While I have been bad about posting full reviews, below are a list of some of my favorite albums to come out this year so far. Listen to them all on Spotify (or buy ’em!):
The National – Trouble Will Find Me: I finally got around to listening to The National’s albums this year, and their new one, while not straying far from their formula, is a strong collection of moody, melodic rockers, including highlights “Sea of Love” and “Humiliation”.
Holly Williams – The Highway: Hank William’s granddaughter is doing her family name proud. William’s songs are more on the folky, sad drinking and highway songs side of country, and less the honky-tonk/pop that is generally more popular. Williams is a solid lyricist, and gives Ryan Adams a run for his money in the melancholy department.
Booker T – Sound the Alarm: This famous soul man and organ player has come up with a great new album, and brought along some younger admirers. Mayer Hawthorne and Anthony Hamilton both contribute to excellent tracks, but Booker lets the music speak for itself on a number of great instrumental tracks.
Jason Isbell – Southeastern: the ex-Drive By Trucker is back solo again for this album, losing his group the 400 Unit to focus more on acoustic numbers. Tracks like “Traveling Alone” show the yearning throughout the album, with “Elephant” also being a strong highlight.
Dessa – Parts of Speech: My favorite member of Doomtree has finally released a new album, and it’s beautiful. While there are still straight-up hip hop tracks like “Fighting Fish”, Parts of Speech is generally a more melodic, soulful piece of work. “The Man I Knew” and “Call Off Your Ghosts” continue to show off Dessa’s lyrical gifts, and her transformation of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m Going Down” would make the Boss proud.