Wednesday, November 8, 2023

First Listen: New Releases for 3 November 2023

Artist: Laura Veirs
Album: Phone Orphans
Quick Thoughts: Laura Veirs has been a favorite of mine since Carbon Glacier, and I've always enjoyed her back catalog, from the more roots and folk-style early stuff to the more disjointed folk music that felt a decade before it was cool. Phone Orphans isn't exactly a return to the old, but it is a return to a quieter, more deliberate sound than what we're used to, and it is gorgeous. Each song feels fragile and immediate in all the best ways, and it's a favorite of the week. Make some time for this.
Songs of Note: "If You Could Hold Someone," "The Archers," "Beautiful Dreams," "Swan Dive"

Artist: Little Lizard
Album: Big Lizard
Quick Thoughts: I didn't know what to make of Little Lizard when I saw the cover, didn't know what to make of the band in the first song, and I still don't know what to make of it now. This is a compliment, because it is a real thinker of a record. It's mostly instrumental, a sort of indie-jazz pastiche of sorts that always kept me guessing, and is an album I literally can't stop thinking about. It's not going to be everyone's cup of tea, but it's absolutely mine.
Songs of Note: "Lakers," "Six," "SF," "Ripper"

Artist: We Melt Chocolate
Album: Holy Gaze
Quick Thoughts: We Melt Chocolate is likely melting it via some better-than-most shoegaze riffs, because this album just rocks. It's a great, fuzzy listen in a fall that feels full of them, and sets itself apart due to the strong, sharp songwriting that works as a foundation for the guitars drenching track after track. Give this a listen.
Songs of Note: "Holy Ramen," "No Meaning Man," "Sunrise," "Shades"

Artist: Crystal Canyon
Album: Stars and Distant Light
Quick Thoughts: Speaking of shoegaze, Crystal Canyon is an act out of Portland, ME, that sounds great and isn't giving an indie vibe at all. This album, apparently their third, shows some real solid musicality across a tracklisting full of cosmic songs, and I fell hard for their brand of fuzzed-out rock. More like stargaze, am I right?
Songs of Note: "Dreamray," "Belt of Orion," "Pulsars and Magnetars," "Catatonia," "Cobra Aurora"

Artist: Lol Tolhurst, Budgie, and Jacknife Lee
Album: Los Angeles
Quick Thoughts: Has the idea of a supergroup died? I don't know, but a group led by members of The Cure, Siouxie and the Banshees, and a top producer is a supergroup in my mind. This is a very percussion-forward effort, reminscent more of UNKLE than anything the individual acts worked with, but the guest spots from James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem and Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse turn this into more of a party than I expected. This is a fascinating listen on many levels, and worth a spot in your rotation.
Songs of Note: "Ghosted at Home," "Los Angeles," "Everything and Nothing," "Travel Channel," "Country of the Blind," "We Got to Move"

Artist: Tkay Maidza
Album: Sweet Justice
Quick Thoughts: Tkay Maidza is amazing, and even though she has a million monthly listeners on Spotify I feel like she's still rap's best kept secret. After a series of EPs that largely stayed within the lines, Sweet Justice> feels more like a statement than a song collection, with equal parts FKA Twigs and current female rap stars like Megan Thee Stallion and Doja Cat. This is a great, great record and one I'm glad I hear this week.
Songs of Note: "WUACV," "WASP," "Ring-a-Ling," "Gone to the West"

Artist: Caitlin Harnett & the Pony Boys
Album: All Night Long
Quick Thoughts: This was one we missed earlier this year, and I regret it. This is your classic alt-country smoky bar music, with some great honest songs and a vibe that's all its own. I loved "Can't Have It All" in particular, which kind of blew my socks off in its unexpected raw beauty. Find some time for it.
Songs of Note: "Sidelines," "Can't Have It All," "Even Cowgirls Cry"

Of note:

* Semisonic - Little Bit of Sun (A surprisingly solid entry by the "Closing Time" crew.)
* Flying Raccoon Suit - Moonflower (Your quarterly reminder that ska lives, and is as fun as ever.)
* Brad Marino - Grin and Bear It
* Drop Nineteens - Hard Light
* bar italia - The Twits
* November 2nd - November 2nd
* Jockstrap - I<3UQTINVU
* Inara George - What Keeps You Up At Night
* Marnie Stern - The Comeback Kid
* MyKey - Auto Destroy
* The Family Township - 20th Century Wasters
* In the Pines - Painting By Numbers
* TIFFY - So Serious
* Teenage Tom Petties - Hotbox Daydreams
* Empty Country - Empty County II
* Ida Mae - Thunder Above You
* Light Beams - Wild Life
* Matmos - Return to Archive
* Hotline TNT - Cartwheel
* Charlene Darling - La Porte
* Hilary Woods - Acts of Light
* Better Corners - Continuous Miracles, Vol. 2
* Honour - Àlàáfía
* Badge Epoque Ensemble - Air, Light & Harmony
* Jason Trachtenburg - I Really Love You, Tonight
* ill peach - THIS IS NOT AN EXIT
* King Creosote - I DES
* Sign Libra - Hidden Beauty
* August, Yours Truly - The Year of Pornography
* Labasheeda - Blueprints
* Salamanda - In Parallel
* Bored Lord - Name It
* Actress - LXXXVIII
* She The Throne - NUNTIS
* girlfriend. - To Be Quiet
* All Get Out - All Get Out
* Liza Anne - Utopian


* Katy J Pearson - Katy J Pearson and Friends Presents Songs From the Wicker Man
* CHRIST DILLENGER, DJ Smokey, and Seepy - I'm In the Club With a Nuke
* Mikaela Davis and Southern Star - Our Creepy Eep Hour
* Mall Grab - Mouse
* She The Throne - ORION EP
* Machinedrum - 4#TRAX
* Arcy Drive - Beach Plum
* Gwen Levey and The Breakdown
* Girl and Girl - Fight Night EP
* The Halluci Nation - Path of the Heel
* Class President - Good Thinking.
* Brian Eno - Atmospheric Lightness
* 2nd Generation Wu - Aware Wolf
* Slanted Truths - Something Severed
* UNIVERSITY - Title Track
* THALA - twotwentytwo
* Atka - The Eye Against the Ashen Sky
* Akintoye - Bombs Like Barack
* Silkroad Ensemble - Phoenix Rising

* Live albums/Compilations/Reissues:

* FADER and Friends: Volume 1 (Bandcamp-only charity comp benefiting three international LGBTQ+ orgs.)

Also out:

* Rid of Me - Access to the Lonely
* Mermaidens - Mermaidens
* Mary Ocher - Approaching Singularity: Music for the End of Time

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