What I’ve been listening to, part four

September was one hell of a great month for new releases! So much so that it gets its own post! Here we go…

Tricky, Fall to Pieces, released 4 September. His first record after the death of his daughter is a dark and somber affair, but it’s also about healing from that pain.

Throwing Muses, Sun Racket, released 4 September. It’s indeed a racket, with Kristin Hersh turning up the volume and kicking out some great noisy tunes reminiscent of their early 4AD records.

Doves, The Universal Want, released 11 September. They haven’t released a record in ages, having been on a hyperextended hiatus, but the new album is so worth the wait! They haven’t lost their touch at all.

Cults, Host, released 18 September. This band has a way of merging alternapop sensibilities with experimental sounds, and it works like a charm here.

Sault, Untitled (Rise), released 18 September. As mentioned previously, no one really knows much of anything about this band at all, other than that their output is prolific (this is their fourth album in the span of two years!) and it’s all amazing. Highly recommended.

Semisonic, You’re Not Alone EP, released 18 September. Wait — Semisonic released a new EP?? Dan Wilson is still an amazing songwriter and this is certainly a welcome return!

Bob Mould, Blue Hearts, released 25 September. Oh man, this was the punk album we definitely needed at this point in time. Mould is pissed off and this is the angriest album he’s dropped probably since Black Sheets of Rain.

Prince, Sign ‘o’ the Times Super Deluxe Reissue, released 25 September. I posted about this one previously, and it was well worth the wait. The deep dive into alternative versions, demos, live tracks and unreleased songs will take you a few days, but it’s a fascinating ride.

Idles, Ultra Mono, released 25 September. These guys deliver powerful lyrics and brick-wall noise, but they have a super-strong conscience that they’ve never lost in any of their songs. Also, check out the video for ‘A Hymn’, which shows their softer side by riding along with their parents on a mundane grocery run during the pandemic.

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Whew! Yeah, that was a great month. More tunage to come later in the season!

What I’ve been listening to, part three

Coming back with a few more releases that have been getting some considerable repeat play here in Spare Oom!

BRONSON, BRONSON, released 7 August. A new side project of Odesza and Golden Features, the cool smoothness of this record is perfect both for relaxation and for my writing sessions!

Glass Animals, Dreamland, released 7 August. They’re a quirky band with weird sounds and vocal deliveries, and yet they’re consistently catchy and fun.

Secret Machines, Awake in the Brain Chamber, released 21 August. I had no idea they’d been working on a new record, and it’s just as bold and soaring as their previous releases. And like them, it sounds great when it’s loud!

Cut Copy, Freeze, Melt, released 21 August. This record is a much more chill and laid back affair, but it’s got some of their most gorgeous melodies on it! Another great writing session album!

Bob Moses, Desire EP, released 28 August. This is one of my “I will buy anything they release” bands, and this continuous-mix collection is so worth it. They’ve become one of my go-to bands for many of my recent writing projects!

PVRIS, Use Me, releases 28 August. Another great moody semi-electronic alt-rock band (from Lowell MA!) with a lot of groovy and atmospheric tunes.

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I was going to add more here, but I realized that September is gonna need its own entry (or two) because there was just SO MUCH that came out that I fell in love with! More to come soon!

What I’ve been listening to, part one

Goodness, it’s been far too long since I last updated with a rundown of albums and songs that have been on my mp3 rotation. I should rectify that, shouldn’t I? Considering that my station of choice (KEXP, natch) hasn’t changed one bit, pretty much all of these albums and singles came from that one station. Big thanks to John Richards and Cheryl Waters for providing some damn fine music during this time!

The Weeknd, After Hours, released 20 March. “Blinding Lights” is such a wonderful earworm, and the rest of the album is an enjoyable pop gem.

Pearl Jam, Gigaton, released 27 March. Good to see this band is still going strong after all these years. The new record is full of fine and memorable singles.

Phish, Sigma Oasis, released 3 April. Sensing that the COVID pandemic was going to be a lot bigger than anyone expected, the band felt it necessary to drop their new album early in lieu of not being able to tour for the foreseeable future. It’s mellow and introspective as well, but the style suits them just fine.

EoB, Earth, released 17 April. Ed O’Brien, guitarist for Radiohead, drops an interesting record that sounds equally like his main band and…Zooropa-era U2? Sure, why not? It’s an unexpected style but it works fine, showcasing his flair for catchy riffs as well as meandering jams.

Hayley Williams, Petals for Armor, released 8 May. Her solo debut is just far enough away from her Paramore sound that it still rocks without having to lean on the epic hard rock trappings all the time.

Nation of Language, Introduction, Presence, released 22 May. An interesting band with one album to their name (so far) but with a big dreamy sound that pulls you right in.

Indigo Girls, Look Long, released 22 May. This is a fantastic record with a sound reminiscent of their first couple of albums. There’s a lot of introspection and remembrance here, but it’s just as strong and determined as the future-looking ‘Closer to Fine’.

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More to come on Thursday!

2020 New Releases So Far, Part 2

Oh hey! It’s time for another month’s worth of new releases! The first quarter’s music so far has been surprisingly fruitful with a lot of great albums, and I’m quite happy about that! Here are a few new records I’ve been playing on my mp3 player as of late…

Destroyer, Have We Met, released 31 January. This is a rather quirky band that’s been around for quite some time, but their music has always been consistently melodic and intriguing.

Joseph, Trio Sessions: Vol 1, released 31 January. This is a fine alt-folk trio that channels the sounds of 70s Laurel Canyon and their three-way harmony is just lovely. I highly suggest checking out the rest of their work as well.

Poli├ža, When We Stay Alive, released 31 January. This Minneapolis band has always been a bit on the strange side with their music, but this new one is far more soulful and moving than their previous work. It’s an unexpected but wholly welcome direction and I love it.

Revolution, I Love You, Black Feathers, released 7 February. I don’t even remember where I’d discovered this band (NoiseTrade, perhaps?) but I fell in love with their strange but amazing mix of shoegaze, goth, synthpop and maybe even a bit of punk. The new record goes in all sorts of unexpected and wonderful directions.

Green Day, Father of All…, released 7 February. The new album kind of reminds me of their late 90s/early 00s era records, especially Nimrod and Warning, as the songs slide between all-out punk assaults and radio-friendly groovy rock. Not that that’s a bad thing, because they still manage to pull it all off.

Stone Temple Pilots, Perdida, released 7 February. They’ve lost two singers and that’s enough to break any band, but the DeLeo brothers soldiered on to write and record a stunningly gorgeous and heartbreaking album.

Hayley Williams, Petals for Armor 1 EP, released 7 February. The Paramore lead singer finally releases her first solo outing and it’s well worth the wait. It’s darker and quieter than her band work, but it’s just as powerful.

Best Coast, Always Tomorrow, released 21 February. I’ve always liked this band, and I love how they’ve completely embraced their own brand of that California sound — sunny, punchy, and just that little bit off-kilter. This one’s a fun and infectious record and I really should be playing it a lot more!

Grimes, Miss Anthropocene, released 21 February. I did not expect to enjoy the new Grimes as much as I do! She’s quite firmly in the ‘off in their own universe’ column when it comes to musicians and personalities, but the new record is just brimming with really neat sounds and ideas that pulled me completely in from the beginning. One of my favorites so far!

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More to come soon!