Tuesday, July 24, 2018

First Listen: New Releases for 20 July

Another slow week, so this does have some catch-up.

Artist: Punch Brothers
Album: All Ashore
Quick Description: Latest from the inventive bluegrass group.
Why You Should Listen: Punch Brothers have yet to do any wrong whatsoever.
Overall Thoughts: Punch Brothers are effectively the 1995-2005 era Radiohead of bluegrass at this point. What they do transcends their early work, transcends their genre, and exists on a plane of its own. This may be their most musically challenging endeavor, and yet it still feels fresh and accessible. I don't know what else to say about it at this point, as they're just too good for words.
Recommendation: Punch Brothers should be automatic at this point.

Artist: Pram
Album: Across the Meridian
Quick Description: First album in ten years from the British act.
Why You Should Listen: You enjoy the odder things in life.
Overall Thoughts: For all my music immersion over the years, I seemingly missed Pram, an experimental group of sorts. They put out a number of albums before going dormant a decade ago and then came back with this album, a strange and weird and compelling listen that basically walks the line perfectly between weird and welcoming. I really loved this, and it’s probably no surprise given my recent addictions, but this deserves a spot in your rotation.
Recommendation: A must-listen this week.

Artist: Lori McKenna
Album: The Tree
Quick Description: Latest from the local folkie.
Why You Should Listen: Lori McKenna should be someone who you're following already.
Overall Thoughts: Lori McKenna is basically a staple of the Boston-area roots/folk landscape at this point, and with good reason. She is clearly well ahead of her peers across the board, and this new album is no different. This is simply a confident, well-done record that will slot in very nicely for what you’re looking for.
Recommendation: Worth your time.

Artist: Meg Myers
Album: Take Me To The Disco
Quick Description: Latest from the pop songstress.
Why You Should Listen: Meg Myers has a take on pop music that isn't like anyone else's.
Overall Thoughts: is pretty much why I’m into darkish pop music these days, although I don’t know for sure whether she’d actually classify herself that way. But “Adelade” has been my jam for years, and this new album is similar in tone with solid songwriting and a unique, individual feel. If you have any interest in pop music at all, you should fire this one up.
Recommendation: Solid pop effort.

Artist: Ume
Album: Other Nature
Quick Description: Indie rock with some feeling behind it.
Why You Should Listen: You're looking for something that is both traditional and challenging.
Overall Thoughts: This is some solid, often angsty, rock music that stays restrained as opposed to going on full blast. It puts out a sort of vulnerability as a result, and that vulnerability usually makes this work in a really compelling way and sets it apart from other albums like it. The overall presentation might be a turnoff for a lot of listeners, but this worked really well for me on a whole.
Recommendation: Worth the risk in a short week.

Artist: Rebekah Rolland
Album: Seed & Silo
Quick Description: Superlative roots effort.
Why You Should Listen: This is a more mature, straightforward rootsy affair.
Overall Thoughts: It’s almost a shame this came out the same week as Lori McKenna and Clay/Jody, as this is probably the most endearing of the alt-country/roots selections this week, but will almost certainly be overshadowed by everything else in its space. This is a mature record in many ways, with the right balance of sparser songs to go along with the type of bluegrass that has a lot of atmosphere and movement to it. Do not sleep on this one, because it should not get lost in the shuffle.
Recommendation: Make this part of your rotation.

Of note:

* Clay Parker and Jodi James - The Lonesomest Sound That Can Sound (Above-average traditional roots record)
* Dentist - Night Swimming (A solid, dependable record in the vein of acts like Dum Dum Girls)
* 10 String Symphony - Generation Frustration (A fascinating combination of genres)
* Cornelia Murr - Lake Tear of the Clouds
* Eisley - I'm Only Dreaming... Of Days Long Past
* Champagne Superchillin' - Beach Deep


* Elias - Walk With Elias (A pro wrestler with a folk singer gimmick puts out an EP in character. Need I say more?)
* Kayla Guthrie - Falling Star
* Katie Ellen - Still Life

Also out:

* The Internet - Hive Mind
* President of What? - And What If After I'm Gone None of It Matters?
* Negative Scanner - Nose Picker
* Ty Segall and White Fence - Joy

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