Tuesday, August 24, 2021

First Listen: New Releases for 20 August

Artist: Lorde
Album: Solar Power
Quick Thoughts: Lorde has made some seriously iconic songs over the years, which makes Solar Power largely a confusing affair. It's not that the album is bad - in fact, on first listen, I might like it more than Melodrama - but that it's very unassuming. It gives a definitive inluenceresque summery vibe, and that was somewhat unexpected from someone who presents as a more oddball dark pop star. Regardless, this album is likely to be divisive, but put me fully on team Solar Power.
Songs of Note: "Solar Power," "Stoned at the Nail Salon," "Secrets From a Girl (Who's Seen It All)"

Artist: Warp Trio
Album: Warp Trio's Pandemic Disco Fantasy
Quick Thoughts: I'm pretty sure this contemporary classical act hit my radar thanks to the amount of Attacca Quartet I've been listening to, and this is apparently a concept record that goes along with a multimedia effort. The music, for what it's worth, is interesting and different, and I fully and completely dove right in. Worth it for the effort.
Songs of Note: "I: Captivity," "III: The Well"

Artist: L.A. Exes
Album: Get Some
Quick Thoughts: An indie supergroup of sorts with Jenny Owen Youngs, Sam Barbera (Beginners, Holy Fever), Rachel White (engineer for Weezer), and Steph Barker (Baby Bulldog) doing 1960s-style girl pop. So many great harmonies, so many great lyrics, and so much to love here that I hope this becomes a bigger deal than even they dreamed. If you like fun, you'll like this.
Songs of Note: "Temporary Goodbye," "Skinny Dipping," "Linger"

Artist: Lung
Album: Come Clean Right Now
Quick Thoughts: Man, this was an unexpected treat. We've covered a couple of the advance singles here, but this is just an electric cello and drums, and it's sort of like if the Dresden Dolls discovered Cursive instead of Tori Amos. There's so much to love here, and "Air" in particular is my favorite new song in a while. It's heavy but artsy, it's an interesting listen without overstaying its welcome, and I think you'll be rewarded for giving it a shot.
Songs of Note: "Air," "I'm Nervous," "Sorry," "Sun God," "Arrow"

Artist: The Joy Formidible
Album: Into the Blue
Quick Thoughts: I think I was three songs in on this when I realized how consistent and good The Joy Formidible has been over the years. I don't have a ton to say about this album, which is the latest in a line of really solid alt rock, but I would be lax in not recommending it in a busy week. Give this one a spin.
Songs of Note: "Into the Blue"

Artist: Sturgill Simpson
Album: The Ballad of Dood and Juanita
Quick Thoughts: We like Sturgill Simpson here, and even if you don't quite get it, you have to appreciate his efforts. The latest (and last?) is a straight-up classic country record, complete with an overarching theme and some good ol' fashioned storytelling. It's a great listen, and well in line with his Cutting Grass series last year. Don't miss this one.
Songs of Note: "Shamrock," "Ol' Dood (Part II)"

Artist: Tropical Fuck Storm
Album: Deep States
Quick Thoughts: Tropical Fuck Storm has never quite grabbed me the right way, but I heard "G.A.F.F." last week and realized what I had been missing. Deep States isn't trying to drop any earworms into your skull, and it's abrasive and artsy and challenging. It's also kind of brilliant? The whole listen just really grabbed me, and listening to random songs is a disservice to the effort here. Make some time for this.
Songs of Note: "G.A.F.F."

Artist: James McMurtry
Album: The Horses and the Hounds
Quick Thoughts: It's been a while since we heard from James McMurtry, and the only negative I can say about this slice of pure country is that it's too bad it has to compete with Sturgill. There may not be a bad song on here, and each one is as catchy and infectious as the one before it. Welcome back.
Songs of Note: "Canola Fields," "The Horses and the Hounds"

Artist: Orla Gartland
Album: Woman on the Internet
Quick Thoughts: I've never heared of Orla Gartland before this weekend, and I'm glad I found her. This is very modern singer-songwriter material, and has a lot of highlights worth hearing. I don't have a ton to say, but if you're looking for something that gives off solid Emily Kinney vibes, check this one out.
Songs of Note: "Things That I've Learned," "Over Your Head"

Artist: Various Artists
Album: A Carnival of Sorts: An R.E.M. Covers Compilation
Quick Thoughts: Wanted to highlight this Bandcamp charity compilation, as I'm a big R.E.M. fan and there's a ton of cool offerings here. Desperate Journalist does a version of "Finest Worksong" in particular that really works well, but this is a solid investment for a good cause.
Songs of Note: "Finest Worksong" (Desperate Journalist), "Crush With Eyeliner" (Bugeye), "Moral Kiosk" (GodNo!), "Driver 8" (Man's Body)

Of note:

* GA-20 - Try It... You Might Like It: GA-20 Does Hound Dog Taylor (Solid blues music.)
* Sierra Ferrell - Long Time Coming (A lovely little roots record.)
* Martha Wainwright - Love Will Be Reborn
* ToiToiToi - Vaganten
* Shannon and The Clams - Year of the Spider
* Morly - 'Til I Start Speaking
* Angus and Julia Stone - Life is Strange
* Bnny - Everything
* AJ Lee and Blue Summit - I'll Come Back
* Lorkin O'Reilly - Marriage Material
* Bambies - Summer Soon
* David Duchovny - Gestureland
* Jeff Rosenstock - 2020 DUMP
* The Bob's Burgers Music Album Vol. 2


* Karen Jonas - Summer Songs
* Molly Burman - Fool Me With Flattery
* Sam Blacky - Summer Solstice
* Angel Olsen - Aisles
* girlpuppy - Swan
* HONEYMOAN - Palace

Live albums/Compilations/Reissues:

* Various Artists - Italians Do It Better (A bunch of Madonna covers.)

Also out:

* Cartel Madras - The Serpent & The Tiger
* Tacoma Narrows Bridge Disaster - The World Inside

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