Tuesday, August 28, 2018

First Listen: New Releases for 24 August

A much busier week than we've been used to!

Artist: Jain
Album: Souldier
Quick Description: Second album from the French pop singer is better than the first.
Why You Should Listen: Jain is odd and unique and fun all at once.
Overall Thoughts: I forget how I tripped up on Jain's last album, but she has a very unique style that is very appealing. Her new album is somehow better than her previous efforts, with "Flash (Pointe Noir)" being an instant classic and a song, "Inspecta," that is sampling Inspector Gadget? I'm in. This is probably my favorite listen of the week, and there are too many fun things going on here to ignore.
Recommendation: A solid pop release with a lot going for it.

Artist: Whitney Ballen
Album: You're a Shooting Star, I'm a Sinking Ship
Quick Description: Debut from a new favorite here.
Why You Should Listen: Ballen is upping the singer-songwriter game here.
Overall Thoughts: Ken and I have both been enjoying the prerelease tracks, and I’m personally really happy that the full album is so good. A nice balance of solid indie rock songs, some quiet stuff, and some more energetic stuff, I get a real nice Laura Stevenson vibe from it. While I’m excited to hear more, I’m just as excited to spend more time with this one.
Recommendation: Make sure you give this a listen.

Artist: Grain Thief
Album: Stardust Lodge
Quick Description: Debut full-length from a local roots act.
Why You Should Listen: It's surprising roots music, lots of solid upbeat qualities to it.
Overall Thoughts: Along with having the best band name I’ve heard in a while, this debut makes me feel the way I did about Kingsley Flood when I first tripped up on them. I’m pleasantly surprised they’re local, love the way they’re playing the roots game, and there’s a ton of upside here.
Recommendation: One of my favorites this week.

Artist: Steady Holiday
Album: Nobody's Watching
Quick Description: Second album from the dreamy indie act.
Why You Should Listen: So far, everything Steady Holiday has done has been great.
Overall Thoughts: Steady Holiday has done some really interesting indie stuff over the years, and this one has a slightly different, raw feel to it that I’m kind of loving. If a song like “Words” can’t grab you, I have to wonder what is up. This is a great listen for those looking for something that isn’t quite lo-fi, but isn’t so glossy that it loses its heart.
Recommendation: A definite must-listen this week.

Artist: The Devil Makes Three
Album: Chains Are Broken
Quick Description: New album from the popular roots act.
Why You Should Listen: The Devil Makes Three is established enough where this should be an automatic listen.
Overall Thoughts: It’s been a while since I’ve listened, but I have to say that this seems a lot more accessible than what I’m used to or expect from them. A well-established and well-respected act on their own, maybe this one will take them to new heights, but for the rest of us we get a really fun, accessible, rootsy affair. I liked it quite a bit.
Recommendation: A good balance for this week.

Artist: Rubblebucket
Album: Sun Machine
Quick Description: Latest from the off-center indie act.
Why You Should Listen: Rubblebucket has a solid reputation for good reason.
Overall Thoughts: I think this is a good listen. I will put that out there. But part of what drew me to Rubblebucket initially was that they felt a little weird - not completely bizarre, mind you, just odd enough where there was something a little more fascinating going on. This album feels a little more straightforward, and while it's good, that does result in a bit of a disappointment for me on a whole. I'd love to see some of what drew me to them here, but that's okay.
Recommendation: Not the best of the week, but worth it if you're a fan.

Artist: Emily Kinney
Album: Oh Jonathan
Quick Description: Famous person's musical side, but good.
Why You Should Listen: It's solid poppy singer-songwritery stuff.
Overall Thoughts: Most people know her from The Walking Dead, but I've been listening to her music for a while and she has a very unique sound to her brand of singer-songwriter presentation that nearly always grabs me. This is probably my favorite effort of her's so far, and might even have the potential to put her on the map a little more musically.
Recommendation: Give this a listen.

Artist: Nothing
Album: Dance on the Blacktop
Quick Description: Infectious alt-rock.
Why You Should Listen: This is probably the most straightforward alt-rock we've heard in some time.
Overall Thoughts: I feel like Nothing presents itself as weirder than it is, because Dance on the Blacktop plays it about as straight as you can. It's a solid listen in a week full of them, but succeeds at being basically without pretense in an era with a lot of it.
Recommendation: Worth your time.

Of note:

* The Frights - Hypochondriac (This was fun enough, but I would have been all about this if I were 16)
* DeVotchKa - This Night Falls Forever (I'm new to this band. Has a neat theatrical mood to it.)
* LAUREL - Dogviolet (Solid, dependable singer-songwriter stuff)
* Neil and Liam Finn - Lightsleeper (Pretty, but not transcendant)
* Lucie Silvas - E.G.O. (Good pop album this week)
* Simon Stalenhag - Music for DOS (Modern ambient for a digital age. Really good.)
* Ohmme - Parts
* Murder by Death - The Other Shore
* White Denim - Performance
* Olafur Arnolds - re:member


* Ron Gallo - It's OK to Always Love Your Company Elsewhere
* Baeilou - Inside Under
* Bassnectar - Reflective (Part 3)

Also out:

* Nonpoint - X
* Basement Revolver - Heavy Eyes
* Interpol - Marauder
* Blood Orange - Negro Swan


  1. https://livehdfootball.com/ravensvsbengals/