Tuesday, June 15, 2021

First Listen: New Releases for 11 June

Quick Thoughts: While I don't know how I tripped up on COWBOY BOY, but it takes a lot for me not to be into a power pop band, and thus they charmed me from the very start. This is a quick hit album without any real negatives to point out - the vocals are great, the songs are fun while still being somewhat serious, and the whole package is a really solid listen from beginning to end.

Artist: St. Lenox
Album: Ten Songs of Worship and Praise for Our Tumultuous Times
Quick Thoughts: St. Lenox does some earnest folk rock/indie pop, and this album does what it says on the tin: it's music about religion, but it's not religious music, if that makes any sense. St. Lenox lays it all out on the table, though - grappling with faith, belief (and the lack thereof), family... it's a heavy record in spite of its light presentation. This is a very now record. It matters and it's substantive in a time where we might need it most, and I appreciate this effort very much.
Songs of Note: "Arthur is at a Shiva," "The Great Blue Heron (Song of Solomon)," "Bethesda," "Gospel of Hope"

Artist: Bo Burnham
Album: Inside (The Songs)
Quick Thoughts: Okay, this might get long. We don't generally do comedy records here, and we are absolutely not the target audience for Burnham's brand of millennial humor. I have very little knowledge of Burnham outside of the knowledge that he got his start on YouTube. Inside, on one hand, benefits from the visual presentation to go along with the audio. It's a Netflix special with the music intended to be part of the experience, and so the broader context is missing. On the other hand, the best humor is one humor that not only pushes boundaries, but sprinkles some truth within the absurdity. As a comedy special made during a pandemic, it could only exist in this time. In an era of cancel culture (real or imagined) and people being more open with their mental health struggles, Burnham isn't afraid to lay it all out there. It blurs the line between character and reality, and it's impossible to tell whether he's breaking kayfabe or not a lot of the time. In short? It's brilliant. Might not be my favorite "album" this year, but it's absolutely the most consequential piece of performance I've seen in a long time. Watch the special, listen to the songs, and start singing these songs to yourself over and over and over.
Songs of Note: "White Woman's Instagram," "Shit," "Welcome to the Internet," "That Funny Feeling"

Artist: Limbo
Album: Six Strings and Vocal Chords and girl and dimension five and beats to chill and exist to and 2015 and 2015 (continued) and 2014 and 2014 (continued)
Quick Thoughts: Limbo has been a DJ project for around seven years, and she's finally hanging up the cat mask and moving onto other things. How is she doing this? By dropping a ton of albums and EPs and calling it a day. I listened to 2014 and it's lo-fi and great, but a lot of this will need some time. Still, I'm looking forward to whatever the next chapter is.
Songs of Note: There's just so much here...

Artist: Brad Sucks
Album: A New Low in Hi-Fi
Quick Thoughts: Wanted to highlight this one as a solid slice of alt-rock this week. The opening track, featuring Jason Lytle of Grandaddy, sets the tone really well, and the rest of the album is simply a great musical trip. It's a very busy release schedule, so make some time.
Songs of Note: "In It To Win It," "All Right Now"

Artist: Quivers
Album: Golden Doubt
Quick Thoughts: Quivers hit my radar with their album covering R.E.M.'s Out of Time earlier this year. This record of new material really explains why, because you can hear the jangle-pop inspiration througout the tracklisting. If you want accessible, college rock-style songs, Golden Doubt needs to hit your rotation this week.
Songs of Note: "Gutters of Love," "When It Breaks," "Chinese Medicine," "You're Not Always On My Mind," "Laughing Waters"

Artist: Sleater-Kinney
Album: Path of Wellness
Quick Thoughts: Their previous effort, the St. Vincent-produced effort, resulted in some very divided takes and splintered the band from their drummer, Janet Weiss. I won't say Path of Wellness is a return to form for the act, but it's pretty close. Many of the songs are truly great, and while I do wish the mix was a little louder in some spots, this is the album we thought we were getting from The Center Won't Hold.
Songs of Note: "High in the Grass," "Shadow Town," "Favorite Neighbor"

Artist: Lipstick Jodi
Album: More Like Me
Quick Thoughts: Found this one last minute and didn't want to miss it. This is a pretty interesting indie-alt record with some great electronic elements and interesting melodies. In a busy week, it's worth your time.
Songs of Note: "Keep It Down," "Don't Wanna Know"

Of note:

* Alessandro Cortini - SCURO CHIARO (Really great experimental/electric stuff.)
* Sleeper - This Time Tomorrow (Release of a "lost" album, completed and remastered during quarantine.)
* Garbage - No Gods No Masters (They've still got it. Lots of great moments here.)
* Slayyyter - Troubled Paradise (Hyperpop that's a lot more accessable than her debut.)
* King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard (Some real jams on this. If KG were to make a summer album, this would be it...)
* Los Campesinos! - Whole Damn Body
* Sven Wunder - Natura Morta
* Islands - Islomania
* MARINA - Ancient Dreams in a Modern Land
* Your Old Droog - TIME
* Suzanne Kraft - About You
* Chloe Foy - Where Shall We Begin
* Red Ribbon - Planet X
* Rachel Baiman - Cycles
* Lxandra - Careful What I Dream Of
* Kaylee Elizabeth - Playing With Fire
* Future Funk Squad - Four
* The Hello Darlins - Go By Feel


* Clem Snide - Smothered and Covered Vol. 1
* pronoun - omg i made it
* K.Flay - Inside Voices
* Poppy - EAT
* Olivia Holt - In My Feelings
* Croatian Amor and Scandinavian Star - Spring Snow
* Kekko - Dreaming Life
* Sparkle Division - CLASSIFIED
* Dizzy - Separate Places
* Kelly Lee Owens - Inner Song Remix Series

Live albums/Compilations/Reissues:

* ShitKid - Sort Stjerne! (A compilation of old tracks and demos as the ShitKid project closes out.)
* Mr. Bungle - The Night They Came Home (Live)
* The Homeless Gospel Choir - This is a Protest Song (Live)

Also out:

* AFI - Bodies
* Mammoth WVH - Mammoth WVH * Skyzoo - All the Brilliant Things

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