New Music Round-Up :: Week of 9/30

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VII :: Blitzen Trapper

Three-Sentence Review: Music meant for riding the rails, wandering around, crossing state lines, stopping for a spell to work at a local diner, ducking in to the local bar for a drink and a chat with someone new, falling asleep in a new to you bed, only to get ready to hit the road again. This is a post-modern Kerouac soundtrack to me. The songs stir my gypsy soul that is overflowing with wanderlust, and they make me want to spin around and around, too (infectious, catchy tunes right here).

Initial Favorite Track(s): Shine On, Drive On Up and Don’t Be a Stranger

Rating (1-5 Stars): 4

Shine On

Drive On Up

Don’t Be a Stranger

jlag_1600Self-Titled :: Jules Larson & AG

Three-Sentence Review: This EP starts out with a track loaded with electro-80’s sensibilities the likes of Terri Nunn, Kim Wilde and Scandal, strong female vocals with a sonic beat you can dance to. Most of the other songs on the EP shift into something more current and in the vein of the alterna-pop sound where Lissie and Ellie Goulding reside. Unfortunately, as the EP spins the songs become forgettable and non-definitive.

Initial Favorite Track(s): Bend Into the Break

Rating (1-5 Stars): 2

Bend Into the Break

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Pure Heroine :: Lorde

Three-Sentence Review: Lorde feels like Lana Del Rey’s more jovial little sister to me, full of the post-modern, millenial, “hipster” (though I loathe that term) sensibilities, but without the over-produced, autotune sound, and with less of the “you only live once” narrative trope. This is infectious delicious music that I want to keep hitting replay to.

Initial Favorite Track(s): Royals, Team and Glory and Gore

Rating (1-5 Stars): 4

Royals

Team

Glory and Gore

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B-Room :: Dr. Dog

Three-Sentence Review: I am experiencing very mixed reactions to this album. The first track had me in a semi-nostalgic, cool seventies state of mind that I was riding with an easy-going smile, and a handful of other tracks play like a meet-up of Calexico and MGMT, while others seem to strike an updated Beatles pose. But there are some very heavy tracks that veer into a mood that seems to hijack the feel of the rest of the album (most notably the track Too Weak to Ramble), which pulls me out of the listen and sets me a bit ill at ease.

Initial Favorite Track(s): The Truth and Nellie

Rating (1-5 Stars): 3

The Truth

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Days Are Gone :: HAIM

Three-Sentence Review: I have been crazy addicted to the song The Wire, ever since I first heard it pre-album release, so I was crazy excited for this album to get into my hands and ears. My excitement and expectations were not let down, not even a little, I am crazy loving this album. Each song is unique, reflecting so many different musical influences, yet together they flow in this very cool way.

Initial Favorite Track(s): Wire, Forever, Don’t Save Me and My Song 5

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5

Wire

Forever

My Song 5

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Fuzz :: Fuzz

Three-Sentence Review: The “Fuzz“, or “Fuzz Face” pedal came to life in 1966, and is famous for its distortion sound. Jimi Hendrix and Pete Townshend loved the sound created, as seemingly does Fuzz on this album. It plays heavy on the noise, on the psychedelia, and the dark rock sensibilities which is not a huge favorite of mine, but there are some genuine standouts here.

Initial Favorite Track(s): What’s In My Head and Hazemaze

Rating (1-5 Stars): 1.5 (mainly because this is just not my cup of tea)

What’s In My Head?

Haze Maze

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Tall Tall Shadow :: Basia Bulat

Three-Sentence Review: Basia channels the late 60’s-70’s folk I grew up hearing my Mom play, the likes of Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, Carole King and Phoebe Snow. In this channelling, though, is some modern takes on style and lyrics, still, I cannot help to feel taken back in time. You can definitely hear the sonic and sound influence of Arcade Fire, with Mark Lawson (Arcade Fire’s engineer) and Tim Kingsbury (from the band) helping out with Tall Tall Shadow.

Initial Favorite Track(s): I Can’t Be You, Wires and Never Let Me Go

Rating (1-5 Stars): 4

It Can’t Be You (live)

Wires (live)

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The 20/20 Experience (Pt. 2) :: Justin Timberlake

Three-Sentence Review: Delightfully dancable pop music that is infectious and impossible not to move to. Some of this reminds me of the first collaborations Justin had with Timbaland in the very best way, some of it brings back the disco 70’s also in the best of ways, and some of it is a bit harder to take in and fall a bit flat for me. That said, there are at least three songs right off the bat that I want to spin through my headphones at the gym right away now.

Initial Favorite Track(s): Gimme What I Don’t Know (I Want), Cabaret, Take Back the Night and Only When I Walk Away

Rating (1-5 Stars): 3.5

Gimme What I Don’t Know (I Want)

Cabaret (featuring Drake)

Take Back the Night

Only When I Walk Away (live)

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Innocents :: Moby

Three-Sentence Review: I think I take Moby for granted because most days I completely forget about him, and then I stumble upon him and his musical creations and I remember how much I love him. This album starts off with lush sounds that feel soothing and wistful, drawing me instantly and not letting me go through the entire “Innocents” experience, guest artists and all. I am digging this album – BIG TIME.

Initial Favorite Track(s): Everything That RisesA Case For Shame, The Perfect Life and The Lonely Night

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5

A Case For Shame

The Perfect Life

The Lonely Night

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States :: The Paper Kites

Three-Sentence Review: Sensual serenity with a blissful dash of indie-lullaby wonder, this album is one that I know will see a lot of play by me, especially on those insomnia-induced sleepless nights. I want to swirl around inside the sounds of this album, get lost in them for hours, days even. I find myself loving each next song even more than the one before, finding myself reminded of Stars, Mazzy Star and Azure Ray, and something else entirely – a love at first listen kind of moment, for certain.

Initial Favorite Track(s): St. Clarity, A Lesson From Mr. Gray and Tin Lover

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5

St. Clarity

A Lesson From Mr. Gray

Tin Lover

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M.O. :: Nelly

Three-Sentence Review: First song has me bouncing around the room, and when the next song starts I am still moving, and smiling. This reaction continues and I have to say that this album is considerably stronger than the Justin Timberlake album (reviewed a few albums up). The album contains a variety of collaborations, and an album full of solid pop-hip-hop-R and B songs that feel radio ready to be a hit after hit, which seems to be a “whatever Pharrell Williams touches” thing, lately.

Initial Favorite Track(s): Get Like Me, Headphones and Rick James

Rating (1-5 Stars): 4

Get Like Me, featuring Pharrell Williams and Nicki Minaj

Headphones, featuring Nelly Furtado

Rick James, featuring T.I.

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Glow & Behold :: Yuck

Three-Sentence Review: This album reminds me of a lot of the music I enjoyed in the 90’s,  like Material Issue, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, Matthew Sweet, and Gin Blossoms – with a little My Bloody Valentine sonic sound, just told a bit more accessibly. Catchy, slightly dreamy, reminiscent of some of the softer side of power pop, I cannot help feeling that this would have been a lovely addition to a Summer album to drive by the ocean to. Regardless, though, the breezy, sonic hazy mellow style of this album is a grower, and one that I can tell I am going to quickly shift from like to love.

Initial Favorite Track(s): Lose My Breath, Rebirth and In Memorial Fields

Rating (1-5 Stars): 4

Rebirth

In Memorial Fields

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