By Spencer. The first couple months of 2016 were a little slow on breakout albums, and I’ve frankly been playing catch-up on a few things. However, as I think back over my listening habits so far this year, there are a handful of new releases I seem to keep coming back to. They’re growers—albums that may not grab you right away, but that reward repeated listens. And if past experience is any guide, these growers often end up being my favorite albums in the long run; past examples include Radiohead’s first three discs, Ryan Adams’s Gold, Travis’s The Man Who, Arcade Fire’s Funeral, Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, and pretty much the entire collected works of PJ Harvey. So while it may be too soon to put any of these new releases in that illustrious company, keep an ear out. Continue reading
By Spencer. Before we get into the year-end blitz of critics’ best-of lists, I wanted to highlight some late entries that just might be popping up on S&N’s own picks for the best albums of 2015. This edition of The Consumer looks at a few listens that are seeing heavy rotation during my November commutes: Adele, EL VY, and Julien Baker. Continue reading
By Spencer. A year ago, I declared that rock was officially dead. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t bands out there fighting the good fight, though. Maybe it’s my recent reintroduction to vinyl talking, but I’ve been on kind of a classic metal awakening lately. Not glam metal or death metal, but the true roots of metal, back when it first sprung loose from hard rock—I’m talking bands like Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, Judas Priest, Kiss, and of course, Led Zeppelin. (Though I still insist that it’s a crime to categorize Led Zeppelin first and foremost as a metal band, since their music completely transcended that genre). This brand of early metal gives you the best of both worlds: the darkness and attitude that eclipses mere rock, and the melody, songcraft, humor, and simple fun that were missing from later metal.
By Spencer. September was full of so many big releases, I’m still working my way through them all. So while we very well may have more to say about The Dead Weather, Gary Clark, Jr., Foals, Beach House, Joan Shelley, CHVRCHES, Patty Griffin, Silversun Pickups, and plenty of others, today’s edition of The Consumer is a progress report of sorts on several artists who have been longtime favorites of the site. We start with Glen Hansard. Continue reading
By Spencer. August is usually a slow month for new releases, so this month’s Consumer is a little more sparse than usual. But don’t overlook some great new material from Seattle songwriter Noah Gundersen, a punk rock opus from Titus Andronicus, and a revealing new record from blues great Buddy Guy. Continue reading
By Spencer. For July’s edition of The Consumer, we dip our toes into pretty much every genre on the map. Check out new alt-country from Jason Isbell, new folk rock from Rachel Sermanni, new Motown from Leon Bridges, new punk from Desaparecidos, and new (old) jazz from the master, Miles Davis. Continue reading