Wednesday, March 15, 2023

First Listen: New Releases for 10 March 2023

Artist: Shana Cleveland
Album: Manzanita
Quick Thoughts: Sometimes an album just comes out of nowhere and grabs you. Manzanita did that for me. I had never heard of Shana Cleveland prior to this weekend (although I do know her work with La Luz, which I love), and when this album landed I was shocked at how quickly it hooked me and how persistent it was through its runtime. It's a great folk record by any measurement, but there's just something about songs like "Walking Through Morning Dew" and "Mayonaisse" that carry an additional weight that a lot of albums only aspire to. It's a mandatory listen this week.
Songs of Note: "Faces in the Firefight," "Walking Through Morning Dew," "Mayonaisse"

Artist: Sleaford Mods
Album: UK GRIM
Quick Thoughts: It took me a while to get on the Sleaford Mods bandwagon, but they've just put out album after album that is uniquely theirs and uniquely great. UK GRIM is a record as angsty and ranty as all the rest, with sparing instrumentation and sneaky guest appearances from Dry Cleaning's Florence Shaw and, somehow, alt-rock legend Perry Farrell. It doesn't try to be something it isn't, and it's a perfect album for these times, for a duo that feels years ahead of the curve.
Songs of Note: "Force 10 From Navarone," "On the Ground," "So Trendy"

Artist: Carol Hodge
Album: Vertiginous Drops
Quick Thoughts: Another new artist for me this week, Carol Hodge, is a pianist and singer-songwriter from England. It's easy to be initially distracted by her left hand, which she features prominently on album covers and in biographies, but there is no reason whatsoever to believe that any physical disability is getting in the way of her performing or songwriting, as her songs feel like the best kind of late-night bar sing-alongs in many regards, and it gives me a real Frank Turner by way of Ben Folds vibe throughout. Of all the albums I've heard as of late, I look forward to exploring her back catalog, because she has the potential to become a favorite.
Songs of Note: "The Price," "Never Run Out of Things to Worry About"

Artist: Shalom
Album: Sublimination
Quick Thoughts: Shalom is also new to me, and wow, did this one blow me away or what? It's ostensibly fuzzed-out indie rock with a little bit of an edge to it, but really accessible even as it plays around with beats and ideas that aren't typical of other artists in the indie space. I loved this album, and I think you will too.
Songs of Note: "Soccer Mommy," "Did It To Myself," "Lighter"

Artist: Lichen Slow
Album: Rest Lurks
Quick Thoughts: Wanted to give a shout-out to Lichen Slow. Their first album is the sort of lo-fi indie rock/pop that I fell in love with so many years ago, and there's a bit of an edge to this one as well that sets it apart. I loved nearly every song here, but there's something special about the delivery of this one, and it has a lot of memorable and noticable lyrical choices, too - a significant thing for someone like me, who pays little attention to lyrics overall, to notice. Don't miss out on this one.
Songs of Note: "Preset," "The Things We've Done," "Imposter Syndrome"

Of note:

* MSPAINT - Post-American (It's not quite punk, but it's really interesting nonetheless.)
* Lonnie Holley - Oh Me Oh My (Beautifully poetic.)
* Infinity Crush - sestinas (No one does stark beauty quite like Infinity Crush.)
* Carlie Hanson - Wisconsin
* Fever Ray - Radical Romantics
* Mandaworld - For Emotional Use Only
* Hanakiv - Goodbyes
* Model/Actriz - Dogsbody
* The War and Treaty - Lover's Game
* Godcaster - Godcaster
* Lia Kohl - The Ceiling Reposes
* Eyelids - A Colossol Waste of Light
* Kimaya Diggs - Quincy
* Salt House - Riverwoods
* The Nude Party - Rides On
* Smote - Genog
* Frankie Rose - Love as Projection
* King Khan - The Nature of Things
* Joanne Robertson - Blue Car


* Fatima Al Qadiri - Gumar EP
* Silkback - H I K A R I
* August, Yours Truly - Audience EP
* Nia Archives - Sunrise Bang Ur Head Against Tha Wall
* Alice Longyu Gao - Let's Hope Heteros Fail, Learn, and Retire
* Manchester Orchestra - The Valley of Vision

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