|StaffReviews 413Soundoffs 388News Articles 71Band Edits + Tags 129Album Edits 697Album Ratings 2034Objectivity 80%Last Active 05-26-19 10:42 pmJoined 07-07-08Forum Posts 2,738Review Comments 30,775
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.
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
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
|3||The 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
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
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
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
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
'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
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
|10||Marissa Nadler and Stephen Brodsky|
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
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
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
|I recommend all of the top 3 for just about anyone, from there just use your best judgment.|
|think youd find something to like in new ceres, sir, or definitely in past work. Ill add 1, 4, and 5 to my list.|
|I'll definitely check Ceres this week. Thanks Ponton!|
|cheers, check "choke" from them. Definitely a sowing song, reminds me of only one from yellowcard |
|im cheating but it actually does honestly lol|
|Doesn't matter. You already got me hooked... will let you know what I think!|
|"I've never really liked these guys. At the risk of sounding dismissive/ignorant, the vocalist has always sounded like kind of a dweeb."|
Okay but have you seen your 5s? dweeb central
not actually criticising your ratings just weird that dweebiness is a turnoff for you
|Damn I didn't know there was a new Mountain Goats record. Gonna spin that now cheers Sowing|
|It's a great week, so many 3.5 releases ... This is the first time a Craig Finn album has grabbed me, and I agree, it sounds like a grower.|
|Glad to have made your aware of the new Mountain Goats, Fiction! Gallantin, you're basically right haha. I guess TMG always just struck me as "extra dorky."|
|You desperately need to spend some time getting to better know the person and work of John Darnielle.|
Easily, one of the most incredible artists and people on this planet. And probably proudly a dweeb.
|Lol ok I'll take that as a recommendation and add it to my list!|
|John Darnielle is the lead singer (and for a very long time - sole member of) The Mountain Goats :P|
Edit: Sorry for being confusing. I'm a big enough fan that I just use his real name.
But, knowing you, there's a hell of a lot under the surface with the Mountain Goats that I think will stir your soul in meaningful ways. It's important, I think, to start with the records he recorded with his 1980s tape recorder and work your way up to his studio productions.
Edit 2: Or there's a ton of live recordings of him on Archive. Perhaps even better. Start with his solo shows. Back in like 1998.
|Just re-jammed Helms Alee and it's as good as I thought. People need to start giving that album some attention. |
|glad you dug the Helms Alee album! i'd definitely recommend checking out the rest of their discog, especially Weatherhead and Sleepwalking Sailors|
|Oh I will be, hesperus. Helms Alee and Craig Finn both caught me offguard as artists new-to-me that I now plan on familiarizing myself with. :-)|
|You never got into The Hold Steady (Craig Finn's old, somewhat current, band), Sowing? Boys and Girls in America is another record you have to check out. |
|Yeah Chan already got on my case for never hearing of them haha. I'll check them out don't worry!|
|After a week of re-listening I had a chance to re-evaluate these. Finn leapfrogged Helms Alee as the best of the week. Most of these grew off me a hair but they're all still pretty good:|
Craig Finn: 4.3 (previous 4) - This just keeps growing and might not be done yet.
Helms Alee: 4 (previous 4.3) - Amazing songs and instrumentals, hasn't stuck with me enough to warrant above a 4 but this is objectively excellent
Mountain Goats: 3.5 (previous 4) - This fell off a bit, the strong moments here are wonderful but there's too much plodding filler.
Bear's Den: 3.3 (previous 3.8) - Listened to this a few more times and it definitely errs closer to the side of bland/standard alt-rock than I originally thought.
Local Natives: 3.5 (previous 3.7) - Very pretty still, if slightly unmemorable
The Cranberries: 3.5 (previous 3.7) - More emotions/feels than anything. Still has some great songs but also some forgettable ones.
Kevin Morby: 3.5 (unchanged) - Brilliant first half, middling second half. Not much change in my stance on that.
Josh Ritter: 3.4 (previous 3.5) - I had to laugh at the .1 difference but it's largely to signify that I enjoyed this slightly less than the 3.5's on this list
Teen Daze: 3.0 (previous 3.5) - I'm just kinda over this style by Teen Daze. Third straight LP of the same stuff. Still pretty, I'm just bored with it.
Nadler: 3.0 (previous 3.5) - Less impressed on my second listen, the album just kind of floats around. It's pretty and it's there, but that's it.
Vaura: 3.0 (unchanged) - No difference here in opinion, maybe I need to check their other work to appreciate this more.
Pink: just kidding I didn't listen to this again
|you missed aldous harding, the indie clique was all over that one |
|Yeah I heard the buzz and I'm still intending to hear it. Yet another brand new artist for me.|
|screw it, helms alee deserves that 4.3 bumping it back up|
putting craig finn at a 4.5 now just because I have a soft spot for it and it deserves the highest score out of the albums here