Artist: Sallie Ford
Album: Soul Sick
Quick Description: New album from a favorite here that will just have you asking "Sallie, who hurt you and how can we destroy them?"
Why You Should Listen: Sallie Ford somehow improved on what she was doing, and she was already doing some amazing stuff.
Overall Thoughts: Man, Sallie Ford's been through from stuff, huh? That was really my first reaction as I listened to this album, a bunch of songs that feel confessional, that drip with hurt and pain, that just feel really heavy. And yet this ends up being beautiful with a lot of inspirational tones and gorgeous music. The whole sort of bluesy thing she was doing takes a bit of a backseat here, but this isn't some sort of singer-songwritery acoustic "woe is me" record, either. It's something a lot more special than that, and it's something everyone really just needs to give a listen. It's unfair that this album is out now, because the bar has just been raised for the rest of 2017 again and it's only February.
Recommendation: A must listen. Just absolutely amazing.
Artist: Thievery Corporation
Album: The Temple of I & I
Quick Description: The electronic collective comes along with a great album that feels essential.
Why You Should Listen: You are into electronic music but haven't been jazzed by recent offerings.
Overall Thoughts: Thievery Corporation has never really been my thing. If I wanted acid jazz, I had Mark Farina, and if I was looking for more mainstream electronic music there was always Cassius for house or Orbital or The Crystal Method. Thievery Corporation didn't fit in, but something here really clicked for me. The best songs here are with Mr. Lif, unsurprisingly, but what I found was an album that I initially felt might be too long and stick around too much, but it ends up being a really enjoyable listen overall. Great for electronic music fans, but also if you're not really into the genre - you might find something to like.
Recommendation: A great listen this week.
Artist: Save Ferris
Album: Checkered Past
Quick Description: No one was asking for a Save Ferris comeback EP, but here we are.
Why You Should Listen: You have a lot of nostalgia for the ska wave of 1995.
Overall Thoughts: I'm probably being unnecessarily harsh on this, but when we have ska acts still making music that's a little interesting and different, Save Ferris comes along and drops an album that doesn't remind you of their classic stuff while offering little in the way of a reason to want to see what else they have up their sleeves. "Golden Silence" is fine, I guess, but the whole thing just feels like an unnecessary letdown.
Recommendation: Unless you were really, really hardcore into this group, don't bother. A perfectly viable Less Than Jake EP came out recently, listen to that instead.
Artist: The Sadies
Album: Northern Passages
Quick Description: The Canadian alt-country act offers another classic.
Why You Should Listen: You enjoy high-quality, unassuming country rock.
Overall Thoughts: I hate calling this act alt-country because it feels more folk-rocky, but no matter - The Sadies are great and continue to be great with this latest album. I always feel like they slide under the radar and they really shouldn't, because they keep making solid music. This album is no different - it won't set the world on fire, but it's a great listen nonetheless.
Recommendation: Absolutely worth some time in your rotation this week.
Artist: Duke Garwood
Album: Garden of Ashes
Quick Description: Unassuming, quiet, but intense folk music.
Why You Should Listen: You're a fan of Mark Lanegan.
Overall Thoughts: I couldn't place who Garwood sounded like until I looked up the album cover for this post and saw the comparison, and then it just hit me. I'm not a Lanegan fan, but he has a very distinct style that Duke Garwood shares, and the result is an album that's pretty solid on a whole if not a little strange for the genre. You'll know if you'll like it from the first couple minutes, but it's not something you should outright ignore unless Lanegan's musical style completely puts you off.
Recommendation: Almost certainly worth your time, although it won't be for everyone.
Artist: Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears
Quick Description: A blues/funk/rock mishmash.
Why You Should Listen: You like Gary Clark Jr. but wish he had a brass section.
Overall Thoughts: While I admit that this is not a genre for me typically, I can't not highlight that this is a pretty solid listen overall. Black Joe Lewis does a great job with what he does, and this ends up being a highly enjoyable listen from start to finish. Won't work for everyone, but if you like this sort of thing you'll get a lot out of it.
Recommendation: If you like the genre, it's something you should hear.
Artist: Alexander F
Album: Alexander F
Quick Description: Garage rock/punk from the Rubblebucket guitarist.
Why You Should Listen: If you're really into Rubblebucket, this is not going to be what you expect. If you're not into Rubblebucket, the same rule applies.
Overall Thoughts: Ken sent this over to me, and I was expecting something kind of weird and vanity project-esque given Rubblebucket's sound. What I got instead was a fairly standard garage rock record (with some surprises). It's not going to blow your mind at all, for sure, but in terms of the closest thing to a pure rock record available this week? It's pretty interesting.
Recommendation: A fairly interesting listen.
Also out this week:
* Crushed Stars - Displaced Sleepers