Tuesday, October 29, 2019
First Listen: New Releases for 25 October
Artist: Troi Irons
Album: Lost Angels
Quick Description: Latest album from the folk-adjacent singer-songwriter.
Why You Should Listen: This defies a lot of expectations.
Overall Thoughts: I liked Troi Irons’s first album a lot. This new album is a solid shock to the system in many regards, with some truly interesting choices alongside some mainstream plays. The cynic in me wonders about the production options here, but the fan in me sees this as a bold and adventurous step forward that’s ultimately worth hearing.
Recommendation: A good listen this week.
Artist: Amy O
Quick Description: Power-poppy indie rock.
Why You Should Listen: Her first album was good, this might be better.
Overall Thoughts: I thought Amy O’s previous album was pretty solid, but I am fully impressed with Shell on first listen. Guitar-centric indie pop with some great melodies? Can’t really go wrong here. It’s definitely got an indie sensibility, so if you’re looking for something a little more traditional you may be disappointed, but for me...
Recommendation: ...this just fully worked.
Artist: Anna Meredith
Quick Description: Advanced electronica.
Why You Should Listen: This is a really interesting listen.
Overall Thoughts: I somehow missed out on Anna Meredith for her first proper album, which got a ton of awards and praise. This new album from the sometimes composer definitely takes a composer pathway to some truly fascinating and compelling electronic music. I loved loved loved this album in so many ways, and I feel like future listens are going to peel back a number of unexpected layers along the way. Good for electronic music fans, but also something that might end up on year end/award lists.
Recommendation: Don’t miss out.
Artist: Kanye West
Album: JESUS IS KING
Quick Description: Kanye's long-awaited gospel-rap hybrid effort.
Why You Should Listen: This is absolutely one of the most interesting listens of the year, and will probably be a cultural touchstone for years to come.
Overall Thoughts: There’s not a lot of ways to approach this release in a vacuum. Kanye West is very clearly going through things publicly, and it’s difficult not to see the latest incarnation as either a stunt or the latest in a long-term public meltdown. Musically, this is a fascinating approach and something I am surprised at in all senses. Is it good? I don’t know if it matters or not. It does exist, however, and it’s definitely something.
Recommendation: Must be heard, regardless of where you end up on the final product.
Artist: Great Grandpa
Album: Four of Arrows
Quick Description: New album from the buzzzworthy indie act.
Why You Should Listen: It's a lane change for sure, but a welcome one.
Overall Thoughts: This is an interesting one as well. Great Grandpa had a great debut that felt raw and grungy, and this is a quieter and more introspective alt-rock affair. Not bad, and actually quite good, but different. If one completely puts aside expectations on this, it’s great, but it’s definitely going to be different if you were a fan of their prior effort.
Recommendation: Give it a listen.
Album: True False
Quick Description: Longtime musical pranksters back with more stuff.
Why You Should Listen: Negativland is something unique and different.
Overall Thoughts: As someone who likes a good countercultural moment, I should have a lot more love for and history with Negativland, who check so many cultural boxes for me. Instead, I only know a handful of one-offs and never really bothered with a whole album. This is not a normal album by any stretch, but I really enjoyed the experience. A lot of found audio (or what comes across as such) and interesting music makes for an interesting listen.
Recommendation: I’ll probably spend the week listening to a lot more of this stuff, for better or for worse.
Album: Sideline Star
Quick Description: New release by this upbeat poppy act.
Why You Should Listen: This is probably one of the better releases of the last few months.
Overall Thoughts: This has been a highly anticipated album for me and others, and for good reason given the quality of the advance singles. The album is a great, bright listen with some higher-than-expected production value to go along with some solid songwriting. I can understand if some view her as an acquired taste of sorts, but I fell for this stuff almost immediately.
Recommendation: I hope you will, too.
* Ian O'Neil - Ten Years of It (Via Deer Tick, feels like what Deer Tick might sound like as a more traditional singer-songwritery rock music.)
* Water From Your Eyes - Somebody Else's Song (Don’t judge on the first song. Or the second.)
* Sex Machine Octopus - Plastic Scenes (Better and more accessible than the name implies.)
* Grace Potter - Daylight
* Alison Moorer - Blood
* Little Screem - Speed Queen
* Night Flowers - Fortune Teller
* Meemo Comma - Nightmoss
* Mikal Cronin - Seeker
* Geowulf - My Resignation
* Anna of the North - Dream Girl
* King Princess - Cheap Queen
* Black Marble - Bigger Than Life
* Anamanaguchi - [USA]
7 Song Albums:
* Sarah Jaffe - SMUT
* Slothrust- Peach EP
* Madame Gandhi - Visions
* Mourn - Mixtape
* VERITE - New Skin
* Bruce Springsteen - Western Stars
* Tessa Violet - Bad Ideas
* Ringo Starr - What's My Name
* Goodbye June - Community Inn
* Armin van Buuren - Balance