Quick Thoughts: For all the talk of Central Massachusetts and greater New England being a hub for metal, it's stunning how much high-quality roots and folk music comes from these parts. The latest album from Ash & Eric, who many may know under their previous name The Promise Is Hope, released a new album this week that is stunningly gorgeous and rivals The Civil Wars in terms of the ability to pull together compelling songs and narratives with gorgeous melodies and harmonies both. I'm a little biased, as they have roots in my hometown, but I did not expect to outright love this album the way I do, and I think you should make time for it.
Songs of Note: "Until My Heart Grows Quiet," "Church of the Concrete Wave," "Simon, Taylor, Denver, Cash"
Album: Oras Dezaoradas
Quick Thoughts: I didn't know Lily Henley before this week, but in terms of impressive musical efforts, this is right up there with the best of them. An album performed primarily in the endangered Ladino language (a Judeo-Spanish language spoken by approximately 100,000 people), it's a real gorgeous piece of work as much as it is an important piece of art. Out of nowhere, this was amazing, and I am looking forward to revisiting this one.
Songs of Note: "Avre De Puerta Serrada," "Esta Noche Te Amare," "La Muza de la Kozina / The Favorite"
Album: Obsessed With the West
Quick Thoughts: We like Brennen Leigh, we like Asleep at the Wheel, and this album really does what it says on the tin. It's a fun, free celebration of the best of country music executed by some of the best, and it's worth a listen.
Songs of Note: "If Tommy Duncan's Voice Was Booze," "Obsessed With the West"
Album: Lonely Beach
Quick Thoughts: Minyt has a unique indie/alt sound, and this latest effort continues along those same lines. It feels very post-rockish in places, which is a nice change of pace as well, but there's enough here to really make it worth the time in a busy week. Don't miss the "bonus track" at the end, which is one of my favorite songs of the week.
Songs of Note: "Aria," "Vanilla Sky," "So Lost"
Album: Let It Be Blue
Quick Thoughts: I don't have a ton to say about the new !!!, except that they've reached a groove of sorts with their music that just works for me. Let It Be Blue is smart and funky and weird, just like I like it, and it's a great listen. Also, their version of R.E.M.'s "Man on the Moon" is kind of brilliant.
Songs of Note: "Here's What I Need to Know," "Man on the Moon," "Let It Be Blue," "This is Pop 2"
Album: Faster Than I Can Take
Quick Thoughts: A shout-out to Jane Inc., who had a debut album come out last year and the new follow-up coming in hot with a great indie disco feel. In a week with as much folk/roots stuff in it, some solid dance music is just the ticket, with songs like "2120" that have a real solid groove. Overall, a great listen.
Songs of Note: "Contortionists," "Human Being," "2120," "Dancing With You"
Album: Breaking the Thermometer
Quick Thoughts: Leyla McCalla makes some of the best, most important folk music out there. The latest album feels more like her Vari-Colored Songs than The Capitalist Blues, but the musicianship is top-notch and the outcome is a great listen in a week full of them. Do not hesitate to add this to the rotation.
Songs of Note: "Fort Dimanche," "Dodinin," "You Don't Know Me"
Quick Thoughts: I don't remember when I first noticed Charlie Collins, but "Backseat Valentine" hit the streaming services a few weeks back and I've been addicted ever since. Lots of urgent singer-songwriter material here, with some brutal honesty to go along with the catchy melodies. A great listen.
Songs of Note: "Just My Luck," "Backseat Valentine," "Are You Even Listening," "Fuck It"
Quick Thoughts: A shout-out to this debut EP from a 19-year-old (man, what?) singer-songwriter who made one of my favorite songs of 2022 so far with "Motorbike." An absolutely brilliant listen, and I can't wait for an eventual album.
Songs of Note: "Motorbike," "It's the Future, Baby," "Apple Juice"
* Ellevator - The Words You Spoke Still Move Me (Solid pop music.)
* Yawners - Duplo ("Bilingual power pop" is pretty much the perfect descriptor.)
* Sharon Van Etten - We've Been Going About This All Wrong (Stark, yet memorable.)
* Arcade Fire - WE (It's good, but doesn't take a lot of risks.)
* Hater - Sincere (Solid new record from the indie rockers.)
* Belle & Sebastian - A Bit of Previous (It's not like their early work, but it's their best since Dear Catastrophe Waitress)
* Night Court - Nervous Birds! Too
* Suki Waterhouse - I Can't Let Go
* Noveller - Aphantasia
* Service - Drag Me
* The Builders and The Butchers - Hell & High Water
* Otoboke Beaver - Super Champon
* Peaness - World Full of Worry
* Warpaint - Radiate Like This
* Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever - Endless Rooms
* Sunflower Bean - Headful of Sugar
* Speedfossil - No Anesthesia
* Desire - Escape
* Alison Wonderland - Loner
* Squalloscope - Weighbearer
* girlhouse - the third ep
* Greta Morgan - Desert Lullabies
* Sinclair - Montage
* Wallice - 90s American Superstar
* Flight Mode - Torshov, '05
* The Dogmatics - Drop That Needle
* Ivy Hollivana - Believer
* Rachael Dadd - Flux Alchemy Part I
* REYNA - you could at least say goodbye
* Tashaki Miyaki - Under Cover, Vol. 1 (Streaming debut of their first album of covers.)
* Jens Lekman - The Linden Trees Are Still in Blossom (More Lekman Versions.)
* Anais Mitchell - Anais Mitchell (Deluxe)
* Lydia Ainsworth - Sparkles & Debris Reimagined
* Mary Lou Lord - She'd Be a Diamond