New Music Roundup – Doris, Paradise Valley and Hollow Bodies

This week I had the opportunity to really dive into a bunch of new music that was released. Here I’ll preview three new albums from artist’s in three different genres to give you a glimpse of the new releases.

Earl Sweatshirt – Doris

Free Earl? Earl's here.
Free Earl? Earl’s here.

I’m largely indifferent to Odd Future. I enjoy some of Tyler’s music, haven’t listened heavily to Frank Ocean and don’t really know anything about Taco or Earl Sweatshirt. I decided to give Earl’s album, Doris, a shot and enjoyed it. Mainly, I enjoyed the production, which instantly had me think of The Cool Kids. The beats aren’t built for the club and that’s refreshing. Earl’s got a smooth flow compared to contemporaries Childish Gambino (vocal inflection to the the point of shouting at you) and Kendrick Lamar (“Swimming Pools” puts me to sleep. Full disclosure though, I enjoy both Gambino and Kendrick immensely). Earl delivers like he’s having a conversation with you. Notable guest spots from Tyler and Frank Ocean (addressing his Chris Brown beef=amazing) make this a solid debut for a young rapper that will only get better.

John Mayer – Paradise Valley

When John Mayer released Battle Studies a few years back, I lamented to myself that he would never ditch the pop-rock route and become the next great bluesman a la Eric Clapton. Mayer had other plans and made a Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young turn and released Born and Raised, which was incredible (and also featured backing vocals from David Crosby and Graham Nash on two tracks). Mayer returns on Paradise Valley which seemingly sees him find a happy medium between pop John Mayer and country/folk/blues John Mayer. The album features tracks that will appeal to fans of both Mayers. “Wildfire” and “Call Me The Breeze” (in my opinion the album’s best track) could fit seamlessly on Born and Raised while lead single “Paper Doll” (yes, probably about Taylor Swift) is as catchy as anything you’d find on Continuum or Room For Squares. Mayer is a bit older, more mature, and his music is reflecting it, which is good for everyone.

Blessthefall – Hollow Bodies

Metalcore band blessthefall are back with their fourth album in Hollow Bodies, the follow up to 2011’s Awakening. The album kicks off with the song “Exodus” which is a five and a half minute bruiser, followed by lead single “You Wear a Crown but You’re No King.” Awakening didn’t really gel with me, but Hollow Bodies seems like a more adequate follow up to 2009’s Witness which I loved. While not as heavy as future tour mates August Burns Red, blessthefall puts out heavy music while featuring clean vocals so you’re not beat over the head with screams. Hollow Bodies is an album that warrants a listen from fans of the genre.

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A certified personal trainer and graduate of Northwestern University (M.A. in Sport Adminstration), Steve is resident fitness expert and music snob of JustAGuy. In addition to fitness and music, Steve also enjoys sports. Feel free to trash talk him at

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