine
Album: Charismatic Megafauna
Quick Description: Fun indie-psych.
Why You Should Listen: Psymon Spine bring a fresh coat of paint to a tough genre.
Overall Thoughts: Outside of the Elephant Six stuff from the turn of the century, psych rock is a hard sell for me. Psymon Spine is not a band I should like, but Charismatic Megafauna is absolutely an album I enjoyed this week. Songs like "Channels" and "Jumprope" jumped out at me almost immediately, and this is probably the first album I'll head back to this week. Just a wonderful listen, with lots going for it.
Recommendation: Worth your time this week.

Artist: Corvair
Album: Corvair
Quick Description: Husband-and-wife duo with their first music together.
Why You Should Listen: The band has enough individual history to make this worth hearing...
Overall Thoughts: ...but the tag team we get here is great on its own. Corvair does fun, poppy rock that reminds me of Bleachers in some forms, although I like this a lot more. I'm especially into "Unsubtle Lake," but the whole album is worth a listen. Corvair is a solid act, and I look forward to seeing more.
Recommendation: A great listen.

Artist: Kinlaw
Album: The Tipping Scale
Quick Description: Dark, experimental-feeling songs.
Why You Should Listen: This won't be for everyone, but it scratches a few itches for me.
Overall Thoughts: I like a challenging album, and Kinlaw has one with The Tipping Scale, an album that feels like it has a lot of angles and pointy bits. It's hard to describe, really, but it's weirder than you think but not so odd in which it's impossible to find something interesting. Kind of needs to be heard to be understood, but it's worth the time.
Recommendation: Give this the investment it deserves.

Artist: The Hold Steady
Album: Open Door Policy
Quick Description: Long-time indie rockers with a new album.
Why You Should Listen: This is probably their best album in over a decade.
Overall Thoughts: Everyone loves Boys and Girls in America, but I won't lie - a lot of the more recent output has left me cold, cold to the point where I nearly skipped this one. I'm glad I didn't, because this is as close to a return to form that I can think of. The sort of talky storytelling Craig Finn is best at is front and center, and the songwriting in particular is definitely more memorable than on recent records. This is rock solid, and if you've jumped off the bandwagon, I highly recommend giving this a shot.
Recommendation: A must-listen.

Artist: Wild Pink
Album: A Billion Little Lights
Quick Description: Indie rock with a sprinkling of roots.
Why You Should Listen: It somehow feels epic and restrained at the same time.
Overall Thoughts: I won't lie, the only reason I sought this band out to start was because the song title "The Shining But Tropical," made me laugh. But the song was so good, so sprawling and interesting, that I knew I had to check out the album. I'm glad I did, as it's probably my favorite release this week. It's just got so much happening, and every song feels essential and purposeful. Give "The Shining But Tropical" a listen, and when you love that, check the rest out. You won't regret it.
Recommendation: One of the best of the week.

Artist: Lael Neale
Album: Acquainted With Night
Quick Description: Fragile, sparse folk music.
Why You Should Listen: It's a voice and an Omnichord, which is perfect for these times.
Overall Thoughts: I don't have a ton to say about this release except that I really enjoyed it. It's not quarantine-based, but it is a very isolated effort that has a real sort of feeling to it that is missing from a lot of musical efforts. It's a busy week, but this deserves your energy.
Recommendation: Make time for this one. Of note:

* Pearly Drops - Call for Help (We missed this 2020 release; it's great, offbeat, dark indie pop.)
* Divide and Dissolve - Gas Lit (Solid, sludgy, noisy.)
* Indigo Sparke - Echo (Great folk-adjacent music, really interesting in a lot of ways.)
* Mogwai - As the Love Continues (Mogwai continues to be great.)
* David Gray - Skellig (Don't sleep on this, it's surprisingly good.)
* Philip B. Price - Oceans Hiding in Oceans
* Your Old Droog and Tha God Fahim - Tha YOD Fahim
* Pauline Anna Strom - Angel Tears in Sunlight
* Catherine Britt - Home Truths
* Katy Kirby - Cool Dry Place
* Biosphere - Angel's Flight
* Edie Brickell and New Bohemians - Hunter and the Dog Star
* Another Michael - New Music and Big Pop
* Ryan Dugre - Three Rivers
* June Jones - Leafcutter
* Shura - forevher
* The Lasso - 2121

EPs:

* Glassjaw - Coloring Book (Reissue of their debut EP.)
* Cassandra Jenkins - An Overview on Phenomenal Nature
* Tindersticks - Distractions
* Hand Habits - dirt
* Hologram Teen - Geometries Insensibles

Live albums/Compilations:

* Spoon - Girls Can Tell ("Deluxe Playlist" with inspirations of songs from the album peppered between.)
* Anya Marina - Live and Alone in New York

Also out:

* Alabama Slim - The Parlor
* John Paul Keith - The Rhythm of the City

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