Tuesday, May 21, 2019

First Listen: New Releases for 17 May

A slower week, but with two heavy hitters.

Artist: Carly Rae Jepsen
Album: Dedicated
Quick Description: Latest album from the pop star.
Why You Should Listen: There is a lot riding on this follow-up to her last effort.
Overall Thoughts: For those who are not choosing between Taylor and Katy, this is probably the pop event of 2019. E*MO*TION was so good that it’s unrealistic to believe that Jepsen could top it, and to be clear, she does not. With that said, there is a nice throughline of the sort of 80s/early 90s pop that continues here that Carly Rae does so well, and songs like “Real Love” could end up being one of her long-term classics. If you’re not on the bandwagon yet, I don’t know if this will change your mind, but I am a happy fan.
Recommendation: A great listen.

Artist: Alex Lahey
Album: The Best of Luck Club
Quick Description: Indie favorite with a brand new album.
Why You Should Listen: Her solo debut was amazing, this is probably better.
Overall Thoughts: It’s weird to praise the glossy pop stylings of Carly Rae Jepsen and then lead into the new Alex Lahey album with a complaint about the production value (and specifically how heavily produced it sounds), but considering how good a musician she is and how great these songs are, it is very frustrating to feel as if the production is an exhausting affair in some regards. To be clear, this is a great album and I’ll go as far to say that this is possibly better than her debut (“Interior Demeanour” is going to be an underrated classic, in my opinion), I just question the choices made in some regards.
Recommendation: A great listen in spite of the flaws.

Artist: Kelly Hunt
Album: Even the Sparrow
Quick Description: Great bluegrass music.
Why You Should Listen: Kelly Hunt knows how to craft a song.
Overall Thoughts: This is basically the bluegrass record I’ve been waiting for. There’s a grit to this, a sort of skewed approach, that just absolutely nailed it for me on a whole, and the full album, on first listen, feels cohesive and complete. I can’t recommend any single songs because so much of it just works, but if you like the roots stuff that features around here, and if acts like Sarah Jarosz and the Punch Brothers do it for you, you’ll find a lot to like here.
Recommendation: A favorite this week.

Artist: Lafawndah
Album: Ancestor Boy
Quick Description: Left field R&B.
Why You Should Listen: Reminiscent of Spellling, FKA Twigs, and so on.
Overall Thoughts: I’m unsure if this record exists without FKA Twigs, but I am happy it exists overall. This came out a while back, and gives the sort of off-kilter approach to R&B made famous by FKA Twigs and allows for a wide variety of structures and outcomes. This is a deep and heavy record that I want to spend a lot more time with, as it has some serious growth potential for me.
Recommendation: An excellent listen.

Of note:

* Olden Yolk - Living Theatre (Pretty solid effort.)
* Ioanna Gika - Thalassa (For fans of Marissa Nadler.)
* Injury Reserve - Injury Reserve (A great nerdcore-meets-Clipping effort.)
* Worshipper - Worshipper
* Com Truise - Persuasion System
* Ellen Allien - Alientronic
* Siobhan Wilson - The Departure
* The Head and the Heart - Living Mirage
* Mr. Tophat - Dusk to Dawn Part II

7 Song Albums:

* Michael Christmas - Baggy Eyes
* Kelly Moran - Origin


* Elton John Cena - All Rats Go to Heaven (Fun EP.)
* The Jins - Death Wish (They listened to too much Nirvana, but that's more than okay.)
* Keep Shelly in Athens - Sunny Day
* Interpol - A Fine Mess
* Undeworld - Drift Episode 3: "HEART"

Also out:

* The National - I Am Easy to Find
* Kofi the Spiderman - Adventures in NumbNumb Land
* Christone "Kingfish" Ingram - Kingfish
* Josephine Wiggs - We Fall
* Lucette - Deluxe Hotel Room
* Palmistry - Afterlife

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