Tuesday, September 26, 2023

First Listen: New Releases for 22 September 2023

Artist: Lydia Loveless
Album: Nothing's Gonna Stand in My Way Again
Quick Thoughts: We love Lydia Loveless here, and their gradual shift toward a more adult-alternative sound from the more twangy early work felt invevitable until this new album landed, which both feels like a great combination of the new and old while also remaining true to their evolution as an artist. There are so many good songs here, with that now-classic and unmistakable voice to go with some great songwriting. One of the best of the week.
Songs of Note: "Poor Boy," "Feel," "Toothache," "Do the Right Thing"

Artist: Jenny Owen Youngs
Album: Avalanche
Quick Thoughts: On one hand, it's been a decade since the last proper Jenny Owen Youngs album, although that is misleading given the amount of music she's made for her Buffy the Vampire Slayer podcast, plus the whole getting married and moving to Maine thing. So here's Avalanche, which is both exactly what you expect and a pretty solid curveball all at once. It's much quieter and folky than her prior efforts, and it absolutely works, but it doesn't have a "Pirates"-style rocker on it. Still, all things being equal, I really liked this album and I'm glad she's back, even for a little while.
Songs of Note: "Avalanche," "Knife Went In," "Bury Me Slowly," "It's Later Than You Think," "Everglades"

Artist: Will Butler + Sister Squares
Album: Will Butler + Sister Squares
Quick Thoughts: Will Butler, formerly of Arcade Fire, has done his share of solo work up to now, but this effort feels more Arcade Fire-y than anything Arcade Fire has done as of late. It's unfair to compare the two, especially given that he's not in the band anymore, but songs like "Willows" feel almost inescapable in their adjacency. Giving the backing band a little more presence is a nice touch, and additionally makes sense given the way this effort builds on Butler's previous solo efforts. Definitely give this a listen.
Songs of Note: "Open," "Willows," "Long Grass," "Arrow of Time"

Artist: Emily Kinney
Album: Swimteam
Quick Thoughts: Emily Kinney is famous for Masters of Sex and Mad Men, but her musical efforts are always in my forefront when I see her name. She does a lovely, light type of folk music that feels very on-brand while also feeling immediate and modern. Her voice is soft but resonant, and the songs are direct while still having a ton of weight. If you can't get behind a song like "B or C for Effort," I don't know what to tell you. It's just a great listen.
Songs of Note: "B or C for Effort," "It Won't Last Through the Weekend," "Everything on TV"

Artist: Bleach Lab
Album: Lost in a Rush of Emptiness
Quick Thoughts: Did you love Mazzy Star as much as I did? I'm not saying that Bleach Lab features the next incarnation of Hope Sandoval, but there is a sort of early-1990s ethereal nature to this record that stuck with me long after I moved onto something else. This album impressed from the start, but has a lot of potential to be a long-term grower, so give it a spin.
Songs of Note: "Indigo," "Everything at Once," "Nothing Left to Lose," "Smile for Me," "Never Coming Back"

Artist: Sincere Engineer
Album: Cheap Grills
Quick Thoughts: Sincere Engineer plays in that sort of indie punk sandbox where things feel sharp while also having a bit of a laugh along the way. This album has a lot of fun songs, but it was one of those albums that I knew I'd love within a few minutes of the first song and quickly sent it around to a few other people. Check this one out.
Songs of Note: "Anemia," "California King," "Fireplace," "Inside My Head," "Library of Broken Bindings"

Artist: Mad Honey
Album: Satellite Aphrodite
Quick Thoughts: Mad Honey does shoegaze right. It's fuzzy and dreamy and near-perfect in its presentation, and songs like "Fold" are among my favorite individual tracks of the week. Don't miss this one.
Songs of Note: "Heavier Still," "Fold"

Of note:

* Slayyyer - STARFUCKER (The most mainstream-pop effort from the hyperpop queen yet.)
* Flat Worms - Witness Marks (Loud and brash in all the right ways.)
* Kim Petras - Problematique (Kim Petras making a play as one of the best rising pop singers at present.)
* The National - Laugh Track (As someone who doesn't always connect with The National, this is very good.)
* Another Michael - Wishes to Fulfill
* yeule - softscars
* underscores - Wallsocket
* Hannah Cameron - Holding Pattern
* L'Orange - Old Soul
* zzzahara - Tender
* Teenage Fanclub - Nothing Lasts Forever
* Das Koolies - DK.01
* Patio - Collection
* Hello Seahorse! - HIPER
* Eartheater - Powders
* Slaughter Beach, Dog - Crying, Laughing, Waving, Smiling
* Lady Donli - Pan African Rockstar
* Loraine James - Gentle Confrontation
* Grrrl Gang - Spunky!
* Elk City - Undertow
* Tianna Esperanza - Terror
* Chappell Roan - The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess
* WaqWaq Kingdom - Hot Pot Totto
* Laurel Halo - Atlas
* Apostille - Prisoners of Love and Hate
* Katsy Pline - Incandescent Fire
* Devendra Banhart - Flying Wig
* Grails - Anches En Maat
* DJ Premier - Beats That Collected Dust, Vol. 3
* Comet - Two-Winged
* Samantha Urbani - Showing Up
* Colleen - Le jour et la nuit du reel
* Dan Drohan - DIGI BRO
* Roosevelt - Embrace
* Technology + Teamwork - We Used to Be Friends
* Paper Tigers - Charmer


* Soccer Mommy - Karoake Night (A perfect little covers EP.)
* Steven Wilson - What Life Brings
* Coco Bryce - My Space
* Babe Rainbow - Mushroom
* Adryelle - A Storm of Colors
* Bjarki - Tears in Berghain EP
* Ezra Furman - Sex Education: Songs from Season 4
* Arny Margret - dinner alone
* NZCA LINES - Universal Heartbreak
* Single Bullet Theory - C. '79
* corook - serious person (part 2)
* Eloise - Day From Night
* Lebra Jolie - The Pressure Pack

Live albums/Compilations/Reissues:

* fabric presents Helena Hauff

Also out:

* Bang Camaro - Bang Camaro III
* KEN Mode - VOID

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