Tuesday, January 26, 2021

First Listen: New Releases for 22 January

Artist: Cheekface
Album: Emphatically No.
Quick Description: I don't know how to describe this, exactly...
Why You Should Listen: ...but it's awesome.
Overall Thoughts: This is an odd one. It appears we missed their 2019 debut, and that's too bad because this album is kind of amazing. The delivery is so deadpan and matter-of-fact, the songs quite the story, and it just works in a way it shouldn't? That's not a knock against it - this album made me laugh a few times and I'm excited to get back to it. "'Listen to Your Heart.' 'No.'" is the lead track, and you'll know pretty quickly whether this works for you the way it did for me.
Recommendation: Truly an acquired taste, but one I loved.

Artist: Harmony Byrne
Album: Heavy Doors
Quick Description: Gorgeous singer-songwriter music from Australia.
Why You Should Listen: Something about this album grabbed me from the very start.
Overall Thoughts: We missed this one from last year, and man, I wish we hadn't. This is a really great listen, with songs that have a weight to them that's missing from a lot of other albums like it. It's just like a song like "Sweeter Than Sugar" sticks to you in such a fascinating way, it's a listen that makes you notice whether you intended to or not.
Recommendation: Make time.

Artist: Fox Face
Album: End of Man
Quick Description: New album from our fave feminist punks.
Why You Should Listen: Their debut was great, and so is this.
Overall Thoughts: I didn't expect a new album, but Ken gave me the heads-up and I'm glad he did. This album is bold and brash and awesome in all the right ways, and while perhaps we aren't all as angry as we were the last few years, it's still got the sort of carthatic release you often look for in albums like this. There's lots of room on the bandwagon for this one, so hop on.
Recommendation: A great listen.

Artist: Lande Hekt
Album: Going to Hell
Quick Description: A long-awaited (for me, anyway) debut indie rock effort.
Why You Should Listen: It's indie with a punk sensibility.
Overall Thoughts: I fell in love with the music of Lande Hekt with her debut EP, Gigantic Disappointment. There was something about it that just worked, and as songs like "80 Days of Rain" started dropping, I knew we'd be in for something special. This is a very melodic listen, with some great songs that will get trapped in your brain, but there's something more significant about it that stands out at the end of the day, and this might just end up being one you go back to a lot this year.
Recommendation: A favorite this week.

Artist: Juana Everett
Album: Move On
Quick Description: Understated, sneaky folk rock.
Why You Should Listen: Has a light twang to go with its roots.
Overall Thoughts: This one kind of surprised me this week. Out of nowhere comes this album, with a lead track in "Drifter of Love" that just grabs you, and before long I was mainlining the whole album. Juana Everett has a unique take here that works so well in so many ways that, with any justice in the world, should propel her to stardom. I love basically every moment of this album, and I'm sure I'll find even more to love as I give this more listens.
Recommendation: An under-the-radar gem.

Artist: Thee Conductor
Album: Spirit of a Ghost
Quick Description: Off-kilter chamberish folk.
Why You Should Listen: A unique blend of genres makes this a compelling listen.
Overall Thoughts: There's a lot to unpack with Thee Conductor, and I wanted to highlight this if only because it's such a really interesting release. It's a musical project with some different collaborators, including Bonnie "Prince" Billy, and listening to it feels almost like it's a transporter to a parallel realm. It's eerie and awesome, and if it works for you, you're gonna love it.
Recommendation: Give this a shot.

Of note:

* Palberta - Palberta5000 (I don't know how I feel about this one quite yet, but it's easily the most ambitious listen of the week.)
* CARM - CARM (This is also an interesting listen.)
* Rhye - Home
* Teen Creeps - Forever
* Kimi Jr. - Cooler Returns
* ELIO - Can You Hear Me Now?
* Bixep - Isles
* Typhoon - Sympathetic Magic
* James Yorkston and The Second Hand Orchestra - The Wide, Wide River

* Widowspeak - Honeychurch (This is really solid.)
* Nicol & Elliott - The Storm (This is so good, and "Dragging Me Down" is an early 2021 favorite.) * Madeline Kenney - Summer Quarter
* Erick the Architect - Future Proof EP
* Maggie Lindemann - PARANOIA
* Harmony Byrne - The Songs I Sing When No One is Listening
* Arca - Madre
* Jon Mueller - Family Secret
* Bella's Bartok - Autoerotic for the People
* Camp Trash - Downtiming
* Logic1000 - You've Got the Whole Night to Go
Also out:

* Jeremiah Fraites - Piano Piano

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