Tuesday, May 24, 2016

First Listen: New Releases for May 20

With a glut of new releases this week, this will be a two-parter.

Album of the Week:

Artist: Marissa Nadler
Album: Strangers
Quick Description: Latest album from the dark folkie.
Why You Should Listen: Nadler is criminally underrated.
Overall Thoughts: I don't know exactly when Strangers truly clicked for me, but it was midway through when I realized that this was a definite step up from her previous album and as good as anything else she's put out. There's still the ethereal tones throughout, and her airy, haunting melodies make it worthwhile, but I'll keep coming back to this because it feels a little more accessible in some ways. Will this be her breakthrough? I hope so, but this is a solid listen nonetheless.
Recommendation: A great listen, best of the week.

Artist: Tim Heidecker
Album: In Glendale
Quick Description: A rock album with some comedic undertones from the anti-comedy star.
Why You Should Listen: You're a fan of Heidecker's work in any form.
Overall Thoughts: I don't know if there's a way to fully describe this, as it sounds like an earnest rock record in a lot of ways. A lot of common rock themes with a bit of absurdity thrown in (such as some weird murder ballads and a whole thing about seeing Nicolas Cage), it's an interesting record that I think was worth listening to, but probably won't get a listen from me again. I prefer my Heidecker in a full-body cat suit singing about diarrhea.
Recommendation: Worth it for the curiosity factor.

Artist: Richard Ashcroft
Album: These People
Quick Description: Latest solo effort from the lead singer of The Verve.
Why You Should Listen: You're still really, really into Britpop.
Overall Thoughts: I, like pretty much everyone else, loved The Verve, and his first few solo albums weren't bad, either. I missed his most recent one, but this "comeback" after a hiatus of sorts sounds uninspired. It's fine, I guess, but I expected to be impressed by this moreso than I really was. It's just kind of strange in its overall mediocrity.
Recommendation: Skip it unless you're a superfan.

Artist: Kate Jackson
Album: British Road Movies
Quick Description: Debut solo album from the Long Blondes singer.
Why You Should Listen: This is some solid indie-rock style music.
Overall Thoughts: I don't know The Long Blondes as far as I can tell, but if it's anything as good as this, I'll have to look them up. While British Road Movies isn't breaking any new ground, it is an album that works extremely well within its confines. On first listen, the album feels whole and was definitely one of the most enjoyable listens of the week, and it's absolutely one I hope to spend more time with.
Recommendation: One of the best of the week.

Artist: Mudcrutch
Album: 2
Quick Description: Tom Petty side project gets a second album.
Why You Should Listen: Tom Petty is awesome.
Overall Thoughts: The story of Mudcrutch is that it was Petty's actual first band, but it didn't work out and some of them broke off to become The Heartbreakers instead. Then, randomly, the band got back together and recorded anyway. The first album was a little more garage rocky, but this one sounds a lot more like a Tom Petty album in its basic forms. Perhaps a little more fun/a little less serious, this is something fans of Petty will surely like and might be a worthwhile curiosity piece for the rest of us. Me? I really liked it!
Recommendation: Definitely worth a listen.

Artist: Yuna
Album: Chapters
Quick Description: Modern, off-center R&B.
Why You Should Listen: You want to like FKA Twigs but find her a little too difficult.
Overall Thoughts: I make the Twigs comparison because my brain kept going back there. Yuna is doing something special here that deserves some attention, and it's something that bridges a gap a bit between some truly strange stuff and the more modern/predictable R&B (at least as I perceive it). It's absolutely mainstream sounding, but has a weird and different edge to it that comes across in the first couple songs and doesn't let go. This might not work for everyone, but I didn't realize how much I wanted this until I heard it.
Recommendation: A solid listen, might not be for everybody.

Artist: Braids
Album: Companion
Quick Description: A short EP from the sessions of their more recent album.
Why You Should Listen: Braids are great and you should already want more from them.
Overall Thoughts: While this is effectively what a B-Sides collection would have looked like a decade ago, this is a solid if unassuming listen. A quick hit, it's not going to turn anyone on or off to Braids, but as the companion piece it's supposed to be with Deep In The Iris, it's worth it.
Recommendation: Great for fans.

Also out this week:

* The Posies - Solid State
* Eric Clapton - I Still Do

1 comment:

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