Some early favorites for the year appearing here, and some of them are total surprises. There are some real gems here, and I had a lot to work with and even had to cut a few to keep this one a reasonable length. Just one month in and 2021 is delivering some great new albums, as well as promising many more in the works.
I’ve got to start with this new Tune-Yards single, “hold yourself.” This one was a surprise for me, and it’s connected with me, I think, more than anything they’ve ever released. So combine that with their now well-established reputation for boundary-pushing, genre-blending indie-pop, and this has gotten me pretty excited to hear more from them.
Last weekend, I spent a good chunk of time with the new Steve Earle album, J.T. It was back in August that we learned of the passing of Steve’s son, Justin Townes Earle. This new release is 10 covers of Justin’s songs, and closes with an incredible tribute song called “Last Words”. It’s worth noting that this might be Steve’s best song that he’s ever written. Every line hits right to the heart. Somehow, with this song Steve was able to communicate all the mess of emotions that he’d felt with Justin’s passing. It’s a heartbreaking song, but it’s also beautiful. At some point, play that song and listen to it without any other distraction. Listen to every word, and feel it.
I follow a lot of luthiers on Instagram. I love seeing the craftsmanship. Well, one of my favorite builders is Mule Resophonic Guitars, and I’ve found a few artists through them that have ended up on the Fortnightly. Most recently through Mule, I’ve found Larkin Poe. The duo are sisters Megan and Rebecca Lovell and following a breakout album in 2020, they’ve now released a collection of covers. I don’t think you’ll find a better modern blues sound than what these two have developed over their now 6 album catalog. Gritty, mean-sounding riffs that make you scrunch your face up and say “oooh…” Their singing and their guitar-work together is just absolutely perfect. It’s got that bourbon-soaked, smokey bar, dusty road kind of soul.
Ity was tricky this edition fitting in what I wanted to, and some things have been pushed to next time or cut. There’s a lot of great new music out right now and coming soon. This list was pushing an hour and a half, and it took some last minute changes to make it fit together nicely. Besides what I’ve already mentioned here, some favorites are Sitka Sun, Crazy Arm, Arlo Parks, Goldmund, and this killer Run The Jewels remix with Mexican Institute of Sound.
Sitka Sun – Dauntless
Run the Jewels – Ooh La La (Mexican Institute of Sound remix)
Kali Uchis, Buscabulla – la luz(Fin) Buscabulla Remix
KAMAUU – MANGO
Arlo Parks – Hope
Tune-Yards – hold yourself.
Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio – Right Place, Right Time
Breeze Brewin, Juggaknots, Marco Polo – King Oxymoron
Madlib – Road of the Lonely Ones
Goat Girl – Badibaba
Jess Locke – Destroy Everything
Bleach Lab – Old Ways
Crazy Arm – Fear Up
Larkin Poe – Fly Away
Steve Earle – Last Words
Dan Wriggins – Dent
Holly Macve – Be My Friend
Pearl Charles – Sweet Sunshine Wine
Hand Habits – 4th of July
Eddie Vedder – Future Days-acoustic at home
John Fogerty – Weeping in the Promised Land
Oux – Rise
Goldmund – The One Who Stands By