It’s a jumbo New Music Friday with fantastic new music from some old favorites as well as some newbies. Let’s jump right in - here’s what I’m loving this week:
Maggie Rogers - “Don’t Forget Me”
Rogers has stated of her upcoming album that she “wanted to make an album that sounded like a Sunday afternoon”. Mission accomplished on the first single. A beautiful folk-rock song about yearning for something…anything, even if it’s only for a short period of time. Just don’t forget her when you leave.
Iron & Wine - “You Never Know”
Sam Beam has announced his seventh album as Iron & Wine, due out in April and the first single is out this week. It’s another gorgeous folk song that drifts along after some of Beam’s signature string plucking. There’s great harmony and regardless of all that goes on in your life - you never know where your life will take you.
The Decemberists - “Burial Ground”
Back with their signature jangly sound and Colin Meloy’s wry, novel-worthy lyrics, The Decemberists’ first song in six years is all about optimistically leaving your troubles behind. With backing vocals from The Shins’ James Mercer, it’s a great welcome back to one of my favorites.
Kacey Musgraves - “Deeper Well”
Back to basics for Musgraves? Over some finger-picking guitar and shimmering reverb, Kacey Musgraves is musing on life and the people and energy that aren’t right for her. So it’s time to move on and without any gloating, she’s settling into a better life. She’s growing up and moving on.
Crowded House - “Oh Hi”
Finding their quirky pop groove again after three years, Crowded House is back with a lyrically clever song that Neil Finn found inspiration from his work with an international group that focuses on building schools in remote parts of Kenya and Tanzania. It’s a song inspired by the kids and their magnificence. Here’s to hoping we get more from the band soon.
Erika de Casier - “Ice”
New to me, the Danish R&B singer teams up with Tampa rappers They Hate Change. It’s a fantastic combination of Casier’s smooth, gentle electro-hued music and the straight forward rap from They Hate Change. The rest of the album comes out later this year along with a world tour.
Girl In Red - “Too Much”
Being gaslit in a relationship and in life is not new to songwriting, but Girl in Red tackles the topic easily behind a pumping dance beat along with some punk-pop guitar to round out the song. It’s a song about quiet revolt - from those that will tell you that your emotions don’t matter. Great first track off of her upcoming release in April.
Sy Smith - Until We Meet Again
One of the most powerful and soulful voices out there, Smith’s new album harkens back to the days of Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross and more. It’s sensual and funky music that will put you in the mood. There’s a tenderness with honey dripping off Smith’s voice as she works with her backing band to create late night listening songs. Highlights include “Photograph” and “Masterclass”.
Fabiano do Nascimento/Sam Gendel - The Room
In one of the best hot collabs in recent years, Brazilian guitarist Fabiano do Nascimento teams up with Los Angeles sax player Sam Gendel to create a jazz album that could fit into background dinner music or Sunday night headphone listening to complex melodies and intricate instrumentation. With some sweet bossa nova tones throughout, you should sink into this one for a weekend. Highlights include “Capricho” and “Txera”.
Brittany Howard - What Now
Not straying from the retro sounds of her band Alabama Shakes, Brittany Howard adds to those sounds and melodies with blissful soul and soothing psychedelic. The album is a reflection of living in the present while staring down an uncertain future. It’s trippy, mystical and groovy all in one punch. Highlights include “I Don’t” which has a Stylistics vibe, and “Power To Undo”.
Joel Ross - nublues
I loved listening to Milt Jackson in my parent’s basement. The vibraphone was a fascinating instrument in jazz music. Joel Ross has picked up the torch from Jackson and produced some incredible music. Tackling songs by Coltrane and Monk are bold statements, but Ross does it so easily, mixing in between his own penned songs. Highlights include “Equinox” and “Evidence”.
Madi Diaz - Weird Faith
Who is Madi Diaz? An incredible singer-songwriter - that’s who. After being fawned over by Harry Styles (who took her on tour) and releasing a few singles, Diaz has released her full-length album today. The Nashville artist’s sixth album is a show of confidence that maybe didn’t show as much on her earlier albums. There’s a hopeful outlook and the songs go from quiet storms to big hooks. It’s a fantastic release with highlights including “Hurting Me” and “Get To Know Me”.
Little Simz - Drop 7
In 2021, Little Simz dropped the album Sometimes I Might Be Introverted, and it ended up in my favorites of that year. One of the best hip-hop artists around, the new EP shifts into some funk and club music while her vocals and lyrics are fierce. The songs are quick and powerful and I’m excited to read that more music from her is on the way. Highlights include “Mood Swings” and “I Ain’t Feelin It”.