Artist: Let's Eat Grandma
Album: I'm All Ears
Quick Description: Weird, compelling indie pop.
Why You Should Listen: Let's Eat Grandma is buzzworthy right now anyway, and this might put them on the map.
Overall Thoughts: Let's Eat Grandma isn't experimental per se, but they kind of remind me of a lot of experimental acts. In a way, they have a feel to them like a lot of other strange acts before them, but something about this album just absolutely clicks in terms of being a viable, interesting, compelling listen. I can't say that you'll pull a song or two out and add it to your mixes, but as a cohesive whole with a challenging approach, there's absolutely nothing better this week.
Recommendation: Definitely a top listen this week.
Artist: The Rails
Album: Other People
Quick Description: Good ol' British folk rock.
Why You Should Listen: These guys absolutely get it.
Overall Thoughts: A favorite band of mine for some time has been Dolly Varden, a group that doesn’t get to the Northeast enough and hasn’t released a ton of music as of late. This album has a VERY Varden feel to it, and while it has taken a very long time to get to our shores from Europe, the wait is more than worth it. Great harmonies, great rootsy feel.
Recommendation: Easily one of the best of the week.
Artist: Essex Green
Album: Hardly Electronic
Quick Description: First album in ages from the Elephant Six act.
Why You Should Listen: This is indie pop at its best.
Overall Thoughts: I love this band, no doubt about it. With that said, I did not realize that we’ve gone twelve years since Cannibal Sea, and this Elephant Six act sounds as vibrant and fun as they did when I first fell for them. This is pretty much the perfect summery indie rock album from a band that apparently we’ve gone far too long without.
Recommendation: A must-listen this week.
Artist: The Milk Carton Kids
Album: All the Things That I Did and All the Things That I Didn't Do
Quick Description: Everly-adjacent folk music.
Why You Should Listen: The Milk Carton Kids have been making great music for ages now, and if you're not on board yet this is a great place to start.
Overall Thoughts: This is an album I would love to hijack the bad country music at a 4th of July barbecue and replace. It’s upbeat enough while still having a stark, minimalist attitude, and the lyricism and overall beauty of what draws people in for what The Milk Carton Kids do is great here.
Recommendation: A wonderful listen as always.
Artist: The Vines
Album: In Miracle Land
Quick Description: Surprising new album from the garage/grunge rock act.
Why You Should Listen: This is a rare case where a band is as good as you remember.
Overall Thoughts: Everyone remembers “Get Free” from back during the rock renaissance of the early aughts, but those who remember The Vines before then probably also recall the lead singer being an interesting character with a host of issues. I didn’t remember they were making new music still, and I am pleasantly surprised at how much I liked this listen. It’s more-than-servicable alt-rock with some definite highlights, and in a week with a questionable number of must-listen releases in anticipation of the American holiday...
Recommendation: ...this might deserve a spin.
Artist: Jim James
Album: Uniform Distortion
Quick Description: Enigmatic rock act back with something pretty interesting.
Why You Should Listen: Jim James isn't for everyone, which is a signal to maybe check him out.
Overall Thoughts: I don't always dig what James is doing, but something is really clicking with this effort. A nice mix of classic and modern, and really hooky. I can imagine fans liking this, and I can see this as a good entrypoint if you haven't listened yet.
Recommendation: Worth a listen.
Artist: Jaye Jayle
Album: No Trail and Other Unholy Places
Quick Description: Dark roots stuff.
Why You Should Listen: This was a pleasant surprise.
Overall Thoughts: I always talk about enjoying dark folk music, and man, this has a real dark gothic feel to it. Weighty, interesting music from start to finish from this one, and it’s absolutely worth your time.
Recommendation: A good, interesting listen this week.
* Gwenifer Raymond - I Was Never Much of a Dancer (great name, great instrumental roots music)
* The Innocence Mission - Sun on the Square (a gorgeous folk effort)
* The Rock'n'Roll HiFives - Reintroducing The Rock'n'Roll HiFives (a fun, decent family rock act)
* Charles Llyod and the Marvels + Lucinda Williams - Vanished Gardens
* Ray Davies - Our Country: Americana Act 2
* The Rock*A*Teens - Sixth House
* Florence and the Machine - High as Hope
* Gorillaz - The Now Now
* Manchester Orchestra - The Black Mile Demos
* Converge - Beautiful Ruin
* Happy Rhodes - Ectotrophia
* Drake - Scorpion