reviews 2019

kiwanuka

Michael Kiwanuka Kiwanuka

English singer-songwriter Michael Kiwanuka just released his third album, titled Kiwanuka. While he began his career as more of a retro-infused folk artist, he's now moved on to a more contemporary sound while still drawing from his '60s and '70s inspirations like Marvin Gaye and Curtis Mayfield. Jim loves this album and considers it one of the best of the year. Not only does he dig the sonic elements of the record, he also loves his contemplative lyrics. Greg agrees and notes that along with singing and writing, Kiwanuka plays killer bass and electric guitar throughout the album. Both hosts love the integration of more psychedelic rock a la Jimi Hendrix and are excited to see what Kiwanuka does next.

JimGreg
Go to episode 728
Kanye

Kanye West Jesus Is King

Kanye West is back with the highly anticipated album, Jesus Is King. According to Greg, lately Kanye has been making more headlines for his proclamations than his music. This album has been the subject of scrutiny, however, because it marks a stylistic turn. A gospel and hip hop hybrid, Greg notes that Kanye is "very earnest in his use of the gospel signifiers on this record, the gospel choirs, the churchy keyboard chords." Even contemporary gospel legend Fred Hammond features on the track "Hands On." Jim agrees that the gospel production and even messaging in this album seems to be coming from an authentic place. They both are quick to acknowledge that Kanye has a long history of folding gospel sensibilities into his music (particularly on tracks like "Jesus Walks" and "Ultralight Beam.") Though both Jim and Greg acknowledge that“only Kanye”could come up with the idea to merge The Clipse and Kenny G on the same track "(Use This Gospel)," Greg laments that the album seems unfinished and asks "where is the work of art like My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy?" Jim suggests that Kanye, like John Lennon in his early Plastic Ono Band period, "not thinking about Beatles perfection… letting it blurt." Ultimately, Jim thinks that this album is the best Kanye has given us in some time, while Greg thinks that though Kanye is on the“Road To Damascus,”(an allusion to the prophet Paul's religious conversion on the Road To Damascus) "… he hasn't gotten there yet."

JimGreg
Go to episode 727
Neil Young with Crazy Horse

Review: Neil Young with Crazy Horse Colorado

On Neil Young's 39th studio album and first with Crazy Horse in seven years, there's a directness to the lyrics that Greg calls nearly unprecedented in his career. The lyrical urgency is spurred on by Young's concern over climate change. Jim and Greg agree that the earnestness produces a few cringe-worthy lyrics, but also appreciate the lack of self-consciousness he brings to the songs.

Musically Young and his long-time rock collaborators in Crazy Horse pick up right where they left off, chiseling away at the one epic rock they always have, as Greg puts it. He says he lives for the guitar solos on tracks like "She Showed Me Love." Jim also appreciates the quieter acoustic songs on the album, citing "I Do" as a beautiful love song. He suggests that a few songs from Colorado could be paired with a handful from each of Young's recent albums to make a nice companion to his Decade compilation.

JimGreg
Go to episode 727
Battles Juice B Crypts

Battles Juice B Crypts

Twelve years after their debut album, Battles is back with their fourth full length record, Juice B Crypts. The experimental art punk project boasts a strong lineage connecting it to Helmet, Don Caballero and Tomahawk. That lineage is boosted on this album by guest appearances from Jon Anderson of Yes, Tune-Yards, Shabbaz Palaces and more. Greg says in some ways this album reminds him of cartoon soundtracks and Jim agrees, citing Carl Stallings and Milt Franklyn's work on Looney Tunes as an apt comparison for the album's frenetic pace. They're both very enthusiastic about the latest from Battles.

