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02.28.19 Time Marches On, Baby!02.20.19 Snow Day Jamz
01.25.19 Owl-bums: A Historo-Ornithological Over 01.24.19 Recent Spinsies
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Recent Spinsies

Pretty self-explanatory, list is mostly recent listens (though not all necessarily digs, or at least not yet, per se), and then a few bonus on-deck entries:
12 Bloody Spies: B-Sides and Rarities

Finally found this used and cheap, which is what I was holding out for, since I've heard and have most of these songs already across various deluxe editions. Still, bundling this nearly two-decades'(!) worth of material reveals what's most remarkable about the set (and band at large, really), how well everything hangs together with no dramatic swings in quality--so much so that it could easily be passed off as another consistent cover-to-cover album if the listener didn't know any better. Really, my biggest gripe is more what the album isn't than what it is, since there are a handful of other songs on the deluxe version of Wonder What's Next (especially "Black Boys on Mopeds" and "(High) Visibility"--which, there alone, talk about range, right?) that, alongside an extra, compilation-exclusive track, could've turned this already-great compilation into an even better 16 Bloody Spies.
2Blood Orange
Negro Swan

Not fully sure how I feel about this one yet. Certainly an A for ambition and intent, but I can't shake the feeling that the execution's a bit lacking, especially in the wake of a personal best like Freetown Sound. Maybe it's superficial, but I just wish there were more, y'know, hooks amid all the melismas and (admittedly impactful) spoken word snippets and drifting piano tinkles. Then again, I've only listened to it twice, so the record may reveal itself with additional spins, but right now, it's settled in good-not-great territory.
3Spanish Love Songs

This, meanwhile, grabbed me right away. That's obviously not a fair comparison at all, since this and 2 hail from vastly different artists working within vastly different genres--but still, there's something to be said for the combination of immediacy and emotional heft on display here. Credit where it's due, would likely have never heard of this were it not for Sputnik's own year-end list, but damn am I glad it came to my attention, especially with no new Menzingers album announced (right...?). "Joana, in Five Acts," especially, crushes (really, the entire stretch from "Buffalo" to then is the best mid-album run this side of, well, After the Party, I guess).
4Barely Civil
We Can Live Here Forever

Another Sputnik-borne discovery, and yet another gripping one nearly from the outset. Like 3 (and, to some extent, 1), there are arguments to be made that there's not much innovation to speak of here, but hell, if you're along for the ride, what a ride it is. Example: "RE: Your Lungs" is basically "Let's Talk About Your Hair," but with an entirely different face of self-destruction in its crosshairs; truly, the lyrical dexterity woven throughout the album is what really helps elevate the edges enough that repetitive cries like "It's alright" or "We run" absolutely earn their simplicity and become anthems-in-the-making.
Beside Myself

Like 2, likely need to sit with this one a bit longer. It's a definite step up from the pretty lackluster (and disappointingly/ironically titled) Promise Everything. But still, in spite of the band's refreshing resistance to further watering down their sound, I feel like this album is largely let down by its back-half--which is a shame, since "Disconnect" through "Stigmata" are their strongest stretch since Colourmeinkindness. Again, maybe repeated listens will pay dividends, but right now, this unfortunately feels more like a great EP than a good album.
6Pedro the Lion

Been getting into this one a bit deeper lately in preparation for Bazan's newest, the recently released Phoenix. Maybe setting myself up for disappointment, since this is certainly the band's high water mark, but the good news is, regardless of what's to come, this album (entirely expectedly) holds up.
7Gary Clark Jr.
The Bright Lights

Another preparation jam, and one I've in honesty neglected too long. Clark's new track is, as the kids say, fire, and it certainly lit one under me to revisit his back catalog. In what's surely a super-controversial take, I've always felt like he excels more in a live setting than studio, so it's no coincidence that this EP, being half and half, stands above his full-lengths so far (not that those are bad, by any stretch, more that they suffer by comparison). Still, if the title track is any indication, the upcoming This Land may capture some of that ineffable energy that sparks up so often on-stage. Regardless, if you're unschooled to the ways of Gary Clark, Jr., do yourself a favor and scoop up this and the effectively-titled Live, then come join me on the ground floor in March.
8James Blake
Assume Form

Next on-deck. Been too long, and will probably be an ideal beddy-byes listen, I suspect.
9Pressure Cracks
Pressure Cracks

Also on-deck. Somehow just learned of this (thanks again, Sputnik), which is shocking, since it seems to beat the hell out of Fever-333, whose LP I haven't found the nerve to plunge into just yet. If nothing else, seems like this will make for a rewarding timesink in the interim.
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