Monday, February 11, 2019

Upcoming Album of the Week (Ending February 9, 2019)

The Grammys were this past weekend, and it actually included some improvements over previous years! Childish Gambino won for Song of the Year, the first time the award has been given to a hip hop song. It was also a better year for female artists with a 82% improvement in wins over last year's ceremony. This included exciting wins for Brandi Carlile, Cardi B, Kacey Musgraves, Ariana Grande, and St. Vincent.

As always, you can view a fuller list of the albums I'm excited about over at my Upcoming Releases page!

Recently, Andrew Bird announced his fate-tempting 11th album, My Finest Work Yet.

I've been a fan of Bird for a number of years, being particularly impressed by his multi-instrumentalism and whistling. His previous album, 2016's Are You Serious, was a particular favorite of mine, perhaps bolstered by an amazing duet with Fiona Apple.

It's hard to imagine that something could top that record, but that's what he's promised here. My Finest Work Yet is not just what he's titled the record, he has stated that he truly considers it to be his finest work.

The album was announced a couple of weeks ago along with its lead single, "Sisyphus," and is scheduled for release on March 22.

Also announced recently:

Aretha Franklin - Songs of Faith: Aretha Gospel (March 22)
Avey Tare - Cows on Hourglass Pond (March 22)
BAILEN - Thrilled to Be Here (April 26)
Beach Slang - MPLS (March 15)
Beth Gibbons & the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra - Henryk Górecki’s Symphony No. 3 (Symphony of Sorrowful Songs) (March 29)
Billie Eilish - When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? (March 29)
Brutus - Nest (March 29)
Cage the Elephant - Social Cues (April 19)
Chai - PUNK (March 15)
Charlotte Cornfield - The Shape of Your Name (April 5)
Charly Bliss - Young Enough (May 10)
The Chemical Brothers - No Geography (April 12)
Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah - Ancestral Recall (March 22)
Craig Finn - I Need a New War (April 26)
Flying Fish Cove - At Moonset (May 3)
Fontaines D.C. - Dogrel (April 12)
Foxygen - Seeing Other People (April 26)
Gold Connections - Like a Shadow (March 1)
Iron & Wine - Our Endless Numbered Days Reissue (March 22)
Heather Woods Broderick - Invitation (April 19)
Jamila Woods - Legacy! Legacy! (May 10)
Jim James - Uniform Distortion/Clarity (March 22)
Joni 75: A Birthday Celebration (March 8)
Lizzo - Cuz I Love You (April 19)
Marvin Gaye - You’re the Man (March 29)
Mary Lattimore & Mac McCaughan - New Rain Duets (March 22)
The Mountain Goats - In League with Dragons (April 26)
Partner - Saturday the 14th (April 5)
Peter Doherty & The Puta Madres - Peter Doherty & The Puta Madres (April 12)
Ratso - Stubborn Heart (April 5)
Rosie Tucker - Never Not Never Not Never Not (March 8)
Show Me the Body - Dog Whistle (March 29)
Sunn O))) - Life Metal (April)
These New Puritans - Inside the Rose (March 22)
Van Morrison - The Healing Game (Deluxe Edition) (March 22)
Wand - Laughing Matter (April 19)

Saturday, February 9, 2019

My Favorite Albums of 2018

25. Anna St. Louis - If Only There Was a River
24. The Carters - EVERYTHING IS LOVE
23. Mac Miller - Swimming
22. Neko Case - Hell-On
21. Vince Staples - FM!

20. Troye Sivan - Bloom

Watch: "Lucky Strike"
Watch: "Dance to This" (featuring Ariana Grande)

19. The 1975 - A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships

Watch: "It’s Not Living (If It’s Not with You)"
Watch: "Sincerity Is Scary"

18. Gorillaz - The Now Now

Watch: "Tranz"
Watch: "Fire Flies"

17. Arctic Monkeys - Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino

Watch: "Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino"
Watch: "Four out of Five"

16. Dream Wife - Dream Wife

Watch: "Hey Heartbreaker"
Watch: "Let’s Make Out"

15. Natalie Prass - The Future and the Past

Watch: "The Fire"
Watch: "Sisters"

14. Parquet Courts - Wide Awake!

Watch: "Freebird II"
Watch: "Mardi Gras Beads"


Watch: "May I Be the Light"
Watch: "Late to the Flight"

12. Lucy Dacus - Historian

Watch: "Addictions"
Listen: "Night Shift"

11. Cardi B - Invasion of Privacy

Watch: "Money"
Watch: "Ring" (featuring Kehlani)

10. Wye Oak - The Louder I Call, the Faster It Runs

I was first drawn to Wye Oak with the release of their 2011 album Civilian. They've releases two other albums since, but this is the first that's really caught my ear following that earlier album. It's not too different from Civilian, Jenn Wasner's vocals are beautifully haunting, something that drew me to their music in the first place.

