Quick Thoughts: I don't know if I ever expected Margo Price to be the constant and steady hand at the till, but here we are. Strays is another Price album full of great songs and the sort of consistency you expect from artists well beyond her tenure. This is a really great album, and a great way to start the new year off.
Songs of Note: "Been To The Mountain," "Light Me Up"
Album: Dear Friend
Quick Thoughts: Ken sent this one over and it was easily the most pleasant surprise of the week. A roots-influenced folk duo, the married couple have a lovely little record here with some memorable tracks and just a feel-good mood across the board. I was repeatedly surprised throughout the whole runtime, and the musicianship is as good as the songwriting. Definitely looking forward to digging into their back catalog.
Songs of Note: "Through and Through," "Records and Rent," "Dangling Like Keys"
Album: Child of Sin
Quick Thoughts: I really enjoyed Sharon Kovacs's 2018 effort, as she has an interesting presentation along with a distinct and powerful voice. This new album feels like it pushes the boundaries even further, with attention-grabbing vocals and songs that stick with you. I think I realized I'd like this with "Goldmine," and thought it was one of the better listens of the week by the time "Bang Bang" was done. If she's an acquired taste, this is the moment to acquire it. A great listen.
Songs of Note: "Goldmine," "Bang Bang," "High Tide"
Album: Ea$y & Chill
Quick Thoughts: These three musicians are all Massachusetts-based, and serves as a great reminder that, for all the indie rock we feature here and the metalhead mecca that Worcester provides, the local rap scene is alive and well and doesn't end with Joyner Lucas. There's really something for everyone here, which is why I loved it so much - "Shaq & Kobe" is exactly what you think it is, "Catch a Vibe" wouldn't seem out of place in early 1990s rap radio, and on and on. This is a week with a few solid rap records, so make sure this one tops your list.
Songs of Note: "Shaq & Kobe," "Pass the Burner," "Catch a Vibe," "All Bad," "Mental Health Check"
Album: Late Developers
Quick Thoughts: Everyone who has listened to Belle and Sebastian since the turn of the century has a time when they felt as if the band wasn't really for them anymore. For me, the God Help the Girl/The Life Pursuit era was likely the last time I was truly excited for a B&S release, but I've kept up with them nonetheless. I did not expect Late Developers to resonate at all, but it turns out it's not only a great record, but it feels like a great Belle and Sebastian record. Some songs feel classic, others a modern twist on the old favorite, and even the out-there stuff like opening track "Juliet Naked" and what sounds like a Eurovision audition in "I Don't Know What You See In Me" feel fresh and pure. This was a welcome surprise and a great return to form.
Songs of Note: "Give a Little Time," "The Evening Star," "When You're Not With Me," "I Don't Know What You See In Me"
Album: GOLD STAR
Quick Thoughts: Something special has to accompany really noisy dissonant rock music, and Space Camp has it in spades. A band out of Connecticut, this is angry and angular and feels like a car crash, and yet it all works? It's all marvelous? I don't know how to explain it, but this worked really well for me and I think it's worth the time.
Songs of Note: "WE HAVE DECIDED TO STAN FOREVER," "CRUNCH HOUSE BATHROOM," "REST CURE"
Album: Crepuscule I & II
Quick Thoughts: I wanted to take a moment to highlight this double album reissue. Ambient music, modern classical, whatever you want to call it, it sometimes has a really steep entry point. I don't know what it is specifically about Crepuscule I & II that really resonated with me, but it's really a great listen to trip up on this week and one I recommend taking some time with.
* Billy Nomates - CACTI (Not as weird and outsidery as her last effort, yet still pretty great.)
* 99LETTERS - Kaibou Zukan (Very surprising and compelling electronic/ambient stuff.)
* Guts Club - CLIFFS/WALLS (As far as really noisy albums go, this is excellent.)
* Devil Love - Devil Love (Sneaky good with potential to be a grower.)
* Kilynn Lunsford - Custodians of Human Succession
* CVC - Get Real
* Leila Moss - Internal Working Model
* Rozi Plain - Prize
* Skyzoo and The Other Guys - The Mind of a Saint
* Marlody - I'm Not Sure At All
* poolblood - mole
* James Yorkston, Nina Persson, and The Second Hand Orchestra - The Great White Sea Eagle
* Declaime and Madlib - In the Beginning (Vol. 3)
* Juni Habel - Carvings
* Cheap City - Ten Years Without Rami Holding
* Fizzy Blood - Pan Am Blues
* The Subways - Uncertain Joys
* Winters Lane - Photo Album
* Helvetia - You Shot Past the Moon Scapegoat
* Dudes - Eternal is the Fruit
* Ernie Vincent - Original Dap King
* The Baboon Show - God Bless You All