Tuesday, December 4, 2018

First Listen: New Releases for 30 November

Things are definitely slowing down...

Artist: Marie Davidson
Album: Working Class Woman
Quick Description: Superlative electronic music.
Why You Should Listen: This is the best of all worlds when it comes to techno.
Overall Thoughts: Hoo boy this was really great. This may be a late entry in my best of lists (starting tomorrow), because it is the perfect mix of the weird Holly Herndon/Kelly Lee Owens vibe with more traditional beats-driven dance stuff. So, so much of this had me moving at my desk, and it feels both straightforward and complicated in ways I did not anticipate. Do not ignore this one if you’re up for a challenge or into more electronic stuff.
Recommendation: It’s one of the best out there this week.

Artist: Sarah Longfield
Album: Disparity
Quick Description: Odd, off-kilter guitar porn.
Why You Should Listen: This is inventive and ambitious, and really solid.
Overall Thoughts: This is an admittedly weird one that I’m highlighting because I love the ambition and the ideas behind it even though it’s probably a little too out there for most listeners. Remember Marnie Stern? There’s a decent amount of similarities there, although this is less a love letter to 80s guitar rock and more a musical adventure with great guitar chops. Give it a shot – you’ll know quickly if you’re on board.
Recommendation: This is the most interesting listen this week.

Artist: Alessia Cara
Album: The Pains of Growing
Quick Description: Buzzworthy follow-up album from the R&B singer.
Why You Should Listen: This is the album people will be talking about this December.
Overall Thoughts: “Here” was a real jam a few years ago, and this follow-up is long-awaited. What I’ll say is that Cara has succeeded in sounding a little more mainstream and this means I’ve lost my interest to a point. However, even with a more polished approach, a lot of the charm remains, especially early in the record and with “Comfortable” (a favorite song in this genre for me this year). It’s worth a listen, but my first experience with it was not the same as where I ended up with her debut.
Recommendation: Might not work for you.

Artist: Holy Now
Album: Think I Need the Light
Quick Description: Dreamy indie pop.
Why You Should Listen: They had an awesome EP that preceded this.
Overall Thoughts: We missed this one earlier this year, and it’s one of those quiet and dreamy indie pop records that never fails to disappoint. I can’t say for sure this has the sort of standout tracks I’ve come to love from their earlier EP, but it’s a very pretty cohesive whole that I’m glad I tracked down before the year was out.
Recommendation: Worth your time.

Of note:

* Jeff Tweedy - WARM (As someone who hasn’t loved Wilco for a long time, this was fine.)
* Alex Dezen - \\\ (Third solo effort, parts better than the sum.)
* Reverend Screaming Fingers - Music for Driving and Film: Volume III (Solid country-tinged instrumentals)
* Ghostface Killah - Ghost Files (Bronze Tapes)
* The Reverend Horton Heat - Whole New Life


* House of Harm - Coming of Age
* Pizzagirl - Season II
* Kid Doe - Lucky Wheel

Also out:

* Neil Young - Songs for Judy
* Dolly Parton - Dumplin'
* The 1975 - A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships

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