Spotify recommends that I add Miley Cyrus, Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift, John Mayer, and OneRepublic to this playlist based on the songs I have selected. This is a clear example of why not to trust robots. I’m not sure how the robots think those artists fit with Sampa the Great, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, The HU, or clipping. I have my suspicions of their algorithm.
The New Pornographers have been something of a constant for my musical tastes in the last 12 years or so. There has been changes to the group from record to record, but I don’t think any fans will complain about having an album that includes a bit more Neko Case than has often been the case before. It’s possible that this is the best record for some of the strongest aspects of the group. The singable melodies, the upbeat hooks, and the blending of all the vocalists are some of the reasons I’ve followed the band all this time. The 3 singles that came out before the record are all among the strongest tracks, and “Higher Beams”, “Leather On The Seat”, and “You’ll Need a New Backseat Driver” also stand out to me right away.
Blending Jazz, Soul, and Hip-Hop, Sampa the Great’s new album, The Return, has immediately landed high on my list for the year. She was born in Zambia, raised in Botswana, and is now based in Melbourne, Australia. The variety of influences comes through as well, yet they blend so well into a cohesive project. To top it all off, the album is chock full of solid guest contributions from artists I never knew before which, I aniticipate, will lead to more discoveries. The Motown groove of “Freedom”, the Hip-Hop swagger of “Final Form”, the dreamy trap beat, swelling strings, and psychadelic guitars of “The Return”, the Jazz-groove of “Dare to Fly”… this album takes you everywhere. How many albums of the year am I allowed to have?
Other favorites this edition are Brittany Howard, clipping., Raphael Saadiq, and The Highwomen.
Raphael Saadiq – Sinners Prayer
Sampa the Great, Ecca Vandal – Dare to Fly
Rapsody – Myrlie
Somos Guerreras – Hip Hop Don’t Stop
Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Eme Alfonso – Keep Your Head Up
Brittany Howard – Goat Head
Dessa, Minnesota Orchestra – Call Off Your Ghost (Live)
Lemolo – South of Sound
The New Pornographers – Higher Beams
Neal Francis – This Time
The Highwomen – Crowded Table
Death Cab For Cutie – Before The Bombs
Ceremony – In The Spirit World Now
The HU – Shoog Shoog
clipping. – Nothing is Safe
Shredders – Shadap You Face, Pt. II
Temples – Context
Foals – Into the Surf
The Highwomen – If She Ever Leaves Me
The New Pornographers – One Kind of Solomon