It was a large list last week. I am also starting a weekly Spotify Playlist with some of the highlights from the week’s releases. Like the playlist as it will update every week with a whole new playlist. A couple of people have said I am writing a little out of my voice on these lately, so I went back to more of a rambling review thoughts off the top of my head. More of the tone from when I would do this on Facebook. You can check out the playlist here
Becca Mancari – Left Hand–third album from Becca. This is fantastic. It is a very cohesive album, but really varies in style. There is light dream pop with spoken word (Left Hand), sugary indie pop with Julien Baker on backing vocals (Over And Over), and the slow burn understated gem “Homesick Honeybee’ that slowly takes over your brain and you are like ‘oh, let me listen to that again’. This is a must listen album. Brittany Howard also guests.
Ratboys – The Window–this is the fifth album from the Chicago band, and it’s pretty mind-blowing that they are not bigger. They get all the praise, but are not a household name yet…yet. The WIndow is yet another evolution for the band, though they haven’t changed their sound, but they keep making better albums with songs that are written better. It is jangly, guitar driven rock with no novelty, no cheeky attitude-just good songs and sometimes tender moments and vulnerability. This might be the band that sounds the least like boygenius, and can’t be accused of jumping on the bandwagon as they have been around longer, that fans of boygenius would like. Honestly, I think Big Thief fans would dig this also. This is a must listen. I didn’t put it on the playlist as it is long, but check out “Black Earth, Wi”.
Cindy Wilson (of The B-52’s) – Realms -this is Cindy Wilson of the B-52’s. She put out a solo album about six years ago that was respectable, but ultimately forgettable. I figured this album would be much the same. This is quite a bit better. Much of the album is fun synth pop songs with pretty simple, but infectious hooks. The opening track is one of those “bangers.” So the synth pop person in me (which is a major part of me) is very satisfied with these fun, well crafted synth pop songs. “Daydreamer” is kind of a synth rocker even. BUT then there are these dreamy songs like the Bjork-ish “Within” and the stunning closer “Not Goodbye” that are so full of genuine understated passion that it is one of those head shaking moments. I really connected with those two songs personally, and think they are among her best from her long storied career.
Asia Menor-Enola Gay – They may be from Chile or Chicago or both. Not sure. I cannot really figure it out. This is I guess post punk, but kind of reminds me of jangly bands like Rolling Blackouts and Ducks Ltd., but with more of a punk ethos and a darkness. Usually I don’t jump on a lot of foreign language albums as-my obsessive ass will then try to listen to hundreds more albums from around the world every week. Just not possible, I stumbled on this though and it is just so good. This is a must listen.
Morgan Wade – Psychopath-Morgan’s 2021 album Reckless is one of my most played albums of the last few years. I still play it a lot. She really captured something on that and had a lot to say and get off her mind and it was this confessional, angsty Americana album with songs that sunk into you. Now, she may have gotten that all out and the follow up is good, but they are songs written to be songs-like we are going for hits here and I think I will end up liking it a lot more once I accept that we have more of a Kacy Musgraves here than a Tanya Tucker. It’s slick, hooky, Americana and it is an album that will get many listens I think. This is produced by Sadler Vaden as was the last one. He is in Jason Isbell’s band and has the magic touch right now.
Buck Meek (of Big Thief) – Haunted Mountain
Between Friends – I Love My Girl, She’s My Boy-I never thought I would like an album by a band whose lead line on the press release is “they were in the quarter finals of America’s Got Talent” . While this is certainly pop music that is super produced, it has so many appealing hooks and just enough instruments used in interesting ways and enough dream pop that it has substance to it. The song “Cut My Hair” will be on my best of singles list this year for sure. Remember that band LEN? Kind of reminds me of that sometimes, and you will hear a tinge of Gorillaz here. It sounds like young kids talk-singing, there is that voice manipulation that I hate, but it works here. Very fun album.
Be Your Own Pet – Mommy-So this band was around like 15 years ago and put out a couple really good punkish albums and then split. Fast forward to today and the band was asked to reunite to open some Jack White shows and here we are with a new album on White’s Third Man Records. Now, vocalist Jemina Pearl is married to one of the co-owners of Third Man Records, so it’s not like this is the biggest stretch in the world. It is nice to have the band back. They honestly do not sound much older or less vibrant than on previous releases, though they do sing about being older and such. One has to wonder if groups like Wet Leg coming along didn’t motivate them to come grab a slice of that. This is non-abrasive punk-ish rock, with a little bit of novelty and a lot of tongue in cheek. It’s a lot of fun and worth a listen.
