Tuesday, January 21, 2020
First Listen: New Releases for 17 January
Album: Good Luck Everybody
Quick Description: Andrew Jackson Jihad gets political (or, well, moreso than usual).
Why You Should Listen: AJJ is always a good time.
Overall Thoughts: Been a fan for a while now, and this is probably the most overtly political album they’ve done, which is interesting that it feels very restrained musically while being fairly unsubtle in its messaging. Does it work? As a fan of AJJ, it feels like a lighter AJJ album. A someone who is not a Trump fan, but not really a protest music guy, I suppose I appreciate how on-the-nose it is? It’s not likely to age too well on a whole, but that’s not the point at the end of it all.
Recommendation: Worth a listen, but still has some interesting choices.
Artist: Aoife Nessa Frances
Album: Land of No Junction
Quick Description: Gorgeous singer-songwriter music from an up-and-coming Irish songstress.
Why You Should Listen: This is not the typical thing you expect, while still feeling fresh and familiar.
Overall Thoughts: This one kind of came out of nowhere for me, but I really dug it. It’s hard for me not to like some midtempo singer-songwriter stuff, and ANF succeeds at providing just enough in the way of a different approach to be a highlight in the early goings here. This grabbed me within minutes, and if you’re into the first track you’ll likely be into the whole thing.
Recommendation: A favorite this week.
Artist: Alice Boman
Album: Dream On
Quick Description: Chamber pop from a Scandinavian songwriter.
Why You Should Listen: This is a gorgeous listen that will stick to your bones.
Overall Thoughts: There’s something very churchlike and chamber-esque about this. Sometimes I feel like I’m in a midcentury chapel, other times I think I’m watching some 1960s movie with a pop singer at a party. This is a really interesting album, and one that’s definitely worth the time.
Recommendation: A must-hear.
Artist: Of Montreal
Album: UR FUN
Quick Description: Latest Of Montreal record, with all that comes with it.
Why You Should Listen: This is maybe the best Kevin Barnes effort in some time.
Overall Thoughts: There's the part of me who is like "man, I miss when Of Montreal was more of an indie pop band," which kind of ignores the fact that the project went into a more synthy, more confessional direction fifteen years ago and has perhaps been in this mode longer than they were when I first dove in. With all that said, here's UR FUN, which is a great record about being in love and is also kind of weird to listen to in a sense when you realize that you've also suffered through the Barnes divorce in song, and now in this new relationship. I dunno. "Let's Do Everything for the First Time Forever," a song from one of their early releases, meant a lot to me in my early relationship. If I was starting one today, "You Had Me Everywhere" might be the soundtrack to that urgency of new love that I'd be looking for, especially if I didn't know that there was an entire autobiographical history in the back catalog. Musically, this is great, don't get me wrong. Loved the album, but this is one I definitely struggled with at times in part because of how connected I've been with this band for almost two decades. If you come in fresh, you might love it more.
Recommendation: Make time for this one.
Artist: The Innocence Mission
Album: See You Tomorrow
Quick Description: Gorgeous folky music.
Why You Should Listen: This one is a subtle, beautiful listen.
Overall Thoughts: I don't have a ton to say about this one, truthfully, but I felt as if delegating it anywhere else but as a highlight was wrong. This album was just one that stuck with me all weekend and is likely the thing I want to get back to the most this week, so don't miss out.
Recommendation: A highlight this week.
* G Love and Special Sauce - The Juice (A surprisingly summery record for a cold winter weekend.)
* ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead - X: The Godless Void and Other Stories (Listening to this made me wonder why I don't listen to Trail of Dead more.)
* Chelsea Cutler - How to Be Human
* Holy Fuck - Deleter
* Laume - Waterbirth
* Seamus Egan - Early Bright
* Surface to Air Missive - Shelly's Gone
* Futurebirds - Teamwork
* Haylet Mary - The Piss, The Perfume (Do not sleep on this. Some really great stuff here.)
* Rodrigo y Gabriela - Mettal EP (I would like more of this, please.)
* SEA - Impermanence
* Deena Abdelwahed - Dhakar
* Caitlin Canty - Live from Layman
* Della Mae - Headlight
* Anti-Flag - 20/20 Vision
* Louise - Heavy Love
* Algiers - There Is No Year
* Halsey - Manic