JimGreg
Go to episode 726
ghosteen

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds Ghosteen

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds are an art rock band that just put out its 17th album, Ghosteen. After the tragedy of suddenly losing his 15-year-old son in 2015, Cave has been making music that's more contemplative and ambient, and Ghosteen is no exception. Initially, Greg thought the record was a dud, but really did a 180. He was incredibly moved by the album and how Cave is confronting loss and depression head-on with thoughtful music. Jim couldn‘t disagree more. He finds Cave’s lyrics to be contrived and misses his more energetic, punk-infused work.

JimGreg
Go to episode 724
Wilco Ode To Joy

Wilco

For their 11th studio album, Wilco somewhat ironically invoke the fourth movement of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, Ode To Joy. Greg doesn't find many expressions of joy on this record, pointing out songwriter Jeff Tweedy's tendency to worry and externalize his feelings. With most of the songs built around acoustic guitar and plodding drums, there are few moments that break through the murky anxiety, mostly Nels Cline guitar solos. Jim and Greg agree this record is unlikely to garner many new fans for Wilco, but may satisfy longtime fans who are invested in settling into this specific mood.

JimGreg
Go to episode 723
sturgill

Sturgill Simpson Sound & Fury

Sturgill Simpson just released his latest album Sound & Fury, on which he continues to blend country with psychedelic influences and push the boundaries of music. Both Jim and Greg are enthusiastic about Simpson's fourth album, and can't get enough of the dramatic sonic elements like cranking the guitar way up and the Can-like instrumentals. The lyrics are also important, as Simpson shares his experience of clashing with the country music industry and more universal themes like the environment and today's political climate. Greg thinks that it would wrong if critics left this album off their“best of year”lists at the end of 2019.

JimGreg
Go to episode 722
review

Tool Fear Inoculum

The cult favorite progressive metal band Tool is back with its first new album since 2006, called Fear Inoculum. Led by singer Maynard James Keenan, the group rewards longtime listeners with long, complex instrumentals and intricate, non-traditional metal lyrics. While neither Jim nor Greg are hardcore fans of the band, they both have some admiration for what they do and for the unique, world beat influenced drumming of Danny Carey. Greg appreciates the band's conviction to maintain their point of view, particularly Keenan's self-awareness of his aging. However in the process, he focuses too much on the message and not enough on the overall musical picture. Jim has problems with this band. While he agrees that diehard fans will dig Fear Inoculum, he's not buying Keenan's philosophical lyrics.

JimGreg
Go to episode 721
review

Lana Del Rey Norman F** Rockwell!

Lana Del Rey released her sixth studio album, Norman F*#$%&$ Rockwell! at the end of this past August. While on the surface, Lana's persona of retro pop doom-and-gloom has purveyed much of her music, over the years she's evolved into so much more. Both Jim and Greg agree that this album is her best by far. She's dipping into a more Laurel Canyon sound, and lyrically diving deeper to sing about serious world problems from politics to the environment. Jim appreciates her self-awareness and finds this album to be rather enjoyable. With each listen, Greg says he finds something new to dissect and enjoy. This record is complex and layered but rich and accessible.

JimGreg
Go to episode 721
review

Common Let Love

Earlier this month, Chicago-bred rapper Common released his 12th studio album, Let Love, which was produced by jazz drummer and hip hop beat maker Karriem Riggins. Jim and Greg agree that the younger Chicago rappers like Kanye West and even Chance the Rapper would likely not have made it onto the national stage without his trailblazing 1990s records like Can I Borrow A Dollar and One Day It'll All Make Sense. Jim applauds the fact that Common, who also acts, continues to“release substantive albums”(citing 2016's Black America Again), while some other rappers who've turned to acting have not been able to sustain recording success. However, Jim says that he "would not recommend Let Love as the place to start to appreciate [Common]", but rather "that one two punch of Like Water for Chocolate in 2000 and Electric Circus, his alternative hip-hop album from 2002." Greg notes that many reviews of Let Love toss around adjectives like "coffee-shop jazz production" to describe the album, but he says this album showcases with tracks like Memories of Home that he is“unafraid to be vulnerable,”an evolution witnessed by both Jim and Greg.

