Ngaiire Sings from the Deepest Parts of Herself

Last year, Ngaiire returned with an astounding record, known simply as 3. The artist née Ngaiire (rhymes with diary) Joseph hails from Papua New Guinea and happened to create my favorite album of 2016, Blastoma; her 2021 record was no less impressive. She told NME that she was particularly focused on creating complex harmonies and backing vocals, and that’s only one detail (and fairly minor … Continue reading Ngaiire Sings from the Deepest Parts of Herself

Little Simz is Redefining Simbi

Vulnerable, aspirational, and admirable. Words to describe Little Simz’s sort-of self-titled album, Sometimes I Might Be Introvert, and the London artist herself, or at least the potentially exaggerated character she plays across its 19 tracks. The 2021 album, produced by Inflo, is a mirror, working through hard memories and harsh reality. It also sees beyond itself, acknowledging the community in which she is enmeshed and … Continue reading Little Simz is Redefining Simbi

The Cost of Our Future According to Absolutely Free

I would like to use this space to rectify the blurb I wrote about Costa Rican musician and producer Jorge Elbrecht when I gushed over No Joy’s Motherhood last year. The passage where I intended to give him his due feels now like I was trying desperately to sound aloof, not wanting to admit that this person actually has a ton of clout beyond his … Continue reading The Cost of Our Future According to Absolutely Free

Mega Ran is Balling

Whatever happened to Elizabeth Warren’s favorite HBO half-hour dramedy, Ballers? Just kidding, a quick Google reveals that it was canceled unceremoniously in 2020, leaving a respectable legacy of five seasons. The title of the show is a double-entendre, of course, literally referring to the fact that the characters are or interact with athletes, and in a more colloquial sense, that they are absolute fucking powerhouses. … Continue reading Mega Ran is Balling

Freezing Time on Losing Light

Oh, the irony of my writing this on the first day of Daylight Saving Time. Back in November, to coincide with the autumn time change, The Antlers released Losing Light, a four-track sister EP to their 2021 full-length, Green to Gold. The LP came out nearly a year ago, but represented much more to the Brooklyn duo than simply a shift of the clocks. It … Continue reading Freezing Time on Losing Light

Lomond Campbell Employs the Whims of the Machine

How much can intention affect an outcome? No, I am not speaking philosophically, though I’m sure there are plenty of term papers written on the dilemma. Rather, I am referring to the miracle that is LŪP by Lomond Campbell. Obviously the music does not happen spontaneously, but how it behaves is dependent, not upon the accuracy of an instrument and its player, but rather the … Continue reading Lomond Campbell Employs the Whims of the Machine

Tama Gucci is on the Cusp of Everything

As a music journalist, I’ve perpetually disappointed friends by not knowing who is the Next Big Thing. I don’t even know what the “in” genres are anymore, though I know from countless essays that hyperpop is having a moment in the limelight. The concept is a style I’ve been fascinated by for ages, but never had a word for. The movement that began with arrhythmic, … Continue reading Tama Gucci is on the Cusp of Everything

Best Albums of 2021, 11-20 (part 2)

Alice Phoebe Lou – Glow The first of two records released by Alice Phoebe Lou in 2021, Glow is filled with yearning. The South African artist discusses matters of the heart among cool, sparse soft rock. Vocals on the title track have a sassy lilt that embraces the guitar progression, all of which amounts to Lou’s brand of psych rock. There is much beauty in simplicity, … Continue reading Best Albums of 2021, 11-20 (part 2)

Best Albums of 2021, 11-20 (part 1)

Bryan Away – Canyons to Sawdust On the pastoral Canyons and Sawdust, Bryan Away’s storytelling is given the perfect stage. Among the tales he sings is a nod to Ingmar Bergman’s miniseries (you may know its adaptation with Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain) and that track’s direct foil, the jaunty “Scenes from a Wedding.” The title of Away’s summer LP derives from an analogy in an … Continue reading Best Albums of 2021, 11-20 (part 1)