Tuesday, January 24, 2017

First Listen: New Releases for January 20

Lots to cover this week.

Album of the Week:

Artist: Cherry Glazerr
Album: Apocalypstick
Quick Description: Great, hooky alt-rock.
Why You Should Listen: Best release this week and will scratch that traditional alternative rock itch.
Overall Thoughts: I fell in love with this band thanks to "Had Ten Dollaz" from a few years ago. The new album builds on their sound while showing a lot of musical improvements throughout, and there's a good deal of fun to go along with it, too. "Nurse Rached" is a highlight, but their crazy "Nuclear Bomb" video shows where they're coming from. Overall? Best of the week, for sure.
Recommendation: A must listen.

Artist: Foxygen
Album: Follow the Leader
Quick Description: Retro rock band with another fun, puzzling effort.
Why You Should Listen: Foxygen definitely keeps me on my toes.
Overall Thoughts: I don't ever think I like Foxygen until I listen to them with an absurd, goofy smile on my face. With a name like that, I shouldn't be surprised, but this is a fun rock record nonetheless. Won't win any awards, but if you're looking for some 80s excess to start your day, you could do worse.
Recommendation: Worth a listen.

Artist: Kid Koala and Emiliana Torrini
Album: Music to Draw To: Satellite
Quick Description: Collaboration between the deck artist and the European alt-popper.
Why You Should Listen: Both artists are interesting...
Overall Thoughts: ...but this doesn't really work for me. I don't feel like we get the best of either person here, and the result is a bit of a long drag of an album that never truly takes off. It might be a little too chill (both in genre and in tone) for my liking, so if you're a definite fan of either artist, you might get more out of it, but for me...
Recommendation: ...a hard pass.

Artist: Mr. Tophat and Robyn
Album: Trust Me
Quick Description: Disco/techno featuring the most underrated pop singer out there.
Why You Should Listen: You like old-school techno and/or Robyn.
Overall Thoughts: At three songs, this isn't much to run on, but Mr. Tophat is a great producer and these songs had me grooving in my seat from the moment I heard them. Robyn's contribution is both solid and understated (which doesn't always happen for her) and the result here reminds me of when I got into techno music back in high school.
Recommendation: Really well done, give it a shot if you like the genre.

Artist: Austra
Album: Future Politics
Quick Description: New album from the buzzworthy electro-pop artist.
Why You Should Listen: Austra's previous efforts have been outstanding...
Overall Thoughts: ...but something is missing on first listen here. There's a bit of a starkness initially, and the lack of something truly catchy that grabbed me the way so much of Olympia did is a step backward for me on a whole. I'm going to need to spend more time with this, but there's a chance this just won't meet expectations at all.
Recommendation: Be wary in a busy week.

Artist: The Proper Ornaments
Album: Foxhole
Quick Description: Soft, pleasant indie pop.
Why You Should Listen: They're not breaking any new ground, but it doesn't feel like we're getting a ton of this twee-adjacent stuff lately.
Overall Thoughts: The Proper Ornaments are a band I know I like but I never remember until they have new music out, and then I hear their album and I think "oh, yeah, I like how this sounds." Thus the experience in a nutshell - they're not going to blow your mind, but they'll occupy 40 minutes of your time and you'll enjoy it until you fire it up again. This greatness is also their flaw.
Recommendation: Nothing crazy great, but a nice listen nonetheless.

Artist: Reyna Gellert
Album: Workin's Too Hard
Quick Description: Solid folk music.
Why You Should Listen: Nothing else like it this week, and Gellert is quite good at what she does.
Overall Thoughts: While there's a quiet, deliberative quality to this that doesn't always work, Gellert is such a good songwriter that the songs here stick in your craw a little longer than the album does. At only 7 tracks, the big negative is how short this is, but I'm hoping we'll hear more from Gellert soon.
Recommendation: A great listen this week.

Also out this week:

* Bash and Pop - Anything Could Happen (first album in 25 years from the duo)
* Michael Chapman - 50 (new album from the prolific British songwriter)
* Rubblebucket - If U C My Enemies (great glitchy indie pop, a too-short EP)
* Joan of Arc - He's Got The Whole This Land is Your Land in His Hands
* AFI - The Blood Album
* The McIntosh County Shouters - Spirituals and Shout Songs From the Georgia Coast
* No Sun - If Only

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