Quick Thoughts: I hesitate to pigeonhole The A's in any specific genre or classification, because what they're doing is so unique even while falling upon familiar tropes. With that said, if Mountain Man and First Aid Kit spawned a duo all their own, they might sound a lot like The A's. It's got a lot of quiet folk influence in some places, and outright field recording feels in others. It's a pretty brilliant album on a whole, and one of the rare records where, even if some parts don't work for you, it's still possible to appreciate from an artistic perspective.
Songs of Note: "Wedding Dress," "Why I'm Grieving," "When I Die"
Quick Thoughts: This is an incredible album that scratches multiple musical itches, so know this out front - it's difficult to be objective about something this good. Launder has produced a fuzzy, buzzy slice of alt-rock that I absolutely loved from top to bottom (as evident by adding more than half of this album's songs to the weekly playlist) and I'm in love. A mandatory listen this week.
Songs of Note: "Become," "Harbour Mouth," "Unwound," "Intake," "Blue Collar," "Beggar," "Lantern"
Album: Something More Than Love
Quick Thoughts: Lera Lynn is a little less country and a little more rock and roll on this one, but it's still a very impressive listen along the way. It's still got a bit of a darkness to it that we love from her, but songs like "Illusion" or "Conflict of Interest" have the potential to be true breakout tracks for this on-the-cusp singer. Check it out.
Songs of Note: "Eye in the Sky," "Illusion," "Conflict of Interest," "Something More Than Love"
Album: Artificial Countrysides
Quick Thoughts: Elf Power was always one of my favorites of the Elephant Six crew, and some of their albums from the early aughts rank among my top albums ever. While I've had a love/hate relationship with some of their more recent output, Artificial Countrysides feels like a return to form for the group. The songs are incredibly solid, the mood and overall presentation feels like classic Elf Power, and I'm just glad this exists. A very pleasant surprise.
Songs of Note: "Undigested Parts," "Did It Really Exist?," "Pouring Hot Water on the Anthills"
Album: Marching On
Quick Thoughts: Ozomatli is a band that's been around seemingly forever. I remember seeing them open for Dave Matthews Band back when I was in college, and they were a true highlight of the evening as they turned the entirety of Foxboro Stadium (or at least those of us who showed up early enough) into a real party. With that said, they've never fully grabbed me until this album, which is a fun record that captures my memory of them from 20-odd years ago perfectly. If you're not nodding your head to this, I don't know what else to tell you. This is a really solid album this week.
Songs of Note: "Sunsets," "Una Mas," "Mula, "Fellas"
Album: Desert Car
Quick Thoughts: Ken sent this one over and wow. This record is something really special. In many ways, it's like an echo from an old country radio station, complete with vocals that sound nearly haunting in their presentation. In others, like "Desert Car" or "Thrift Store Score," it balances the rock and roots influences perfectly. I loved this album this week, and, chances are, you will too.
Songs of Note: "Stick and Poke Tattoo," "Desert Car," "Bag of Bones," "Thrift Store Score"
Quick Thoughts: I sometimes forget that Lizzo is, like, one of the most popular musicians on the planet right now. Yeah, her songs get good play on social media, and "Juice" was an absolute smash, but I keep having to remind myself about how I discovered her thanks to a collaboration with Speedy Ortiz. Anyway, Lizzo is the mainstream of the mainstream and this album is ridiculously good, and you shouldn't let the former fact get in the way of the truth of the latter.
Songs of Note: "The Sign," "About Damn Time," "Grrls"
Album: Bigger Sprout
Quick Thoughts: Wanted to highlight this EP which is all killer no filler. Just a ton of great jangly alt-rock here across its 25 minute runtime, and one you don't want to miss. Lawn is a band to watch.
Songs of Note:
* Attia Taylor - Space Ghost (A very different, very compelling listen. Need more time with it, but it's pretty solid.)
* Sabrina Carpenter - emails i can't send (If you liked Olivia Rodriguez's album, you'll like this.)
* Willi Carlisle - Peculiar, Missouri (Great traditional roots album.)
* M. Geddes Gengras - Expressed, I Noticed Silence<
* Superorganism - World Wide Pop<
* Spring Summer - T.E.A.R.S.<
* JayWood - Slingshot<
* beadadoobee - Beatopia<
* Bryde - Still<
* ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead - XI: BLEED HERE NOW<
* Bobbie Lovesong - Paris By Starlight<
* Screeching Weasel - The Awful Disclosures of Screeching Weasel<
* GOON - Hour of Green Evening<
* Pye Corner Audio - Let's Emerge!<
* j-hope - Jack in the Box (Debut solo release from a member of BTS. Fascinating listen.)
* Ziarra - New Birth
* Senseless Optimism - It Gets Better<
* Silvia Kastel - Xantharmony<
* IAN SWEET - STAR STUFF<
* Yours Truly - is this what i look like?<
* DJ Premier - Hip Hop 50: Vol. 1<
* Che Noir - Poetic Sounds (Live)<
* Young the Giant - ACT I: ORIGINS<
* Motel Black - Humor Balance<
* Hunter S. Thompson - The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved (A reissue of the Bill Friell-composed reading and interpretation of Thompson's famed 1970 essay.)
* Rage Against the Machine - Live & Rare<
* BODEGA - Broken Equipment (Extra Equipment)<