Tuesday, January 28, 2020

First Listen: New Releases for 24 January

Artist: Pia Fraus
Album: Empty Parks
Quick Description: New album from a new favorite.
Why You Should Listen: This is a fine and fuzzy listen.
Overall Thoughts: I love early-in-the-year surprise gems like this. A little fuzzy, a little shoegazey, and this is just directly in my wheelhouse of stuff I love. Pia Fraud is not reinventing the wheel here, but they’re doing something really solid and, if you like this sort of fuzz-drenched alt-rock, you can’t let yourself miss this. A favorite this week from a band I hate that I've missed all this time.
Recommendation: Do not sleep on this.

Artist: Sean Watkins and the Bee Eaters
Album: This is Who We Are
Quick Description: Great new music from Sean Watkins of Nickel Creek.
Why You Should Listen: The Watkins family are always great, and this is no exception.
Overall Thoughts: We missed this one a few weeks back, and I’m glad I tripped up on it before it was too late. In a way, if you think Chris Thile/Punch Brothers have gone a little too far off the beaten path with their bluegrass, you might find the progressive folk vision that Watkins throws together with this effort more comforting. Great musicianship, solid songs… this is a good listen early in the year.
Recommendation: A must-listen.

Artist: En Attendant Ana
Album: Juillet
Quick Description: Enigmatic, interesting tunes.
Why You Should Listen: This is one that will stick with you.
Overall Thoughts: This was an interesting listen in that I was finding myself continually drawn to its overall approach. On the surface, it feels like a slightly off-center folkish effort, but there’s definitely more going on here that I want to spend more time with. On a whole, a really good listen, and one you shouldn’t miss.
Recommendation: Give it a shot.

Artist: The Haden Triplets
Album: The Family Songbook
Quick Description: Great, great, GREAT set of folk standards.
Why You Should Listen: I'm far from convinced the Hadens can do anything bad.
Overall Thoughts: Of course I’m going to love this. It’s a nice, jazzy/folky take on old Americana standards and it’s simply wonderful. It’s basically review-proof and, even though I don't have a ton to say about it, I wanted to highlight it.
Recommendation: Just make time for it and enjoy yourself.

Of note:

* Paul Driscoll - Mayor of Hesitation (Reminds me of a rootsier Langhorne Slim.)
* Ezra Furman - Sex Education (A few gems on this soundtrack.)
* Pet Shop Boys - Hotspot (Better than some of their recent efforts.)
* Bonny Light Horseman - Bonny Light Horseman (Very pleasant - fans of Hadestown should pay attention.)
* Okay Kaya - Watch This Liquid Pour Itself
* Black Lips - Sing in a World That's Falling Apart
* Wolf Parade - Thin Mind
* Terry Allen and the Panhandle Mystery Band - Just Like Moby Dick


* Eliza Shaddad - Sept ~ Dec
* Molina - Vanilla Shell
* Bones UK - Unplugged
* Asgeir - Pictures
* ShitKid - Duo Limbo


* Brass Against - Brass Against III
* Andy Shauf - The Neon Skyline
* Gab de la Vega - Beyond Space and Time
* Luke Bar$ - GoodEvil
* American Television - Watch It Burn
* Sarah Mary Chadwick - Please Daddy
* Wire - Mind Hive

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