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In Tune Alt-10
There are so many truly great records that came out this year it is impossible to limit the list to just 10. The Alt-10 are records that just missed the cut but remain well worth your time.
Boygenuis – Boygenius EP
This is the alt-folk supergroup of Lucy Dacus, Julien Baker and Phoebe Bridgers. All three of these artists have been on my annual top ten lists in the past (Dacus this year). Together they build beautiful, haunting and complex harmonies.
Tom Misch – Geography
If Matt Maltese is the ironic face of Schmaltzcore, Misch is the earnest side of the same coin. He has a deep understanding of the sounds of soul and R&B and blends live and produced elements seamlessly. His set was one of the highlights of Voodoo this year.
Spiritualized – And Nothing Hurt
J. Spaceman is back with an absolutely stunning record. This latest release harkens back to the early sound of Spiritualized without sounds nostalgic or letting go of the growth that Jason Pierce has exhibited over his last couple of records.
Waxahatchee – Great Thunder EP
It seems like we don’t go a year without one of the Crutchfield sisters claiming a spot near the top of these lists. This year Katie returns with a reimagining of six tracks that she recorded back in 2012. Here she has chosen minimal arrangements over her recent maximalist approach to exquisite ends.
Mothers – Render Another Ugly Method
Kristine Leschper and company return with a complex and beautiful record that examines the fractured nature of everyday life. Leschper’s voice is both haunting and arresting as she moves through these beautiful arrangements.
Snail Mail – Lush
Lindsay Jordan released her debut record this year under the moniker Snail Mail. This record resides at the intersection of bedroom pop and indie rock. There is a slightly nostalgic nod to the female singer/songwriter/rockers of the 90s here as well. Jordan’s voice and lyrics pull the whole package together wonderfully.
Soccer Mommy – Clean
Sophie Allison’s debut record is one of the great records of the year in terms of sheer songwriting prowess. This collection of songs is positively captivating. The record presents them mostly unadorned as if Allison is speaking directly to us. “Your Dog” is also one of the great tracks of the year.
Kacey Musgraves – Golden Hour
We have reached a place with Kacey Musgraves in just three records where one of her album releases really feels like an event unto itself. Here Musgraves reinvents herself by stepping back a bit from the overt playfulness of her first records to take a more observational perspective. She is looking for the why of things in a way that is particularly suited to country music.
Parquet Courts – Wide Awake!
Parquet Courts return with Danger Mouse along as producer for their fourth record. While the emotional and political charge of the music remains in the same vein the songs themselves are more approachable and danceable rock than ever. Plus the videos for this record were filmed around New Orleans during Mardi Gras.
LUMP – LUMP
Laura Marling and Mike Lindsay (of Tunng) teamed up for this remarkable project. Lindsay lends more of the folktronica vibe to Marling’s sound and together they have produced something that sounds almost completely unlike their solo work. This is the most exciting music we’ve had from Marling since the legendary – Once I Was An Eagle.
To Do This Week
Tonight Plattenbau is at Gasa. Tomorrow you can catch Swearin’ at Gasa. Saturday Ellis Marsalis is at the Jazz and Heritage Center while John Waters drops into the Civic for his annual Christmas show. Also Saturday Harry Connick Jr is at the Lakefront Arena. Sunday Russell Batiste is at the Maple Leaf. Tuesday the Staton Moore Trio is at Snug. Wednesday the Tin Men and Wolfman Washington are at d.b.a.
To Listen This Week
- New music from the Broken Bells via Youtube
- The Worriers cover The Magnetic Fields via Brooklyvegan
- Yo La Tengo and Bill Callahan cover Carly Simon via the NME