Father John Misty – Chloe And The Next 20th Century
Released on Sub Pop Records
Like Pure Comedy, Chloe expands the songwriter’s horizons and allows him to be witty and urbane on an entirely different plane of existence. Unlike Pure Comedy, this means more voices than just the piano – this is not “Elton Josh” redux, Ryan, so put your phone down. Tillman takes on the sounds of the 1930s in many places, incorporating the bop of classic Hollywood to tell his stories. An awful lot of people die in the process. Forget oil, does anybody know how much blood it takes to make a record? It’s not all journeys into big band smoove, of course; “Goodbye Mr. Blue” is Fear Fun with a bit more heft, and the catchy-as-hell “Q4” adds a harpsichord but is otherwise Classic Misty, right down to borrowing the intro chords from another of his tunes. Then, of course, Papa John pulls up the curtain on the final track and reveals that, surprise surprise, neoliberalism is at fault and has infected everything, right down to the master/slave dynamics of your romances. So it’s a Misty record, in the end.
Wet Leg – Wet Leg
Released on Domino Records
Straight-faced jokes about sex and drunken violence with a slicing sensibility. They’ve studied their Wire alongside their Parquet Courts, so they come across as more than just half-assed apeing. This is a band that sounds half-serious, which can be a dangerous thing.
billy woods – Aethiopes
Released on Backwoodz Records
woods has been on such a white-hot roll for the last ten years that it’s hard to think of a time when he was basically a faded also-ran in the New York underground rap scene. Here in 2022, a decade after History Will Absolve Me, he just keeps getting better. After spending two albums with E U C L I D in their Armand Hammer duo, he returns solo with another knotted, dense record of black humour and dread. He leans heavier than previously on imagery derived from his childhood in Zimbabwe; machine gun turrets go left to right, the hills around the gated compound are filled with landmines, and former Ethiopian leader Mengistu Haile Mariam may or may not have moved in next door. Preservation’s production is suitably dusty and far-ranging, allowing woods to really stretch out his lines here. The guests are good as well, on the face of it – Boldy James, Quelle Chris, EL-P – and it’s that, more than anything else, that really shows its not just my own personal love for a guy who’s as much a writer and a poet as he is an MC. He’s really making it out here.
Vince Staples – Ramona Park Broke My Heart
Released on Blacksmith Records
Vince Staples has always been one to dwell on where he’s come from and the shit he’s seen, but Ramona Park feels like the culmination of everything he’s done up until now. It has the regrets of Summertime ’06 with the maturity of Vince Staples. The production, handled mostly by the legendary Mustard, is deceptively laid-back, West Coast party music over which Staples pours out his heart and confessions. It doesn’t push the envelope but it does offer a neat summarization of everything that he’s been and done up to this point. Call it a highlight, but don’t call it a career quite yet.
Daniel Rossen – You Belong There
Released on Warp Records
It’s gorgeous and intimate and sprawls nicely, however I’m not sure what I’m getting out of this that I already wouldn’t have gotten from a Grizzly Bear record. Don’t let that dissuade you, though; it works in a sense to fill that GB-shaped hole in your soul.
HEALTH – DISCO4 :: PART II
Released on Loma Vista Records
The sum of its parts, but those parts are all pretty good so I’m not complaining.
Kae Tempest – The Line Is A Curve
Released on American Records
I listened to A Grand Don’t Come For Free the other day and found it didn’t hold up well. Kae Tempest, on the other hand, probably will because of the singular nature of their production, and their penchant for thoughtful and reflective delivery. It’s probably because they’re a poet rather than a lout.
Orville Peck – Bronco ★★★☆ (Columbia)
Jack White – Fear Of The Dawn ★★★ (Third Man)
Banks – Serpentia ★★★☆ (AWAL)
The Regrettes – Further Joy ★★☆ (Warner)
The Linda Lindas – Growing Up ★★★ (Epitaph)
Yung Lean – Stardust ★★★ (YEAR0001)
Oceanator – Nothing’s Ever Fine ★★★☆ (Polyvinyl)
Pendant – Harp ★★★ (Saddle Creek)
Renata Zeiguer – Picnic In The Dark ★★★☆ (Northern Spy)
Calexico – El Mirador ★★★☆ (ANTI-)
Mountains Like Wax – Before There Was Plenty ★★★ (Tone Tree)
NYOS – Celebration ★★★ (Pelagic)
Arre! Arre! – We Ride The Universe ★★★ (PNKSLM)
Deanna Petcoff – To Hell With You, I Love You ★★★ (Royal Mountain)
Dahlia Sleeps – Overflow ★★★☆
HVOB – TOO ★★★☆ [PIAS]
Annie Blackman – All Of It ★★★☆ (Father/Daughter)
A Deer A Horse – Grind ★★★☆ (Bitter)
Mothé – I Don’t Want You To Worry Anymore ★★ (Slowlab)
Dear Rouge – Spirit ★★★ (Cadence)
Envy Of None – Envy Of None ★★☆ (Kscope)
Signals Midwest – Dent ★★★ (Lauren)
Romero – Turn It On! ★★★ (Feel It)
Sad Night Dynamite – Volume II ★★★☆ (Parlophone)
Syd – Broken Hearts Club ★★★☆ (Columbia)
Wiz Khalifa, Big K.R.I.T., Smoke DZA, and Girl Talk – Full Court Press ★★★☆ (Asylum)