I never got up my AOTM post for August, so here’s a two for one.
***** – An all-time classic album (highly recommended)
**** – Great album (recommended)
*** – Solid album (consider buying or streaming/downloading top tracks)
** – Weak album (only consider streaming/downloading top tracks)
* – Poor album (not recommended)
ARTIST: Elza Soares
ALBUM: A Mulher do Fim do Mundo (The Woman at the End of the World)
RELEASE DATE:3 June 2016
COMMENTS: At 79-years-old, Elza Soares is an iconic samba performer in Brazil. Her voice is gravelly, but it captures perfectly the emotions. I don’t understand Portequese but I can understand the feeling in these songs about poverty, domestic violence, and the political strife of her native land. Musically there are traditional samba elements, but also fuzzed-out electric guitar and a bass line sometimes reminiscent of Primus. It’s an innovative fusion, unlike anything I’ve ever heard and a voice at once defiant and celebratory.
OUTSTANDING TRACKS: “Dança,” “Benedita,” “Pra Fuder,” and “Maria da Vila Matilde”
RELEASE DATE: 18 June 2016
COMMENTS: Three artists come together and form a more cohesive band sound than I would’ve expected. Some great tunes and harmonies, the best tracks seem to be loaded toward the front of the album.
OUTSTANDING TRACKS: “I Want to Be Here,” “Honey and Smoke,” “Georgia Stars,” “Blue Fires,” and “Atomic Number”
ARTIST: The Avalanches
ALBUM: Wild Flowers
RELEASE DATE: 8 July 2016
COMMENTS: The band’s 2000 album Since I Left You is an all-time classic. Is the follow-up as good? Not really. Was it worth waiting 16 years? Probably not. Nevertheless this is a delightful cacophony of sounds that feels like a journey through American music played on the radios of passing cars or spilling out of a nightclub down the block.
OUTSTANDING TRACKS: “Because I’m Me,” “The Noisy Eater,” and “Frankie Sinatra”
ARTIST: Angel Olsen
ALBUM: My Woman
RELEASE DATE: 2 September 2016
COMMENTS: Indie folk rock with ethereal vocals is my bag. The early part of My Woman is peppy, almost punk with 50s/60s girl band thrown in, but as the album proceeds the songs slow down and stretch out, each showing varying degrees of optimism and melancholy.
OUTSTANDING TRACKS: “Shut Up Kiss Me,” “Never Be Mine,” and “Intern”
ALBUM: Splendor & Money
RELEASE DATE: 9 September 2016
COMMENTS: Clipping. is an experimental hip-hop group featuring Daveed Diggs of Hamilton fame. This hip-hop space opera is reminiscent of Afro-futuristic works of PFunk and Janelle Monae. Gospel melodies are paired with rapid-fire rap.