A super, super busy week.
Artist: Anna Tivel
Album: The Question
Quick Description: Latest from a favorite folky.
Why You Should Listen: Anna Tivel does something a lot more special than you'd initially think.
Overall Thoughts: I’m trying to figure out what it is that makes Anna Tivel so compelling. She’s a favorite here, and I assume it’s likely due to the delicate nature of her instrumentation, or maybe it’s because her vocals work so well with the structures of her songs, or maybe it’s just songs like “Minneapolis” (her best songs are named after places), or maybe it’s just because she is so good at what she does from start to finish. This is an obvious must-listen for anyone into the more folkish side of things, and I hope this ends up being an overdue breakthrough for her.
Recommendation: Make sure you give this a listen.
Artist: Tami T
Album: High Pitched and Moist
Quick Description: Brutally honest electronic confessionals.
Why You Should Listen: In an era where you have artists like Poppy and the PC Music folks, it's weird to hear something like this.
Overall Thoughts: This came out in February and I missed it initially, but I tripped up on it this weekend and, well, wow. I don't quite know for sure whether this is an act or if it's some sort of straightforward album with out-there electronic backing, but this album really blew me away. There are great songs like "Birthday," absolutely crazy instrumentals throughout, songs that just pierce the heart like "Single Right Now..." it's what I would imagine Peaches to be like if she was starting out today. Don't miss this one, Tami T could end up being one of those artists that unexpectedly hits it huge.
Recommendation: Don't miss out on this.
Artist: Your Old Droog
Album: It Wasn't Even Close
Quick Description: New album from a sneaky great rapper.
Why You Should Listen: If you're not on the YOG bandwagon, what are you waiting for?
Overall Thoughts: There are people much better versed in rap music than I ever will be, but I’ll say that every Your Old Droog album (and, really, release period) has been super compelling and has engaged me in a way few rap albums do. This one is no different, from a great a capella break in the middle to an overall tone that feels more like a barstool conversation than the sort of pointed stuff that feels most popular right now. Great album, great delivery, great everything here.
Recommendation: Best rap album of late (not counting the next on our list).
Album: Cuz I Love You
Quick Description: Major-label debut from a favorite here.
Why You Should Listen: Everyone is talking about Lizzo, and for good reason.
Overall Thoughts: Man, how good is Lizzo? If you’ve been reading us for a while, you already know the answer, but this major label debut is going to really do wonders for everyone else who isn’t on board. What’s great about this album is that it is extremely fun – sure, you knew that was coming with “Juice,” but the whole thing feels like an affair that sounds as joyful as it is to listen to it. The Missy Elliott track is great, the whole thing just moves so smoothly… this is just great.
Recommendation: Don’t wait on this.
Quick Description: Strange, multi-genre listen.
Why You Should Listen: It will keep you on your toes.
Overall Thoughts: This is a really odd album in many regards, and that’s not a bad thing. There’s old-style pop music, British twee… all sorts of ingredients put together into an album that, while not sounding like it all matches, still feels like a complete package. I enjoyed this quite a bit, and I could see myself REALLY into it in my early 20s.
Recommendation: Give it a listen.
Quick Description: Near-perfect pop-punk.
Why You Should Listen: You're in the mood for some upbeat fun music.
Overall Thoughts: QWAM is a pleasant surprise this week. I've had awareness of them through a couple prerelease songs, but the full album is just perfect pop-punk song after perfect pop-punk song. I think I liked each song more than the next, which is a good problem to have. "Mall" is great, "Prom Queen" is great, "Buy a Toy" is great... this is just a sub-30 minute blast of music that will stick with you. Even if this album doesn't make some best-of lists, many of the songs certainly should.
Recommendation: This is one of the best of the week.
Artist: Insignificant Other
Album: i'm so glad i feel this way about you
Quick Description: Lo-fi goodness.
Why You Should Listen: I would have been so, so down with this back at the height of the anti-folk movement.
Overall Thoughts: Some gritty, lo-fi-esque indie rock that is really speaking to me. It’s easy to try and make comparisons to acts like Dream Wife or Illuminati Hotties, but this does have its own feel to it. It’s slightly abrasive, definitely raw, and incredibly compelling almost from the first verse of the first song. I can see this one sticking in my rotation for a long time to come.
Recommendation: Don't miss out on this one.
Artist: The Yawpers
Album: Human Question
Quick Description: Rawk!
Why You Should Listen: It's rawk!
Overall Thoughts: Listening to this gives me a real vibe of what it was like when you were hearing murmurings in the clubs about how awesome The Strokes were gonna be in 2000-2001. There’s definitely a modern rock sensibility to this album that is going to get a lot of buzz and maybe generate a “Yawpers are saving rock and roll” thinkpiece or four, but strip away all the baggage and you get a fairly good rock album here. This fifth album showcases a band fully-formed, and even if it’s not quite your speed...
Recommendation: ...you should be able to appreciate it for what it is.
* Thayer Serrano - Wings Alleluia (Haunting, dark country-esque folk. Think Marissa Nadler with some twang.)
* Wand - Laughing Matter (I get some cool Radiohead vibes off of this at times.)
* Sloan Peterson - Midnight Love, Volume 2 (Don't sleep on this. Some solid indie rock here.)
* Jade Bird - Jade Bird (Solid country music if you can tolerate the sharp production.)
* Lolo Zouai - High Highs to Low Lows (Has a number of solid surprises for a pop album.)
* Kinbrae - Landforms (If you like atmospheric electronica, do not miss this.)
* Field Medic - fade into the dawn
* CZARFACE - Double Dose of Danger
* The Tallest Man on Earth - I Love You. It's a Fever Dream
* Heather Woods Broderick - Invitation
* Elva - Winter Sun
* Jens Lekman and Annika Norlin - Correspondence
* Unspoken Tradition - Things We Tell Our Young
* Drug Dealer - Raw Honey
* Wargirl - Wargirl
* Daniel Nogren - Wooh Dang
* Izzy Heltai - Only Yesterday
* Winter - Infinite Summer
* Nolan the Ninja - SPORTEE
* TR/ST - The Destroyer - 1
* Heart Attack Man - Fake Blood
* Cage the Elephant - Social Cues
* We Are Scientists - Megaplex: Rise of the Lycans
* Bananarama - In Stereo
* Diane Coffee - Internet Arms
* The Abyssmals - Gospels, Hymns and Other Trash
* Sad Planets - Akron, Ohio