Tuesday, August 21, 2018

First Listen: New Releases for 17 August

Is summer over yet?

Album of the Week:

Artist: Still Corners
Album: Slow Air
Quick Description: Dark, synthy, poppy goodness.
Why You Should Listen: This album sounds so unique and out of nowhere...
Overall Thoughts: I heard "Black Lagoon" early on and fell in love with it, so the fact that we get an album is awesome. It more than exceeded my expectations: it's a dark album without feeling brooding, it has an atmosphere all its own. I'm shocked at how great this ended up being, and I think people who have an affinity for gothy-ish stuff from the 1980s will find a lot to like here.
Recommendation: Easily my favorite this week.

Artist: Mitski
Album: Be the Cowboy
Quick Description: New album from the popular indie musician.
Why You Should Listen: Mitski is making some of the most critically-acclaimed indie music going.
Overall Thoughts: If Puberty 2 was Mitski’s coming out party, Cowboy is the culmination of all the pieces coming together. Much more confident and mainstream, this is a record that is as good as you think it is but loses points based on its relative safety compared to her earlier work. I grade this with a high bar because Mitski herself set it; if this were a debut artist’s album, we’d likely fall all over ourselves on it. Instead, this is a super impressive listen that might not reach the heights she has set.
Recommendation: A must-hear this week.

Artist: Our Girl
Album: Stranger Today
Quick Description: Highly-anticipated (at least for me) debut album.
Why You Should Listen: Our Girl has a unique mix of sounds.
Overall Thoughts: This act had an EP out some time ago that I was really into, so the anticipation for this record in particular is super real. The result is an album that is fuzzy and fun in parts, and reminiscent of a lot you already listen to while not completely being that thing. Rare spot to fill, but Our Girl does it.
Recommendation: A favorite this week.

Artist: Kovacs
Album: Cheap Smell
Quick Description: Interesting neo-soul.
Why You Should Listen: You're looking for something different and adventurous from what's normally put out here.
Overall Thoughts: I don’t know if there’s a major drive to fill the Amy Winehouse-sized void in the pop landscape, but it definitely feels like Kovacs is trying. I don’t know anything much about this act, but there’s a bit of attitude to go along with the excellent vocals that make this a little more worthwhile than a lot of the retreads out there.
Recommendation: Might not work for everyone, but I liked this.

Artist: Conner Youngblood
Album: Cheyenne
Quick Description: New album from a favorite around these parts.
Why You Should Listen: It's a nice mix of sounds that will be a perfect soundtrack to the end of your summer.
Overall Thoughts: I know I’ve listened to a lot of his recent output, but this new album is resonating with me a little more. Sort of the weird love child of Bon Iver, Wayne Coyne, and Maximilian Hecker, this is an oftentimes compelling listen with a lot of layers I look forward to exploring. It has a very vast, open atmosphere to it that I’m really loving.
Recommendation: Absolutely worth a listen.

Of note:

* Ninja Sex Party - Cool Patrol (musical humor can be hard, and this sometimes works. If you liked Partner, this is similar)
* Death Cab for Cutie - Thank You for Today (I never thought they’d be making semi-interesting adult contemporary fare 20 years later, but here we are)
* Slaves - Acts of Fear and Love (solid rock music, a little uneven at times)
* Mountain Lions - We Are (specifically what feels like an odd/different take on the pop folk that keeps breaking through) might be the thing that keeps it from taking off.)
* Thee Oh Sees - Smote Reverser
* Great Lake Swimmers - The Waves, The Wake


* Ludwig Goransson - Black Panther: Wakanda Remixed
* mewithoutyou - [untitled]e.p.

Also out:

* Animal Collective - Tangerine Roof
* Open Mike Eagle - Rappers Will Die of Natural Causes
* The Stubborn Lovers - Mother Road