Song of the Week: “Time Machine” by Daisy the Great


Daisy the Great – “Time Machine”

The end of the world never sounded so melodic than in the harmonies of Daisy the Great, a Brooklyn-based folk pop band.

 

Song of the Week 2022

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Album of the Week: Blue Rev by Alvvays


Album: Blue Rev
Artist: Alvvays
Release Date: October 7, 2022
Label:Polyvinyl |  Transgressive
Favorite Tracks:

  • Pharmacist
  • Many Mirrors
  • Velveteen
  • Pomeranian Spinster
  • Belinda Says
  • Bored in Bristol

Thoughts:

I’m familiar with the Toronto quintet Alvvays mainly through their 2013 debut single “Archie, Marry Me,” which is a piece of power pop perfection.  This most recent album, while recognizably the same band, has a different sound.  Fuzzed out guitars play loudQUIETloud dynamics beneath the vocals of the captivating band leader Molly Rankin.  While Alvvays clearly shows their influences – specifically Television, The Go-Gos, Teenage Fan Club, Yo La Tengo, and The Smiths – their sound is definitely their own.

 

Rating: ***1/2

Album of the Week:  2022

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Album of the Week: Expert in a Dying Field by The Beths


Album: Expert in a Dying Field
Artist: The Beths
Release Date: September 16, 2022
Label: Carpark, Rough Trade, Ivy League
Favorite Tracks:

  • Knees Deep
  • Silence is Golden
  • Best Left
  • When You Know You Know
  • 2am

Thoughts: New Zealand’s The Beths continue to impress with perfect pop punk pieces about love, anguish, and regret from the pen and voice of songwriter/lead vocalist Elizabeth Stokes.

Rating: ***1/2

Album of the Week:  2022

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Song of the Week: “Crystal Ball” by Jasmyn


Jasmyn – “Crystal Ball”

 

 

Song of the Week 2022

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Album of the Week: Present Tense by Yumi Zouma


Album: Present Tense
Artist: Yumi Zouma
Release Date: March 18, 2022
Label: Polyvinyl Record Co.
Favorite Tracks:

  • Mona Lisa
  • Where the Light Used to Lay
  • Astral Projection

Thoughts:

The fourth album from Yumi Zouma, a band based out of Christchurch, New Zealand, features lead vocalist Christie Simpson’s ethereal vocals layered over dreamy guitar pop.  I try not to let nostalgia guide my taste but this music is reminiscent of electronic pop of the 1980s or perhaps an early 90s group like The Sundays.

Rating: ***

 

Album of the Week 2022

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Album of the Week: What I Want by Lady Pills


AlbumWhat I Want
Artist: Lady Pills
Release Date: February 11, 2022
Label: Plastic Miracles
Favorite Tracks:

  • Daughter
  • My Weight
  • She Said

Thoughts:

I learned about Boston band Lady Pills from this story on WBUR. The band is a project of Berklee College of Music alum Ella Boissonnault who has persisted with Lady Pills through lineup changes and the loss of performance space due to the COVID pandemic. Boissonnault recorded this album playing all of the instruments herself which does with great dexterity.  The sound is an indie pop with flashes of 70s punk and 90s empowerment songs by women singer/songwriters but a whole lot of quirks that are uniquely her own.

Rating: ***1/2

Album of the Week 2022

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Album Review: Laurel Hell by Mitski


 

AlbumLaurel Hell
Artist: Mitski
Release Date: February 4, 2022
Label: Dead Oceans
Favorite Tracks:

  • Valentine, Texas
  • Working for the Knife
  • The Only Heartbreaker
  • Love Me More
  • That’s Our Lamp

Thoughts: This blog has long supported Mitski, so I was eager to hear her first album since 2018’s Be the Cowboy.  We’re lucky to have this album as Mitski came close to retiring and the lyrics of the songs deal with her uneasy relationship with stardom.  The music is appropriately downbeat compared to prior outings, although it also seems to fit a trend where artists like Billie Eilish and Courtney Barnett have also slowed down on their most recent releases. Although that’s not true for all the tracks, such as the energetic 80s synthpop style of “The Only Heartbreaker.”
Rating: ****

Album of the Week 2022

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Album Review: Jubilee by Japanese Breakfast


Album: Jubilee
Artist: Japanese Breakfast
Release Date: June 4, 2021
Label: Dead Oceans
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Paprika”
  • “Be Sweet”
  • “Savage Good Boy”

Thoughts:

Japanese Breakfast is an indie pop project lead by Michelle Zauner.  The album is full of joyful pop sounds that hit right just now.  I like the sonically dense musical arrangements and the interplay between lead and backup up vocals.  The songs are also hooky as heck!

Rating: ****

Album Review: Daddy’s Home by St. Vincent


Album: Daddy’s Home
Artist: St. Vincent
Release Date: May 14, 2021
Label: Loma Vista Recording
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Down and Out Downtown”
  • “The Melting of the Sun”
  • “Somebody Like Me”
  • “My Baby Wants a Baby”
  • “…At the Holiday Party”

Thoughts:

Annie Clark, who performs as St. Vincent, is something of a chameleon, changing her personal appearance and musical style from album to album.  This has lead to fascinating career with the highpoint of her 2014 album St. Vincent which I really loved, but also 2017’s Masseduction, which I really did not. On Daddy’s Home, the glam rock and pop noise of the past have been replaced by a soul and funk sound joined together thematically around the idea of New York City in the 1970s.  The album title is inspired by Clark’s actual father’s release from prison after serving time for a decade for stock manipulation, but Clark suggests this is more metaphorical than biographical.  To me, this album feels like a return to form for St. Vincent, which means it’s something new and experimental.

Rating: ***

Album Review: Palberta5000 by Palberta


Album: Palberta5000
Artist: Palberta
Release Date: January 22, 2021
Label: Wharf Cat Records
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Big Bad Want”
  • “Something in the Way”
  • “The Way That You Do”
  • “All Over My Face”
  • “Before I Get Here”

Thoughts: Palberta – the trio of Anina Ivry-Block, Lily Konigsberg, and Nina Ryser from New York City (not western Canada) – make melodic punk music reminiscent of early Sleater-Kinney.  I haven’t listened to their earlier work but apparently this album is a transition for the band from pure punk noise to indie pop.  Nevertheless, the punk sensibilities remain with sweet harmonies over rattling guitars and drum beats.  Most of the album’s 16 tracks clock in at 2 minutes or less.  The second half of the album is stronger than the first, but I enjoyed it all.

Rating: ***1/2