JimGreg
Go to episode 721
review

Brittany Howard Jaime

Jaime is the debut solo album from Alabama Shakes frontwoman Brittany Howard. Jim is inspired by the group's backstory of going from a high school garage band to festival headliners. But Greg was quick to point out that anybody“who thought this was going to be sort of an ‘Alabama Shakes Revisited’ record is in for a big surprise.”The record is her most personal work, dealing with topics of religion, love, and her role in society. Greg adds that at times it sounds like "D'Angelo's Voodoo"…“there's a depth to it.”Jim says that this is a“record of experimentation… I think that there's some of it that works really really well.”He continues, "Short And Sweet is almost entirely based on her vocal. I think Run To Me, where she's doing some kind of weird almost show tune take on a song like Stand By Me, is a failed experiment, but I applaud her for trying." Both he and Greg agree, though, that "on the whole it's a really exciting record."

JimGreg
Go to episode 721
Highwomen

The Highwomen The Highwomen

The Highwomen are a country supergroup self-consciously riffing on The Highwaymen name donned by Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and Kris Kristofferson in the 1980s. Brandi Carlile, Natalie Hemby, Maren Morris, and Amanda Shires formed The Highwomen as an attempt to address the lack of female artists being played on country radio. Their self-titled debut album was produced by Dave Cobb,“the hot hand in Nashville”as Greg puts it. Jim is effusive in his praise for the album, pointing out the authentic collaboration evident in the songs and the tough topics broached lyrically. Both Jim and Greg credit Shires for pushing the group to realize her vision, and for the moments of humor she adds to the album. Greg does find the production very“straight down the middle”and wonders if it's an intentional move by Cobb, daring country radio not to play these songs.

JimGreg
Go to episode 721
Jimmy Lee

Raphael Saadiq Jimmy Lee

Jim calls Raphael Saadiq one the most important, if underappreciated, artists in r&b over the past several decades. He first emerged in the 1980s with r&b band, Tony! Toni! Toné! What followed beginning in the late 1990s was a series of solo albums and productions for the likes of Stevie Wonder and Solange. Now, Raphael Saadiq is back, after an eight-year hiatus, with what Greg calls his most“autobiographical”album to date, Jimmy Lee. Named after Raphael's brother who died tragically in the 1990s after years of addiction, the album delves into the toll of drug abuse. Greg says there is no album in Saadiq's extensive catalogue that resembles Jimmy Lee. It's“like he's channeling ghosts”in songs like "So Ready" and "Sinners Prayer," Greg suggests, noting that Saadiq is "enacting a role of a drug addict going through the throes of addiction". Jim says this album channels the“catharsis through confessionals”found in Marvin Gaye's Here My Dear. He adds that Jimmy Lee also channels the“clouds hanging over the African-American community”in the tradition of Sly & The Family Stone's There's A Riot Going On. Jim concludes that Jimmy Lee is a masterpiece.

JimGreg
Go to episode 717
sleater-kinney

Sleater-Kinney The Center Won't Hold

After a four year hiatus, Sleater-Kinney is back with a new sound and a shake-up to their lineup. The Center Won't Hold, produced by St. Vincent, delves into "industrial noise" and even "cheesy '80s synth-pop" sounds according to Jim. A number of the tracks, like "Can I Go On," are set to a drum machine, leaving“not much”for drummer Janet Weiss to do, according to Jim. He and Greg wonder if that's what she meant when she cited the band's“new direction”as a reason for her recent departure. Either way, Greg“is scratching his head at what is going on here,”and agrees that Weiss is underutilized on this album. He also misses the“triangle”or collaborative tension between the bandmates that caused a“push and pull between”the voices of Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein. He notes that these songs are simply either“Carrie”songs or“Corin”songs. Overall, they both think that The Center Won't Hold is disappointing.

JimGreg
Go to episode 716
regrettes

The Regrettes How Do You Love?

