BIG NEWS GUYS AND GALS!!!!! Our prodigal son Shifty has decided to resume his award winning (I give myself pats on the back after I write each one. Does that count???) series of picking albums that he likes. Wow!!!!!!!!! This is good news. The rules of this beloved series are a little bit different this time around. Shifty is only going to do this for every quarter of the year. He doesn't have time to make a list once a month. He also ran out of Seals of Approval to give out. Gasp. All of these Shifty Picks came out in the months of January, February, and March. Without further ado, here are my music picks.
Anderson .Paak - Malibu
-This album is a very interesting fusion of PBR&B, Jazz, and Hip Hop that reminds me a lot of the sound that Kendrick Lamar achieved on To Pimp a Butterfly. That's very high praise, and Mr. .Paak has definitely earned it with this album. Very upbeat, warm, and uplifting. Perfect Summer music.
Big Ups - Before a Million Universes
-This is the second album by the band Big Ups, and this album goes in more complicated and unexpected directions than their previous album. Big Ups sounds like a toss up between Slint (Post Rock) and Fugazi (Post-Hardcore). They have a very unique take on being disappointed at the world around them. Check em out.
David Bowie - Blackstar
-David Bowie's latest and last album is a triumph. The Goblin King himself continues to show that he has more tricks up his sleeves on his 27th album. Apparently this album was inspired by the experimentation that modern rappers and rap groups have been doing over the past decade. One article I read said that Bowie was heavily inspired by the raw power and lyricism of the band Death Grips (check them out if you haven't already). This album may not be for every Bowie fan due to how experimental it is, but I believe that this is his best album since 1980.
Diiv - Is The Is Are -This is the second album by the shoegaze/indie rock band Diiv (pronounced like dive). Is The Is Are is the result of a lot of turmoil by lead singer Zachary Cole Smith, and this turmoil results in a lot of emotions that are present throughout the entire album. This album reminds me of thunderstorms for some reason. Not the spooky scary kind though. It's more like the calmer kind that you want to hang out and dance in. It's very dreamy and before you know it, the storm is over and a new different kind of calm takes over. Definitely my favorite album of the year so far. LISTEN TO THIS IF YOU LIKE WEATHER STORMS!!!!!!!!
Kendrick Lamar - untitled unmastered
-Kendrick Lamar is on a whole 'nother level. His leftover songs are better than most people's none leftover songs. King Kendrick decided to let a 5 year old produce part of one of his songs, and it's one of the best parts of the album. We are not worthy.
Margo Price - Midwest Farmer's Daughter
-This is a country album that is about overcoming challenges and trying to make a good enough album so that you can make money and buy your dad his farm back. Margo honed her skills in Honky Tonks all across Nashville until Jack White heard her sing, and then he immediately signed her to his label. Margo Price does a fantastic job of putting you into her world. This album is the bees knees and it totally isn't just for country fans. It's for music fans. Definitely a standout singer, and a fine addition to the current wave of country singers who actually write their own songs (e.g. Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson, & Kacey Musgraves)The first song on the album tells you everything you need to know.
Nap Eyes - Thought Rock Fish Scale
-My coworker Alex put it best by saying that this is the best Lou Reed album in years. Very accurate.
Pinegrove - Cardinal
-They sound like a more emo Wilco. Great album about feelings and other stuff. The band describes their music as, "Music for the promotion of introspective partying!" That sounds about right.
Savages - Adore Life
-Savages has made another great revivalist post-punk album. This new album features the same intensity that was on their previous album, and perhaps a little bit more. This album is filled with sweet bass lines that sound real nice on my ear holes. Overall I feel like this album is a little more varied than their debut album.
Sheer Mag - III EP
-Fantastic album that reminds me of the glam rock band T.Rex, but with a harder more punky side and a female singer. Very catchy guitar driven music that is just a ball full of fun. Truly all that and a bag of potato chips. It's only about 14 minutes long, and it's definitely time well spent. Check it out on their bandcamp page. https://sheermag.bandcamp.com/
Honorable Mentions: -Esperanza Spalding - Emily's D+Evolution
-Julia Brown - An Abundance of Strawberries -Mothers - When You Walk a Long Distance You Are Tired -Porches - Pool
-Thao & the Get Down Stay Down - A Man Alive
-Wild Nothing - Life of Pause
A lot of good music has come out this year. I'm looking forward to a lot more music that is coming out. Thanks for reading.