Watch: "It Was Not Natural"
Watch: "Lifer"

9. Phosphorescent - C’est la vie

While not all of his songs are ballads, Phosphorescent makes some of the most achingly beautiful music I've ever heard. His latest is no different with gorgeous tracks like "My Beautiful Boy" and "There from Here." Perhaps the most beautiful, at least to me, is also one of the stranger tracks. On "Christmas Down Under," he harmonizes his own vocals with an auto-tuned voice. Stay with's an amazing result.

Watch: "Christmas Down Under"
Watch: "C’est La Vie No. 2"

8. Lykke Li - so sad so sexy

I've been with Lykke Li since her first album; each record has been even better the previous. I wasn't sure about this album at first, though. Pop's always been a big part of her sound, but it was mixed with electronic synths and arty avant garde styles. This album feels more like a modern pop album, incorporating the trap style that's been popular. As you'll see later, I've loved me some pop this year. That, I think, lifted my opinion of this album.

Watch: "utopia"
Watch: "deep end"

7. Amen Dunes - Freedom

I've been struggling to pinpoint exactly why I liked this album so much, but it's one I kept returning to, especially in the early part of the year. I've listened to Amen Dunes for a few years, but this is the first album of his that's reached repeat status.

Watch: "Believe"
Watch: "Blue Rose"

6. Kacey Musgraves - Golden Hour

My preferences in country have tended towards music made in the 60s and 70s, or artists who channel that sound (or, alt-country). Kacey Musgraves tends towards a pop-inflected sound, but sounds so much better than the pop-country that has defined the genre over the past couple of decades. It may be due to her ability to incorporate a variety of genres into a country-based sound. The stand-out track, "High Horse," is a combination I never knew I needed, country and disco!

Watch: "High Horse"
Watch: "Mother"

5. U.S. Girls - In a Poem Unlimited

U.S. Girls also incorporates disco into her sound, but with a very different result. Had I known about her previous record, Half Free, when it came out, it would have easily been one of my favorite albums of 2015. Fortunately, she followed it up with an even better album.

Watch: "Pearly Gates" (featuring James Baley)
Watch: "Velvet 4 Sale"

4. Ariana Grande - sweetener

Before last year, it was easy to write Grande off as a typical pop star. She certainly exudes many of those stereotypical elements, but this album proved (at least to me) that she's a step above many other pop princesses. She had a lot going on over the previous couple of years and all of that makes it onto the album. It's a more personal album than we usually get from the pop world, which makes her a more endearing artist than many of her peers.

Watch: "breathin"
Watch: "God is a woman"

3. Mitski - Be the Cowboy

Mitski is one of those few artists who writes lyrics that I feel I can truly relate to. Her previous record, Puberty 2, which was a favorite of 2016, dealt with themes of otherness. This one tackles loneliness, something the artist felt while touring for that previous record. She's an amazing lyricist who has a way of making the listener feel every emotion.

Watch: "Washing Machine Heart"
Watch: "Nobody"

2. Dirty Projectors - Lamp Lit Prose

Dirty Projectors' previous record, Dirty Projectors, was a favorite of 2017, but seems weaker compared to this. The last album was dour and depressing, this one is much brighter. It also marks a return to the interplay of male and female vocals that previously defined their sound. While the former female members of the band have departed, that role now is taken on by new members and a few guest vocalists, including Syd, Amber Marks, Empress Of, and Haim.

Watch: "That’s a Lifestyle"
Watch: "Break-Thru"

1. Janelle Monáe - Dirty Computer

Monáe's music has previously been presented through the voice of her alter ego, Cindi Mayweather. The character and concepts introduced Afrofuturism into popular music, but she steps away from those concepts here. It's her most personal record, but one that also speaks to both the LGBTQ and black communities. In relaying the black experience to a broad audience, it reminds me a bit of the albums from the Knowles sisters a couple of years back.

Watch: "Crazy Classic Life"
Watch: "I Like That"

Monday, January 28, 2019

Upcoming Album of the Week (Ending January 26, 2019)

A friend of mine recently joked that a Las Vegas residency signaled the end of an artist's career. At only one album into her career, it's been reported that Cardi B will be getting her own residency later this year. Hopefully this is not the end of hers, but we'll have to wait for a follow-up record to find out for sure. Keep an eye on my Upcoming Releases page if she announces a new record to defy the odds.

