Cautious Clay – KARPEH-This is probably my favorite album this week. It is my most-listened-to listened to for sure. Cautious Clay is a multi-instrumentalist who plays sax, flute, guitar, bass, keyboard, drums, and more. Also a vocalist. This is on Blue Note (famed jazz label), and certainly has heavy jazz elements to it, but it’s more similar in style to Thundercat, Blood Orange, and such. There are some excellent sounds, songs, and playing on this album. This is Cautious Clay’s second album, but he has done a lot more beyond that, including working with a lot of pop artists. A sample from one of his early songs shows up on the song “London Boy” by someone named Taylor Swift. I highly recommend checking this album out.
Margaret Glaspy – Echo The Diamond-my second favorite album this week, is the fourth album from Margaret Glaspy. It starts off as a rock record with the fantastic opening track “Act Natural” (which will be on my end of the year mix for sure), and the aggressive groove of “Female Brain”. It eventually leads to more mid-tempo and slower songwriter tunes, with strong songs. Check this out.
Taylor Ashton – Stranger to the Feeling-well shit, this is a fantastic singer-songwriter album. I hate this, as he has four other albums out, and now I need to go catch up. The Canadian wrote this on a road trip across America. It features a lot of guests, but they don’t overtake the songs. Buck Meek from Big Thief, Rachel Price from Lake Street Dive, Courtney Hartman, and more. It really does sound like a road album, with some of the songs having a little bit of a hippie 70’s vibe but also some more somber songs that might sound good around an off-road campfire late at night. Check this out.
Birdy – Portraits-we are ten years and five albums into Birdy. This one has her maturing a bit, getting a little dramatic with the songs and adding an 80s flare. That worries me because the whole 80s sound is becoming a trend, which means it will go away again, and I just want it to stay forever. Anyways, this starts off with an absolute bang with “Paradise Lost” and the ride doesn’t slow down much from there. This is going to be a grower, too. I look forward to listening to this a lot more.
PÆRISH – You’re in both dreams (and you’re scared)-this is just really good alt. Rock. Like really good. Buzzy, dense, melodic alt rock. I think I might have an older CD from them around here. Will have to go back and listen to more of their stuff.
Diners – DOMINO-OK-now I am starting to think there is a power pop revival happening or about to happen. This is two weeks in a row with a well-above-average power pop album. This one even sounds a bit more modern than the one from last week, though it still owes a lot to the classics. If you want a happy album, this is it. Good stuff.
Dizzy – DIZZY-This is very good. Looking at the cover it looks like it would be teen electro or some Melanie Martinez-type thing. It has someone wearing a horror mask of some sort. It’ s really good indie female-fronted pop music. They have a couple other albums out, and the covers are kind of funny in how normal they look in comparison. Nothing groundbreaking here, but a very solid album.
Genesis Owusu – Struggler-I feel like his debut was interesting but too weird for me. This one is weird, but super listenable. Hip-hop, funk, rock, jazz-all of it. It’s fun. There is a little bit of stanky funk on here also. Gonna dig into this more.
Gregory Alan Isakov – Appaloosa Bones-new album from the popular modern folk singer-songwriter. It’s very pretty; it has some sweeping epic songs and some that are stark and tender. If you are a fan of Isakov, this will deliver.
Karina Rykman – JOYRIDE-this is co-produced by Trey from Phish, and he plays all over it. So, I thought I would not be into it, but it’s good pop music that has some psych elements in it. Quite enjoyable, actually.
David Dondero – Immersion Therapy-new album from the singer-songwriter that used to be on Conor Obersts Team Love label. It’s pretty good. Very matter-of-fact songwriting, like on the song “After the Pandemic”. Some sort of theme on anxiety and mental health here. Only for a certain kind of listener, for sure. Not all acoustic guitars, there are strings, pedal steel, a lot of production here.
Arnold Dreyblatt & The Orchestra of Excited Strings – Resolve-Arnold Dreyblatt is well beyond my ability to write about music; he always has been. This is four songs of a minimalist trio with weird instruments, modified guitars, and such. It’s really good. It sounds particularly good at 5 a.m. in a coffee shop. Probably at other times, though, but I can vouch for the 5 a.m. at the coffee shop.
Forager – Pipedream Firewood-This is excellent. Debut album from Brooklyn band. Sophisticated, fun, jazzy pop music. Kind of like the musical act Tennis with more musicality and soul. It just has a light vibe to it. Check this out.
King Khan – The Invaders – Original Score-score to a documentary wirh lots of bite-size stonky blues, blaxploitation soul, garage, and even dub. I enjoyed this a lot.
Jon Batiste-World Music Radio-this album has a theme where Batiste is doing a radio station or something. It’s over an hour long and is supposed to be music from all over the world, but really doesn’t have that vibe. There are some nice moments, but overall it’s uneven and overindulgent. Lana Del Ray and Kenny G guest among others,
Giggs – Zero Tolerence-UK Rapper that has been around for decades. New album. It sounds really good. Dave, Jadakiss, and 21 Savage guests
Mapache – Swinging Stars-California folk band that has been around for a few years and has put out a bunch of albums in those few years. It sounds like old hippie bands. Sounds nice in short segments. I bet they are very good live.
