March has been a pretty spectacular month for music, with great releases all across the board in folk, pop punk, indie rock, hip-hop and electronic. So, with the month coming to an end today, I decided to roundup some of my favorite releases of the month for you guys to check out.
1. Remo Drive – Greatest Hits
When I first heard Remo Drive back in February via a recommendation from Anthony Fantano, I pretty much fell in love with the group as soon as I heard their track “Yer Killin’ Me” and the great video that accompanied it. I wasn’t expecting their album to be as good as this track, but nope, I freaking love this album.
This is a seriously killer debut that does not disappoint throughout the album’s 10 tracks. The guitar riffs are catchy as hell throughout, the singing passionate, the lyrics relatable, and the band’s chemistry is unmatched.
While there’s some minor gripes to be made about the production/mixing, they barely hold the album back as the potential this band has is insane. If you’re looking for some great pop-punk fused Pinkerton-era Weezer, give this a shot.
Recommended tracks: “Yer Killin’ Me”, “Art School”, “Strawberita”
2. Spoon – Hot Thoughts
Weirdly enough, prior to this album I never got into Spoon. I’ve been aware of their existence for a few years now, but never felt the need to dive into their acclaimed discography (heck, they were best reviewed artist of the 2000s according to Metacritic).
However, once singles started coming out for this new album, Hot Thoughts, I was in love. The funk influences and Britt Daniel’s vocals in the album’s initial singles, “Hot Thoughts” and “Can I Sit Next to You”, were undeniable.
So, once the album finally came out this month, there was even more to dig into, as the synth and progressive elements in the album are seriously well done and help shake up the usual Spoon formula without completely changing what makes it so good. If you’re looking for some great indie rock, look no further than Hot Thoughts.
Recommended tracks: “Can I Sit Next To You”, “WhisperI’lllistentohearit”, “I Ain’t the One”
3. Drake – More Life
I absolutely hated Drake’s last album, Views. While I had loved his previous work for how well he fused pop, rap, and R&B, Views was overlong, whiny, and most importantly, boring. So going into this new project/playlist, More Life (which he’s calling a playlist to essentially avoid criticism), I was pretty skeptical.
However, More Life is a very enjoyable project due to Drake relaxing a little bit and going back to focusing on making good songs, rather than trying to make an epic and falling completely flat.
While the album still suffers from its length (seriously Drake, we don’t need 81 minutes of you again), Drake’s corny accents (seriously Drake, you still aren’t Jamaican), and some corny/confusing bars (seriously Drake? I want to see you do 911? Do you not realize how badly this could be interpreted?). Overall this playlist is fairly enjoyable throughout and welcome return to form.
Recommended tracks: “Passionfruit”, “Get It Together”, “Nothings Into Somethings”
4. Mount Eerie – A Crow Looked At Me
I’ve been dreading talking about this album here since I first heard it a few weeks ago via NPR. For some context, Mount Eerie is the musical project of Washington-based singer/songwriter Phil Elverum, who’s been making music under that name and previously The Microphones for two decades now.
Tragedy struck him recently as his wife, Geneviève Castrée passed away last July after battling stage four pancreatic cancer, being diagnosed just four months after the birth of their daughter. His new album, A Crow Looked At Me, was written in the aftermath of his wife’s death and recorded in the room she died in, playing only her instruments.
And despite Phil calling this album “barely music”, it’s the most emotionally effective album I’ve listened to in quite some time. Listening to it last Saturday, I wept at multiple points as nearly every song had a few lines that served as a gut punch within a gut punch, as almost the entire album is a document of Phil’s grief.
Lines like “You were probably aching, wanting not to die / Your body transformed / I couldn’t bear to look so I turned my head west / Like an early death” on “Ravens” and “Conceptual emptiness was cool to talk about / Back before I knew my way around these hospitals” just completely get to me.
I don’t fully know if I can recommend this album. All I can really say is that you need to be completely prepared to listen. It might be tough to get past the album’s first few tracks for how overwhelming depressing it can get, but really try to push yourself to the end, as you’ll find something that can simply be described as human.
Recommended tracks: “Ravens”, “Real Death”, “Soria Moria”