New Release Albums from the Start of 2023

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Posted 2023-06-01 by Steven Gfollow
First, I need to apologise, as I have been buying albums but have not got around to doing one of these multiple reviews for so long that now this list could have been a long one, but I decided not to review the albums I missed at the end of 2022. Books and music, that's where my money goes, and the albums here are the ones I feel warrant attention this year so far. Now, not every album I bought has been great. Some have been mediocre, and one was a waste of money that just made me angry.

But these are the best of those I have bought so far. Hope you find something here to enjoy.

Let's start with an EP:

Forever Means by Angel Olsen (EP)

My second Angel Olsen EP ! This 4-track had a very laid-back feel to it, almost verging on jazz in places. But I think it was more a soundscape, where Angel's voice and words were an instrument unto themselves. It is a very chilled and very pleasant listen. It may not be for everyone – I mean, you're not going to dance to it – but I found myself mesmerised by this. Unlike most albums, I bought this as a digital download, so I am not sure if the physical version is different.
Favourite Track: 'Forever Means'

Now, some albums:

Desire, I Want To Turn Into You by Caroline Polachek

This was recommended to me by a friend as "something different", and it certainly is. She told me if I liked the last releases from Fiona Apple and Liz Phair (which I did), then I should give this a go. Not as percussion-heavy as those, this is a soundscape of an album, one that washed over you with a variety of sounds, and Caroline's amazing voice over it all. I tried to do some work when I listened to it for a second time, but found myself drawn back into the music. Not every song works, but the vast majority do, and this is a wonderful album for that.
Favourite track: 'I Believe'

Okemah Rising by Dropkick Murphys

This is the second collection of songs by The Dropkick Murphys that are based on the lyrics of Woody Guthrie. Like the first one, this is another acoustic collection, and I reckon I prefer this one to the first. Which is saying something, because the first was really good. I pre-ordered this and since I got it, it's been on constant rotation here. The rock sensibilities infused with some magnificent lyrics and folk music basis makes for a fantastic album. They really know how to put something into these wonderful words.
Favourite track (and this was really tough): 'Gotta Get To Peekskill' (featuring Violent Femmes)

Subtract by Ed Sheeran

I didn't mind Sheeran's last album , but had heard mixed things about this one going into it. Still, I got a copy and listened to it and this was not what I had expected at all. This is, essentially, a sad album, with a sense of desperation or depression through most of the tracks. It is very low on the production, which is a positive; this is akin to [LNK=]Swift's folklore[/LINK] album, feeling sparse, with a lot of the songs really just Sheeran with his acoustic guitar or piano. It does mean when there is more of a band feel, it is something different as well. I'm not sure how often I could listen to the whole thing, and a few of the tracks do feel redundant (there are too many songs, to be honest), but this is an album that surprised me.
Favourite track: 'Eyes Closed'

I Am The River, The River Is Me by Jen Cloher

This was an album I was looking forward to, as I am a recent fan of Jen's work , having come in late. This is different in sound and feel to the last album, but not so much that it sounds out of left field. The guitar is still there, and the intensely personal lyrics are at the fore of some great tracks. While I do think the song order is an interesting one, the fact is this album is another strong one for her canon. Oh, and my My Witch t-shirt, that came with my CD, has raised quite a few eyebrows!
Favourite track: 'Being Human'

RokFlote by Jethro Tull

This is an album that is not going to be for all tastes, but I am a fan of Jethro Tull, thought their last album was great, and so I got the digital copy of this one (postage was restrictive getting it sent from overseas). It is a concept album around some of the Norse myths, legends and characters, with Anderson's flute and some incredible lyrics throughout (including some spoken word pieces that I believe are in the ancient Norse tongue). This is possibly one for fans, or at least fans of prog rock, but if you want something different in your rock music, then I recommend this one.
Favourite track: 'The Navigators'

Eurovision Song Contest United Kingdom Liverpool 2023 by various artists

This is going to be short, because I've already gone through my thoughts on the 2023 Eurovision entries , but having them all on CD means I can really listen to the tracks away from the visuals, and, I have to say, this was one of the better recent years when it comes to song quality. There are 37 songs here and, as usual for a collection like this, a number don't hit the mark, but the ones that do are so good. I still am not a huge fan of the winner, by the way.
Favourite track (and, yes, I've worked it out now): 'Who The Hell Is Edgar?' by Taya & Selena

So, there we are – 6 albums and 1 EP, new releases of 2023. I am awaiting albums by Alex Lahey, The Barnestormers and Metallica to arrive by mail, so there should be another one coming up later on this year.

Anyway, I hope there is something here for most readers. Some interesting music, I know, but my tastes are nothing if not eclectic. For what it's worth, the one I have been listening to most is Dropkick Murphys.

82693 - 2023-06-11 06:33:34


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