2018 Albums So Far

It’s been a while since I’ve done a music post. Now that it’s basically summer, here’s what has come out this year so far that I’ve been listening to a lot.

Dirty Computer by Janelle Monáe

Our confirmed bicon is back with an album that lived up to all my hopes and dreams.  “Make Me Feel” got me so excited for this release, especially because the video is killer. And “Screwed” is probably the song of the summer. I have no authority to declare this but I am anyway.

Expectations by Hayley Kiyoko

Another album I was highly anticipating that did not let me down. It’s fun and raw all at once. Hayley is really helping make #20GAYTEEN a great.

The Kids Are Alright by Chloe x Halle

Beyoncé has already given so much to the world and she keeps on giving. She discovered Chloe and Halle Bailey (sisters, not twins. Thanks for the confusion, Grown-ish) and I’m so grateful for her putting them on my radar. They have gorgeous voices and this album is fantastic.

Black Panther Soundtrack by Kendrick Lamar

This soundtrack is sososososo good. I had it on repeat for a while and still put it on a lot. It’s a masterpiece.

Lavender by Half Waif

I talk about how much I love Half Waif a lot. Nandi Rose Plunkett is a dream who creates dreamy music. Not only is this album lovely, it also has a great name and color scheme. (I’m a big fan of purple and the scent of lavender.)

Isolation by Kali Uchis

This girl does a lot. Let me just put the first line of her wikipedia page here: “Karly-Marina Loaiza (born July 17, 1994), better known as her stage name Kali Uchis, is a Colombian-American singer, songwriter, poet, record producer, music video director, and fashion designer.”

She’s only 23! She made an incredible album and somehow has time to do all this other stuff.

Good Thing by Leon Bridges

Leon Bridges is BACK. He’s as charming as ever and modernized his sound a teeny bit. I’m still very into it.

I Don’t Run by Hinds

Hinds is a band from Spain. (“Hinds” being another term for a female deer. They’re a band of all women.) This is their second album of fun garage rock/pop. I unfortunately missed their show when they played here, but I hear they are excellent live.

Now Listening: New Albums Galore

A bunch of albums I had been highly anticipating all came out around the same time and none of them let me down. Here they are:

Second Love by Emmy the Great
I absolutely adore Emma-Lee Moss. She’s made three albums that all have their own distinct sound (she’s landed in an alternative singer-songwriter electronic hybrid genre) and are all equally amazing. If you haven’t listened to her music, please change that! As featured in the image for this post, I bought her album (and awesome notebooks) at her recent show in Philly which means I got the album before the release date and heard some of the songs live first. Absolutely in love with this album. Emma is one of my favorite lyricists and continues to deserve that honor.

Zoetic by The Rocket Summer
Bryce Avary’s first three albums were all something I held dear as a teenager. While I liked his two after those, they didn’t have the same hold over me. But this new one has pulled me right back in. It has been about four years since the last album and has been well worth the wait. I am falling in love with TRS all over again.

You’re a Man Now, Boy by Raleigh Ritchie
Raleigh Ritchie is the stage name of Jacob Anderson, who sometimes popped up in British television shows I watch. Others might know him from a show called Game of Thrones. (I gave up on it before Jacob Anderson’s character appears so I have no idea how much screen time he gets.) I can’t remember how I came across his music or if I even recognized who he was at first, but one way or another I found his songs and have been waiting for this full length. His music is considered alternative R&B, apparently. A lot of the songs on this album easily get stuck in my head. Many will make it into my summer playlists.

Night Swim by Josef Salvat
Early 2016 has been ripe with releases from artists I’ve been waiting around for new music from based on their singles and EPs. So this is another one to check off my list. Salvat is an Australian pop/electro-pop singer who really got started around 2014. So I haven’t been waiting for as long for this as some other albums. But still I am impatient and happy to have it.

Phase by Jack Garratt
Jack Garratt is quietly becoming the fave of many celebrities. Wishing him all the best luck because his music is truly awesome. He’s a one man band who is impressive to watch live. The way he layers sounds and changes pace during songs is ambitious and it works in unexpected ways. He makes discordance work. Probably none of this will make sense until you listen. There’s a reason I don’t review albums at length.

At Hope’s Ravine by Holy Esque
HOLY SHIT THE DAY HAS COME. After being teased for ages there is finally this full length work of art from Holy Esque and I am unsure what to even say about it. What I do know is the songs have to be mesmerizing live so they should do a real tour of the US that comes to Philly instead of just SXSW and whatever else they’ve been doing.

I’ve also been listening to Ra Ra Riot’s latest and Charli XCX’s new EP, which I haven’t been able to form an opinion on because it’s kind of insane.

Anchor & Braille just released a new album that for some reason I haven’t gotten around to really listening to so I am going to get on that.

Right now my most anticipated album is Frightened Rabbit’s. COME BACK TO ME, MY LOVES.

Now Listening: January 2016

2016 started out strong as far as album releases go.

Hymns – Bloc Party spotify
First of all, BLOC PARTY IS BACK.  This just came out this week so I haven’t gotten a chance to listen to it a lot, but loving it on the initial listen. It’s definitely different for them which has some old fans disappointed, but I’m okay with this type of different.

Weem – De Rosa spotify
Another band who has been away even longer is De Rosa. They broke up back in 2009, but reunited recently and now we get this album!

