Tuesday, March 23, 2021

First Listen: New Releases for 19 March

Artist: Melissa Carper
Album: Daddy's Country Gold
Quick Thoughts: That this came out the same week as a Loretta Lynn album is amusing, because this is some great throwback country. The retro feel from presentation to the actual music feels pure and honest, which isn't always the case with country acts that seem to keep their tongues in cheek. But when you have a song like "Would You Like to Get Some Goats?" how can you resist?
Songs of Note: "Back When," "Old Fashioned Gal," "Would You Like to Get Some Goats?"

Artist: Friedberg
Quick Thoughts: This is only a five-song, 16-minute EP, but my goodness, it is all killer no filler. The first four songs are all addictive poppy bangers, and the closing track, "Your Hollywood," cools things down perfectly. This is probably my favorite overall release this week.
Songs of Note: "Pass Me On," "Lizzy"

Artist: Lana Del Rey
Album: Chemtrails Over the Country Club
Quick Thoughts: I know that Lana Del Rey can be polarizing, but I think there's a feeling that her aesthetic trumps her ability, and that's probably unfair. Yeah, she's a unique voice with a singular look and feel, but these are damn good songs, and if they're not getting stuck in your head, why? I recommend giving this one a shot - it's not really much of a change from her previous fare, but it's good for a reason.
Songs of Note: "Chemtrails Over the Country Club," "Dance Till We Die"

Artist: A.A. Williams
Album: Songs from Isolation
Quick Thoughts: More pandemic tunes, but these are excellent cover songs. I can't resist interesting reinterpretations, and A.A. Williams's style of quiet, introspective folk-style music serves many of these songs quite well. It doesn't hurt that she picks a number of interesting songs to provide the reinterpretation treatment.
Songs of Note: "Lovesong," "Every Day is Exactly the Same," "Porcelina of the Vast Oceans"

Artist: Ghost of Vroom
Album: Ghost of Vroom 1
Quick Thoughts: This is a new Mike Doughty (Soul Coughing) project, and it's pretty great. I was hot and cold on Soul Coughing, but when it worked, wow did it work. This mostly works as well, and it's got a sort of modern twist to it that doesn't feel like an old retread. If you like Soul Coughing or any particular Doughty projects, this is worth your time.
Songs of Note: "More Bacon Than the Pan Can Handle," "Revelator"

b>Artist: Beebe Gallini
Album: Pandemos
Quick Thoughts: Just wanted to highlight this one. Beebe Gallini is not a name I'm familiar with, but this is a fun retro pop/garage-rock record that just works. It's super catchy, has a little grit to it, and is an album I'm excited to go back to this week,
Songs of Note: "To Love Somebody," "My Way of Thinking," "Little Sister"

Artist: Janet Simpson
Album: Safe Distance
Quick Thoughts: Janet Simpson is quickly becoming a favorite for both of us here, and for good reason. This is excellent roots-rooted music that also feels a little fun and subversive. It's always great to trip up on these records, and this one is one of those gems that shouldn't stay hidden.
Songs of Note: "Nashville Girls," "Reno"

Artist: Middle Kids
Album: Today We're the Greatest
Quick Thoughts: Another album that I don't have a ton to say about, but holy crap when it's on it's on. There is no dearth of poppy, melodic stuff throughout the album, but some of the songs in here are some of my favorites of the week. Definitely worth a spin in your rotation.
Songs of Note: "Questions," "Golden Star," "I Don't Care"

Artist: Alex Somers
Album: Siblings/Siblings 2
Quick Thoughts: More a performance piece of experimental art than anything else, this is still a really wonderful soundscape of beautiful music. It's exactly what I'd expect some high-quality ambiest-leaning music to sound like on a whole. While these aren't albums that you pick and choose some songs for a mix, this is one you just need to immerse yourself in.

Artist: Jenn Champion
Album: The Blue Album
Quick Thoughts: This is surely going to annoy some Weezer diehards. It shouldn't, because this is a fun little minimalist cover album from an artist doing some highly overlooked work as is. It's mostly just a synth and a drum machine, and might just be a single Casio for all I know, but it's still a pleasant listen and a unique-yet-faithful interpretation of Weezer's debut. A true highlight is "Surf Wax America," which is a near-perfect song when Weezer performs it, but Jenn Champion's overall aesthetic turns it into a song that wouldn't seem out of place on a 1980s synthpop record.
Songs of Note: "Undone," "The World Has Turned and Left Me Here," "Surf Wax America"

Artist: Boise Cover Band
Album: Unoriginal Artists
Quick Thoughts: This is basically a reissue of a 2002-ish collaboration from Built to Spill's Doug Martch, a series of songs and covers developed through some casual sessions with friends during a BTS hiatus. It's an interesting listen, especially their take on "Back on the Chain Gang," and BTS fanatics will find this endearing.
Songs of Note: "Ashes to Ashes," "Strange," "Back on the Chain Gang"

Of note:

* Mint Julep - In a Deep and Dreamless Sleep
* Jane Inc. - Number One
* Alice Phoebe Lou - Glow
* Indonesian Junk - Living in a Nightmare
* Palm Ghosts - Lifeboat Candidate
* Meemo Comma - Neon Genesis: Soul Into Matter
* Triptides - Alter Echoes
* Too Much Joy - Mistakes Were Made
* Loretta Lynn - Still Woman Enough
* New Pagans - The Seed, The Vessel, The Roots, and All
* Leah Callahan - Simple Folk


* Joe Pug - The Diving Sun (Side A)
* Becca Mancari - Juniata
* Serj Tankian - Elasticity
* Show Me the Body - Survive
* Maria DeHart - Quarantunes

Also out:

* Chad VanGaalen - World's Most Stressed Out Gardener
* Sunburned Hand of the Man - Pick a Day to Due
* Arcade Fire and Owenn Pallett - Her (Original Score)

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