This Month's Picks

Blood (CD)

Sultry Sade devotees Rhye don’t disappoint on their latest, Blood . Velvet-voiced frontman Mike Milosh is on his own for this deeply intimate LP and the songwriting here is a testament to his evolution as an artist. The songs are, as expected, languid and lush, with just a hint of a groove (and more than a hint of eroticism). A deeply romantic LP listeners will want to get lost in. More
Genre: Rock

Clean (CD)

Soccer Mommy
Clean is Soccer Mommy's first full album of new material after a string of intriguing EPs and last year's breakthrough Collection , a (yes) collection of reworked demos and a few new tracks. Penned by twenty-year-old Nashville singer-songwriter Sophie Allison, this latest LP is an extraordinary evolution for the band. Sometimes vulnerable and dreamy, other times bold and unrelenting, the tracks show Soccer Mommy's sonic universe expanding -- and it's a pleasure. "Your Dog" is the perfect kiss-off to a lover who doesn't know how to treat a woman right while "Blossom (Wasting All My Time" is raw and regretful. Clean shows an artist on the rise; expect big things from Soccer Mommy. More
Genre: Rock

Rare Birds (CD)

Jonathan Wilson
Jonathan Wilson might be better known for his production work than his solo career, being the go-to guy behind the boards for hip folkies such as Conor Oberst or Father John Misty, for whom he has produced every album. Still, he’s no slouch as a songwriter, either. Rare Birds is his third solo album and over the course of its 76 minutes it certainly doesn’t lack for ambition, albeit in its own, easygoing way. Coming across as a super-amalgam of breezy '70s rock such as Fleetwood Mac, Al Stewart, Steely Dan, and the mellower bits of Pink Floyd (a particularly apt comparison, as Wilson has also moonlit as the touring guitarist for Roger Waters) mixed with a New Age-minded ambiance and production, Rare Birds takes classic FM rock songwriting into otherworldly, dreamlike-places. Most of these tunes are simple folk tunes at their foundation, but through Wilson’s production are allowed to extend past their verses and choruses into a blissed out state where surreal synths and reverb-drenched atmospherics abound. The album even features a cameo by New Age music and meditation legend Laraaji, whose vocalizations are featured heavily on the audial equivalent of George Harrison unlocking his seventh chakra that is “Loving You.” Somewhere between the barefoot, crystal-peddling yogis of Silverlake and your dad’s record collection is a world that only Wilson understands. Rare Birds proves that it’s about time the rest of us crossed over. More
Genre: Rock

Whistle Down The Wind (CD)

Joan Baez
Joan Baez's quietly revolutionary folk music has made her a legend for a reason. Her latest, Whistle Down the Wind , continues that tradition and proves to be quite timely in its call to work toward a brighter future, even in moments of despair. Baez's talent is matched by that of her skilled collaborators; Mary Chapin Carpenter; Tom Waits, Josh Ritter, Kathleen Brennan, Eliza Gilkyson, Anohni, Joe Henry, and Zoe Mulford all pen tunes or provide inspiration for truly moving cover songs. "The President Sang Amazing Grace" (Mulford) is particularly stirring while Baez's cover of Wait's "Last Leaf" delivers a message of endurance and hope -- but really each song here is a work of art in its own right. More
Genre: Folk

Superorganism (CD)

A collective of 8eight musicians hailing from separate corners of the globe, who initially formed by collaborating on songs via email before all relocating to London, Superorganism just might be the most 21st century band to exist yet. And that doesn’t even cover their sound: a bright, garish take on '00s-inspired electro pop run through glitchy, mind bending production treatments. Combine that with an undeniably twee sense of songwriting, surreal lyrics that make reference to internet video resolutions among other things, and a singing style that recalls Kimya Dawson of the Moldy Peaches. You might have to explain this one to the old folks. More
Genre: Rock

Chime (CD)

Member of Minneapolis hip-hop collective Doomtree, Dessa has been steadily blazing her own trail since 2005. Chime , her fourth studio LP, features 11 distinctive songs that veer from rap, R&B, and indie pop, often within the same track. Lead single “Good Grief” highlights what works so well in Dessa’s idiosyncratic world, with gospel-tinged backing vocals adorning a catchy melody, bookworm-friendly rap verses, and undeniable pop production sheen. As an original contributor to The Hamilton Mixtape , Dessa’s style of songwriting probably draws the closest parallel to that famed soundtrack: literate, detailed, full of drama, and endlessly repeatable. More
Genre: Hip Hop

Ghetto: Misfortune's Wealth (LP)

24-Carat Black
History might have completely forgotten a short-lived soul ensemble from Cincinnati called the 24-Carat Black, who released their lone album Ghetto: Misfortune’s Wealth in 1973, if not for this little thing called hip-hop. At some point in the '90s this album turned into breakbeats 101, being sampled by quite literally everyone, most recently and notably by Kendrick Lamar on 2017’s world conquering DAMN . In fact, look at any random list of the top 10 MCs of all time. Assuredly, more than half of them rapped over these grooves at some point (especially if they’re from NY). Not a bad legacy for a band that had a grand total of EIGHT songs in their discography. The music itself is no slouch either, featuring a teenage group of capable funk acolytes called The Ditalians molded into a streetwise, socially conscious collective by a Stax records conductor named Dale Warren. This is early '70s funk of the Sly Stone-vein venturing into prog rock/concept album territory: full of rich orchestration, long elastic grooves, and plenty of jazz poetry-inspired musings on inner city life and the black experience. With the songs averaging seven minutes long and without a single to speak of, it wasn’t the most commercially successful album of its era, to say the least. However, its genius has been preserved by hip-hop culture and Craft Records, who have lovingly reissued Ghetto onto 180-gram vinyl. Now here’s a question: can an album be considered truly “lost” if, without realizing it, most people have already heard it? Consider it merely great, then. It certainly lives up to that definition. More
Genre: Soul

Legend Of The Seagullmen (CD)

Legend Of The Seagullmen
With riffs this punishing, you can name your band whatever you want. Devised as a soundtrack to a “nautical spaghetti western,” that’s a pretty spot-on description of what Legend of the Seagullmen’s self-titled debut sounds like — albeit one with a bit more potent doom and gloom than your usual Morricone fair. Instead imagine several of the minds behind Tool, Mastodon, and Dethklok joining forces for an unholy romp into mayhem. It’s loud, it’s epic, and it’s really, really good fun.More
Genre: Rock

Plunge (CD)

Fever Ray
It’s always good to return to Fever Ray’s weird, dark, seductive world. Karin Dreijer teams up once again with producer Peder Mannerfelt to create a frenetic, fascinating sound that takes her work with The Knife and twists it into an even more unconventional sonic shape. Yet this synth-heavy, techno-tinged, in-your-face LP also beats with a throbbing humanity. Plunge is just that — a deep dive into what it means to live and love in violent times. More

Phantom Thread [OST] (CD)

Jonny Greenwood
Jonny Greenwood’s evolution from Radiohead guitarist/keyboardist to next generation Hans Zimmer has been fascinating and rewarding. His work for Paul Thomas Anderson’s lovely, disconcerting film Phantom Thread is one of his finest accomplishments. Like the movie, Greenwood’s score operates at a slightly more fevered pitch than everyday life. It’s ravishing and romantic, ruthless and unrelenting. Rarely has a soundtrack been this spot-on, this lovely, and unforgettable. More
Genre: Soundtracks