Turn It Up: New Music Releases for March 2017

Wow, is it really already March? My how time flies! The sun is coming out and the music is turning on. We’re almost into Spring, and that means happiness and sunshine and new albums to groove into Summer with. AND we get FIVE weeks of music this month!!! I’m so excited to dive into March, and in just a few more words, you’ll see why…

Ed Sheeran – Divide

Release date: 3/3

This little ginger is a sensation. If you had asked me when he first appeared whether he’d reach this kind of superstar status, I probably would have laughed in your face. To me, Ed Sheeran was meant for those of us that found his little guitar songs on our Discovery playlists and cherished that sound in our headphones on our own.

Then, obviously, it all changed. He was no longer the secret dork that girls like me loved and boys used as background music at hipster gatherings. Ed Sheeran has become a clear household name, and I’m already afraid I won’t get concert tickets for the inevitable US leg of his next tour. This third album is one of the most anticipated so far this year, having been announced the first day of 2017 after a year-long hiatus for the singer from music. So far, we’ve gotten three very different songs as releases. “How Would You Feel (Paean)” is the latest release, very much in the vein of “Thinking Out Loud” if you’re looking for romance. It’s soft and slow and lovely.

The first two we got to kick the year off were quite different though, even just from each other. There’s a debate over which is better, and there are different strokes for different folks on these. “Shape of You” has become the club and radio hit really, spending the past five weeks atop the charts. It’s great and funky and incredibly appealing. “Castle on the Hill” was the flip of this, with incredible nostalgia and perfect movement (gee, I wonder which one I love more). It’s a story with a beat and will get you moving effortlessly through your day with a remembering smile.

Needless to say, Friday March 3rd is an important day. Yes, I already have a listening session (or 5) planned, and will be spinning my pre-ordered vinyl that night and all weekend. I look forward to sharing thoughts on this one for the month to come.

Other 3/3 releases:

Minus the Bear – Voids

Temples – Volcano

The Shins – Heartworms

Release date: 3/10

The Shins is one of those bands that I always kick myself for not listening to more, so in seeing a new release listing for them this month, I’ve got to jump on board.

If you can believe it (I can’t), this is their fifth studio album, but their first one in five years. Beyond that, I don’t have much info to share, so I’ll turn to the songs we already know about.

“Mildenhall” has been made public, and it’s fun and deep. There’s a steady clap beat that’s fun to bop to, but if you start listening closely, you’ll start feeling a bit much. It’s great though, don’t get me wrong, and if this is an indication of where we’re heading with this album, it’s going to be a great one to dance around the apartment to. A little lower in scale, but just along the same lines is the 2016 release of “Dead Alive,” also on this album.

“Name for You” was released as well, and is how the album will begin. There’s some great harmonies to be heard here, and while I don’t love the idea of it as an opening track (purely based on feel and opinion), it’s a good solid album track for sure. The musical approach on this is no less than fascinating, and it actually feels like time and work were put in – what a rare and special treat.

Other 3/10 releases:

Greg Gaffin – Millport

Nathan Fake – Providence

Depeche Mode – Spirit

Release date: 3/17

Depeche Mode is always deceptively dark. Like, I don’t get that feeling until we get pretty far into a song, but I slowly realize how draining the songs can be in such a weirdly fascinating way.

I say this while listening to “Where’s the Revolution,” the release teaser from this album. It’s meant to have a dystopian feel, and by god they got that one on the mark. Lots of boots marching and flags waving basically sum this one up.

For an electronic band, Depeche Mode is far from the ones I think are typically associated with the genre. They take on the mood that metal tends to give, but keep the sound that a goth dance club might possess. For a band that’s been at it for close to 40 years, they have every right to completely define their own genre at this point, and seem to be continuing to do so with this new release.

Other 3/17 releases:

Real Estate – In Mind

Spoon – Hot Thoughts

Jethro Tull – The String Quartets

Release date: 3/24

It’s just not fair that there is not more information on this in general. I stray from other reviewers so I can develop my own opinion, but I can’t even find background.

What’s fascinating to me is that down to the titles, this looks interesting. Everything seems to have a main title and then something in parentheticals as a further explanation (which may be why there is so little written out – maybe the music really is just supposed to speak for itself).

This is gorgeous though, and if you’re ever remotely interested or looking for something modern yet with a classical sound, this is where to find it. Everything we’re given so far from this album is solidly performed and produced. I’m never left with a feeling of mistakes or regret for hearing it, as the sound is so clean. I also never realized before this just how very appreciated that sound could be.

Other 3/24 releases:

Boss Hog – Brood X

Pailbearer – Heartless

Nelly Furtado – The Ride

Release date: 3/31

I know – you’re probably having the same thought that I am now, which I also had last time I heard that Nelly Furtado was releasing an album – she’s still around?

Well, yeah. She had found that groove with dance music a few years back with “Promiscuous,” and since then seems to have actually found an interesting balance between the extremes of that and cute girl music. “Flatline” straddles it, giving a love song with movement, but I’m not already grossed out just by the thought of a sweaty club.

This is Nelly’s sixth album actually – go on, pick your jaw up off the floor there. She did almost all of the writing on this, so massive respect there. She’s described this herself as her “hangover album,” since it’s reflective and a way of purging from rough times for her. That said alone, this is going to be worth a listen.

Other 3/31 releases:

Goldfrapp – Silver Eye

Trace Adkins – Something’s Going On

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