@@@ Valerie June: Call Me a Fool (Fantasy, 2021) Concord seems to be interested in releasing a lot of retro soul and r&b around strong women doing their thing and whatnot. I think I got to this track via Line of Best Fit. Most notable here is Ms. June’s voice — it’s got a slightly offkilter cadence and a sharpness to it. Sharpness isn’t bad or good, it’s just what I’m hearing. When they bring in the lush strings her voice really stands out in contrast to those buttery strings, that’s interesting listening and shit. I appreciate that she’s not rocking a classic, soaring r&b powerhouse voice, it’s a gravelly thing. She does go high into some woo hoo action and that’s more contrast. I like contrast, I find it closer to real life. The band is cool life, nothing that particularly stands out to my ear. Clasic swelling organ. This lands somewhere between late ’60s mellowed out Janis Joplin and mid ’70s Rolling Stones faded blues.
@@@ The Anchoress: Unravel (Snapper, 2021) This record is slotted as rock on Apple Music and whether it rocks or not is one issue but I can tell you this music aspires to be unabashedly meaningful and emotional. This idea comes out of the vocal tones, the lyrics, the heavy tom tom sound and just the general feels of it. I’m not one for the performative seriousness in my art, I like it presented in a different way. If you don’t want me, then I don’t want me and we unravel from here — I think that’s the vocal hook. That resides in middle territory, not the worst I’ve heard and not one I think is just awesome sauce. Our love is dangerous, now that’s the kind of sentiment I’m not a huge fan of. Not really my cup of tea but as always don’t take my dumbass word, check it for yourself.
@@@Lake Street Dive: Hypotheticals (Nonesuch, 2021) Speaking of meaningful music, Nonesuch! Yowsa, Nonesuch. I guess they’re taking a break for setting standards in perfomative serious art to participate in this bouncing, 1980’s feel good woo hoo stuff. She’s playing out a lot of hypotheticals in her mind, and I’ve been pondering the question what if I stopped listening at this point? How’s that for a hypothetical? It’s a bit cute for my taste, there’s no weirdness — I could picture a Prince tune that embraces these sounds but he was either horny as fuck or he was talking about God. I’m a white person by birth but not by culture at this point in my life, so I feel more than qualified to say this is white business. If you like white music business then good on you, I’m out of the white music game. I like me some white black metal and some freak show punk but I punched my ticket out of the bounce house a long time ago.