Ashnikko – Weedkiller-The last Ashnikko album was a raunchy, glitchy album that should only be listened to by people under the age of 21. Yet, somehow I ended up loving it. It was just so silly, fun and the beats were great and I love good glitch when not too crazy. Grimes and Princess Nokia guested on that album. The big guests are back here, Ethel Cain joining on the closing track. This album still has that fun, youthful glitchy sound, but there is more here. On the second song “You Make Me Sick” there is some anger, in fact Ashnikko screams that they are mad on the second song. This is followed by “Worms” which is as mainstream of a pop song as you can get-and shows a whole lot of musical maturity or at least a want to not be pigeon holed in a cultish glitch niche. The album is much, much more accessible than their previous effort and even people over 21 will possibly enjoy this. This is meant to put Ashniko on the road for Billie, Melanie and Taylor pop dominance and the parts and pieces are there. Fun listen-possibly the mainstream young person targeted pop album of the year?
Kendra Morris – I Am What I’m Waiting For-she is a soul singer that has put out quite a few albums. This one is on one of my current favorite labels, Karma Chief. She has floated around the hip-hop scene, som- working with Czarface, Open Mike Eagle and this album is produced by Little Shalimar who works on all the Run The Jewels albums. I am enjoying this, but I am not over the moon on it. There are strong tracks like “All Your Jokes” that stand out based on its production. Her vocals are fine and compliment the production, but it’s really the music that drives the enjoyment home on this. I will listen more, and it could grow on me.
Hiss Golden Messenger – Jump For Joy-as the title suggests this is a pretty upbeat album both lyrically and musically. His mid tempo indie sound takes on a vibe inspired by 70’s music that could be anything from Talking Heads to Grateful Dead. Much more on the Little Feat, Grateful Dead, Allman Brothers tip though. The song “Shin Bone ” has a part in it that is pure Talking Heads. While there are very good songs on here, some kind of suffer when it gets too much into that jam sound for me. Good listen.
Gareth Donkin – Welcome Home-debut album from the bedroom pop soul singer. Gareth really captures the 70’s, 80’s and even 90’s R&B. The smooth, poppy and musical R&B that had structure, rhythms and space. Check this out. Someone to watch for sure.
myst milano. – Beyond the Uncanny Valley-pretty simple bare bones hip-hop, but it’s refreshing.
Zach Bryan – Zach Bryan-I like Zach Bryan, I really do. I think he is a very good songwriter, I feel his music, this is a wonderful album-I just cannot connect with it. Not sure if it is the lyrics (for me personally) or what. Just doesn’t make me want to put it on again. Can’t explain it, because I know he is good and this is good. You have already listened to this anyway.
Drab Majesty – An Object in Motion-I guess this is considered an EP as it is only four songs, but it clocks in at 32 minutes, so I am going with it. Drab Majesty is a duo that consists of Deb Demure and Mona D, two androgynous characters playing what they call “tragic wave”. Musically it is synth, goth, shoegaze and expressed well. The 15 minute long “Yield To Force” is a beautiful goth opus with all of the sounds and tinks and harps and whatever that one would expect in a goth opus. When there are vocals they feel a little overdone and not genuine which ruins so many dark arts bands with a lot of potential. It’s a nice listen if you want to zone out in the darkness for a bit today.
A Giant Dog – Bite-they put out an album called Toy that I liked a lot. I have tried to dive into them more and they might have a little too much classic rock influence in that to really get inside me. This album really does. Imagine No Doubt, having listened to a lot of dragon rock, classic rock and prog-rock. Kind of that.
Bebel Gilberto – João-Standard bossa nova album from the singer in her fifth decade of performing and recording. Her voice is still astounding and like a comfortable blanket and this was a very pleasant listen. I can’t say I would search it out again, but if it was on in a coffee shop-I wouldn’t mind
Alice Cooper – Road-Probably his strongest album out of the last four musically and the songs are cliche ridden, but fun. You can tell his band is driving this more.
Old Crow Medicine Show – Jubilee- PLAY WAGON WHEEL! Just kidding, kind of. New album from the American group and one of two albums that features guest spots from Sierra Ferrel this week. It’s a fun album. I am excited that I can add “Wolfman of the Ozark Mountains” to my Halloween playlist.
The Armed – Perfect Saviors-They are the Greatest Band In The World according to their website. This is their fifth album
Charlotte Cardin – 99 Nights-the moment this came on all I could think was Adele. Synthy Adele, but Adele. If she is not super popular somewhere, she probably will be soon.
Georgia Mooney Full of Moon-she was in the Aussie folk group All My Ex’s Live In Texas. This is her debut, but she had an EP out ten years ago. It is pretty, a nice listen, and cinematic.
