Tuesday, March 30, 2021

First Listen: New Releases for 26 March

Artist: Bull
Album: Discover Effortless Living
Quick Thoughts: This is some solid, standard alt/indie stuff from top to bottom. It's sometimes fun, it's sometimes quirky (like with "Love Goo"), but it's really just the sort of springtime effort I'm happy to have heard. Just a lot of good stuff here from a new (to me) band that I'll definitely be keeping my eye on.
Songs of Note: "Love Goo," "Bedroom Floor," "Eugene"

Artist: Sunny War
Album: Simple Syrup
Quick Thoughts: We adore Sunny War around these parts, and Simple Syrup is yet another entry in her superbly consistent catalog. This shows continued growth while still providing some good songs along the way. Loved every moment of this in what is a pretty busy week.
Songs of Note: "Kiss a Loser"

Artist: Antonioni
Album: Antonioni
Quick Thoughts: My favorite album last year was Cartalk's effort, and there's a lot of acts right now doing the sort of emo-adjacent singer-songwriter thing that it's easy to blur them together. While Antonioni isn't breaking any new ground, they're also hitting that Soccer Mommy/Waxahatchee sweet spot that is so great. I loved a lot of this, and it was one of the key albums I wanted to rush back to this week.
Songs of Note: "Mouth Breather," "Nothing in the Dark"

Artist: Clever Girls
Album: Constellations
Quick Thoughts: I don't have a ton to say about this album on a whole. But it is very good, and it's the sort of fun alt rock we love around these parts. Songs like "Lavender" just work in so many ways. Definitely worth highlighting in a busy week.
Songs of Note: "Lavender"

Artist: Fitz
Album: Head Up High
Quick Thoughts: Debut solo effort from the Fitz of Fitz and the Tantrum, and while it definitely has a "Fitz and the Tantrums hit the club" feel to it, the songs are undeniably great. It's just a great party record in a time where I think we could all use one or two. I think it's nearly impossible for anyone to not enjoy what's on this album on a whole. Check it out.
Songs of Note: "Head Up High," "I Need a Dancefloor," "Spaceman"

Artist: The Imaginaries
Album: The Imaginaries
Quick Thoughts: This is a really great album, and one that took me by surprise. It'll get plenty of comparisons to The Civil Wars, and it won't be entirely false, but will be somewhat fair. It's definitely adult radio friendly, and I know Ken found it a little too poppy, but I really enjoyed this one and look forward to spending more time with it.
Songs of Note: "Revival"

Artist: Xiu Xiu
Album: OH NO
Quick Thoughts: Xiu Xiu is delightfully weird, and this is a album of collaborations with all sorts of artists. It's definitely a challenge in some regards, but if you're up for it you'll be rewarded.
Songs of Note: "Rumpus Room," "It Bothers Me All of the Time," "A Bottle of Rum"

Artist: Queen Esther
Album: Gild the Black Lily
Quick Thoughts: Wow this is a great surprise. This feels like an old-school country record, but with a modern touch and a current message. Queen Esther lays it on the table early with "The Black Cowgirl Song," but the messages don't overwhelm the musicality, and the result is really one of the better roots efforts of recent times. In a busy week, don't miss this one.
Songs of Note: "The Black Cowgirl Song," "The Whiskey Wouldn't Let Me Pray"

Artist: Esther Rose
Album: How Many Times
Quick Thoughts: I've been a fan of Esther Rose for some time now, and pretty much every song she has released up to this point? Just marvelous. This album is just one great song after another - it's upbeat, joyous, and infectous. I catch myself singing so many of these songs in my head ever since I first listened, which is a heck of a sign. Make time.
Songs of Note: "Good Time," "Mountaintop," "Keeps Me Running"

Artist: Sprints
Album: Manifesto
Quick Thoughts: I wanted to highlight this four-track EP, which is maybe my favorite release of the week. Every song is absolutely brilliant, and I really can't wait to see what comes next. Sprints needs to be on your radar.

Artist: El Michels Affair
Album: Yeti Season
Quick Thoughts: Another fun one to highlight this week comes from the project of a producer best known for his work with a number of rappers and R&B artists, including touring with Wu-Tang clan. This is like modern lounge music with a bit of a twist to it, and I frankly didn't expect to love it as much as I did. It feels ripped out of a different era, and it's just awesome.
Songs of Note: "Dhuaan," "Zaharila," "Unathi"

Of note:

* Sara Watkins - Under the Pepper Tree (A bunch of standards and covers, really nice.)
* Kalbells - Max Heart (When this works, it works so, so well.)
* Tomaga - Intimate Immensity
* Tune-Yards - sketchy.
* Anna Fox Rochinski - Cherry
* Genghis Tron - Dream Weapon
* Space Cadet - Lion on a Leash
* Floatie - Voyage Out
* Real Estate - Half a Human
* Claire Rousay - I'll Give You All My Love
* Dntel - The Seas Trees See
* Jane Getter Premonition - Anomalia
* Skegss - Rehearsal
* Shy Tooth - Ultrasuede
* The Antlers - Green to Gold
* Loney Dear - A Lantern and a Bell
* Hannah Peel - Fir Wave
* Death From Above 1979 - Is 4 Lovers


* Pixey - Free to Live in Color
* Speaker Music - Soul-Making Theodicy
* NewDad - Waves

Live albums/Compilations:

* First Aid Kit - Who By Fire - Live Tribute to Leonard Cohen
* Ellen Allien - Auraa Rmxs 1
* Leila Ross - Who the Power (Reformed)

Also out:

* Clark - Playground in a Lake
* Tomahawk - Tonic Immobility
* Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders, and The London Symphony Orchestra - Promises

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