Jill Andrews – Modern Age-Her last album was called Thirties and had songs like “The Kids Are Growing Up’. This one starts off with a song called “80’s Baby”. So her music is definitely written for a certain demo. It’s pleasant and actually pretty good. I am probably not that demo, as I have listened a couple times and I trail off in the middle. That “80’s Baby” song is catchy, though.
Cory Wong – The Lucky One-Wong is a guitarist from Minneapolis who has played with a lot of people, and he puts out a lot of albums that feature a lot of people. He gets a serious wide array of guests on his albums. This one has Dodie, O.A.R., Basstracks and Big Gigantic. His music is always all over the place, also. I never really connected with it, but I bet some people do. It’s just too hodge podge, over produced lacking substance for me to grab onto. Talented dude, though.
Reneé Rapp – Snow Angel-debut album from the actress. We listened to this in the store. Was pretty bland pop music. Felt like she was trying some Beyonce arrangements.
Grace Potter – Mother Road-I used to like some of her early stuff. Somewhere along the line, it got to be very cliche female rocker with soul, but no real inspiration or interesting songs. This is that for me. Very produced Americana rock. The “Good Time” song is pretty good, though.
Leon Thomas – Electric Dusk-pretty good R&B album but lots of cliches lyrically, but the musical vibe is certainly that of the title of the album.
Bearings – The Best Part About Being Human-pop punk band.
Bobby Rush – All My Love For You -How many studio albums has Bobby Rush put out? 29. How old is he? 89 Does he still tour? He does. Bobby Rush can still sing some blues, funk and soul. It sounds like an 89 year old singing blues, funk, and soul, though.
Dan Sultan – Dan Sultan-Dan is a rock singer-songwriter from Australia who has won a lot of awards. I only made it a couple songs in. Sounds fine-middle of the road adult rock music.
Fiddlehead – Death Is Nothing To Us-third album from the post hardcore band
Hozier – Unreal Unearth-third album from Hozier. People are buying this up. Not my thing at all-but if you dig him-seems like other people are digging this album.
Idina Menzel – Drama Queen-new album from the Queen of Broadway and Elsa.
KEY! – Marquis-new album from Atlanta rapper
Lil Zay Osama – 4 The Trenches new album from the Chicago rapper.
Mick Jenkins – The Patience -this is pretty good. Also a Chicago rapper, and I think it’s his fourth album. Freddie Gibbs guests, among others
Movements – RUCKUS! -has that emo voice sound mixed with an aggressive voice.
Naked Lungs – Pressure-noisey post punk band. Pretty heavy for the genre. The first song is called “Gack” and the second song is called “Second Song”. I like it.
Nathan Mongol Wells – From a Dark Corner- Nathan is from Ottoman Turks. This is garage-rock country. Gritty-it has its moments, but it’s kind of hard to take too seriously.
Oblivion Protocol – The Fall Of The Shires-prog rock-like Pink Floyd type stuff not aggressive, though I only listened to one song, so maybe it gets as aggressive as prog rock has ever gotten. It is up to you to find out.
The One Eighties – Minefields-So this duo was in a band and they had a buzz and then Covid hit. This is them starting all over again-a one eighty. They describe their music as Americana with 80’s synth (see-a trend!). That kind is what it is. They have also listened to some ABBA in their life. There is some talent here.
OSEES – Intercepted Messages-I go back and forth with this band. I like them, but they change their sound a lot, and sometimes I don’t dig it, and they put out a lot of stuff. It’s hard to keep up with them. This I do like, because … you guessed it, 80’s synths! It’s really fun.
Point North – Prepare for Despair-young rock, Metal-Core?
PYNKIE – Songies-I almost didn’t listen to this as she calls her songs “songies”, but I did, and it’s pretty good indie pop. Nothing super inspiring.
Rhiannon Giddens – You’re the One-super talented Americana artist; I just never connect with her sound and songs. You could and should, though. Jason Isbell guests.
Russ – Santiago-he is one of the top 500 most-listened-to artists on Spotify. It’s modern R&B and hip-hop. It’s obviously not aimed at me, but it’s OK. Better than a lot in this genre. Some good grooves, some soul, and some good hooks Too much voice manipulation, but otherwise not bad.
SKÁLMÖLD – Ýdalir-new album from Icelandic metal band
Spirit Adrift – Ghost at the Gallows-new album from the metal band from Arizona.
Stephen Steinbrink – Disappearing Coin-session player who has been with AJJ, Girlpool, and more, puts out laid-back, well-crafted bedroom pop albums. This is a very pleasant listen with good songs.
Teddy Thompson – My Love of Country-Richard and Linda’s kid does an album of old-school country covers.
Tribes – Rabbit Head-anthemic, hooky rock band that sounds dated.
The View – Exorcism of Youth-Thought this was going to be a metal album. It’s actually a jangly, very produced, indie pop album from some Irish lads, I think.
Yatta Bandz – TUFF LUV-modern r&b with all the voice manipulation. Pretty catchy.