Artist: Julia Jacklin
Quick Description: New album from a favorite around these parts.
Why You Should Listen: If there's any justice in the world, Jacklin will be much more well-known by the end of this year.
Overall Thoughts: While everyone was busy looking at the Dacus/Bridgers/Baker triumvirate of up-and-coming singer songwriters last year, Julia Jacklin was quietly pulling up in the left lane and is poised to own 2019 if her second album is any indication. I had an inkling that Phantastic Fernature, her more rocking side project, might be a little instructive, but I will say that this new album works in a lot of ways her already-solid debut album may not have. The first two songs grabbed my attention , and hearing lead single “Pressure to Party” in the context of the full album gave it some extra heft I didn’t hear in my initial listens. One of the best, if not the best, of the week, and is almost certain to make a number of year-end lists.
Recommendation: A must-listen.
Album: Mazy Fly
Quick Description: New album an up-and-comer.
Why You Should Listen: This has a ton of buzz surrounding it, and for good reason.
Overall Thoughts: This is one of the better puzzles I’ve been presented with musically as of late. This is equal parts accessible and strange, and both feels like it comes in fully formed while also not quite sure where it’s going. Regardless of what it ends up being, it’s a musical achievement that’s tickled my brain like nothing else lately. In some forms, it feels like a 90s trip-hop album that took a detour into Sade’s neighborhood, but other times it feels like exploring old record/CD bins at a used shop and cramming together a lot of the songs into a cohesive unit. No song sounds quite the same as the one before it, yet it all feels whole and unique. Will this get mainstream success? Will your friends like it? Your guess is as good as mine, but if you take the plunge on this, I guarantee you’ll be rewarded.
Recommendation: Make time for this.
Quick Description: Roots rock wearing multiple hats.
Why You Should Listen: Offers something for everyone and succeeds in the process.
Overall Thoughts: I didn’t know about this band prior to this album, but I’m definitely into what they’re offering. Pigeonholing this as rockabilly or alt-country or country-tinged punk or whatever doesn’t really do it justice, because The Vandoliers do an amazing job of mashing up countless genres to create a fully original-feeling record. This will almost certainly bring a smile to your face this week regardless of what your preferred genre is, so don’t sleep on it.
Recommendation: Put this in as part of your rotation.
Artist: Lily & Madeliene
Album: Canterbury Girls
Quick Description: Latest from the folk-pop duo.
Why You Should Listen: This is a little more mainstream than their previous efforts, but they have yet to steer in the wrong direction.
Overall Thoughts: Latest album from this folky duo definitely feels more mainstream and has some definite moments that sound like they should absolutely take off and be a radio-friendly powerhouse (like with “Pachinko Song” or the retro-tinged “Can’t Help The Way I Feel”). I’ve loved every one of their releases so far, and this has been no different in that regard. They may not get the press and love that groups like First Aid Kit do, but if you haven’t hopped on the bandwagon yet? This is as good a time as ever.
Recommendation: A solid listen this week.
Artist: Desperate Journalist
Album: In Search of the Miraculous
Quick Description: Great alt-rock from a veteran act.
Why You Should Listen: This is the sound of a band that has perfected their sound.
Overall Thoughts: Desperate Journalist has been a band of moments for me up to now, but this album seems to complete the package for me. Sometimes reminiscent of the Jezabels, sometimes feeling like it’s transported from the 1980s, this is basically full-tilt from start to finish and I pretty much loved the whole experience. “Ocean Wave” in particular really won me over, but so much of this album works in being fresh and different while still feeling familiar.
Recommendation: Good for old fans and newcomers alike.
Quick Description: Solid indie pop.
Why You Should Listen: Telekinesis has put out album after album of quality work.
Overall Thoughts: All hail indie pop! This album is pretty much the definition of infectious, with bright and hooky songs from the word go. Telekinesis is not forging any new paths in the genre, but it is simply impossible to listen to this album and not bop your head for the duration. A solid entry into an ever-improving catalog by one of the most underrated artists on the scene at present, and arguably one of the best efforts of the week.
Recommendation: Don't sleep on this.
Artist: Adia Victoria
Quick Description: Latest from the up-and-coming singer-songwriter.
Why You Should Listen: Adia Victoria should be more famous than she is, given how great she is.
Overall Thoughts: At this stage, Adia Victoria has been doing her own thing for so long I just assume her latest album will be as interesting and compelling as the rest. This album is no different – off-center instrumentation, music with a lot of emotion behind it, evocative lyrics, the whole package. Just a gorgeous, haunting experience that I hope translates into the fame I feel like she should already have.
Recommendation: A solid listen and one of the best of the week.
Artist: Sleaford Mods
Album: Eton Alive
Quick Description: Latest from the UK post-...something act.
Why You Should Listen: This may be their best and most accessible effort yet.
Overall Thoughts: Sleaford Mods might be the one act Ken and I disagree significantly on around here that isn't a mainstream pop act. He's been pushing them toward me for ages, but their sort of working class British lo-fi rap-ish...thing never really resonated with me. For whatever reason, however, Eton Alive is really working for me. The instrumentation is sparse, but meaningfully so, and the vocals feel more straightfoward on this in a way their previous albums didn't come across to me. The whole thing is worth a listen, but a song like "Policy Cream" ultimately gets me excited in a way previous Sleaford efforts haven't.
Recommendation: Give this some time.
Album: Blessing in Disguise
Quick Description: New album from the DJ/producer.
Why You Should Listen: The surprise of the week, great hip-hop-adjacent electronic music.
Overall Thoughts: This album is rock solid. Really reminiscent of some of the jazzy electronica that I was into in high school and college while still maintaining a modern flair, this is something that Ken sent over and just hit me out of nowhere. Definitely a mood record in many regards, this is just something you need to throw on and let take over. You won't regret it.
Recommendation: A must-hear.
* And the Kids - When This Life is Over (A favorite act here, this is a gentle, fragile indie pop record with a lot of wonderful moments sprinkled throughout.)
* Our Native Daughters - Songs of Our Native Daughters (Folk supergroup of sorts offering a themed album of history-tinged music.)
* The Claypool Lennon Delerium - South of Reality (This is something I loved, but it’s not for everyone and I can’t imagine you don’t know whether you’d like this or not just by the names involved.)
* Ace of Wands - Lionness (Very alt-rocky in many regards, with a darker feel.)
* Le SuperHomard - Meadow Lane Park (Very gorgeous and compelling at many times; might have to spend more time with this one.)
* Emilie Kahn - Outro
* Faux Ferocious - Pretty Groovy
* Bruiser and Bicycle - Woods Come Find Me
* Uffie - Tokyo Love Motel
* Sunwatchers - Illegal Moves
* Ohmme - Little Helper 341-2
* Kehlani - While We Wait
* Susanna and the Brotherhood of Our Lady - Garden of Earthly Delights
* Thelma - The Only Thing
* Buck Gooter - Final Thorns