This week, Stephen Malkmus announced a follow-up to his May 2018 album (with The Jicks), Sparkle Hard, with Groove Denied.

Malkmus is perhaps best known for the 1990s indie rock band Pavement. Following the end of that band, he started Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, which has a similar sound, though maybe with a "dad rock" bent.

His newest record promises to be a significant departure from his past work; it is apparently an electronica record. The album was long teased and had been worked on for over a decade, but was initially rejected by his label.

The label eventually came around on the record, and it was announced this week along with the lead single "Viktor Borgia." My favorite take on the song came from a comment on You-Tube (from user Kevin Archanjo), that it heralded the birth of "dad electronica."

Groove Denied is scheduled for release on March 15.

Also announced recently:

The Antlers - Hospice Reissue (March 8)
Ariana Grande - thank u, next (February 8)
Apparat - LP5 (March 22)
Broken Social Scene - Let’s Try the After - Vol 1 (February 15)
C Duncan - Health (March 29)
Chris Cohen - Chris Cohen (March 29)
Delicate Steve - Till I Burn Up (March 1)
The Drums - Brutalism (April 5)
Glen Hansard - This Wild Willing (April 12)
Fennesz - Agora (March 29)
Florence + The Machine - “Moderation” (out now)
Foals - Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost (March 8)
Jenny Lewis - On the Line (March 22)
Keith Richards - Talk Is Cheap Reissue (March 29)
Leggy - Let Me Know Your Moon (March 8)
Light Conductor - Sequence One (March 8)
Lion Babe - Cosmic Wind (March 29)
Mary Lattimore - Hundreds of Days Remixes (out now)
Mdou Moctar - Ilana (March 29)
Music Inspired By the Film Roma (February 8)
Nilüfer Yanya - Miss Universe (March 22)
Peter Bjorn and John - EPBJ (February 22)
Phoebe Bridgers & Conor Oberst - Better Oblivion Community Center (out now)
Rose Elinor Dougall - A New Illusion (April 5)
Shana Cleveland - Night of the Worm Moon (April 5)
Sonny & The Sunsets - Hairdressers from Heaven (April 1)
Spiral Stairs - We Wanna Be Hyp-No-Tized (March 22)
Strand of Oaks - Eraserland (March 22)
STUMM433 (May)
Tamaryn - Dreaming the Dark (March 22)
Tanya Tagaq - Toothsayer (March 1)
Thom Yorke - Suspiria Unreleased Material EP (February 22)
Ty Segall - Deforming Lobes (March 29)
Weezer - Weezer (Teal Album) (out now)

Saturday, January 19, 2019

New Music Friday - January 11, 2019

Be sure to view a list of upcoming releases here!

Other Full-Length Releases

You Tell Me - You Tell Me

Listen: "Invisible Ink"
Listen: "Water Cooler"

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Upcoming Album of the Week (Ending January 12, 2019)

There was a bit of a lull in new music announcements through the holidays, but a new year is upon us and they are starting to roll in! Check out my Upcoming Releases page to see a full list of albums that I am looking forward to!

This week, James Blake announced his fourth album, Assume Form.

Blake started his career with a looser electronic style (at one time referred to as "post-dubstep"... the term did not stick), which he demonstrated through his early EPs and his debut album. He's progressively gotten further away from the style that defined his early work. Subsequent albums, 2013's Overgrown and 2016's The Colour in Anything, combined the electronic with R&B.

He promises his next record will be even poppier than anything he's done before, and it's certainly more feature-heavy. The album will include both other experimental artists, like Moses Sumney and Rosalía, and more mainstream artists with Travis Scott on a track.

Though no new songs were released along with the album announcement, it will include the previously-released "Don't Miss It."

Assume Form is coming very soon; on January 18!

Also announced recently:

The Coathangers - The Devil You Know (March 8)
Cochemea - All My Relations (February 22)
Ex Hex - It’s Real (March 22)
Future - The WIZRD (January 18)
Hannah Georgas - Imprints (March 8)
Hand Habits - placeholder (March 1)
LCD Soundsystem - Electric Lady Sessions (February 8)
New Order - Movement Definitive Edition (April 5)
Pond - Tasmania (March 1)
Priests - The Seduction of Kansas (April 5)
PUP - Morbid Stuff (April 5)
Ryan Adams - Big Colors (April 19)
SOAK - Grim Town (April 26)

Sunday, January 6, 2019

New Music Friday - June 15, 2018

Be sure to view a list of upcoming releases here!

