As I’ve come to always do here, this edition includes some local, national, and global artists, some newcomers, veterans, and longtime legends, and a wide array of genres. New albums from Bon Iver, Burna Boy, and Kassi Valazza, and new singles from Loma, Lemolo, Raphael Saadiq, The New Pornographers, Ocean Wisdom, and Phantogram are all included here.
Justin Vernon is one of the most talented, boundary-pushing artists making music today. One album is never the same the one before. In recent albums this has been a movement into more electronic sounds and more effects on his vocals. In Bon Iver’s 2016 album, 22, a million, this was taken to a much further degree than before. In the new record, i,i, Vernon pulls things back in a different direction. It feels more intimate and straightforward, and many of the best lyrical moments feel that way too. I think there’s a very good balance to this album. The swelling, climactic moments on “Hey, Ma” and “Faith” are full of moving and powerful, and they are well-timed in the context of the full album. It’s a beautiful work.
I’m very excited for the return of Lemolo. The new album, Swansea, is due out this fall from Poulsbo, WA singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Meagan Grandall. It’s been 4 years since her 2nd record, Red Right Return, was released. This is when I first heard and fell in love with her music. A few months later I got to see her open for M. Ward, and I love seeing that an artist can both put on an amazing show and make excellent records. The new single, “High Tide”, certainly has me looking forward to the new album.
Other favorites this edition are TR/ST, Raphael Saadiq, Mavis Staples, Homeboy Sandman, Death Cab for Cutie, and The Hold Steady.
TR/ST – Iris
Loma – Half Silences
Lemolo – High Tide
The New Pornographers – Falling Down the Stairs of Your Smile
Raphael Saadiq – So Ready
Little Simz, Michael Kiwanuka – Flowers
Ocean Wisdom – 4AM
Verb T, Pitch 92 – Tragedy & Comedy
Homeboy Sandman – West Coast
Burna Boy – On The Low
Clinton Fearon – Time
Mavis Staples – Stronger
Kassi Valazza – Chino
David Quinn – Wanderin’ Fool
Bon Iver – Faith
Chastity Belt – Elena
NAVVI – Modern Chemistry
Death Cab For Cutie – To the Ground
Big Thief – Not
Phantogram – Mister Impossible
The Hold Steady – You Did Good, Kid