The Los Angeles band The Regrettes are back with their second album, How Do You Love? Greg and especially Jim are fans of the group and its front woman, 18-year-old Lydia Night. Jim describes their sound as a blend of '90s Riot grrrl and '60s girl groups. Greg notes that this record is about love, a broad topic but one that the band manages to tackle through Night's nuanced and sharp lyrics. Jim loved this record and believe the band replicated the magic of their debut, even with some lineup changes, as they mature as musicians and individuals.

JimGreg
Go to episode 716
Chance

Chance The Rapper The Big Day

Chance The Rapper's“debut album,”The Big Day, is one of the most anticipated albums of 2019. His third mixtape, Coloring Book, was the first streaming-only release to win a Grammy award- three, in fact, including Rap Album of the Year. Since then Chance has expanded his focus beyond music: producing stadium concerts, supporting local politicians, donating $1 million to Chicago Public Schools and buying the news website, Chicagoist. The Big Day features many guest performers including Death Cab For Cutie, Shawn Mendes, Gucci Mane, Nicki Minaj, John Legend and Randy Newman.

At 19 songs (plus three skits) and 82 minutes running time, Jim and Greg agree the album is too long. The Big Day is referencing Chance's recent wedding to his longtime girlfriend, which is the most common topic discussed in the songs. Some critics consider the subject matter uncool, though Greg doesn't count himself among them. Jim and Greg both cite the confessional lyrics of "We Go High" as a noble gesture of honesty, but ultimately find the treatment of weighty topics such as fidelity, mortality and parenthood lack depth. They both feel Chance is capable of much more complexity in his lyrics, though they find the production and performances on most songs to be very enjoyable. Jim says with more brutal honesty, this album could have been a masterpiece. Greg acknowledges that with so much celebration and without deep reflection the album can be a chore to get through.

JimGreg
Go to episode 714
blood orange

Blood Orange Angel's Pulse

Dev Haynes has been recording as Blood Orange since 2008, and has released a number of critically acclaimed projects, including Freetown Sound and Negro Swan. Angel's Pulse is the latest release from soulful British singer, songwriter and producer. Comprised mainly of tracks produced all over the world featuring a variety of guests (from Project Pat to Kelsey Lu), Jim thinks that, upon first listen, Angel's Pulse "seems a little scattered"… as if“your Spotify skipped ahead to another artist.” According to Jim,“to Blood Orange, genre doesn't exist.”But in every track, despite the sound, Jim notes that“soul is a common denominator.”Greg agrees that Angel's Pulse has an all over the map approach, consisting of songs like Tuesday Feeling that reminds him of Stevie Wonder or Gold Teeth that beckons to lo-fi Southern Hip Hop. Greg adds that he's just glad to get more music from the artist.

JimGreg
Go to episode 713
National

The National Easy to Find

The rock band The National recently released their 8th studio album, Easy to Find. It's a departure from their more sonically solemn ways to venture into more electronic territory. Jim couldn't stand this record, despite liking much of their other material. He thought they misused the electronic elements and didn't feel like they had much to say. Greg agreed, that while The National's last album, Sleep Well Beast, sounded creatively energized, Easy to Find is the opposite. He appreciates that the band tried something different, but ultimately the effort fell short.

JimGreg
Go to episode 704
Tacocat

Tacocat Lost Time

Seattle pop punk quartet Tacocat's fourth album, This Mess Is A Place, is their first release for stalwart record label Sub Pop. Jim first got into the band when a listener suggested their 2016 album Lost Time as one of the best of that year. He was instantly hooked on the catchy melodies and feminist themes. He finds more to love on This Mess Is A Place, flitting between slices of slacker life and weightier themes like the death of democracy and climate change. He enjoys the increased emphasis on the backing vocals and harmonies. He cites“What a time to be barely alive?”in "Crystal Ball" as the line of the year. Greg enjoys it as well, especially the“deceptively smart”lyrics, which he reads as mocking the jaded attitude of some of their peers. However, he feels it's a little too clean for his taste. He preferred the garage rock vibe and biting guitars of the two previous albums, Lost Time and NVM.

