Jams 2016 Vol. 24

Some are born to sweet delight and some are born to endless night // Iā€™ve tasted both they are the same, to each other turn again.
— case/lang/veirs | Down I-5

This Jams for the girls and from the girls, there is so many great musical ladies on this list. Let's start with female folk supergroup case/lang/veirs. You might be able to guess by the name, but that is the combination of Neko Case, K.D. Lang, and Laura Veirs. This is a very restrained and intimate record, full of soft, catchy folk songs with lovely orchestration and production.

You can hear three individual voices, as different songs have different personalities, but the three voices compliment each other with layered, saccharine harmonies and traded off lines. The lyrics on this record are hauntingly pensive and existential. I am a little biased, but Neko's songs hit me the hardest, especially the contemplative Down I-5. The announcement of this supergroup got some decent press, but the release of this album seemed to have modest fanfare, it had no popular tracks on Spotify, and these songs are too gorgeous to go un-listened, so check it out folks...NOW!

Next up New York singer/songwriter Margaret Glaspy put out her debut album Emotions & Math, and this title describes the duality of Margaret on this album, at times emotional and romantic, and at time clinical and calculated. Whereas Ingrid Michaelsons You and I is an nauseatingly twee ukulele love song, Marget's You and I is her essentially telling a dude to fuck off. Her vocals have what Father John Misty calls, "that soulful affectation white girls put on," but her's will mutate into a punk growl, while her scratchy guitar riffs build. While her sharp songwriting skills steal the show, her guitarwork is an impressive background player on this infectious rock album with punk, blues, and folk influences.

Margaret Glaspy was feature on NPR's All Songs Considered and so was our next act, the British teenage duo Let's Eat Grandma, made up of childhood friends Rosa Walton and Jenny HollingworthThis group is tough too classify into a genre, there is some folk, some ambient/experiemental, and even some rap. On eat Eat Shittake Mushrooms, the girls high pitched airy vocals turn into a rap, making the song sound like Bjork mixed with Kate Tempest. On Rapunzel they channel CoCoRosie with an eerie fairy tale of a girl trapped. These songs are lengthy compositions, each one distinct, that would be impressive even if the writers weren't teenagers. 

Local boys (and girl) made good, FAWNN, the Ferndale, MI based rock quartet released their second album Ultimate Oceans. This is a really engaging, well crafted indie-rock record. At times nuanced arrangements create an airy dream rock environment, at times raw, poppy rock guitar riffs and vocals reminiscent of The Strokes. I was amazed to learn that this band was right in my backyard, and that the band has members from Javelins and Thunderbirds Are Now!, two local acts I loved growing up, as well as various other Michigan musical projects. This album is a feast for the ears from start to finish, with each new track bringing something new and interesting. 

Speaking of local boys made good, Detroit native Anthony Keidis is back with Red Hot Chili Peppers' eleventh album The Getaway. This is the second album since the departure of guitarist John Fruiscante and while this album is well done, John's absence is felt. Not a whole lot of surprises on this album it's the classic RHCP sound, with some funky grooves and some vulnerable ballads. Keidis is also rockin a killer mustache now.

Scottish punk-rockers PAWS put out their debut record No Grace, and it is one hell of an introduction. This album is packed with high energy punk pop tunes with insightful and relatable lyrics, like Frightened Rabbit meets Japandroids meets FIDLAR.

Finally, my favorite album of the week comes from Mitski. The New York based rocker established herself as a phenomenal songwriter in 2014 with Bury Me At Makeout Creek and she's done it again with Puberty 2. This album deals with her American identity and her Japanese heritage, among other topics like love, addiction, and friendship. Mitski is great at taking the listener off guard, songs rarely end the way they started, but rather mutate and evolve into something great. This is an album I was patiently awaiting and it was totally worth it.

That's it for this week folks. Fly on Voltures. Ca-CAWWW!