How are you? Is your August going well? Mine has been nothing but lovely so far, allowing for time with family and friends, many a wonderful performance, and, of course, good books galore. I move back to Brown in just two short weeks, so I’m trying to soak up all the summertime that I can before the school year starts.
Looking over my summer, it’s been marked by excellent reads, but so too has it been marked by great music. I love crafting monthly playlists with new-to-me artists, so, as I’ve done before, I wanted to share a few of the albums I’ve been listening to as of late! Do you have any music recommendations to share?
To start, it should come as no surprise that cast albums regularly top my playlists. A recent favorite? The live recording of Hadestown, the acclaimed musical adaptation of Orpheus and Eurydice. Pitched as a folk opera, it originates from artist Anais Mitchell’s equally inventive 2010 concept album of the same name. Both are well worth a listen (or two!).
favorite tracks: Way Down Hadestown, Chant
If alternative music is more to your liking, let me recommend to you Wet, an indie duo whose dreamy blend of R+B and pop has created many a fan, myself included! In their sophomore album, Still Run, artists Kelly Zutrau and Joe Valle have crafted a record of melancholy, romance, and honesty through soft vocals and catchy beats. In short: I like.
favorite tracks: Still Run, Love is Not Enough
In a recent interview, singer-songwriter Natalie Prass noted that she wants her music “to be for everybody.” She’s already well on her way with her latest release, a punchy but powerful album titled The Future and the Past. Her songs are a response to and an anthem for the current political environment, demonstrating the strength found in standing together. I could listen for days.
favorite tracks: Hot for the Mountain, Sisters
UK-based trio I See Rivers popped up in my Spotify Discover tab just under a year ago, and it took only that first listen to make me an avid fan. The group describes their work as “float folk,” a fitting name for music that flits between different genres with ease. And while the vocal harmonies of the three singers are reminiscent of another favorite of mine, The Staves, their warm, gentle sound is distinctly their own.
favorite tracks: Play It Cool, I Don’t Know
When I came across the music of Icelandic musician Ólafur Arnalds, I was instantly taken with his experimental instrumentals. As a fan of Broadchurch, I shouldn’t have been surprised I so quickly fell in love, as he composed the show’s elegant and immersive score. I’ve used his album, Island Songs, as writing music throughout the summer, and I suspect I’ll listen to it just as much once the semester kicks off.
favorite tracks: 1995, Raddir
Like Natalie Prass, artist Meg Remy has turned to music as a source of catharsis. I’m all for her disco-pop sound and pointed storytelling, and if the reviews are any indication, I’m not the only one. At Pitchfork, her latest album is said to speak “to a unified vision, one of spit, fury, and chuckling to keep from crying.” Isn’t that what we all need?
favorite tracks: Rage of Plastics, M.A.H.
Dirty Bird may have formed in 2016, but the harmonies on their debut album, Still to Be Ours, sound as if they’ve been singing together for decades. As seems to be the pattern of my playlists, I’m easily won over by folk groups with a sense of intimacy, and Dirty Bird delivers: their songs are well-written gems that are perfect for lazy summer afternoons. I’m already hoping for a record number two!
favorite tracks: Portrait, Lulu
Finally, Moses Sumney’s Aromanticism came out last September, but it is a record so strong, it deserves yet another round of recognition. Combining soul, R+B, and pop, Sumney offers a thoughtful mediation on vulnerability and isolation. Between the lush arrangements and his soothing voice, I myself can’t seem to get enough (fortunately for me, his latest set of singles are just as good).
favorite tracks: Plastic, Don’t Make Out in My Car
Have a terrific Thursday!