Six Day Hurricane – Johnny Gallagher spotify
People know Johnny Gallagher, Jr. from Spring Awakening and The Newsroom, but before he was making his name as an actor, he was in a band called Old Springs Pike. They’re from around where I live, but seemed to always play 21+ shows when I was still young so I never got to see them before Johnny left and they became The Spring Standards (who are still awesome!). He continued on as a solo artist though. I saw him play about 7/8 years ago and now he finally has an album! Some of the songs have been around a while and it’s great to hear the studio versions and I’m loving the new songs as well.

Not to Disappear – Daughter spotify
I was somewhere on the fence with Daughter before this album. Now I can say I am definitely a fan. They’ve grown a lot with Not to Disappear so I think seeing them when they come to Philly in March is going to happen.

Love + War – KWABS spotify
 This has been out in the UK so I’ve been listening to it for months now, but the US release is here at last. Get into it.

Holy Esque is taking their good ol’ time in releasing a full album and anytime they release a song I’m a little frantic. Tear and Strange are two of the most recent.

I’m a big fan of Mahogany Sessions for videos they do of old favorites as well as how they often introduce me to new artists. I’ve added both Tor Miller and Mahalia onto my radar because of them. They’ve also launched a new project called Distiller which has gotten me into New Carnival. There’s also videos of some other bands I adore such as Bear’s Den,  Luke Sital-Singh, and Marika Hackman. Definitely subscribe to both Youtube channels.

Speaking of Marika, I’ve added her albums back into rotation as well as Wild Belle’s who announced they’re coming back to Philly soon.

All the music mentioned in this post have been put into a Spotify playlist.

Now Listening

I, of course, started this blog and then got busy. I have so many books to talk about, but, for now, here are some new albums I’ve been listening to:

Blood – Lianne La Havas
While her first album was amazing, I’m even more in love with this new one. She’s unfortunately playing Philly when the Pope is here and I’m staying far away from the city that weekend. Hoping she comes back at a better time. Until then, I will listen to her beautiful voice on repeat. (Spotify)

Psychic Reader – Bad Bad Hats
My first exposure to Bad Bad Hats was their music video for It Hurts. I instantly loved them. But they only had an EP out at the time. Psychic Reader is their debut and a great debut at that. (Spotify)

Communion – Years & Years
The lead singer of Y&Y, Olly Alexander, is an actor who had been in a few things I liked. Years & Years then formed and I was really into the songs that started trickling out. The full length got pushed back a few times, but it’s finally here and as dancey and fun as expected. (Spotify)

How Does It Feel – MS MR
I’m not in love with this new album and think I prefer their first, however it still has a lot of catchy songs. The duo is super adorable though and they’re always SO EXCITED when they perform live. (Spotify)

The Way Back Up – Prides
This isn’t out in the US yet, but as per usual I am impatient and can’t wait. (I buy things when they’re finally released here.) Prides is comprised of members that have been in other Scottish bands I like. While my heart will still always belong to (punk) rock, I’m finding more and more electronic bands I enjoy. This is another solid album.

A Dream Outside – Gengahr
This one came out in June and I am just late.  A bunch of British bands/music fans tweeted about how great they are and now I have to agree. (Spotify)

In addition to new albums I’ve been listening to Hop Along and George Ezra a lot lately. I saw both live about a week ago which reinvigorated my love.

I also periodically add artists on SoundCloud who don’t have a lot of music out yet. A few I recently added:

Spotify playlist of these recommendations.

Now Listening

There has been a bit of an explosion of new album releases that I had been anticipating. Here are a few I’ve been listening to:

Pale Horses – mewithoutYou
If there is one thing you should know about me it’s that I LOVE mewithoutYou. They’re from Philly and genius. Also very weird so I understand they’re not everyone’s cup of tea. It even took me some time to warm up to them. (Spotify)

Coming Home – Leon Bridges
The long awaited debut from Leon Bridges is finally here and it’s as wonderful as expected. (Spotify)

My Love Is Cool – Wolf Alice
Another debut I am happy is finally out. I was lucky enough to get to see them at T in the Park last year and they were so great live. Loving this album and excited to see them when they play here. (Spotify)

Tiny Rewards – Admiral Fallow
Boots Met My Face will likely always be my favorite album of theirs but this new one is lovely. (Spotify)

Breathe In. Breathe Out. – Hilary Duff
Yes, Hilary Duff has a new album. I will always love her for how great Lizzie McGuire was for preteen me and she has some solid pop albums. I didn’t enjoy the first single she released for this, so was worried about the album but that song ended up not making the cut and the album is a lot of upbeat fun. (Spotify)

The Desired Effect – Brandon Flowers
Brandon Flowers loves the 80s and I’m okay with it because 80s synth pop in 2015 works for him. (Spotify)

Wild Nights – PINS
I’m all about girl bands. They’re playing Philly next week and I’m more than ready to hear some of these live. (Spotify)

Before We Forget How to Dream – SOAK
So many great debuts! Also someone else playing a Philly show soon. (Spotify)

I’m overwhelmed by all the great releases this year and could likely list a ton more albums, but these are some of the most recent ones I’ve been listening to. Hope you find something you like!

P.S. That roundup of book recs from this year I keep promising is coming! I decided since it’s just about the 6 month mark of this year (how????) I’ll have it coincide with that so the list is almost ready to go. This has been a strong reading year so far so it had been difficult figuring out how I wanted to do a list, but I think I’ve got it.