Tuesday, February 27, 2018

First Listen, Part One: New Releases for February 23

A really busy week, so a two-parter with two albums of the week. One today, one tomorrow:

Co-Album of the Week

Artist: Frigs
Album: Basic Behaviour
Quick Description: Awesome post-punk debut.
Why You Should Listen: You're upset we only got one Screaming Females album this week,
Overall Thoughts: A co-album of the week, very interesting to listen to in the context of an excellent Screaming Females album. A little angsty, a little anxious, and has a heavy, dark feeling behind it that suggests a number of layers below the initial surface. This is quite simply a must-listen, especially for fans of Screaming Females. Definitely a release that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Recommendation: One of the best of the week.

Artist: Computer Magic
Album: Danz
Quick Description: Latest from the indie electronic act.
Why You Should Listen: A little more mature, a little more interesting.
Overall Thoughts: I have expressed my love for Computer Magic before, and this new album definitely feels like a shift for the act. Different, but not at all bad, it feels a little more complicated than the pop-adjacent blips and bleeps I’ve come to expect. This is one I will need to spend more time with, for certain, but on first listen, this was definitely one of the more interesting listens of the week.
Recommendation: Good listen this week.

Artist: Holly Miranda
Album: Mutual Horse
Quick Description: The latest from the singer-songwriter.
Why You Should Listen: You like your music a little off-kilter.
Overall Thoughts: Holly Miranda has danced alongside the odd corners of the pop world for a while. Her latest does the same, but might be one of her more interesting and yet more accessible efforts so far. A few songs on here are strangely addictive, and the whole thing is one that kept drawing me in throughout the first listen.
Recommendation: I can’t wait to get into this one more.

Artist: Public Access T.V.
Album: Street Safari
Quick Description: Retro 1980s rock music.
Why You Should Listen: You stopped listening to Duran Duran before "Ordinary World" happened.
Overall Thoughts: There is nothing at all wrong with acts that pick an aesthetic and stick with it. Looking at the album cover, you expect a sort of 1980s synthy rock show, and Public Access T.V. delivers. Whether you’ll like it is entirely up to whether this sort of era of music is in your wheelhouse or not, but it succeeds at what it tries to do.
Recommendation: Worth a listen; you'll know if it's for you pretty quick.

Artist: Caroline Rose
Album: LONER
Quick Description: New album from a favorite around these parts.
Why You Should Listen: Her debut album was truly great.
Overall Thoughts: I hate that I don’t like this. I hate that Rose’s debut album was a favorite of mine, with songs trapped in my head years later, and that the lead single “Money” was certainly off the beaten path but still catchy, and yet this album just flops for me. Rose is a talented enough songwriter that I chalk this up more to a choice I just do not like as opposed to a failure of an album.
Recommendation: Your mileage may vary, but I wasn’t into this.

Artist: The Low Anthem
Album: The Salt Doll Went to Measure the Depth of the Sea
Quick Description: Latest from the localish act.
Why You Should Listen: The Low Anthem always makes gorgeous, demanding music.
Overall Thoughts: We love the Low Anthem here, and this latest effort by the Providence act has a more ethereal quality to it than I expected. This is not a bad thing at all, but it does suggest that there is a change of pace for this album that might get some fans off the bandwagon. For me, this was a pretty solid listen on a whole even as it remained a bit unexpected, but those looking for a more traditional effort might be disappointed.
Recommendation: Give this a shot.

Artist: Pageants
Album: Forever
Quick Description:
Why You Should Listen:
Overall Thoughts: Another favorite of mine this week, Pageants does a sort of indie pop with a strange bent that mostly works. Great harmonies and instrumentation makes me think of this more along the lines of if First Aid Kit was an Elephant Six act, so it should absolutely get some time in your rotation this week.
Recommendation: A solid listen in a busy week.

Artist: S. Carey
Album: Hundred Acres
Quick Description: Some light folky stuff from a member of Bon Iver.
Why You Should Listen: You're looking for that more direct folk sound this week.
Overall Thoughts: There's some low-key folk-leaning music here that, if I’m being blunt, somewhat failed to resonate with me. This is probably more me than S. Carey, as folk and folkish male singers rarely work for me, but in a pretty busy week there is just a lot more better stuff out there instead. You probably won’t miss much skipping this.

EPs of note:

* Stella Donnelly - Thrush Metal (don't sleep on this; great for fans of Courtney Barnett)
* Ratboys - GL
* The Regrettes - Attention Seeker

Also out:

* Starchild and the New Romantic - Language
* Grant-Lee Phillips - Widdershins

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