Tuesday, September 11, 2018

First Listen: New Releases for 7 September

Another busy week...

Artist: Jordie Lane
Quick Description: Aussie Americana.
Why You Should Listen: This is sneaky great.
Overall Thoughts: My favorite of the week, and unexpected at that. Judging an album by its cover is a bad idea, because this gave the appearance of another roots effort without anything setting it apart. It's very, very different than that - there is a very direct, very determined attitude that goes along with this that just grabbed me, and songs like "black diamond" and "America" show that Lane is on a whole different level.
Recommendation: Do not miss this one.

Artist: Colleen Green
Album: Casey's Tapes/Harmontown Loops
Quick Description: A reissue plus from an indie favorite.
Why You Should Listen: Colleen Green remains one of the more interesting listens out there.
Overall Thoughts: Okay, I’ll say it: I think Colleen Green is making some of the best music on the indie scene right now. There is something truly essential about this (and about basically everything she’s done up to this point) that doesn’t quite feel the same when applied to other buzzworthy contemporaries. The minimalism works, the conceit is not a crutch, and it just makes me happy.
Recommendation: This compilation is one of the best things of the week.

Artist: Mirah
Album: Understanding
Quick Description: Latest from the adventurous singer-songwriter.
Why You Should Listen: She has been consistently great for a long time now.
Overall Thoughts: I will always confuse Mirah with the band Marah, as the latter is/was a favorite of Nick Hornby’s and I mistakenly thought he was referring to the former. Mirah-with-an-I has been a favorite of mine ever since, and the sort of stilted, pseudo-experimental stuff that comes along with this is as good as anything she has produced so far.
Recommendation: A definite highlight this week.

Artist: Say Hi
Album: Caterpillar Centipede
Quick Description: Latest from the indie act.
Why You Should Listen: Even while they seem to be different every time they produce something new, it still feels fresh and interesting.
Overall Thoughts: This act keeps shifting itself, and it keeps working. I think I was hooked on this record on “Mathemeticians,” but the reality is that the last Say Hi album was solid and this one is as well. If you’re looking for quality modern indie rock, keep an ear on this one.
Recommendation: Worth your time.

Artist: Eric Bachmann
Album: No Recover
Quick Description: New effort from the Nerf Herder/Crooked Fingers alum.
Why You Should Listen: Bachmann should be considered more important in the indie lexicon than he is.
Overall Thoughts: Given that EB has written two of my favorite songs of the last few years (“Mercy” and “Sleep All Summer” from Neko Case’s Hell-On) and is involved with two of the more important indie acts of the last 25 or so years, anything he puts out is of interest. This album has its moments, but I was hoping for something soaring or significant that never quite hit the mark for me. I know there are many EB partisans, and fans will likely fall for this quite well, but I can’t fully recommend on its own in a busy week.
Recommendation: Be wary.

Artist: St. Paul and the Broken Bones
Album: Young Sick Camellia
Quick Description: New effort from a blog favorite.
Why You Should Listen: No band sounds quite as good doing what St. Paul and the Broken Bones do.
Overall Thoughts: I liked their last effort from a few years back, and this new listen continues along the same lines of being some sharp, multi-genre work. It’s the rare album that feels like one long highlight reel as opposed to a lot of equally solid parts.
Recommendation: Give it a listen.

Artist: Spiritualized
Album: And Nothing Hurt
Quick Description: Latest from the well-regarded alt rock act.
Why You Should Listen: Might be their best effort in two decades.
Overall Thoughts: It's hard to believe that Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space is 21 years old. It's equally hard to believe that frontman Jason Pierce has been at this for three-plus decades. Put all together, this album feels a bit like a throwback - I could swear that the opening track on this album is meant to sound like the opener from Ladies and Gentlemen, and it sets a tone that this is something worth hearing. This hasn't always been true with Spiritualized records as of late, so this ends up being a welcome return to form.
Recommendation: Worth the listen.

Of note:

* La Force - La Force (off-center singer songwriter stuff)
* Miss Understanding - Sequence (some very interesting choices throughout this electronic-ish effort)
* Shannen Moser - I'll Sing (somewhat quiet-yet-energetic roots stuff)
* Ava Luna - Moon 2 (fun, minimalist indie dance music)
* Mothers - Render Another Ugly Method
* Ghostland Observatory - See You Later Simulator
* Adult. - This Behavior
* Black Joe Lewis - The Difference Between Me and You


* Julia Reidy - Beholder
* Waxahatchee - Great Thunder
* The Mountain Goats - The Hex of Infinite Binding EP
* Hozier - Nina Cried Power EP

Also out:

* JEFF The Brotherhood - Magick Songs (too experimental for me)
* William Elliot Whitmore - Kilonova
* Suicidal Tendencies - STill Cyko Punk After All These Years
* Clutch - Book of Bad Decisions
* $uicideboyS - I Want to Die in New Orleans

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