Tuesday, June 23, 2020

First Listen: New Releases for 19 June

Artist: Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer, and Chris Thile
Album: Not Our First Goat Rodeo
Quick Description: A wonderful follow up to The Goat Rodeo Sessions.
Why You Should Listen: This mix of styles worked well last time, and works well this time.
Overall Thoughts: I played a lot of The Goat Rodeo Sessions back when that came out, and then I kind of forgot about it over time. When this randomly popped up in my Spotify list this week, it was such a great and pleasant surprise. The musicianship here is predictably top-notch, and the songs just feel right for a hot summer month where we're all supposed to be trapped at home. Just a lovely little package, and easily my favorite of the week.
Recommendation: A must-listen.

Artist: Braids
Album: Shadow Offering
Quick Description: Latest from the artsy indie group.
Why You Should Listen: Braids continually does interesting and essential music.
Overall Thoughts: I feel like I've been waiting for this one for some time. Braids is a band I've enjoyed for some time, and their take on a lot of the modern musical landscape is addictive. I go back to their older albums quite a bit, and this new one fits right into that rotation. A pretty cohesive whole, this is a solid listen worth the time, and I hope it has a lot of staying power.
Recommendation: Worth the time.

Artist: Eric Hilton
Album: Infinite Everywhere
Quick Description: Solo effort from a member of Thievery Corporation
Why You Should Listen: Thievery Corporation is rightfully legendary, and this album is excellent.
Overall Thoughts: Listen, if you like Thievery Corporation, you'll like this. Straight out. If you're not a fan, but otherwise like/tolerate electronic music, this is worth a listen if only because it's a very contemplative-sounding album that has something for both active and passive listeners. As someone who finds the world right now more than a little anxiety-inducing, this is exactly the prescription I needed.
Recommendation: A solid listen.

Artist: Phoebe Bridgers
Album: Punisher
Quick Description: Long-awaited follow-up from a favorite here.
Why You Should Listen: Bridgers is rightfully the recipient of a lot of buzz.
Overall Thoughts: I liked Stranger in the Alps, then I loved Stranger in the Alps, and, truth be told, I still listen to Stranger in the Alps a lot and it's probably become one of my go-to albums in general, so Punisher has quite the hill to climb and the sophomore slump was a worry. Thankfully, it's a really good album. While there's nothing quite as arresting as "Motion Sickness" or fun as "Scott Street" here on first listen, there is a true weight to this that I think I didn't expect, and I want to spend a lot more time with this one, too.
Recommendation: One of the best of the week.

Artist: Various Artists
Album: Saving for a Custom Van
Quick Description: Charity tribute to Adam Schlesinger (Fountains of Wayne, Ivy, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) for COVID-19 relief.
Why You Should Listen: Tribute albums are usually hit or miss, but this is mostly hit...
Overall Thoughts: ...and mostly because Schlesinger was such a great songwriter. There's a lot of love for his craft on this compilation, but highlights for me include Field Mouse's take on "Valley Winter Song," Rachel Bloom's re-imagining of "Stacy's Mom," and basically any of the Ivy pieces here. It's a worthy tribute for a worthy cause, and there's a coupon for two dollars off at Bandcamp, too.
Recommendation: Check this out.

Of note:

* Sega Bodega - Salvador (Missed this one from earlier this year.)
* Kristen Grainger and True North - Ghost Tattoo (Really solid bluegrass.)
* Bob Dylan - Rough and Rowdy Ways (First album of new material in close to a decade.)
* Neil Young - Homegrown (Lost album from the mid-1970s.)
* Nelson Can - Solo Desire: Remixed Together, Vol. 1.
* Wire - 10:20
* Sports Team - Deep Down Happy
* Julian Taylor - The Ridge
* We Versus the Shark - Goodbye Guitar

Seven Song Albums:

* Skyzoo - Milestones
* Keep Shelly in Athens - Steady to Go
* Shopping - Live at KEXP
* Snarls/The Sonder Bombs - A Really Cool Split
* Karima Walker and Katy Kirby - Among Horses V


* Jockstrap - Wicked City

Also out:

* Bad Cop, Bad Cop - The Ride
* Radnor and Lee - Golden State
* Phantom Planet - Devastator
* Holy Hive - Float Back to You

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