New Music Friday Vol. 7

I know where Classic Rock is. Some voices confuse and delight me. Also, gospel choirs are a yes.


Blitzen Trapper - Wild and Reckless

I first came across Portland band Blitzen Trapper during that indie-folk fixation of the mid-2000s. I loved that sound 10 years ago, and I'm not the only one. The title track from their album, Furr, was what hooked me.

"Rebel," the first track on their new album, leans more honestly into a country-tinged Classic Rock than the things I've heard from them previously; it's a story song that feels like it was plucked directly out of the late-'60s, clearly inspired by Dylan and Young. The very next track, "Wild and Reckless" has early-'80s Springsteen painted all over it. And "Dance With Me" is perfect roll-down-the-windows while you're speeding down a country road, guitar-driven Southern Rock.

I almost shrugged off this release. Blitzen Trapper has released more than a few albums since I first took notice, and I had unintentionally written them off as "one of those bands" from that time when their type of music was a trend. I'm happy I've rediscovered them after 10 more years of growth in their 17 years together. If anyone out there has turned on the radio and wondered where that good ol' Classic Rock sound went. I know the answer.

Asaf Avidan - The Study on Falling

There are certain artists about whom I get very excited to find out they have new music to release. Avidan is one of those. I don't know a lot about him beyond the fact that he is an Israeli artist whose last album, Gold Shadow, made my head spin. 

I have always been drawn to unique voices. Some can immediately capture you, others are acquired tastes, and still others feel repellant. Rufus Wainwright was a voice I grew to appreciate, and, to put this the nice way, Björk's is a voice for which I have still not acquired that taste. Additionally, sometimes, when it sounds like someone might actually be abusing their voice, I want to run away, clenching my throat, and other times I sit rapt, just wanting to hear more.

For me, Avidan goes into that "immediately captivating" category of unique voices that might be suffering from self-abuse. He sings unusually high and messes with the colors that his high voice affords him. It's crazy, androgynous, and deeply emotive. I am very excited to see what this new record holds.

Sam Smith - The Thrill of It All

Is there anyone who hasn't heard at least one overplayed Sam Smith song? No. I'm going with no. My elitist independent record store past makes me want to dismiss him simply for that reason. But you know, he has some good tunes and a pleasant and soulful voice, and who doesn't want that? 

I never actually listened to his last album. I don't know what happened there, but I just never got around to it. So I guess I should listen to this one and form an opinion before all the songs become overplayed.

There are three singles available to listen to from Smith's new album. A few things already put it in the "win" category: He's soulfully singing his butt off, none of these particular pop tunes rely on tired EDM beats, and there's gospel choir. Okay, Sam. I'll listen.

Brian HinmanComment