JimGreg
Go to episode 703
jamila woods

Jamila Woods Legacy! Legacy!

On Legacy! Legacy!, the second full length project from Jamila Woods, the singer and poet draws from a rich history of artists whose work“provide(s) the idea of creation as a form or resistance,”according to Greg. Each track is inspired by and named for a legendary creator of color, from "MUDDY" (as in blues behemoth Muddy Waters) to "ZORA" (as in writer and ethnographer Zora Neale Hurston). The music draws from a wide sonic palate, as well, incorporating trip-hop, jazz, r&b, and soul. For the album, Jamila worked with young Chicago producers such as Nico Segal and Peter Cottontale. Greg calls it a“powerful”work. Jim ultimately fell in love with the record and notes that“this is rare album that would benefit from a lyric sheet”to fully absorb the references to a "panoply of African-American artistic contributions."

JimGreg
Go to episode 702
vampire

Vampire Weekend Father of the Bride

Vampire Weekend is back with its fourth album, Father of the Bride, after a six year hiatus. The group of then-Columbia University students put out their debut, eponymous album in 2008 to a lot of critical and commercial attention. That debut leaned on South African rhythms drawing comparisons to Paul Simon's Graceland. This new album doesn't stray too far from that original sound. Jim has never been a fan, even though he admits that listening to the band's rhythm section at music festivals is fun. He says he doesn‘t care for the band’s pretentious lyrics and vocal inflections, feeling like they lean too much into cultural appropriation. Greg argues the album is catchy and pleasant and features lots of guests, including HAIM and Jenny Lewis. Ultimately, Greg isn‘t bothered by the record, but it doesn’t inspire him either.

JimGreg
Go to episode 701
Lizzo

Lizzo Cuz I Love You

Lizzo has arrived, releasing her first full length album for Atlantic Records, Cuz I Love You. The R&B singer and rapper puts her talents on full display and uses the perks of being on a major label to create a genre-blending record. It's no secret that Jim loves Lizzo, and he's pleased with this album. He enjoys Lizzo's body-positive message, impactful lyrics and colorful personality. He believes she used the major label system to churn out a great pop record that is authentically her. Greg is also a fan, but worries about producers trying to pigeonhole her into a generic pop star role. He loves when the quirky details unique to Lizzo shine through, like her expert flute-playing and vocal inflections. Jim won't stand for any criticism of Lizzo, so they agree to disagree.

JimGreg
Go to episode 700
Intellexual

Intellexual Intellexual

This week, Jim and Greg review Intellexual, a project from Nate Fox and Nico Segal. The duo, who are also a part of The Social Experiment, came up in the collaborative Chicago-based scene that nurtured Chance The Rapper, and have worked with hip hop artists like Kanye West and Frank Ocean. This project, however, finds Nate and Nico attempting a singer-songwriter vibe a'la Carly Simon and James Taylor. Greg thinks that Intellexual is a project that defies genre categorization: in just one track ("Popstar") they employ footwork electronic sounds, classical strings, and jazz trumpet. It's a debut that Jim calls a multi-hyphenate "complete joyride."

JimGreg
Go to episode 699
Marvin Gaye

Marvin Gaye You're The Man

Nearly 50 years after it was initially planned to be released, Marvin Gaye's album You're The Man is finally available. To understand why it was so delayed, Jim and Greg turn to producer Ayana Contreras, an expert on soul music. In their review, Jim and Greg agree the album is a gift and a perfect bridge between What's Going On and Let's Get It On. Tracks like "The World Is Rated X" are still relevant in 2019.

