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Big Week

I had time to check just about every album I wanted to from a rather intriguing Friday of new releases. Coming down with the flu and having nothing to accomplish besides isolating yourself from your newborn and sitting in bed with a laptop/spotify will do that. A lot of these are first impressions because I didn't have time to double down on each record. TL;DR - List is recent digs.
1Helms Alee
Noctiluca


Was drawn to this album because of the artwork and was not disappointed. First experience with the band and they remind me a little of Alice in Chains. They have a percussion-heavy sound that can get rather gritty, but when they kick in with those clean vocals they really impress. 4.3/5
2Craig Finn
I Need A New War


This has the feeling of a real grower. The guy's voice is a little monotonous at first but by the middle of the album I was in love with his mannerisms and the subtle little twists in the music. The lyrics are also quite good. 4.0/5
3The Mountain Goats
In League With Dragons


I've never really liked these guys. At the risk of sounding dismissive/ignorant, the vocalist has always sounded like kind of a dweeb. Almost Decemberists-lite. But this is a beautiful piece, stunning from front to end and by far my favorite album by them to date. 4.0/5
4Bear's Den
So that you might hear me


This surprised me a little. Was expecting middle of the road alt-rock, and even though this dips that low at times, it's not for any long stretch. A lot of this has beautiful lyrics and emotional delivery, along with the kind of shimmering production that allows a piece like this to shine. Could grow on or off me with time, but for now chalk it up as better than anticipated. 3.8/5
5Local Natives
Violet Street


Beautiful harmonies and atmospheres across this whole thing. While listening I immediately popped into the previous album's thread to start hyping it, although admittedly by the time that first listen concluded I thought it was missing something minor. It's beautiful but I'm still waiting for something to grab me. We'll see. 3.7/5
6The Cranberries
In the End


Was never a big Cranberries fan (I loved some of their greatest hits), but figured I'd give this a go considering the tragic circumstances. It's definitely hit or miss, but the "hit" moments are spectacular and take me back to the band's heydey. Probably some emotional inflation going on with the rating, but I don't care...at least right now. 3.7/5
7Kevin Morby
Oh My God


Jaw dropping first half led me to think this would be the album to surpass Singing Saw for me, but then it dropped off into mediocrity for much of the back half. Still some moments to behold here, Morby is one of folk's most underrated artists. Also fuck this artwork ew. 3.5/5
8Josh Ritter
Fever Breaks


'Old Black Magic' caught my ear months ago, and this didn't quite live up. It's still solid folk rock though, and 'The Torch Committee' has a pretty damn epic guitar solo. 3.5/5
9Teen Daze
Bioluminescence


I loved Teen Daze's last two albums, but I feel like they're starting to wear out the whole nature-wave shtick. This was very pretty but otherwise unimpressive. Of course I'm a sucker for shimmery indie pop so this still gets a good score from me. 3.5/5
10Marissa Nadler and Stephen Brodsky
Droneflower


Went into this blind because I don't follow Nadler's work. Some really interesting vibes in the atmosphere on this one, although I don't recall anything all that gripping or memorable. It interested me enough to want to return to this though. 3.5/5
11Vaura
Sables


Another new artist for me personally, and yes I only checked it because of the artwork. It left me feeling slightly underwhelmed but that's just my first impression. 3.0/5
12Pink
Hurts 2B Human


Obligatory mainstream pop selection, I had to choose between this or the new Rob Thomas and went this route because Pink can be badass from time to time. This was pretty much just average radio pop across the board with nothing worth returning to, but nothing offensively bad either. 2.7/5
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