Tuesday, April 4, 2023

First Listen: New Releases for 31 March 2023

Artist: Rachel Baiman
Album: Common Nation of Sorrow
Quick Thoughts: Rachel Baiman has solidified herself as a mandatory listen with Common Nation of Sorrow. Baiman's roots-focused folk is spot-on with this latest album that is as earwormy as it is contemplative, and yet somehow still feels surprising. I knew a few songs in that it was going to be a favorite this week, and longtime readers will find a lot to love here.
Songs of Note: "Annie," "Self Made Man," "Lovers and Leavers," "Old Flame"

Artist: Altın Gün
Album: Aşk
Quick Thoughts: I became addicted to this semi-cinematic indie genre over the last few years, and a favorite of mine ended up being Altın Gün. Their albums are catchy and interesting, but the new album levels up in many regards while also harkening back to their earlier work. It's a gorgeous and fascinating listen that's unlike anything else you'll hear this week. Make sure you take some time with it.
Songs of Note: "Badi Sabah Olmadan," "Leylim Ley," "Cit Cit Cedene," "Rakiya Su Katamam," "Canim Oy"

Artist: Mighty Poplar
Album: Mighty Poplar
Quick Thoughts: In a week of supergroup releases, don't sleep on Mighty Poplar. A project featuring members of Punch Brothers, Watchhouse, and more, it's a great slice of bluegrass that feels like a late night campfire jam as much as a complete record. The song selections are fun, the musicality is off the charts, just make room for it.
Songs of Note: "Blackjack Davy," "Let Him Go On Mama"

Artist: Hot Mustard
Album: Seconds
Quick Thoughts: I didn't have the first idea of what to expect from Hot Mustard, but I'm now a huge fan. Hot Mustard is an instrumental record with hip hop and 1970s funk influences throughout, and the album has the feel of a b-movie score across its runtime. I loved this, because the concept is right down my alley, but, more importantly, because the music is awesome. Worth your time this week.
Songs of Note: "Nickel Empire," "The Golden Beet," "The End of Time"

Artist: PACKS
Album: Crispy Crunchy Nothing
Quick Thoughts: In a busy week, I wanted to make sure this new effort from PACKS got some love. So much of this just hit me perfectly, and it ends up being a great indie rock album on its own accord. Don't sleep on this one.
Songs of Note: "Cheese," "Brown Eyes," "Not the Same," "Rag Doll"

Artist: boygenius
Album: the record
Quick Thoughts: I don't need to sell you on boygenius. The indie supergroup of Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus, and Julien Baker is basically the singer-songwriter version of the Avengers, and the album hits on nearly all cylinders. It shows that their EP from 2019 wasn't a fluke, and demonstrates why these three women are some of the best songwriters and performers out there at present.
Songs of Note: "True Blue," "$20," "Cool About It," "Not Strong Enough," "Satanist"

Artist: The Hold Steady
Album: The Price of Progress
Quick Thoughts: The last 20 years have been kind to The Hold Steady. Between a few big releases in the mid-2000s and some solid solo work from lead singer/songwriter Craig Finn, they've stayed in the conversation even while other indie acts of their time faded away. For me, this is their best effort since Stay Positive and their best effort since the return of keyboardist Franz Nicolay. A great listen.
Songs of Note: "Sideways Skull," "Carlos is Crying," "Sixers"

Of note:

* James Holden - Imagine This is a High Dimensional Space of All Possibilities (Great ambient/electronic listen.)
* NOVA ONE - create myself (NOVA ONE levels up in this effort.)
* Low Leaf - MiCRODOSE
* Transviolet - BODY
* Buzzy Lee - Internal Affairs
* Jeff Linden and the Black Spot Society
* Marta and Tricky - When It's Going Wrong
* Lies - Lies
* Astrocolor - Moonlighting - AstroJazz Vol. 1
* Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness - Tilt at the Wind No More
* Chris Hyson - Sidekick
* The New Pornographers - Continue as a Guest
* Vazum - V-
* Katie Gately - Fawn / Brute
* Small Black - Small Black
* GEL - Only Constant


* Desert Sharks - The Tower (Song after song after song is a winner.)
* Thys - Shoulder to Shoulder
* The Flashpot Moments - Lucky Human Illusion
* Two Shell - lil spirits
* Leggy - Dramatica
* Barrie - 5K
* Royel Otis - Sofa Kings
* Amy Dabbs - The Bobcat Special
* Ada Rook - Rookie's Bustle

Also out:

* Steve Gunn and David Moore - Let the Moon Be a Planet

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