Wednesday, November 4, 2020

First Listen: New Releases for 30 October

Artist: Lunchbox
Album: After School Special
Quick Description: Lovely, fun indie pop.
Why You Should Listen: It's like a transporter to turn-of-the-century indie rock.
Overall Thoughts: Apparently it's been a while since Lunchbox shared anything new, but I was not expecting to have a 30 minute nostalgia episode. After School Special would fit right in with any of the early Elephant Six releases. I loved every moment of this, and I am really hoping the novelty doesn't wear off anytime soon.
Recommendation: Probably the most fun you'll have this week.

Artist: Luluc
Album: Dreamboat
Quick Description: New and lovely folk album from a personal favorite.
Why You Should Listen: Luluc is always a solid choice.
Overall Thoughts: There's plenty of folk music out there, and folk-adjacent stuff that's trying to make a case for itself. So what sets Luluc apart? It's sometimes that there's a haunting feel to the whole thing, it's sometimes the melodies that stick with you even after you're done with a song, and sometimes it's just the vocals that mesh perfectly with the instrumentation. This is a gorgeous listen, and one you don't want to miss out on.
Recommendation: A beautiful effort this week.

Artist: Puscifer
Album: Existential Reckoning
Quick Description: Maynard James Keenan side project with a new... something.
Why You Should Listen: This is likely an acquired taste?
Overall Thoughts: So I haven't generally liked this particular project, but there's something about this new release that really connected. It's like prog rock through some distorted prism, and the result is a strange hybrid of ideas and musical concepts that ultimately needs to be heard. There's just as good a chance that I'll listen again and hate it, but I can promise this much: it's much more interesting than the last Tool album.
Recommendation: Add it to your rotation.

Artist: Emma Ruth Rundle and Thou
Album: May Our Chambers Be Full
Quick Description: Heavy doom rock from a great singer and the perfect collaborator.
Why You Should Listen: Think if Marissa Nadler had a distortion pedal and a prescription for zoloft.
Overall Thoughts: I'm not a metal guy at all, but sometimes this sort of heavy stuff works perfectly for me, and this is one of them. It's not reinventing the wheel, but the overall effort is one that's compelling and remains something I'd like to get back to. It won't be for everyone, but if it's for you, you'll love it.
Recommendation: Give this a shot.

Artist: Soft Black
Album: The Witching Hour
Quick Description: Some deliberative indie rock we missed earlier this fall.
Why You Should Listen: Has some post-rock qualities without feeling too out there.
Overall Thoughts: This, in a way, reminds me of a more chilled out Band of Horses, if that makes sense. Soft Black is less concerned with soaring melodies and musical crescendos and instead looking toward well-crafted midtempo rock songs with a bit of stickiness to them. I liked this quite a bit, and this is one that should have some staying power.
Recommendation: Worth your time.

Artist: War on Women
Album: Wonderful Hell
Quick Description: Perfect protest punk for (hopefully) the end of the Trump era.
Why You Should Listen: Especially today, you want this.
Overall Thoughts: War on Women isn't holding back, and this album is exactly what the doctor ordered as we wait on the results of recounts. For most, this is largely going to preach to the proverbial choir, but it's difficult not to listen to a song like "Her?" and not understand the raw emotion that flows from these songs.
Recommendation: Does what it says on the tin.

Artist: The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick
Album: Ways of Hearing
Quick Description: A quiet debut with a lot of weight.
Why You Should Listen: This is not much like anything else on the musical market right now.
Overall Thoughts: Back in the late 1990s-early 2000s, there was a folk rock band named Fuck. In spite of the up-front, profane name, they made very quiet folk rock that could never be played on the radio thanks to their name. This band, with an unweildly name from a novel and movie from a generation ago, is not the same as Fuck, but gives a similar vibe. The quiet instrumentation with the quieter vocals means a record that feels really intimate, but at a distance. If you're into the folky-type stuff or more acoustic emo efforts, you owe it to yourself to give this one a listen, but anyone who likes interesting music should check this out.
Recommendation: One of the more compelling releases this week.

Artist: Nothing
Album: The Great Dismal
Quick Description: Darkish, reverby rock.
Why You Should Listen: Nothing seems to always fly under the radar, but few bands do what they do as well as they do.
Overall Thoughts: I don't have a ton to say about thuis, but I did want to make sure I highlighted the latest effort from Nothing, which continues their understated reign as the best providers of their type of dark shoegaze. If you've liked their stuff so far, you'll love this.
Recommendation: Make some time.

Artist: Junk Magic
Album: Compass Confusion
Quick Description: Interesting techno-tinged jazz.
Why You Should Listen: I liked this, and I'm not much for jazz.
Overall Thoughts: We don't cover much jazz in these parts, but I tripped up on Junk Magic this week and was impressed. The crucial difference between this and what you might have in mind is that the instrumentation isn't afraid to veer into techno and electronica. The result, for me at least, was a very interesting listen with a lot of layers. It's a good challenge, for sure, but one worth taking on.
Recommendation: Not for everyone, but worth giving a shot.

Of note:

* Sarah and the Safe Word - Good Gracious! Bad People. (Indie rock for theatre kids. Thus, I liked this.)
* Mega Ran, Richie Branson and Kadish Flow - Ghouls & Ghosts 4 (Nerdcore video game rap, but the Among Us-themed "You Look Sus" is great.)
* Mr. Bungle - The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo (It's what you'd expect from Bungle.)
* Kate Miller-Heidke - Child in Reverse (A surprising and fun listen.)
* Andrew Bird - HARK! (It's early for Christmas music, but save this because Andrew Bird doing Christmas is a great gift.)
* Small Bills (E L U C I D and The Lasso) - Don't Play It Straight
* Sinai Vessel - Ground Aswim
* Middle Class Fashion - Scary
* Suzzy Roche and Lucy Wainwright Roche - I Can Still Hear You
* Oneohtrix Point Never - Magic Oneohtrix Point Never
* TOBACCO - Hot Wet & Sassy
* Creature Comfort - Home Team
* Amy Macdonald - The Human Demands
* Eels - Earth to Dora
* Dizzie Rascal - E3 AF
* Khruangbin - Mordechai
* Mourn - Self Worth
* Autechre - PLUS

EPs:

* Salem - Salem (A really fun one.)
* Pretty Sick - Deep Divine (This was quite good as well.)
* Lauren Hulbert - Superbloom
* Billy Dean Thomas - For Better or Worse
* Jasmine Guffond and Erik K. Skodvin - The Burrow
* Bing and Ruth - Divergence: Species Remixes
* Krakow Loves Adana - A Night to Remember
* Tom Morello - Comandante
* The Lathums - Ghosts
* Latrell James - Under
* Jessie Baylin - Pleasure Center EP

Also out:

* King Khan - The Infinite Ones (Some interesting instrumentals here.)
* Magic Shoppe - Live in London
* Ariana Grande - Positions
* Busta Rhymes - Extinction LEvel Event 2: The Wrath of God
* Mud City Manglers - Give Me The Hammer
* Elvis Costello - Hey Clockface
* Ane Brun - After the Great Storm
* Midnight Oil - The Makarrata Project

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