The countdown continues, only two #NewMusicTuesdays left! Even with that all said, we are already seeing a gradual transition on the digital front of albums dropping on Fridays. This week we have a nice mix of new music to take a look at. We begin with sophomore releases from Conor Oberst’s punk side-project Desaparecidos with Payola as well as sophomore effort from California surf rockers Cayucas with Dancing At The Blue Lagoon. Also out this week is the début full-length album from Nashville punkers Bully, Feels Like. If you are a fan of abrasive hard punk rock, that album is for you. I however, prefer a much smoother musical blend, and this is why I picked up the much-anticipated début album from Texas solo artist Leon Bridges titled Coming Home.
Leon Bridges is what you would call a retro artist. His musical style and sound is that of the “original Rhythm & Blues” artists of the Mississippi Delta region most prominently developed in the 40s, 50s and 60s. His retro R&B style brings you back to an older and slower time. His soulful voice and crisp retro fashion put you at ease as he easily blends soul and gospel into his primarily rhythm and blues music. The album has been hotly anticipated for the past couple months after his first track was released back at the beginning of the year. He also made quite the splash at this year’s SXSW and was a hot ticket performer at this year’s festival. The album features a number of spectacular tracks, beginning with the opener and title track Coming Home.
This is immediately followed by the buzz track and lead single Better Man.
The next single comes fourth on the album, Smooth Sailin’. This track features a jazzy saxophone riff and Leon’s vocals remind me of another Texas native known for a retro-fitted sound, Gary Clark Jr.
The album’s closeout track, River, is yet another example of why this album is just sooo damn enjoyable to listen to. It’s so pure of feeling and mood, and its bible belt gospel roots stand up strong against the slow-paced tambourine beat and lightly strummed guitar.
The album is a wonderful piece of work for those that love that original R&B sound. It’s classical structures and familiar rhythmic patterns melded with a little soul does wonders on the ears. My biggest concern, which has been accentuated over the past couple of years, is the staying power of Leon Bridges sound. While the sound on this album will never get old, whether Leon will ever follow it up with another album of a similar style or strength is yet to be known. Oftentimes, artists like this get their name out their with a retro release and then proceed to change their sound to something more modern following some commercial success. Gary Clark Jr. is the perfect example of this. His original release, The Bright Lights EP was a magical and incredibly catchy collection of virtuoso classical Eric Clapton-styled blues (hell, he even made a name for himself thanks to Clapton’s Crossroads Festival ).
However, by the time his début full-length, Blak and Blu released in 2012, the album was an over-produced, collaboration-filled let down after expectations were set so high from the EP. He then followed that up only with a live album and so no new material has since been furnished going back to that true blues style he became so immensely popular for. This is the cautious cynicism I have when it comes to the fate of Leon Bridges. I hope he doesn’t follow along a similar path, but only time will tell.
Next, we move along to the singles. A number of tracks have hit in the past week deserving your attention. We start with new music from Atlas Genius who also announced they would release their next album this Fall:
Another track that crossed my path was the newest track from New Mexico band Beirut.
The last thing I will share with you is from the most recent Grammy winner for Album of the Year and his latest release from what we would expect to be his next album.
And now, as always, here was everything acquired on this New Release Tuesday:
Now Playing: Beck – Dreams