First Listen

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First Listen

Enjoy previews of select, upcoming albums, in their entirety on FIRST LISTEN.

  1. First Listen: Merchandise, 'After The End'
    A DIY spirit pervades Merchandise's dark, well-crafted songs, even if they sound more at home in the gloomy climes of Manchester than in sunny Tampa, where the band is based. More....
  2. First Listen: The Bug, 'Angels & Devils'
    In its outermost extremes, this excoriating, enervating music offers the promise of a cleansing, like greasy hands scoured with gritty soap. But it's got sensitivity and a sense of craft, too. More....
  3. First Listen: Shovels & Rope, 'Swimmin' Time'
    It's easy to feel the romance in the musical relationship between Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst, who've become musical embodiments of how loving couples make it work. More....
  4. First Listen: J Mascis, 'Tied To A Star'
    Though not entirely unplugged, Tied to a Star showcases the soft intricacy of a veteran craftsman who knows when to hang back and decide to pulverize another day. More....
  5. First Listen: The Wytches, 'Annabel Dream Reader'
    The British band borrows from the best to contextualize a sound that's at once heavy, sinister, tuneful and theatrical, piling on the fuzz and reverb until its songs practically foam at the mouth. More....
  6. First Listen: Ty Segall, 'Manipulator'
    It's a shame that the rock record of the summer had to surface at the end of the season. Segall's lush, panoramic double-album piles on glam-rock excess without ever feeling excessive. More....
  7. First Listen: Cameron Carpenter, 'If You Could Read My Mind'
    The organist aims to rescue his instrument from its church-bound traditions. With his new album, which includes Bach and Bacharach alike, Carpenter could land a multitude of converts. More....
  8. First Listen: Imogen Heap, 'Sparks'
    Sparks documents a fruitful time for one of popular music's most curious explorers. But it also captures how, in the 21st century, art, technology and life meld to make whole new narratives. More....
  9. First Listen: Kimbra, 'The Golden Echo'
    She's working with refracted echoes of sounds that came before, but Kimbra makes them golden on her second album. Throughout The Golden Echo, she has a grand time testing the limits of her music. More....
  10. First Listen: Bishop Allen, 'Lights Out'
    Summery but subtle, Lights Out is the sound of a band that's mastered the art of quality control, just in time to release an album that's all highlights. More....
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