Because I didn't do one last week I figured I'd make one to cover both weeks! Double the time! Half the music! ALL the fun! But really, these last two weeks saw a fairly condensed ambit in regards to my listening, especially when it came to older sounds. It consisted primarily of Frank Ocean the week after his album was released...actually this past week consisted mostly of that too. Speaking of which, I finally finished my review, which you can read HERE.
Other than that I don't feel like any other artist really made a stamp in my listening, therefor this week will be without a featured artist. I would like to shine a light on two releases from the last week in August. Joseph's I'm Alone, No You're Not and Amos Lee's Spirit. Both albums are quite different, but received the same level of love and affection (hugs, kisses, the whole shebang).
Joseph, the Oregon based group comprised of three sisters, whose existence I couldn't be more grateful for, made an album as addictive as it is passionate. I'm Alone, No You're Not, for all it's fiery emotion, mostly emits quiet power, on the strength of the girls vocals and the harmonies that come from them. Some albums need a certain mood to throw on, this isn't one of them. Day or night, rain or shine, the right time to spin this record is always.
You can red my full review of the album HERE.
Amos Lee's Spirit hit me in a different way, but as I stated above, the results were the same. This was the first time that I felt the warmth of his voice match the warmth of his record, in full. While some artists feed off of a more melancholy sound (i.e. Damien Rice), Amos, as always, is at home singing with joy in his heart, and though he's never too down, I can say that on Spirit he's never conveyed a more contented heart. And the peace and love he projects slips into our ears and hearts beautifully.
Amos is an artist that's received as consistent play from me as any artist since coming onto the scene more than a decade ago, and with this record he proves that he's only getting better. Spirit will be at my side for years to come. To read my full review of the album you can click HERE.
Friday and Saturday (9/2 - 9/3) saw the release of a handful of records I've been alternating between this past weekend. That means I've had to do a bit of multitasking, which, to me, means watching the US Open on mute while I listen to music. That's also the extent of my multitasking, sports on mute, music playing. Ask me to do anything else that remotely resembles operating on separate planes and you'll see me fidget uncomfortably until I start to slowly move backwards, and then run.
Picture the scene in Jurassic Park where the Jeep's stop working by the T-Rex attraction. Remember the lawyer that leaves the children and runs to the bathroom to hide and gets eaten? Bingo. Unless it's Alice Eve with me in the car, then I'd be Jeff Goldblum ignorantly running with the flare, under the assumption that I'm helping, but in reality just making things worse. Oddly enough I'm on the phone with Alice right now and I just told her that scenario, we're both laughing about it.
James Vincent McMorrow - We Move
This is the one I've listened to the most. After initially writing him off as Justin Vernon 2.0 (which isn't a bad thing) following his debut record, the solid Early In The Morning, he blew me away with his sweeping and sensual followup, 2014's Post Tropical ("Cavalier" was the best start to any album that year, count it!). I was curious to see how he would respond, teetering between contrasting genres, and now that I'm (we're!) expecting more from the soft and soulful Irishman.
I, like many, would have described his early work as progressive folk, though on the followup he frequently fused that sound with R&B on Post Tropical, I would say his roots were still of the folk persuasion. On We Move, those roots have definitively shifted. While I don't love it as much as I loved its predecessor, that love has benefitted from two years of exposure, however, after a weekend with it I will say it's really good. Soft and smooth, but packs a punch when it wants to, he crafted an excellent and complete record yet again. My two favorites from the record as of now are "Evil," "Get Low," and "Surreal," enjoy. Check out "Evil" to the left.
Angel Olsen - MY WOMAN
Since her debut LP, 2012's Half Way Home, Angel has lived up to her namesake for both fans and critics alike. Her raw, basement rock style matches her angsty and honest persona perfectly, presenting a plain faced look into her heart and mind. All that being said, I don't care for her. While she does have moments on each record I "enjoy," it's more the idea of sounds that she's creating that I enjoy, not the song itself. The melodies are there, but with her broken vocals (think female Conor Oberst) I just can't get into it. At times it sounds like I'm listening to a demo, ratherthan an actual release.
There are bright spots however, this album is legions ahead of her other two LPs. Her rockabilly style (that's always been present) goes a long way for me, making a handful of tracks a solid listen. I still need more time with the record, so expect a full review early next week. And remember, my distaste here has me in the minority, so check it out for yourself and don't take my word for it.
I'm posting the albums second single, "Shut Up Kiss Me," but if you like what you hear listen to the slow rolling (and lengthy) "Sister" as well. It's the best song on the record, hands down.
Travis Scott - Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight
You presumably listened to Travis' first record, Rodeo; if you liked it, you'll like this. If you didn't, you won't. Simple as that. I do not like it. Travis Scott, along with Future, Desiigner, 2 Chainz, Fetty Wap, Ty Dolla $ign, etc. power a movement in hip hop that I just can't get behind. Most of this distaste is in the repetition of the act: production, vocals, delivery, subject matter...
It's not all bad, the album does have some redeeming qualities, though it's mostly at the hands of other artists. Andre 3000 continues to kill the feature with a smooth verse on the intro track "the ends" (the track also includes vocals from James Blake), "through the late night" is a reworking of Kid Cudi's "Day n' Night" (Cudi's flow, whether intentionally or not, has snippets reminiscent of his work on "Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1" from Kanye's The Life Of Pablo), and Kendrick is as strong as ever during his turn on "goosebumps," inadvertently reminding everyone what good hip hop sounds like.
I'll have a more complete breakdown later in the week. For now you can check out the Young Thug copilot "pick up the phone," the only song from the album released on Spotify (the full record is exclusively on Apple as of now).
Those lasts two records I spoke of weren't left in a good light, I'm sorry. I cant very well end on a negative note, can I?? What a travesty that would be! And due to my having a soul, am incapable of letting you down in SUCH a monstrous way. So I'll leave you with La Blogothèque's latest video, Sasha Siem performing two tracks off her 2015 debut LP Most Of The Boys. Siem's unique style, both elegant and unsettling, lends itself to the intimacy of the take.
If you're not familiar with La Blogothèque, here's a link to their youtube account (CLICK ME BABY). Shining light on emerging acts as well as working with bigger names, their live takes of the artist's works always feature great locations and unmatched genuineness. They're so cool. Subscribe!!