All American Made – Margo Price
Country music is ruled by bros singing corny frat tunes about drinkin’, drivin’ pickup trucks, and kissin’ by the light of the moon. These guys dominate the radio and music sales, which is too bad, since underground country artists continue to make traditional music in the vein of Johnny Cash and Loretta Lynn. Margo Price is latest country maven to write circles around bro-country. Her second album, is decidedly political, exploring issues like sexism and poverty, all tinged with honky-tonk style. Price sings about feminism from the point of the view of the forgotten working class women of the heartland.
Mirror Reaper – Bell Witch
In the mood for some heavy metal? Forgo your old records and get acquainted with Bell Witch, a Seattle duo that only uses bass, drums and vocals to create a minimalist version of metal that infuses new life into the genre. Their album Mirror Reaper is startlingly ambitious. It takes its time to build an atmospheric sound fit for any funeral or jaunt through the graveyard at midnight. Fans of Black Sabbath will be thrilled by the band’s heavy sound, while metal fans will find much to celebrate within the sad songs.
Glasshouse – Jessie Ware
British songstress Jessie Ware’s third album, Glasshouse, is another show-stopper for her impressive vocals. Her falsetto is at its best on the dreamy song “Midnight,” which pulses with a powerful beat. On the song “Last of the True Believers” Ware begins the tale of a couple fleeing a city ad fades out into a more general setting, evoking the feeling of watching memories on an old Kodak Carousel (that’s a slide viewer, for those who were too young to remember). Ed Sheeren co-wrote “Sam,” which explains the feeling of impending motherhood. Through it all, Ware maintains her status as one of the most stunning and interpretive vocalists today.
Reputation – Taylor Swift
So much has been written about Taylor Swift’s new album, Reputation, that it could fill the volumes of a library. Here’s the thing: Reputation isn’t even out yet. The full album arrives on November 10. So rather than read and write thousands of more words about Swift, check out the songs that are streaming from Reputation: “Gorgeous,” “Ready for It” and “Now Look What You Made Me Do.”
Southern Gothic – Tyminski
Dan Tyminski is best known as the man who sings on the soundtrack of O Brother, Where Art Thou, but he puts his tenor to good use in his newest album, which brims with observations about good and evil. The new album doesn’t stray too far from his folksy roots, but it adds an EDM rhythm which makes the album a great listen. On “Southern Gothic,” a slide guitar takes center stage, staging a nice contradiction to his vocals.
“To The Moon And Back” – Fever Ray
Swedish vocalist Karin Elisabeth Dreijer always has revolution on her mind. She departed from the band The Knife to release an electro-pop album under the name Fever Ray in 2009, but hasn’t recorded anything else until now. The song “To the Moon and Back” is accompanied by some Not-Safe-For-Work teaser videos, which definitely aim to tickle the listener in all the right places. The videos advertise a hotline, Karma Kinksters, that is actually a real thing people can call to get their kink on. The song ditches the dark experiment of the 2009 album and launches into an electronic exploration of things too dirty to put in print.