Tuesday, August 25, 2015

First Listen: New Releases for August 21

Another quicker-than-normal week as I'm coming off of another trip.

Album of the Week:

Artist: Gardens & Villa
Album: Music for Dogs
Quick Description: Strange, compelling synth rock/art pop.
Why You Should Listen: You reminisce about some of the weirder pieces of the Elephant Six Collective; you commonly say "this album would be great with more keyboard."
Overall Thoughts: I listened to this and thought it was a little weird, but not long afterward I realized how much of it stuck with me and how ambitious the entire listen was. Taken as a whole, it's a great piece. Some of the individual parts are strange, and I wouldn't recommend putting this on shuffle, but for those who enjoy the Full Album Experience, this is really solid and interesting.
Recommendation: As album of the week, it's definitely worth a listen in what's a strange week overall, but it may not be for everyone.

Artist: Drinks
Album: Hermits on Holiday
Quick Description: I honestly have no idea.
Why You Should Listen: I, again, have no idea.
Overall Thoughts: This is a weird one. A collaboration featuring Cate Le Bon, it just doesn't work. It's all over the place, stark without being interesting enough to cover for it, and just fails on all accounts.
Recommendation: Skip this.

Artist: Method Man
Album: The Meth Lab
Quick Description: Latest album from Wu-Tang legend.
Why You Should Listen: Because the Wu-Tang Clan ain't nothin' to... well, you know.
Overall Thoughts: In terms of what we've seen from Wu-Tang alumni as of late, this is on the upper end of quality for those releases. On one hand, it's solid. On the other, it feels a little dated? I haven't kept up with Method Man's releases on a whole, so more significant fans might get more out of this, but for a more casual listener, I enjoyed this.
Recommendation: Worth a listen, especially on a short release week.

Artist: The Sword
Album: High Country
Quick Description: Latest album from a modern heavy metal act.
Why You Should Listen: You feel the need to bring the rawk.
Overall Thoughts: I'm not much of a metal guy, and this album really felt like a looooong 50 minutes. I'm probably not fully equipped to give this the review it ultimately deserves, but if you're not into metal this might be one to avoid.
Recommendation: Be careful.

Artist: Barrance Whitfield and the Savages
Album: Under the Savage Sky
Quick Description: If The Darkness did rockabilly...
Why You Should Listen: ...but a serious take on it would be appealing to you.
Overall Thoughts: I had never heard of Barrance Whitfield before now, and when I mentioned what they sounded like to Ken, he said that they had been around for ages. That this is a serious take makes it even more awesome, and, while it's maybe a little overpolished, it's a fun listen.
Recommendation: Absolutely worth some time, you're bound to find something to love.

Artist: Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats
Album: Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats
Quick Description: Brassy, punchy Americana-tinged R&B
Why You Should Listen: You're looking for something a little more fun.
Overall Thoughts: If "S.O.B." isn't getting you to groove in your seat a bit, I'm not sure what to tell you. This is a fun album from start to finish, and one can only hope it becomes a bit of a breakout.
Recommendation: Absolutely add this to your playlists this week.

Artist: Tracy Bonham
Album: Wax & Gold
Quick Description: Fifth album from the Boston rock music elder stateswoman.
Why You Should Listen: You remember songs that weren't "Mother Mother."
Overall Thoughts: I confess to not knowing where Bonham sits in the Boston-area pantheon except that "Mother Mother" was a modest hit and then we all kind of collectively forgot about her. That song was almost 20 years ago, and Bonham hasn't released a ton since then, so this is a welcome surprise even if some of it is a little weird (the first song on the album is not representative). Still, there are some pretty great alt-rock gems strewn throughout the album, so readers of this blog will almost certainly find something to like.
Recommendation: A welcome return of a familiar face, so give it a spin.

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