Just when you thought you were safe from another year end roundup list..
I wanted to make a little review of a few albums I loved this year, when I made the ‘Not Jerks’ playlist last year it was out of frustration that a handful of artists I had listened to and supported had turned out to be jerks (see: Me Too) I also wanted to see if I could write reviews as I never had before. Be kind.
This year I made a concerted effort to find artists that are not (at the time of writing) jerks. I found more artists than ever that I truly loved and some incredible albums.
The EP I have played most in the last few months is the self titled project from Boygenius. Written and recorded over one week, Prolific artists in their own right, Lucy Dacus, Julien Baker and Phoebe Bridgers have created a perfect collection of songs, each beautifully crafted and heartbreakingly raw. It feels like a great privilege to be alive at the same time as such incredible artists.
Listen to - Me & My Dog, Ketchum ID.
In ‘Cool’ Sophie Allison grits her teeth through jealousy in defiant and wishful lyrics ‘I want to know her like you’…’I want to be that cool’ It’s a track that stays with you, through the build up of layered instruments and into the woozy guitar trail out. It’s a song that speaks to the ache of so desperately wanting be a part of something. You can see from even a first listen that Sophie Allison is unafraid to speak about her complicated emotions. After listening to the 10 short tracks of ‘Clean’ you will immediately want to start over and you absolutely should.
Listen to - Cool, Your Dog.
Holding nothing back and fully embracing her identity and asserting her power as a once in a generation artist, Dirty Computer is a departure from her android persona and as such is a more real and braver record than she has ever released.
Lyrics filled with empowerment, truth and vulnerability all the time coupled with tracks that dance across the full spectrum of genres, tied together perfectly taking you on a journey through each track to the triumphant finale of ‘Americans.’
I had the privilege to snag a ticket to her sold out roundhouse show this year, If you have not seen Janelle Monaé live you need to sort that out ASAP.
Listen to - Django Jane, Americans.
At just 17 years old Lindsay Jordan wrote a near perfect song ‘Thinning’ and in the two years after followed it up with an album full of promise of what is to come. It seems that young solo indie rock artists are rightly getting their time in the spotlight and Snail Mail is no exception, watching live performances it feels impossible that this three piece band isn’t made up of more people with the complexity of the guitar parts when she plays rhythm and lead at the same time with ease.
If this album is any indication, Snail Mail is only just beginning.
Listen to - Pristine, Speaking Terms.
If there is anything bad to say about Nao it is this, her voice is so impossibly high (for me) I will never sound good singing any of her songs.
Which is to say there is nothing bad to say about Nao, there is nothing bad to say about her second album ‘Saturn’ either. The follow up to 2016’s ‘For All We Know’ is a step up from an excellent first release from an already prolific artist. A successful recording artist and guest on tracks for Disclosure and Mura Masa, Nao has released two albums that cement her as the artist she should be recognised as.
After listening to Saturn go back to her back catalogue, you will absolutely not be disappointed.
Listen to - Make It Out Alive, Curiosity, If You Ever.