Essential Full-Length Releases

Buddy Guy - The Blues Is Alive and Well

At 82, Buddy Guy is proving that it's not just the blues that is alive and well. This is 18th album from the legendary blues man, coming just three years after the Grammy-winning Born to Play Guitar.

Listen: "Cognac" (featuring Jeff Beck & Keith Richards)
Listen: "You Did the Crime" (featuring Mick Jagger)

Christina Aguilera - Liberation

Aguilera was a ubiquitous figure in late '90s and early 2000s pop. She's taken a bit of a break since 2012's Lotus, focusing on her television duties (hosting and acting). She's back with her eighth album, with features from Demi Lovato, GoldLink, Ty Dolla $ign, and 2 Chainz.

Watch: "Fall in Line" (featuring Demi Lovato)
Watch: "Accelerate" (featuring Ty Dolla $ign, & 2 Chainz)

MOURN - Sorpresa Familia

MOURN is a four-piece from Barcelona, Spain. Sorpresa Familia is their third album and follows 2014's Ha, Ha, He!. The album covers a recent difficult time for the band, during which they made mismanagement  accusations towards their previous label. Thankfully, they were able to get out and continue making music!

Watch: "Fun at the Geysers"
Watch: "Barcelona City Tour"

serpentwithfeet - soil

This is the first album from serpentwithfeet, following his 2016 EP blisters. His music is hard to perfectly categorize. He started with a desire to become a classical singer, but fell into neo-soul scenes in Philadelphia. His classical leanings are still prevalent in his style, but with more contemporary instrumentation and more than a little experimentation.

Watch: "bless ur heart"
Watch: "cherubim"


SOPHIE is a Scottish musician and producer. She has produced for a wide variety of pop musicians including MØ, Charli XCX, and Madonna, as well as Let's Eat Grandma, Vince Staples, and Cashmere Cat. She's also been an active artist in her own right with a number of singles over the past few years. This is her first studio album.

Watch: "Faceshopping"
Listen: "Immaterial"

Other Full-Length Releases

Arthur Buck - Arthur Buck

Watch: "I Am the Moment"
Watch: "Are You Electrified?"

Chromeo - Head Over Heels

Watch: "Must’ve Been" (featuring DRAM)
Watch: "Juice"

Jay Rock - Redemption

Watch: "The Bloodiest"
Watch: "WIN"

John Parish - Bird Dog Dante

Listen: "Sorry for Your Loss" (featuring PJ Harvey)
Listen: "Rachel" (featuring Aldous Harding)

Johnny Marr - Call the Comet

Watch: "Hi Hello"
Listen: "Rise"

Kevin Krauter - Toss Up

Watch: "Keep Falling in Love"
Listen: "Rollerskate"

Matty - Déjàvu

Listen: "Clear"
Listen: "Déjàvu"

Melody’s Echo Chamber - Bon Voyage

Watch: "Breathe In, Breathe Out"
Watch: "Desert Horse"


Listen: "Adam and Eve"
Listen: "Bonjour"

Palberta - Roach Goin’ Down

Listen: "Roach Goin’ Down"
Listen: "Ziddy"

R+R=NOW - Colagically Speaking

Listen: "Colors in the Dark"
Listen: "Change of Tone"

stuart A. staples - Arrythmia
Watch: "A New Real"

Watch: "Memories of Love"

Singles, EPs, Soundtracks, etc.

Fucked Up - High Rise 7”

Listen: "High Rise"

The Gaslight Anthem - The ’59 Sound Sessions

Listen: "The ’59 Sound"
Listen: "Placeholder"

The Killers - Career Box

Watch: "Somebody Told Me"
Watch: "The Man"

Protomartyr - Consolation E.P.

Watch: "Wheel of Fortune" (featuring Kelley Deal)
Listen: "You Always Win" (featuring Kelley Deal)

The Rolling Stones - Studio Albums Collection 1971 - 2016

Listen: "Brown Sugar"
Listen: "Blue and Lonesome"

S&S Presents: Dreams

Watch: Yumi Zouma - "France (Grand Boulevards)"
Watch: Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith - "Yugoslavia"

Trentemøller - The Last Resort Reissue

Watch: "Take Me into Your Skin"
Watch: "Vamp"

Uncle Drew: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Watch: A$AP Ferg - "Harlem Anthem"
Listen: A$AP Rocky, Gucci Mane, 21 Savage - "Cocky" (featuring London On Da Track)