Handsome Ghost – Handsome Ghost-pleasant folk group in that Lumineers style
Hannah Georgas – I’d Be Lying If I Said I Didn’t Care-Canadian singer-songwriter that has put out music for awhile and even won song-writer of the year up there some years back. I don’t know if I have stumbled across her before, but this is a nice listen. Will listen again, pretty straight simple singer-songwriter with some nice aux elements in the music and production. Pretty.
jaboukie – All who can’t hear must feel-this is kind of fun and super catchy-I swear he is sampling “Baby Baby” from Amy Grant on “Not Me Tho” which will get stuck in your head. Lots of short songs, and sadly lots of hip-hop cliches lyrically.
jaimie branch – Fly or Die Fly or Die Fly or Die ((world war)) – oh man, I listened to this on a bike ride last week and just could not wrap my head around it. It is a jazz artist that puts out albums called Fly or Die in various forms. Horn player and I really like the horn playing (and everything else), but there are weird vocal things on here, tribal things, songs that sound like Appalachian campfire songs. I just don’t know.
Laeland – look at the mess we made-lo fi soul and hip hop. Very laid back, but some hooks and nice moments.
Turnpike Troubadours – A Cat in the Rain-Comeback album of sorts. People bought the shit out of this album this week. Sounds good-another country act that I think sounds good, but I just don’t connect with them personally. Good live band.
Wreckless Eric –Leisureland-well Eric still has a spark. Not sure I will listen again, but he is still trying to do it. There is a lot of interesting stuff on here muscially.
Nellie McKay – Hey Guys, Watch This-Remeber Nellie McKay?
Raw Poetic – Away Back In-sounds good. Collab with Damu The Fudgemonk
Spanish Love Songs – No Joy-I think this is their fourth album. People were excited about this last Friday.
Sonny and the Sunsets – Self-Awareness Through Macrame-almost got the Album Title of the Week. Almost
Common Kings – Celebration-New album from the American, Hawaiian and Samoan reggae pop band. They are Grammy nominated and coming to Slowdown on September 24th
Asking Alexandra – Where Do We Go From Here?-8th album from the metalcore band.
Atoll – Human Extract- Phoenix Arizona metal band. Not the French prog band.
Candlebox – The Long Goodbye– this will be the bands last album, and they are on their last tour. RIP Candlebox
Clementine Valentine – The Coin that Broke the Fountain Floor-this pop duo used to be Purple Pilgrims. This is their debut not as Purple Pilgrims.
Crooks and Nannies – Real Life-”emo tinged’ (their words not mine) duo from West Philly.
Des Rocs – Dream Machine-bobmastic rock music. I guess he/they have played with the Rolling Stones, Struts and Muse? Big Queen influences here. Zeppelin also.
Fat Tony and Taydex – I Will Make A Baby in this Damn Economy-this weeks-Album Title Of The Week!
DJ Muggs – Soul Assassins 3: Death Valley-third in the series from the Cypress Hill member. The first one came out almost 15 years ago.
Fat Nick – Hello I’m Vulnerable- The second of our Fat’s this week.
Fay Victor – Blackity Black Black Is Beautiful-new album from the spoken word jazz artist
Danger Mouse and Jemini – Born Again-they made this album 20 years ago. I listened to a couple tracks. Sounded good.
Helicopter Leaves (Anthony Vaccaro of Beach Bunny) – Get Stuck In-this is Anthony Vaccaro of Beach Bunny
Hot Milk – A Call to the Void-debut from UK metal band
Incantation – Unholy Deification–wow-I read that one wrong.
Marc Hudson- Starbound Stories-Marc is in the band Dragonforce if you dig them.
MxPx – Find A Way Home-new album from the at one time Christian punk band that are no longer a Christian punk band.
Tim McGraw – Standing Room Only-I almost put this on. He stated in his press release “This is some of the most emotional, thought provoking and life affirming music I have ever recorded” and that piqued my interest, but then I saw that he didn’t write any of it.
Mason Jennings – Under the Roses-new album from the Minneapolis songwriter with a very large catalog of music.
Open Mike Eagle – Another Triumph of Ghetto Engineering-9th album from the hip-hop artist. Produced by Quelle Chris and featuring the opening track “I Bled On Stage At First Ave”.
Ovef Ow – Vs. the Worm their name rhymes with ‘Woah, Jeff, Wow”
Patrick Droney – Subtitles For Feelings-John Mayer sounding guy.
Pleasure Forever – Distal-first album in 20 years from the band that used to be on Sub Pop-I feel like I booked this band at O’Leavers.