Tuesday, January 8, 2019

First Listen: Recent New Releases for 2018/19

We're still a little slow in the new year, but there's been enough new music of note to clear the backlog.

Artist: Reel Big Fish
Album: Life Sucks... Let's Dance!
Quick Description: Latest from the modern ska legends.
Why You Should Listen: Ska may have died 20 years ago, but Reel Big Fish didn't.
Overall Thoughts: Reel Big Fish was my second concert ever, if we want to line up how long I’ve been a fan. Ska hasn’t been cool in 20+ years (if it ever was at all), but I won’t lie – this was a super fun album to listen to, and I’m glad RBF is still around and doing their thing. This is going to be a great nostalgia hit if you had that ska phase, but I recommend listening to it anyway because, well, it’s actually really good and fun.
Recommendation: Give this a spin.

Artist: The Lindas
Album: 8 by 9
Quick Description: Gritty indie punk.
Why You Should Listen: This is the sort of dirty punk music you've wanted after the bright holiday season.
Overall Thoughts: Sloppy, dirty indie punk. Reminds me of a slightly messier Regrettes/Dream Wife, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that at all. Given that we can count the worthwhile 2019 releases on one hand so far, this is a highlight, but I am confident that it would be even if the new release period was busier.
Recommendation: A great listen this week.

Artist: Balsam Range
Album: Aeonic
Quick Description: New record from a well-traveled roots act.
Why You Should Listen: They have a very sharp, tight sound.
Overall Thoughts: Good ol’ traditional Americana. This isn’t going to change the world, nor is it really trying to do so, but this is still some good stuff with enough modern flair to keep it from staying in the same old box. I enjoyed this, but it should be noted that there is a pretty solid religious throughline in the music that may be a turnoff, but for me, it did not take away from the overall package.
Recommendation: A good listen this week.

Artist: Old Sea Brigade
Album: Ode to a Friend
Quick Description: Delicate indie folk.
Why You Should Listen: You miss the folk revival from a decade ago.
Overall Thoughts: This is a pretty solid listen. Some sleepy, atmospheric folk music that generally works well, it reminds me a lot of some of the less weird Bon Iver efforts or some of the early Iron and Wine albums. There’s a lot here to like on a whole, and it’s perfect for those who have been feeling the itch for some new folk music.
Recommendation: Worth the time.

Also out:

* T. Rextacy - Prehysteria (A charming, cute little record that doesn’t take itself too seriously and yet feels a little out of place in 2019 compared to the era it sounds like it is from.)

7 Song Albums:

* Lauren Ruth Ward - Happy Birthday Jim (A bunch of interesting Doors covers.)

EPs of note:

* St. Beauty - Running to the Sun: The ReWORC EP
* A Very Spidey Christmas (Yes, this exists.)

Also out:

* Dr. Dog - Midi Swamp
* Palisades - Erase the Pain

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