JimGreg
Go to episode 698
Priests

Priests The Seduction of Kansas

The D.C. punk band Priests has returned with its second album, The Seduction of Kansas. Both Jim and Greg are big fans and love the group's socially-conscious lyrics and rich instrumentals, which include the marimba and mellotron as well as traditional guitar, bass and drums. Jim appreciates that the band is exploring modern political issues while trying to diffuse the divisiveness the U.S. has been experiencing. He also loves the way Priests makes music in general: its sophistication“never detracts from the sheer ‘bang your head on the wall’ joy of this noisy chaos.”Greg agrees that the band members express themselves in a very eloquent and thoughtful way. He also digs the overall message of the record about the lies we tell ourselves and how those lies after repetition and reinforcement can somehow become the truth.

JimGreg
Go to episode 697
Jenny Lewis On The Line

Jenny Lewis On The Line

Former Rilo Kiley frontwoman Jenny Lewis's fourth solo album, On The Line, is the most star-studded record of her career, featuring Ringo Starr, Jim Keltner, Benmont Tench and production from Beck and a pre-MeToo-reckoning Ryan Adams. (Lewis has publicly supported the women accusing Adams since the news broke.) Both Jim and Greg point out the LA vibe on the record- encompassing both Laurel Canyon songwriting and hedonistic excess. Greg says Lewis is underrated as an influence on other musicians like Kasey Musgraves, who won the Album of the Year GRAMMY award this year. Jim loves the novelistic detail found throughout the album, citing the line“disagreed about everything from Elliott Smith to grenadine”as an example of this genius. Greg praises her honest appraisal of her own imperfect childhood,“looking back to move forward”and the juxtaposition of light melodies with dark subject matter, what he calls a "classic California trope."

JimGreg
Go to episode 696
Chaka

Chaka Khan Hello Happiness

After a 12 year absence from the recording scene, Chaka Khan is back with Hello Happiness. Hello Happiness matches the veteran r&b artist (that Jim calls "one the greatest voices of the last half century") with edgy producers Switch and Sarah Ruba, best known for their work with Major Lazer and M.I.A. Jim calls the album an“overproduced experiment”and adds that songs like "Isn't That Enough" sound like the producers are“sampling”Chaka rather than just letting her sing. Greg agrees, noting that the overproduction results in her playing a side role on her own album. He concedes that the seed of the album started out as a good idea: hip, young producers working with a legend. And "Like Sugar," the album's lead single, wound up on his 2018 year end mixtape. That song features Chaka on timbales; and according to Greg, that's a sign she was more involved with that song than with others on the album. Both Jim and Greg hope to hear more from Chaka, with her talent more prominently in the forefront, soon.

JimGreg
Go to episode 693
Solange

Solange When I Get Home

Solange recently released her surprise fourth album When I Get Home. This record marks a departure from the style of her 2016 album A Seat at the Table, as When I Get Home is more of a mood piece. Greg thinks that the music is worth several listens to get into the layers of those chant-like lyrics and Solange's dream-like singing tone. Jim agrees and feels like this record is heavily influenced by Stevie Wonder. While he misses the frankness and direction that was front and center on her last record, he digs the cosmic jazz that dominates When I Get Home.

JimGreg
Go to episode 693
Bob Mould Sunshine Rock

Bob Mould Patch The Sky

On his 13th solo album, Sunshine Rock, Hüsker Dü frontman and serious rocker Bob Mould threw longtime fans for a bit of a loop with four song titles referencing the sun and cover art resembling a lollipop. Greg calls it Mould's attempt at bubblegum pop, while Jim compares it to The Kinks' "Waterloo Sunset." He says since Mould formed a power trio with Superchunk drummer Jon Wurster and bassist Jason Narducy (formerly of Verbow) in 2012, he's been at a career high. The most recent albums recorded by that trio (Beauty & Ruin and Patch The Sky) have focused on the deaths of Mould's parents and now Jim says he's emerged in a happier place. It reminds him of Hüsker Dü covering Donovan's "Sunshine Superman." Greg points out the melodies are at the forefront and there's a lyrical theme of reconciliation. "The Final Years" is a wistful look back at time with his parents, while "I Fought" is like a message to his late songwriting partner Grant Hart, moving past bitterness to appreciation. Greg and Jim both appreciate Mould's honesty about who he is now.

