Wednesday, January 17, 2018

First Listen: New Releases for January 12

Sorry for the delay. You'd think a three day weekend would be long enough to do this...

Album of the Week:

Artist: cupcakKe
Album: Ephorize
Quick Description: Surprising, great rap music from a new face.
Why You Should Listen: You wish Lizzo had more edge.
Overall Thoughts: And I recognize that it's unfair to compare cupcakKe to Lizzo because, surface-level, they're both larger-than-Hollywood-standard black female rappers, but I got the vibe from it before seeing the album cover. And while the album was pretty great early on, it's when "Duck Duck Goose" hits that you realize you're hearing something special, and not just because it's one of the dirtiest songs I've heard in some time. The beats are great, cupcakKe has a great delivery, and there's not much of a flaw here except that it might feel more like a novelty in future listens. I hope not, because this has a lot of lasting power if she keeps this up.
Recommendation: A must listen this week

Artist: SKYGGE
Album: Hello World
Quick Description: Electronic stuff off the beaten path.
Why You Should Listen: It's on trend, but different enough to maybe draw in people who like different things.
Overall Thoughts: SKYGGE starts us off with a different feel, and while it trends its way back to the center in later songs, this is perhaps most noteworthy for just how it tries not to do the same old thing. It doesn't always work, but it works often enough where I definitely enjoyed this listen and will go back to it. Worth it in a short week anyway. Reading up on it now, there is an artificial intelligence aspect to this that might explain the experimental bits, so it's definitely a conversation piece at worst.
Recommendation: A good listen.

Artist: Typhoon
Album: Offerings
Quick Description: Post-rock(?) from a buzzworthy band.
Why You Should Listen: Looking for something a little complex and heavier.
Overall Thoughts: I'll admit to this not quite being my speed as well as initially thinking this was a reunion effort from a different act. I can see why people like this, and there's a lot of great musicianship here, it just didn't grab me the way I wanted.
Recommendation: Worth a listen, but you'll know quickly if it's for you.

Artist: The Prids
Album: Do I Look Like I'm in Love
Quick Description: Another one on the darker side, but more melodic.
Why You Should Listen: You dipped your toe in the goth scene in high school, didn't like it, but still enjoy dying your hair once in a while.
Overall Thoughts: For someone who was obsessed with upbeat power poppy alt-rock stuff all last year, I shouldn't have enjoyed this late-2017 album as much as I did, but here we are. The first two songs set the tone, with solid melodies and harmonies to go along with a little bit of a heavier/darker tone. It's a tough mix to get right, and plenty of acts have failed at it. The Prids, at least on this album, nailed that balance, and it's something worth hearing.
Recommendation: Definitely should get in your rotation.

Artist: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Album: Wrong Creatures
Quick Description: Latest from the band still trying to escape their early sound while not completely abandoning it.
Why You Should Listen: If you've jumped off the bandwagon, it might be their best album since their sophomore effort.
Overall Thoughts: BRMC is a tough band. You can't help but wonder how much the "they're just a new Jesus and Mary Chain" got to them considering their entry into folk and what have you, but this latest album looks back at that era a bit while informing their growth as a band. It's an interesting listen that, frankly, I'm unsure I'll care to hear again, but it did get me interested in BRMC after a pretty long absence from my music player.
Recommendation: Be wary.

EPs of note:

* Heather Maloney - Just Enough Sun
* Lou Rebecca - Lou Rebecca
* LPX - Bolt in the Blue
* Doe - Mutiny on the Balcony

Also out:

* Various Artists - Doctor Demento Covered in Punk (this is fun but sometimes exhausting)
* Corrosion of Conformity - No Cross No Crown

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