Tuesday, March 16, 2021

First Listen: New Releases for 12 March

On a housekeeping note, I'm trying a different format for First Listen for the next few weeks. Smaller capsule reviews = more highlights, and I'm piloting a mix of my favorite tracks, which you can find below.

Let us know what you think.

Artist: Vivian Leva and Riley Calcagno
Album: Vivian Leva and Riley Calcagno
Quick Thoughts: Man, we love some well-crafted roots music here. This is some really gorgeous stuff, with the right mix of more upbeat bluegrassy tunes alongside the more midtempo fare. Plus, the musicianship here is incredible. There's not a bad moment in this record, and it's absolutely a favorite this week.
Songs of Note: "Good and Gone," "My Teardrops Say"

Artist: The Anchoress
Album: The Art of Losing
Quick Thoughts: The Anchoress gives off solid PJ Harvey vibes for me, and I basically loved every moment of this album. The sum is great, but some of these parts are just awesome. If you like your rockin' women with a little additional edge, this needs to be on your list. The Anchoress is overdue for a breakout, and this might be the one to do it.
Songs of Note: "Show Your Face," "The Art of Losing," "Unravel"

Artist: DJ Muggs the Black Goat
Album: Dies Occidendum
Quick Thoughts: There's a weird trend on the internet as of late to have a streaming channel with "lo-fi beats" or whatever. I don't know, I'm too old for any of this. But DJ Muggs offers a pretty high-quality album of samples and beats that sounded really great and was the perfect soundtrack to my Friday afternoon. I look forward to digging into this one more substantially in the coming weeks.
Songs of Note: "Nigrum Mortem"

Artist: Allie Crow Buckley
Album: Moonlit and Devious
Quick Thoughts: I forget exactly how Allie Crow Buckley hit my radar, but I suspect it was her previous EP combined with the collaborative effort on Moonlit and Devious featuring Mike Viola. The album has a real edge to it and a unique sound/tone that really sets it apart from a lot of other singer-songwriter material, and, as debut albums go, this one's really solid. I kept finding more to like about this album from one song to the next, so I think a lot of listeners will have a similar experience.
Songs of Note: "Nothing Sacred," "Gold Medallion," "Hanging Tough"

Artist: Ontarians
Album: The Greatest Short Story Never Told
Quick Thoughts: This may sound like a weird way to put this, but Ontarians are how I wish Wilco had aged over the last 10-15 years - songs like "Changes" in particular give off that Tweedy vibe. There's a sort of aged alt-rock/roots feel to this that has a whole lot going for it, and it's probably the album I've thought about the most this weekend. It's a really interesting listen on a whole, and one that I think a lot of people reading this would enjoy.
Songs of Note: "Balloon," "Photographs and Epitaphs," "Satellites"

Artist: Valerie June
Album: The Moon and Stars: Prescriptions for Dreamers
Quick Thoughts: I've loved Valerie June for quite a while now, and this new album continues with her evolution as an artist. It still has the rootsy, bluegrass-style base that she has perfected so well, but there's a real dreamlike, ethereal quality to this that turns this record into something a little more special. Valerie June is a singular, unique voice in the musical landscape, and we're all better off with her music. Make time for this.
Songs of Note: "Stardust Scattering"

Artist: Xabra Xiss
Album: PROLOGUE: Evolution
Quick Thoughts: This is an interesting listen. I tripped up on it because of the first song, which is a collaboration with electronic act Juno Reactor, but the whole thing is a neat little prog-infused piece of electronic music. Sometimes the guitars are a little heavy, sometimes it feels like a club record, but this is an interesting album on a whole that might have sailed under the radar.
Songs of Note: "Tempest (Xabra Xiss remix)"

Of note:

* Really From - Really From
* Harmony Woods - Graceful Rage
* Louisahhh - The Practice of Freedom


* Future Teens - Deliberately Alive
* Odsen - Open Your Eyes
* Tricky - Fall to Pieces (Remixes)
* Jenny Owen Youngs - Echo Mountain
* Do Nothing - Glueland EP

Live albums/Compilations:

* Ransom Pier - New York, NY 3/10/20 (Live)
* Riverby - Riverby on Left of the Dial Live

Also out:

* Lake Street Dive - Obviously
* The Rumjacks - Hestia
* Leanne Betasamosake Simpson - Theory of Ice
* Rob Zombie - The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy
* Eyehategod - A History of Nomadic Behavior

Every week for the time being (or until I forget), I'll be pulling together some of my favorite new tracks of the week. This is a great way to sample the best of the release schedule, so I hope you enjoy.

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