End of Month List, Music

January 2015 New Music

Welcome to 2015! I’m looking forward to sharing great music with you again this year. I’m also working on a retrospective of the decade (so far) that I hope to share with you later this year.

Without further ado, let me present my favorite new releases from last month.

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Play-Normal-iconJanuary 2015 Short Playlist

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Best All-Around

The critics love it. I love it. Spotify listeners love it. Isn’t it nice when we all agree? Sleater-Kinney is an all-girl punk band that had a decade-long run starting in 1994. This album represents their stellar come-back. Notably, lead-singer, Carry Brownstein, has also developed fame as an actress (Portlandia, Transparent).

No Cities To LoveSleater-Kinney – No Cities to Love

  • Genre – Indie Rock, Punk
  • From – Olympia, WA
  • Fav Tracks – Surface Envy, Bury Our Friends, No Cities to Love
  • Recommended Tracks – Surface Envy, Bury Our Friends, No Cities to Love, Price Tag, A New Wave, Fangless

Best Under-The-Radar

I love to find a gem that’s not getting enough attention. Zun Zun Egui was founded by Kushal Gaya (vocals/guitar) and Yoshiko Shigihara (vocals/keyboards). Gaya is from Mauritius (an island nation off the southeast coast of the African continent) and Shigihara is from Japan. Of note, the album’s production was done by Fuck Buttons member, Andrew Hung.

shackles giftZun Zun Egui – Shackles Gift

  • Genre – Experimental Rock
  • From- Bristol, England
  • Fav Tracks – African Tree, Ruby, Rigid Man
  • Recommended Tracks – African Tree, Ruby, Rigid Man, I Want You to Know, Soul Scratch, Late Bloomer

Best Electronic

This is the debut album for London-based producer, James Greenwood.

ghost cultureGhost Culture – Ghost Culture

  • Genre – Electronic, Alternative Dance
  • From – London, England
  • Fav Tracks – Giudecca, Mouth, Glass, Arms
  • Recommended Tracks –  Giudecca, Mouth, Glass, Arms, How, Glaciers, Lying, Lucky, Answer, The Fog

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Best Slow-Grower

This 80’s New Wave informed pop-rock album garnered solid praise across publications, so I gave it a few extra listens. Turns out they were right on!

Viet CongViet Cong – Viet Cong

  • Genre – Indie Pop
  • From – Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  • Fav Tracks – Continental Shelf, Silhouettes, Bunker Buster
  • Recommended Tracks – Continental Shelf, Silhouettes, Bunker Buster, Newspaper Spoons, Pointless Experience, March of Progress

Best Folk

Veteran Folk-Pop group, The Decemberists, return with a beautiful pop album. Not every editor was as enamored as I am, but they manage to still come out with a strong composite score (77) on Metacritic.

What_A_Terrible_World,_What_A_Beautiful_WorldThe Decemberists – What a Terrible World What a Beautiful World

  • Genre – Indie Folk Pop, Chamber Pop
  • From – Portland, OR
  • Fav Tracks – Make You Better, A Beginning Song, Lake Song, Till The Water’s All Long Gone, Better Not Wake the Baby
  • Recommended Tracks – Make You Better, A Beginning Song, Lake Song, Till The Water’s All Long Gone, Better Not Wake the Baby, The Singer Addresses His Audience, Cavalry Captain, Philomela, Carolina Low, Anti-Summersong, Easy Come Easy Go, Mistral, 12/17/12

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Best Mainstream

Mark Ronson is a musician, DJ, singer and producer. Most notably, he worked on the award-winning Amy Winehouse album, Back to Black. In this release, Ronson brings together guest artists including Stevie Wonder, Bruno Mars, Mystikal, and Trombone Shorty for a decidedly retro affair.

Uptown SpecialMark Ronson – Uptown Special 

  • Genre – Pop, Retro-soul
  • From – London, England
  • Fav Tracks – Uptown Funk, Feel Right, Daffodils, I Can’t Lose
  • Recommended Tracks – Uptown Funk, Feel Right, Daffodils, I Can’t Lose, Leaving Los Feliz, Summer Breaking, In Case of Fire, Summer Breaking

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Best Indie Pop

Belle and Sebastian started in the 90’s by Stuart Murdoch as a project for a college class. It’s a band that is on the larger side with 6 – 7 members, so it’s often grouped with the chamber pop kids.

Girls in PeacetimeBelle and Sebastian – Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance

  • Genre – Indie Pop, Chamber Pop
  • From – Glasgow, Scotland
  • Fav Tracks – The Party Line, Nobody’s Empire, The Cat With The Cream, Enter Sylvia Path
  • Recommended Tracks –  The Party Line, Nobody’s Empire, The Cat With The Cream, Enter Sylvia Path, The Everlasting Muse, Play For Today

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(2nd) Best Indie Rock

Since the best all-around album this month was a Indie Rock pick, I guess technically this is 2nd best. The Dodos have a unique sound that is centered around intense percussion that is often syncopated or in less common time meters.

IndividThe Dodos – Individ

  • Genre – Indie Rock
  • From – San Francisco, CA
  • Fav Tracks – Retriever, Competition, Bubble, Goodbyes and Endings
  • Recommended Tracks – Retriever, The Tide, Bubble, Competition, Darkness, Goodbyes and Endings

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Best Experimental Music

Panda Bear, a.k.a Noah Lennox and Animal Collective member, offers his latest solo release, Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper. If you can get past the kennel noises at the front of the track Mr. Noah, it’s actually quite a good listen.

Layout_11_A_FINAL_CorrPanda Bear – Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper

  • Genre – Experimental Rock
  • From – Pennsylvania, Boston, NYC
  • Fav Tracks – Boys Latin, Mr. Noah, Selfish Gene
  • Recommended Tracks – Boys Latin, Mr. Noah, Sequential Circuits, Crosswords, Butcher Baker Candlestick Maker, Come To Your Senses, Lonely Wanderer, Principe Real, Selfish Gene

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January 2015 Long Playlist

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  1. Pingback: Half Year Report 2015 | LJR MUSIC - July 8, 2015

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