JimGreg
Go to episode 690
Sneaks Highway Hypnosis

Sneaks Highway Hypnosis

Sneaks's third album, Highway Hypnosis, is twice as long as her debut release and it still comes in under half an hour. Sneaks, aka Washington, D.C. artist Eva Moolchan, works with producers Carlos Hernandez and Tony Seltzer on this project and Greg says she's broadened her musical horizons. The avant garde minimalism is still there with a punk ethos, but with a wider variety of rhythmic feels- from reggae to Chicago footwork on "Hong Kong to Amsterdam." Greg wishes she would stretch out on more traditional-styled songs, but appreciates the variety on the album. He's most interested in how she takes avant garde music and works it into a pop setting, so he's looking forward to what she does next. Jim, an avowed Sneaks superfan, was let down by the album. As bizarre as it sounds, he says the album is bloated and fears Moolchan is stuck in a rut. But he hasn't given up and looks forward to her future output!

JimGreg
Go to episode 690
Emily King - Scenery

Emily King Scenery

Singer-songwriter Emily King's third album in ten years, Scenery, is a departure from her earlier work. The New York City native went upstate to record this album and both Jim and Greg say she's found her voice as an artist. Greg calls King a“lithe vocalist”who deftly employs subtlety, rewarding close listening. She's hard to categorize as she moves between genres like soul, funk, gospel and a little bit of rock, but Greg calls that a strength. Jim has had a stressful week and appreciates the peace he's found in her music, calling it“wonderful, meditative, beautiful, seductive and peaceful.”He says the key is "Go Back," a song he says is about commencement, moving from one part of her life to another.

JimGreg
Go to episode 689
Maggie

Maggie Rogers Heard It in a Past Life

Singer-songwriter Maggie Rogers caught the ear of super producer Pharrell Williams while she was still a student at NYU. Video of her playing her song, "Alaska" for Williams, and his emotional reaction, went viral in 2016, putting Maggie on many listeners' radars. Jim and Greg hoped that her new album, Heard It in a Past Life, would have more of the unique blend of folk and electronic beats that“Alaska”offered, but Greg laments that the album's heavy handed big label production by the likes of Greg Kursten and Ricky Reed is like“putting extra icing on a cake that's already perfect.”A highlight for Greg is the introspective "Past Life" because it's just Maggie accompanied by the piano“and the producers don‘t screw it up.”Jim goes one step further, adding that he thinks the record“is all icing.”He cannot relate to the album sonically, or to the album’s message.

JimGreg
Go to episode 688
sharon

Sharon Van Etten Remind Me Tomorrow

Remind Me Tomorrow is Sharon Van Etten's fifth official album and first in nearly five years. Since her debut in 2009, Van Etten's profile had steadily grown until she essentially walked away from her recording career after 2014's Are We There. Instead she went to college hoping to become a mental health counselor, started a romantic relationship with drummer Zeke Hutchins, acted in the Netflix show The OA and gave birth to a son. Loyal fans didn't lose hope, though. One even made a t-shirt asking when Van Etten would record a new album. When she started work on the new album, instead of featuring guitar or piano as she has in the past, Van Etten built her sound around the Roland Jupiter 4 synthesizer. Greg says you might have heard that instrument on a Spandau Ballet album, while Jim calls it the“Farfisa trash organ of synths.”They both praise Van Etten's newly reimagined sound. Greg calls the sonics her“boldest touch here.”He says the connection between the creepy sounds and very astute lyrics and melodies indicate that Van Etten may be getting even better as an artist. Jim likens the album to Radiohead's Kid A in that it expresses uncertainty in the outside world and how it encroaches on personal life and self expression through art.

JimGreg
Go to episode 688