Tuesday, July 23, 2019
First Listen: New Releases for 20 July
Artist: Darren Hayman
Album: 12 Astronauts
Quick Description: Concept album about history's greatest space travelers.
Why You Should Listen: Darren Hayman is good at what he does, but especially when he's invested in the subject.
Overall Thoughts: This may be DH’s best solo effort in a long time. This is not to say his output has been bad, but H’s foray into themed albums continues with a release about astronauts to coincide with the moon landing. It has a gorgeous alternate version of the HN single “Alan Bean,” but also legitimately one of the better songs of the year in “Genesis Rock.” For someone at this for over two decades, this is a really and truly wonderful listen and something that everyone should easily enjoy.
Recommendation: One of the best of the week.
Artist: Grace Lightman
Album: Silver Eater
Quick Description: Pop with some edge.
Why You Should Listen: Grace Lightman sounds really familiar, and yet is completely different than anything else out there.
Overall Thoughts: Absolutely the most unique listen this week. Futuristic pop music that has hints of a lot of things you already love alongside some interesting flourishes. This album grabbed me at “Zero Impact,” a great song that feels like a 2025 artist taking on 1980s synth music, and it’s truly great. I find this hard to fully describe, but (especially in a short week) it’s something that deserves attention.
Recommendation: Give this a proper shot.
Album: Emotional Education
Quick Description: Pop duo going mainstream.
Why You Should Listen: This feels radio friendly without being too glossy.
Overall Thoughts: I’ve been a fan of ID for some time, but this album certainly feels like a poppy version of some of our favorite indie folk duos. This is not bad – basically every song is packed with infectious hooks and the production is right on track. This might be a little too mainstream pop for some listeners, but I definitely found a lot to like here.
Recommendation: A solid listen.
Artist: Ada Lea
Album: what we say in private
Quick Description: Strange, compelling indie music.
Why You Should Listen: This is a cohesive whole that demands your attention.
Overall Thoughts: This is one of the more enigmatic listens of the week and I think I’m in love with it. On the surface, it’s an above-average indie rock record, but there is a lot of atmospheric experimentation throughout that really grabbed me and kept me engaged for the whole thing. Some listeners might find it a little too precious at times, but it reminded me a lot of some of my favorite albums of the early aughts.
Recommendation: Might be a favorite of yours, too.
Artist: Ed Balloon
Album: The Dubs
Quick Description: Offbeat rap music.
Why You Should Listen: An intriguing and different listen.
Overall Thoughts: Why do I like this so much? I think the delivery here is interesting and different, I think the production and instrumentation is unique, and this just really had me hooked throughout. I don’t know if it’s a great rap album, but it’s definitely a good rap album that I will absolutely be going back to.
Recommendation: Worth your time.
* GOON - Heaven is Humming (Solid, swampy indie-alt stuff.)
* Emily Mae Winters - High Romance (Don’t have much to say, but this is great, smoky barroom roots country.)
* The Orwells - The Orwells (Lead singer puts out the music the band was working on before they were canceled.)
* Joe Pug - The Flood in Color
* Generationals - Reader as Detective
* Chuck Cleaver - Send Aid
* KinZie - Dead Eyes
* Knife Party - Lost Souls EP
* Sub Dio - Sub Dio
* Sarah Jaffe - This Is Better, Part 1
* Sarah Jaffe - This Is Better, Part 2
* Iggy Azalea - In My Defense (Has anyone ruined their brand quite the way she did in such a short time? I just wish the parts I liked were worth what it takes to get to them.)
* Pekoe Cat - Jungle Cop