New Music Round-Up :: Week of 1/13 & 1/20

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Mind Over Matter :: Young the Giant

Three-Sentence Review:  The sonic build-up of the first “prologue” of a track grabbed my attention from the start, though I do wish it had seemlessly worked its way into a different choice of track two (or would it be one?) song, a stronger song (perhaps Crystallized). Electronic sensibilities definitely take the reigns on this sophomore album, but never to the detriment of the vocal power. There is power here, creative growth, introspective lyrics and what feels like a melding together of multiple sounds/style/possible inspirations; I was ready to be disappointed, but instead, I am enthralled.

Initial Favorite Track(s): Crystallized, Mind Over Matter, It’s About Time and Firelight

Rating (1-5 Stars): 4.5

Crystallized

Mind Over Matter

It’s About Time

Firelight

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The River & the Thread :: Rosanne Cash

Three-Sentence Review: There is something ethereal here, something poetic, and something that defies any kind of preconceived predictability that her last name may bring along behind her. Sometimes there is too much going on in the background for me, musically, and I find myself wanting to strip it all here and just hear her (like with the opening track, A Feather’s Not a Bird), but when turned up high whilst driving in the early break of morning, all that melding and mixing of sound takes my breath. I still prefer the less produced tracks though, where I can take in her voice, and the strum of a guitar, or a banjo, without any (albeit breathtaking, at times) distractions beyond the storytelling.

Initial Favorite Track(s): Etta’s Tune and Tell Heaven

Rating (1-5 Stars): 3.5

Etta’s Tune

Tell Heaven

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Transgender Dysphoria Blues :: Against Me!

Three-Sentence Review: The album opens with an overwhelming feeling of celebration and freedom, and even where lyrically the challenges of singer’s Laura Jane Grace’s life-changing choices to live her authentic life, even in the lines that should be burdened with jaded stings and slings and scars, I still hear celebration. This is an uplifting album, one that fills me with a sonically driven, inspirational kick to follow my dreams. This will definitely be a go-to album when I need that push to keep going, to keep persisting in my own life and life challenges – this is a celebration kind of album.

Initial Favorite Track(s): Transgender Dysphoria Blues, Unconditional Love and Black Me Out

Rating (1-5 Stars): 4

Transgender Dysphoria Blues

Unconditional Love

Black Me Out

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Give the People What They Want :: Sharon Jones And The Dap-Kings

Three-Sentence Review: The album title certainly fits this new release from Sharon and the Dap-Kings, as this feels and sounds exactly what one expects, and wants, from them, both musically and in terms of energy. So many of the songs remind me of music from my childhood in the 70’s, songs and sounds that I still feel an attachment to, that I still love. This is a feel good album, all in all, with dashes of an “I will survive” confidence, which is something that this *person* wants.

Initial Favorite Track(s): Stranger to My Happiness, We Get Along and Get Up and Get Out

Rating (1-5 Stars): 4

Stranger to My Happiness

We Get Along

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Is There Anybody Out There? :: A Great Big World

Three-Sentence Review: Pop confection sensibility in the most genuine of ways, a style and sound that is often dismissed as fluff, and short-lived, but I would argue that good pop sticks to you, uplifts you, gets you moving, singing, feeling, expressing, and stays around, sometimes indefinitely. There is more than happy, giddy tones and tales going on here, too, there is musicality, layered harmonies and instrumentation (I especially love the piano), a sense of theatrics, and complex emotions – take a listen, you will find them.

Initial Favorite Track(s): Land of Opportunity, Already Home and Say Something

Rating (1-5 Stars): 3.5

Land of Opportunity

Already Home

Say Something

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Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son :: Damien Jurado

Three-Sentence Review: I recently drove through the desert, from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, experiencing both the break of dawn and the starry filled late night, I bring this up because this album feels like that experience to me; I close my eyes and I can see the desert, its vastness and desolation and beauty, and the almost otherworldly look to it all. This is an expansive album, one that needs to be swam around in as a whole, and I wish that I had the chance to have done that (at least drove through it) when I made my trek through the desert not that many days ago. I just wish I enjoyed the vocal sound as much as the music sound, but I don’t.

Initial Favorite Track(s): Metallic Cloud and Silver Joy

Rating (1-5 Stars): 2

Metallic Cloud