Wednesday, June 12, 2024

First Listen: New Releases for 7 June 2024

Artist: Joana Serrat
Album: Big Wave
Quick Thoughts: This is my favorite listen in a long, long time. Joana Serrat is new to me, even though this is her latest of many records. The level of songwriting here, the instrumentation, the absolute gorgeous music across the board here is incredible, and it's an album that made me stop and pay attention over and over and over. "Freewheel" in particular is one I keep sharing with people because it's that good, but the album is sort of like a folk rock/dream pop hybrid that is unlike anything I've heard of late and yet feels so, so right. One of the best of the year, without question.
Songs of Note: "The Cord," "Freewheel," "Sufferer," "Are You Still Here," "Big Lagoons," "Broken Hearted"

Artist: AURORA
Album: What Happened to the Heart?
Quick Thoughts: AURORA's been around for close to a decade now, and this is a pop record of someone confident in her skills and her presentation. She went super viral for a couple songs on her last album, and this doesn't feel like a course correction as much as an evolution, and one that I loved. Give some time to this.
Songs of Note: "Some Type of Skin," "A Soul With No King," "Do You Feel," "Starvation," "My Body is Not Mine"

Artist: Charli XCX
Album: Brat
Quick Thoughts: Speaking of artists who've been around for a while, this record in particular has some confessional bits, straddles the pop/hyperpop line perfectly, and is probably her best outright effort in ages. A great listen for popheads and pop-curious types alike. Charli XCX's main draw is that she feels extremely authentic in a genre that feels like it goes out of its way to avoid, and Brat offers a glimpse into pop music's true potential.
Songs of Note: "Sympathy is a knife," "Von dutch," "Everything is romantic," "B2b," "Mean girls," "I think about it all the time"

Artist: Steve Dawson
Album: Ghosts
Quick Thoughts: I've been a fan of Steve Dawson's old band, Dolly Varden, ever since I saw them open for Bennett and Burch 20-odd years back. He's largely put out solo work for the last 15 or so years, and this collection of tunes shows why he's one of the more underrated Chicagoland performers. "Oh, California" and "Leadville" in particular strike that real great singer-songwriter chord perfectly. Worth your time.
Songs of Note: "Oh, California," "Walking Cane," "Leadville," "When I Finally Let You Down"

Artist: Tiny Stills
Album: We Really Felt Something
Quick Thoughts: Through their work so far, Tiny Stills is an exercise of that tug of war between bright, beautiful singing with the sort of angsty punk-ish vibes of the backing band. This new album, however, is angry. "Downgrade Baby" stabs you in the heart right at the start, and it keeps going all the way through, including the exemplary "Bait and Switch" and "Killing Time." I feel like the band leveled up with this record. Highly recommended.
Songs of Note: "Downgrade Baby," "Am I Dead Yet?" "Space Ex," "Bait and Switch," "Killing Time"

Artist: Logan Lynn
Album: Softcore
Quick Thoughts: Every time Logan Lynn puts out new music, I think to myself that I should listen to more Logan Lynn. Speaking of confessional pop music, Logan Lynn isn't holding much back in this album, and it works wonders as a result. It's a busy week with some great tunes, but this deserves to be in the rotation.
Songs of Note: "I'm Just a Hole, Sir," "Where the Sun Don't Shine," "Send Your Army," "I Get High"

Artist: Pedro the Lion
Album: Santa Cruz
Quick Thoughts: I don't consider myself the most well-versed in Pedro the Lion/David Bazan universe, except that I came to them late and feel like it's been catching up ever since. This album feels a little more experimental than both the polished solo work or the lo-fi early years, and has some electronic nods in it that I wasn't expecting, but it's a welcome album nonetheless.
Songs of Note: "Don't Cry Now," "Santa Cruz," "Teacher's Pet," "Modesto," "Spend Time"

Of note:

* Ultrabomb - Dying to Smile (Great, old-style punk.)
* Perennial - Art History (Great, new-style punk.)
* Beak> - >>>> (Compelling off-center indie rock.)
* Michael Head and The Red Elastic Band - Loophole
* Winnetka Bowling League - Sha La La
* youbet - Way to Be
* Small Black Arrows - The British Museum
* L'Imperatrice - Pulsar
* Actress - Statik
* Blair Gun - There Are No Rival Clones Here
* Eels - EELS TIME!
* Rat Palace - Dust Free Home
* Kristine Tjorgersen - Between Trees
* Future Funk Squad - Six
* Bloomsday - Heart of the Artichoke
* Peggy Gou - I Hear You
* Psychic Graveyard - Wilting
* Duran Duran Duran - Supernatural Beast City
* Bonny Light Horseman - Keep Me On Your Mind/See You Free
* Dani Scheffels - hi
* Bathe Alone - I Don't Do Humidity
* AVR - Salvation
* Razor Braids - Big Wave
* Liz Lawrence - Peanuts
* Tashi Wada - What Is Not Strange?
* Blue Hawaii - Diamond Shovel
* Goat Girl - Below the Waste
* Savior Adore - Savior Adore
* Rick White and The Sadies - Rick White and The Sadies
* Maggie Gently - Wherever You Want to Go
* Pavid Vermin - Brutality is My Only Friend
* Fine - Rocky Top Ballads
* Orbury Common - Sylvan Chute
* Strand of Oaks - Miracle Focus
* Goofy Geese - G├║figis
* Marina Allen - Eight Pointed Star
* Elkka - Prism of Pleasure
* Kalte Nacht - Urge
* Kairos Creature Club - Kairos Creature Club
* Rose Hotel - A Pawn Surrender

* EPs:

* Night Tapes - Assisted Memories
* Loveletter - Testament
* Bird Language - Chasing Echos EP
* Open Mike Eagle - Sir Rockabye
* Floating World Pictures - Have You Met Your Maker?
* Figue Toba - Saucy girl
* Al Rock - Nowhere to Run: The Re Files
* How I Became Invisible - Sadness is Rebellion
* Pet Shop Boys - A new bohemia
* Paige Stark - Good at Love
* Siv Jakobsen - bird's-eye view
* Primer - Round and Round
* bar italia - The Twits
* Thin Air - The Blowtorch Poets Departure

Live albums/Compilations/Reissues:

* Brian Eno - Eno: Retrace Your Steps
* Shygirl - Club Shy RMX

Also out:

* Angelica Garcia - Gemelo

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