Tuesday, September 4, 2018

First Listen: New Releases for 31 August

Here comes the last third of the year...

Album of the Week:

Artist: Riley Pinkerton
Album: Nothing Ever Is
Quick Description: Debut full-length from a favorite here.
Why You Should Listen: We've been a fan for a while, and her previous releases have been great.
Overall Thoughts: My favorite listen of the week is this rootsy album. It’s rare that an album can feel both vulnerable and fragile while also basically being in your face. So many great songs on this album that we’ve been waiting on since her EP landed a few years back, and the end result is something that feels familiar without feeling derivative.
Recommendation: Absolutely worth your time this week.

Artist: Juanita Stein
Album: Until the Lights Fade
Quick Description: New album from a compelling indie artist.
Why You Should Listen: It both fits in with some of the alt-rock throwbacks while still feeling new and different.
Overall Thoughts: I had a couple of Juanita Stein’s songs hit the Spotify playlists recently, and songs like “Forgiver” really grabbed me and made it one of the more anticipated listens of the week. The end result here is a solid indie/alt album with a lot of great moments throughout. A little more challenging than most recent listens in this area, but it has more than enough accessibility to at least get you on board.
Recommendation: Give this a shot.

Artist: Emma Blackery
Album: Villians
Quick Description: Poppy YouTuber's debut album.
Why You Should Listen: It's quirky and different without being strange.
Overall Thoughts: Going in, I did not know that EB was a fairly noteworthy YouTuber, which makes this pop album both make more sense and also makes it a little more incomprehensible. There’s a sense of being in character throughout much of this that turned me off, but I also can’t ignore how addictive a lot of these songs were. If you have a pop itch that needs some scratching, give this a listen.
Recommendation: Worth your time.

Artist: Muncie Girls
Album: Fixed Ideals
Quick Description: British alt-rock.
Why You Should Listen: Lots of fun here to go along with some messaging.
Overall Thoughts: I do love my female-fronted alt-rock, and this definitely scratches this itch. The songs have hooks for days, it is a tight and punchy affair, and there is little to complain about on a whole. One of my favorite listens of the week, and one I look forward to spending more time with it on a whole.
Recommendation: A must-listen.

Artist: Aaron Lee Tasjam
Album: Karma for Cheap
Quick Description: Garage rock!
Why You Should Listen: This does something a little different and special.
Overall Thoughts: The 70s rock/garage revival that’s been hanging on doesn’t excite me much these days, but I want to specifically call out this album as being pretty compelling from top to bottom. An album that isn’t working so much from pretense or a visible aesthetic, this just feels a lot more sincere and straightforward.
Recommendation: Worth it if you’re into this sort of thing.

Artist: Courtney Hartman and Taylor Ashton
Album: Been on Your Side
Quick Description: Roots duo with a solid listen.
Why You Should Listen: This sounds a lot like things you already enjoy.
Overall Thoughts: There seems to be an influx of roots duos popping up with a sort of thing that is reminiscent of the Dave Hawkings/Gillian Welch collaborations. Do they all work? No, but this one definitely seems to work better than most. This album leans in quite a bit on the stark, minimalist instrumentation and production to be able to provide a unique and different experience.
Recommendation: It’s a compelling listen on a whole, and one to keep an eye on.

Artist: Amos Lee
Album: My New Moon
Quick Description: Soulful, rootsy rock music.
Why You Should Listen: Amos Lee has a great combination of voice and instrumentation.
Overall Thoughts: I’ve liked Amos Lee since I tripped up on “Cup of Sorrow” however long ago. This new album is really doing it for me on first listen; great melodies and compelling instrumentation is what drives this forward and makes it work. If you like the more soulful side of the roots game...
Recommendation: ...this is worth it.

Of note:

* Ian Fisher - Idle Hands (Interesting, deeply confessional singer-songwriter effort)
* Magic Shoppe - In Parallel (Grungy, infectious rock)
* Mogwai - KIN (Another film score that works really well for this act)
* Son Volt - Okemah and the Melody of Riot
* Alice Temple - The End
* Anna Calvi - Hunter
* Helios - Veriditas
* American Trappist - Tentanda Via


* Iron and Wine - Weed Garden

Also out:

* Big Red Machine - Big Red Machine
* Saintseneca - Pillar of Na
* Wild Nothing - Indigo
* Summer Magic - Sharks and Other Things

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