What am I most excited about in music right now? Typically, I just pick 2 or 3 to write about a little more, and leave it to the music to speak for itself. There’s a lot here, and there’s a lot to say. New Lemolo, Angel Olsen, Wilco, L’Orange, and Danny Brown albums, and new singles from DJ Shadow, Kele, Songhoy Blues, and HOLY.
I’ll start here. This week, as I was driving, I heard the new single from Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke. Now he released an album under his full name earlier this year already, but now is set to release another under his other moniker, Kele. This single, which I chose as the opener for this edition of the playlist, hit me instantly. It’s a 6-minute epic, but I was ready to listen again as soon as it was done. If this is what is in store for his next release, then I’m all in on it. It’s due out on November 1st, so more to come soon!
As I was building this list, I started thinking on country vocalists. I don’t think there’s a better male country vocalist currently than Jay Farrar of Son Volt, and, as no one who reads this blog will be surprised to hear, I would swear that Brandi Carlile is the best female country vocalist working today. I tend to steer away from making “the best” statements, and try to focus on my own favorites and what I connect with. I don’t think it is possible to really stay objective or even consistent on things like this. On this I’ll stand though, I think Jay Farrar and Brandi Carlile are the best, and this edition I’ve put them right next to each other in the playlist to try and highlight this.
L’Orange. Okay, so I came in late on this North Carolina beatmaker. Last year his album with Solemn Brigham, Marlowe, ranked as my 3rd favorite album of the year, and I’ve been filling myself in a bit on his back catalogue (both solo, and his collaborations with different rappers). He’s built his reputation sampling early jazz records and vintage radio broadcasts, and this new album with Jeremiah Jae is another beauty. L’Orange tends to make his albums as a genre of film. Marlowe was a crime drama that had a dry wit to it, and Complicate Your Life With Violence is like a war movie with apocalyptic tones. So far, the track that has stood out most to me, and which I’ve included here, is “Cool Hand” with multiple samples of Elmore James’ classic “Anna Lee”. I don’t know of another DJ out there sampling the way that L’Orange does, and creating a cinematic story in the same way. Listening to a L’Orange record is like listening to a radio-drama.
Are we halfway through October? What albums are your favorites so far this year?
Kele – Between Me and My Maker
Temples – The Howl
Songhoy Blues – Meet Me In The City
Brittany Howard – 13th Century Metal
Great Grandpa – Mono no Aware
HOLY – You shine on me (feat. Boys)
Lemolo – Heart to Hand
Angel Olsen – Impasse
Wilco – One and a Half Stars
Kurt Vile, The Sadies – Baby’s Arms
Son Volt – Holding Your Own
The Highwomen – Wheels of Laredo
Hiss Golden Messenger – Bright Direction (You’re a Dark Star Now)
Just Mustard – Seven
Ex Hex – Rainbow Shiner
Death Valley Girls – Dream Cleaver
Sheer Mag – Blood from a Stone
Mikal Cronin – Shelter
Sault – Living In America
L’Orange, Jeremiah Jae, Chester Watson – Cool Hand
Danny Brown – Change Up
DJ Shadow – Urgent, Important, Please Read (feat. Rockwell, Knuckles, Tef Poe, Daemon)