Album of the Week: Cage the Elephant – Neon Pill

Since their last album in 2019 Cage the Elephant have been through tough times. Brothers Brad and Matt Shultz lost their Dad and other challenges have tested them. Neon Pill isn’t a sad exploration of tough times but rather triumphant, a celebration of music’s healing power. As AllMusic say the band “once again cannily synthesizes a variety of alt-rock eras, marrying a neo-garage rock bounce with washes of psychedelia, punctuating the proceedings with new wave flair and the occasional earnest ballad”.

New Zealand Net Radio plays a song from our irregularly updated #albumoftheweek every hour from 9am to 12pm. Listen in @tunein at http://tun.in/sfAtE or on the web player.

Album of the Week: Angus & Julia Stone – Cape Forestier

The Stones are back – the talented Australian sibling duo that is! With Fleetwood Mac vibes this is a rich and highly enjoyable mix of Fleetwood Mac-ish AOR. Quite retro sounding the songs are catchy and satisfying on their fifth album. Coming back together after several years of solo projects, Angus told Rolling Stone “There’s an authenticity to having that time away and discovering what it is you’re looking for when you write a song,” Angus reflects. “That “coming home” feeling is what this recording represents for us – heading back to the garage and recording in the living room. We want to bring people into that space, which is what the tour has been set up to be.”

AllMusic summed it up: “While not for cynics, Cape Forestier should well please longtime fans and romantics alike.”

New Zealand Net Radio plays a song from our irregularly updated #albumoftheweek every hour from 9am to 12pm. Listen in @tunein at http://tun.in/sfAtE or on the web player.

Album of the Week: Sia – Reasonable Woman

No, this isn’t gentle singer-songwriter or edgy Indie. Sometimes you just need some quality singalong pop and this week we’re highlighting the return of a master of the form. Aussie Sia hasn’t produced a full-length original album since 2016 (focusing on one-off soundtrack contributions and her interesting Music soundtrack, all of which we enjoyed) but she’s back on form here. We can’t say it better than AllMusic: “Oversized singalong anthems and addictive dance cuts share space as she does her thing: focused, hardened, and hungry, she balances bleeding vulnerability with an intense drive to prove herself once again as one of the premier songwriters and inimitable vocalists of her generation.” Love the Kylie and Labrynth colabs!

New Zealand Net Radio plays a song from our irregularly updated #albumoftheweek every hour from 9am to 12pm. Listen in @tunein at http://tun.in/sfAtE or on the web player.

Album of the Week: Iron & Wine – Light Verse

Sam Beam of Iron & Wine found lockdown hard, and it took him three years to kickstart his musical creativity. Light Verse, the first album since 2019 is a playful and positive album – he has exorcised any demons and produced a light and open set of songs overlaid with his majestic voice. AllMusic said “in the end Light Verse turns out to be one of the most enjoyable, varied, and well-crafted of the band’s records”. We’d have to agree! Highlight track: “All in Good Time”, a collaboration with Fiona Apple.

New Zealand Net Radio plays a song from our irregularly updated #albumoftheweek every hour from 9am to 12pm. Listen in @tunein at http://tun.in/sfAtE or on the web player.

Album of the Week: Pearl Jam – Dark Matter

Rock, Rock’n’Roll, we love it and play lots of it here (amongst lots of other genre). There are two sub genre exceptions – Heavy metal not at all, and to a lesser extent grunge. Although there are definitely songs we enjoy grunge didn’t really grab us back in the 1990s and never quite has. Perhaps its age but we really enjoyed the last Foo Fighters album and this latest work from Pearl Jam is excellent. Thirty years on and its pretty neat that when Eddie Vedder got excited making solo music with Andrew Watt he called his bandmates and this album is the product. In his AllMusic review Stephen Erlewine describes how Watt has the band playing to their strengths and summoning much of their 1990s sound but with a cleaner sound, “highlighting their empathetic interplay by pushing melodies and hooks to the forefront.”

New Zealand Net Radio plays a song from our irregularly updated #albumoftheweek every hour from 9am to 12pm. Listen in @tunein at http://tun.in/sfAtE or on the web player.

A Plethora of Albums

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We’ve been treated to a real plethora of excellent albums over the past couple of weeks including:

  • Mark Knopfler – One Deep River
  • Maggie Rogers – Don’t Forget Me
  • The Black Keys – Ohio Players
  • X Ambassadors – Townie
  • Conan Gray – Found Heaven
  • Vampire Weekend – Only God Was Above Us
  • Benson Boone – Beautiful Things

What have we missed?

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Album of the Week: Conan Gray – Found Heaven

New Zealand Net Radio plays a song from our irregularly updated #albumoftheweek every hour from 9am to 12pm. Listen in @tunein at http://tun.in/sfAtE or on the web player.

Conan Gray is a true ‘Information Age’ pop star – his career began as a You Tuber, with music part of his influencer persona. He put out an EP in 2018 and managed to get a record company excited enough to put out an excellent album in 2020 (Kid Krow, singles “Heather” and “Maniac” received over 2 billion Spotify streams between them) with a followup in 2022 Superache. This album really continues the story, adding to his arsenal of 70s/80s glam and tight synths over a plaintiff voice. The lyrics are decent, the tunes are excellent. Early singles “Killing Me” and “Lonely Dancers” had a very ’70s glam feel to us. Not a filler track on it, this is a demonstration that good solid melodic pop is still being produced! It truely is “a big, euphoric pop swing” (AllMusic).

Album of the Week: Sheryl Crow – Evolution

New Zealand Net Radio plays a song from our irregularly updated #albumoftheweek every hour from 9am to 12pm. Listen in @tunein at http://tun.in/sfAtE or on the web player.

Back after a planned retirement following her last album Threads Sheryl Crow is right on form with this sunny album. There are definite C’mon C’mon echos here in this collection crafted with an all star company including vocals from Peter Gabriel (what a combination!) and production from Mike Elizondo. AllMusic said it was “filled with sunny hooks, busy rhymes, and relaxed rhythms, Evolution is a good time whose cheerfulness camouflages its vaguely deeper undercurrents”.

Album of the Week: Waxahatchee – Tigers Blood

New Zealand Net Radio plays a song from our irregularly updated #albumoftheweek every hour from 9am to 12pm. Listen in @tunein at http://tun.in/sfAtE or on the web player.

Songwriter Katie Crutchfield kicked off Waxahatchee back in 2012 and has always walked a line between folk rock and Indie since. Her last album, the acclaimed Saint Cloud (2020) shifted in a more folk/country direction, cleverly presaging the move by many artists in that direction in the past few years (a country album from Beyonce!). Much has been made of the vintage country of this album – finally getting to hear it though there are still touches of the Indie spirit through it, for example on “Evil Spawn”. This is a beautiful album throughout however, and for the gorgeous Americana strains no track is better than lead single “Right Back To It”. A superlative effort, this album deserves its rare 4.5/5 star AllMusic review “an album that feels familiar upon its surface and idiosyncratic in its details”.

Album of the Week: Britti – Hello, I’m Britti

New Zealand Net Radio plays a song from our irregularly updated #albumoftheweek every hour from 9am to 12pm. Listen in @tunein at http://tun.in/sfAtE or on the web player.

Nodepression.com described this album as “a flavorful mix of country and R&B” which is spot on. Her electric voice delivers these songs with panache, an incredible talent molded in the melting pot of New Orleans. She navigates many styles – country, R&B, funk, pop and jazz with ease and a good sense of melody throughout. What a debut – this will certainly be on every “Best of Albums” list of 2024.