Alynda Segarram is back with project “Hurray For The Riff Raff” and ninth album The Past Is Still Alive. The album is more tender and vulnerable than previous releases, especially informed by the artists father passing away a month before beginning to record the album. This is a more folk-oriented album than previous releases, thoughtful and more autobiographical as they travel “their saturated backstory to remember loved ones, honour fellow travellers and “watch the world burn” with a tear in their eye.” (The Guardian).
Sydney (Australia) band Middle Kids started out in the mid 2010s, led by Hannah Joy’s beautiful voice and songwriting talent. We’ve loved their journey including their latest LP “Faith Crisis Pt 1”. The set of sweet melodic songs is irresistible, with standouts including “Dramamine”, “Bend” and “Bootleg Firecracker”. Recorded in the UK with producer Jonathan Gilmore (The 1975) the album gestated while Hannah was going through the experience of being a first time Mum (nice album background in this article on The AU Review).
Brittany’s second solo album is a fascinating effort. The Alabama Shakes singer’s new album (“outrageously great” according to The Guardian) is a earthy mix of Southern roots rock however on tracks like “Prove it to You” she expands her horizons to Eurobeat and other songs go well beyond these bounds. Her fulsome voice anchors the whole effort, certainly a special album.
Qobuz described this baroque, glam OTT band as “lush, louche, lusty and fun”. We couldn’t say it better. These tuneful and playful songs echo the path forged by fellow female UK band Wet Leg a couple of years ago. This is a fun rocking collection! As The Guardian said, “the year’s most hyped band totally deliver”.
Future Islands’ seventh album is a combination of pandemic era music and post first tour music, and to some extent reflects the change in mindset over those years. The end of relationships, friendships and unhelpful aspects of the self all form the backdrop of this album from the Baltimore alternative stalwarts.
Alexis Petridis of The Guardian describes it as “a brutal, beautiful breakup album” in a review that outstandingly unpacks the album. We look forward to meandering through it each morning this week.
Sleater-Kinney date back to 1994 when Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein of Olympia, Washington joined forces to create scrappy activist-punk manifestos. On their eleventh album Little Rope explore vulnerability. Leading into the creation of the album Brownstein’s parents died in a car accident in Italy, a devastating loss that working on this album partly provided an outlet. The metaphor of “Little Rope” is ambiguous – it could be rope to hang, or rope to rescue. Pitchfork said that “grief clarifies the air” on the album in a 7.7 review. We’ll enjoy some great rock from the album this week – this interview with AP provides more background from the duo.
From the cover you could be accused of thinking this was an American band, however once the first strident chords and vocals of “Sometimes, I Swear” burst through there can be no illusions. The Vaccines burst onto the scene in the 2010s, quickly gaining a reputation on the London music scene. Their sixth album is another great collection of rocking hooky numbers, just the kind of Indie we lap up. The Guardian described it as “high-octane” sonic euphoria” – we couldn’t agree more!
Conceived on a cross-US road trip Grace Potter has crafted “bold, colorful roots rock record filled with funky rhythms and big hooks” (AllMusic). The singer, organist and guitarist (ex The Nocturnals) has worked with The Flaming Lips, Gov’t Mule and Kenny Chesney. This is her fifth solo album, a really enjoyable album, folky, rocky and evocative of a trip down Route 66. Continuing our journey through some great albums from 2023 that we missed, we’ll be enjoying this album each morning this week.
Semisonic returned to the scene in 2020 with EP You’re Not Alone which we enjoyed. In November their renaissance continued with the release of the excellent Little Bit of Sun, a warm and melodic album with touches of Indie and Americana. We look forward to checking it out this week.
Mitski had burnt out on the demands of the music business and the demands of ‘representation’, in her case pigeonholed due her Asian American heritage. The break led to this album, her “most American album … This land, which already feels inhospitable to so many of its inhabitants, is about to feel hopelessly torn and tossed again – at times, devoid of love. This album offers the anodyne”.
With an interesting range of influences this is a rich album – less synth pop than its predecessor Laurel Hell and more settled, although still with a rich soundscape. Alexis Petridis in The Guardian described it perfectly as “Playing country-inflected orchestral pop with sardonic wit and deep feeling, Mitski underlines why she’s one of the very best singer-songwriters working today”.