Tuesday, September 29, 2020

First Listen: New Releases for 28 September

I guess everyone saved their releases for this week...

Artist: Pillow Queens
Album: In Waiting
Quick Description: Solid Irish alt-rock.
Why You Should Listen: Not breaking new ground, but feels unique and new all the same
Overall Thoughts: Of the approximately one million releases this week, this was the first one I listened to and it really set the bar high. Pillow Queens has a debut here that feels polished and fresh, while still showing a lot of room for growth and expansion of their sound. Feels like classic 1990s alt rock in some ways, and modern indie in others. Definitely worth time for you in the rotation.
Recommendation: This is not one you'll want to miss.

Artist: Stepbrother
Album: Don't Frighten the Horses
Quick Description: Not sure if this is alt-rock or post-rock or something else, but it's great.
Why You Should Listen: You're into albums that require some engagement.
Overall Thoughts: I don't know what I expected from this, but it absolutely exceeded my expectations. This was an album that has a number of layers and refuses to fit into a box - it's sometimes experimental, sometimes catchy and melodic, sometimes really frustrating, but it's something that requires you to pay attention, which is rare. I really enjoyed this, and it might be challenging for some...
Recommendation: ...but it's worth the effort.

Artist: Troi Irons
Album: flowers, the album
Quick Description: New album from a blog favorite.
Why You Should Listen: Her first fully independent release, it's an artist with an already-unique voice sounding more confident than ever.
Overall Thoughts: I never know how to describe Troi Irons because no one sounds like her. This new album sounds exactly like someone freed from the constraints others might have put on her sound, and the result is something really magical. There's definitely a lot to unpack from this album, for sure, but I think there's something to be said about music that blurs the lines between so many genres and does so with such care. This is a great listen this week.
Recommendation: One of the best of the week.

Artist: Marie Davidson and L’Œil Nu
Album: Renegade Breakdown
Quick Description: Dance music with some intelligence (as opposed to IDM).
Why You Should Listen: This is quite the odd turn, but a good one nonetheless.
Overall Thoughts: I loved Working Class Woman and was excited for what came next. What we got feels like a dusty, velour-covered lounge act through the haze of club culture and, frankly, I'm here for it. It's such an oddity and such a great listen that it's the one I might be most excited to get back to. There's really nothing like this, and I look forward to seeing what this collaboration turns up next.
Recommendation: A fascinating listen.

Artist: Sad13
Album: Haunted Painting
Quick Description: The poppier side of Sadie Dupuis comes out to play.
Why You Should Listen: This is just as odd-yet-accessible as her first solo effort.
Overall Thoughts: It's difficult to take the Sad13 stuff out of the context in which the project and Speedy Ortiz exist, but it's worth a shot. Her voice is so distinctive and the song structures so strong that it's hard to ignore how weird and wonderful this is. Nail me down, and I'd say this album works better on a whole than Slugger, and I feel like what may have started as an experiment is starting to work more as a broader persona, and I'm cool with it. Haunted Painting is great, and you should listen to it.
Recommendation: Make some time.

Artist: Sylvan Esso
Album: Free Love
Quick Description: Latest album from the indie artists.
Why You Should Listen: This might be their best effort yet.
Overall Thoughts: If you can listen to "Ferris Wheel" and not get excited, what are you even doing here? I've been lukewarm on Sylvan Esso up to this point, finding the parts greater than the whole, but I am pleasantly surprised at how wonderful and cohesive this listen is. It's a great album with a lot of energy and enthusiasm, and I loved nearly every moment. Come for "Ferris Wheel," stay for a solid listen.
Recommendation: Add this to your rotation.

Artist: Sufjan Stevens
Album: The Ascension
Quick Description: The latest from the enigmatic indie folkster.
Why You Should Listen: We're a long way from the 50 state project.
Overall Thoughts: I remember when The Age of Adz came out and how many people were wondering what happened to that good Christian boy with the acoustic guitar. It's been a while since then, but I feel as if The Ascension is the first effort of his in some time that feels like one large thought. There's a consistency throughout here that's worth noting, and songs like "Video Games" just work in the sort of synthy minimalist landscape Stevens puts across here. I liked this quite a bit, it's worth your time.
Recommendation: Another solid listen this week.

Artist: Geoff Palmer and Lucy Ellis
Album: Your Face is Weird
Quick Description: Some great power pop with some covers mixed in.
Why You Should Listen: This is a great palate cleanser, and a lot of fun.
Overall Thoughts: I wanted to highlight this in a busy week because, while there's a lot of great music out this week, there's not so much fun, and Palmer/Ellis deliver it in spades here. There's a little something for everyone here, and it's something you want to take a little time with. You won't regret it.
Recommendation: Give it a shot.

Artist: IDLES
Album: Ultra Mono
Quick Description: New album from some British punk rockers.
Why You Should Listen: Think if McLusky's politics were more overt.
Overall Thoughts: This is an angry, angsty punk record in all the right ways. I've been obsessed with "Model Village" for a while, but the whole album just hits hard and doesn't let up. If you're someone who misses really good punk music, you should make it a point to get frustrated alongside these guys.
Recommendation: A solid listen.

Of note:

* Krakow Loves Adana - Darkest Dreams (Some really good stuff here from a European synthy act.)
* NVDES - Nvdity Worldwide (Great dance music.)
* Blitzen Trapper - Holy Smokes Future Jokes (Blitzen Trapper as consistent as ever.)
* Various Artists - 617 Sessions: Sound of Our Town (The Red Shaydez track in particular is awesome.)
* Anna von Hausswolff - All Thoughts Fly (This is a really interesting and complex listen.)
* Croatian Amor - All in the Same Breath (Another really interesting, different listen. Lots going on here.)
* Squirrel Nut Zippers - Lost Songs of Doc Souchon
* Anya Marina - Queen of the Night
* Fleet Foxes - Shore
* Will Butler - Generations
* The Knock-Ups - Splitting Hairs
* Lydia Loveless - Daughter
* Mint Field - Sentimiento Mundial
* The Band of Heathens - Stranger
* Thurston Moore - By the Fire
* Surfer Blood - Carefree Theatre
* Jordan Tice - Motivational Speakeasy
* Yves Jarvis - Sundry Rock Song Stock
* Hen Ogledd - Free Humans
* Attic Salt - Get Wise
* Bob Mould - Blue Hearts
* Action Bronson - Only for Dolphins
* ShitKid - 20/20 ShitKid


* Melanie Martinez - After School EP
* Anna Ash - Oldies
* Holy Motors - Trouble
* Julia Bardo - The Raw EP
* The I Want You - Fade Back In
* The Muck and the Mires - Take Me Back to Planet Earth

Also out:

* Tim Heidecker - Fear of Death (A truly odd album, but "Oh How We Drift Away" with Weyes Blood is outstanding.)
* Psychic Temple - Houses of the Holy
* A$AP Ferg - Floor Seats II
* Public Enemy - What You Gonna Do When the Grid Goes Down?
* The War and Treaty - Hearts Town
* The Freedom Affair - Freedom is Love
* Deftones - Ohms

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