Thursday, February 27, 2020

First Listen: New Releases for 21 February

Artist: Sarah Harmer
Album: Are You Gone
Quick Description: First new music in nearly a decade from the Canadian folkie.
Why You Should Listen: She hasn't missed a beat.
Overall Thoughts: Her first album in around a decade, in many ways, picks up where she left off. Maybe a little more adult radio rock in some places than the rootsy folk that made me so interested in her work to start, but that isn’t a bad thing. The layoff didn’t hurt her sound at all, and I’m just glad she’s back.
Recommendation: Make time for this.

Artist: Grimes
Album: Miss Anthropocene
Quick Description: New music from the off-center pop songstress.
Why You Should Listen: This is kind of epic, and a huge step forward.
Overall Thoughts: I’m already a big Grimes guy, so it’s not shocking that I’m really into this for a lot of reasons. Grimes has never shied away from taking a more difficult path in her songwriting, and this album is even more ambitious than Art Angels, yet also acting as a pretty accessible release on a whole. Even if this isn’t generally your style or genre, I highly recommend this, because a lot of people will be talking about it in the coming months.
Recommendation: Her best yet, so don't miss out.

Artist: Gray Bouchard
Album: Love in the New World
Quick Description: Powerful pop-rock from the Salem Wolves musician.
Why You Should Listen: This is a surprisingly fun listen.
Overall Thoughts: I didn't realize this was someone from Salem Wolves until later, and I don't know if it makes any more sense knowing that, but this truly came out of nowhere for me and really connected. There are beautiful songs here, there are fun songs here, and it's sort of a masterclass in balancing a lot of different musical ideas. Don't miss out on this.
Recommendation: A worthwhile listen.

Artist: Mount Sharp
Album: That Shadow
Quick Description: First new music in years by the somewhat-regional act.
Why You Should Listen: This is a great listen from start to finish.
Overall Thoughts: This is a great little alt-rock album. It's loud, it's abrasive, it's melodic, it's just everything I didn't really know I was looking for. This is a really special listen, and one that I wanted to get back to really quickly. Reminiscent of Cayetana mixed with Dinosaur Jr. with maybe a little Weezer thrown in? I dunno. It's just great.
Recommendation: Might end up being a favorite this year, who knows...

Artist: Allie X
Album: Cape God
Quick Description: Fun pop from an underrated artist.
Why You Should Listen: You don't hate the existing world around you.
Overall Thoughts: If you can listen to "Super Duper Party People" and not dance in your seat, you lack a proper soul. I've liked Allie X for some time now, and this is maybe her best, most cohesive effort yet. I love a good pop song, and this offers plenty of them.
Recommendation: Get your groove on already.

Artist: Ozzy Osbourne
Album: Ordinary Man
Quick Description: Ozzy's first album in some time.
Why You Should Listen: It's actually good!
Overall Thoughts: No, really, it is. It's very much an album of an aging rock star facing that reality, and being super honest about it, with music that isn't at all offensive or dated. I genuinely enjoyed this listen when I was sure I'd turn it off after a few songs. This is one more people should be talking about, long and short.
Recommendation: Not my genre, but definitely my style.

Of note:

* Her Silo - Don't Forget the Heart That's Beating
* Greg Dulli - Random Desire
* Six Organs of Admittance - Companion Rises
* Nora Jane Struthers - Bright Lights, Long Drives, First Words
* Banoffee - Look at Us Now Dad>
* Agnes Obel - Myopia
* Best Coast - Always Tomorrow
* Wilsen - Ruiner
* Elaquent - Forever is a Pretty Long Time
* Peggy Sue - Vices
* Purr - Like New
* Megan Katarina - To Be Honest
* Katie Pruitt - Expectations
* Lanterns on the Lake - Spook the Herd
* Lee Ranaldo and Raul Refree - Names of North End Women


* CocoRosie - Restless (Is CocoRosie making music that might actually get popular!?)
* Swan MEat - FLESHWORLD (Some of the oddest, most compelling electronic music I've heard in a while.)
* HONEYMOAN - Weirdo
* Chloe Foy - Callous Copper
* Keep Shelly in Athens and Vauxhall Underground - In the Blocks
* Charlotte Rose Benjamin - Party City

Also out:

* Guided By Voices - Surrender Your Poppy Field
* Rose Cousins - Bravado

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