Tuesday, March 24, 2020

First Listen: New Releases for 20 March

As a bit of a movie buff, the fact that most theaters are closed and releases are being delayed, music isn't experiencing the same massive delays. Fingers crossed that it continues.

Artist: Lapsley
Album: Through Water
Quick Description: Gorgeous, synthy pop music.
Why You Should Listen: Interesting enough to be worth a look even if it's mainstream enough to have wide appeal.
Overall Thoughts: I honestly wasn't looking to listen to this, but whoever is on Lapsley's marketing team got some prime placement in the Spotify algorithm and the result an album I really enjoyed. On a gloomy Friday in the age of coronavirus, this is the sort of stark, haunting thing I needed to start my day, and it's something that has a sound that's equal parts mainstream-ready and builds upon so many other indie acts from artsy European locales.
Recommendation: This is worth the time.

Artist: Mapache
Album: From Liberty Street
Quick Description: Some southwestern-flavored folk music.
Why You Should Listen: This is super catchy and has a broad appeal.
Overall Thoughts: I figured I'd like this just knowing where it was coming from, but this whole approach gives me some David Wax Museum vibes, some fun folk vibes... the whole package is just a nice listen from start to finish and has a ton of stuff to go back to. Great for folkies both traditional and adventurous.
Recommendation: Make time for this one.

Artist: Beauty Pill
Album: Sorry You're Here
Quick Description: Some great, compelling electronic music.
Why You Should Listen: They don't put out music very often, but when they do, it's essential.
Overall Thoughts: This is such an interesting record. So much happening here, and we missed it earlier this year but I'm glad I caught up. Given that this is (finally) the release of a score for a play from a decade ago, the presentation of this is a record that really forces you to sit up and listen from time to time, and the oddness enhances, rather than distorts, the entire experience. This won't be for everyone, but it was so for me.
Recommendation: A great listen.

Artist: SARN
Quick Description: A rap(?) album produced by John Vanderslice(?!)
Why You Should Listen: This is like what I think Soundcloud rap is like.
Overall Thoughts: I only learned of the Vanderslice connection as I wrote this, and suddenly some of this makes sense. I don't really understand it, and I don't know why I find it so compelling, but let's be clear: it's SUPER compelling. "TALKIN2COPS" is great, the leadoff tracks are great, and this is a marathon nine songs that are really worth the time. Won't be for everyone, but I loved it.
Recommendation: Give it a shot.

Artist: Sea Wolf
Album: Through a Dark Wood
Quick Description: The latest from the quiet, folk-rock indie act.
Why You Should Listen: Sea Wolf has been perpetually underrated since their start.
Overall Thoughts: I remember absolutely adoring "You're a Wolf" from their debut however long ago, and then they kind of dropped off my radar. Every time I hear new music, I think "man, how did I forget this band was so good?" Through a Dark Wood is a pretty even-keeled, high-quality Sea Wolf record. Feels like springtime in the woods, and it's exactly what I was looking for this week.
Recommendation: Make time!

Of note:

* Lyra Pramuk - Fountain (Avant-garde instrumentals done fully through vocals.)
* Mute Duo - Lapse in Passage (If you're seeking out some instrumental post-rock, carve out 45 for this.)
* Conan Gray - Kid Krow (In an era where literally any YouTuber can release an album, this is surprisingly solid. Some great moments here.)
* Becca Stevens - Wonderbloom (This is pretty uneven, but it's worth a listen or two to find the stuff that's really great.)
* Childish Gambino - 3.15.20 (This is the best Weeknd record out this week.)
* The Hannah Yoter Band - Say Goodbye (Some solid country/folk here.)
* Morrissey - I Am Not a Dog on a Chain (Roll your eyes as the weird uncle, but there's some solid stuff here.)
* Julia Holter - Never Rarely Sometimes Always (Soundtrack/score, really good.)
* Empty County - Empty Country
* Phantom Posse - Forever Underground
* Gemini Eye - Murdered Arc Remains
* Georgia Ruth - Mai
* Roger Eno and Brian Eno - Mixing Colours
* Moaning - Uneasy Laughter

Seven song albums:

* Haru Nemuri - LOVETHEISM


* Eliza and The Delusionals - A State of Living in an Objective Reality (Possible new favorite band alert!)
* Sad Penny - Nightside (Another possible new favorite band alert!)
* Hayley Williams - Petals for Armor I (Didn't think the Paramore singer would engage me so much.)
* Alex Takton - After the Club Closes
* Julia Bardo - Phase
* Happy Spendy - Ready When You Are
* Bloodshot Bill/Televisionaries - Spit on My Rubber
* Wacahatchee - Can't Do Much

Also out:

* The Weeknd - After Hours (To give you an idea, one lyric is “Futuristic sex, I give her Philip K Dick.")
* TOKiMONSTA - Oasis Nocturno
* Delta Rae - The Light

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