Welcome to the BroBible New Music Round-Up, where we’re still questioning your decision to light off fireworks during the day. For more follow me on Twitter: @ryanoconnell79
With the Fourth of July falling on a Thursday this year, things are a little slow on the new music front this week. With that being the case, I thought I’d take some time to take stock of what has come out so far this year. Today is the 186th day of the year, so while it’s not technically the halfway point, it’s close enough.
This Week’s Playlist
Here are 42 of my favorite songs that have been released so far this year. I’m not saying they’re the best songs, just that they are my most favorite songs. Big difference there.
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New Music Round-Up’s Ten Favorite Albums (So Far)
10. Preservation Hall Jazz Band A Tuba to Cuba
A few years ago, the New Orleans jazz legends traveled down south to Cuba to learn more about Cuban music, which apparently was hugely influential for New Orleans’ music. I didn’t know that, but now I do and I feel so much better about everything.
The album, which is the soundtrack to a documentary about the band’s Cuban journey, is a smooth, funky and head-bobbing delight. The documentary is set to come out later this year.
9. Jenny Lewis On the Line
Lewis brought in some heavy-hitters for her new album, including dudes who can list The Beatles and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers on their resume, but don’t be fooled; this is a Jenny Lewis production. The California-based singer/songwriter’s latest album is confident, revealing and refreshingly honest.
8. Catfish and the Bottlemen The Balance
These dudes play music that sounds like a logical halfway point between the Arctic Monkeys early albums and their most recent ones. It’s lively, determined and full of energy. In short, it’s rock ‘n roll man and a younger band playing rock music is always cause for celebration.
Unless it’s Greta Van Fleet. But I think that’s a given now.
7. Billie Eilish WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?
Eilish reminds me of Lorde and not just because they are both young women who came out of nowhere and then seemed to take over the world of music. No. It’s more that they both seem like interesting artists who spent a good chunk of time alone, listening to music and playing around with a keyboard, creating their sound from those quiet days and nights.
And like with Lorde, I’m really interested to see what Eilish gets into in the coming years.
6. Cage The Elephant Social Cues
On their fifth album, Cage The Elephant tackle the dark side of fame, but also new sounds, drifting away from the grunge-inspired rock of their earlier albums. The result is a wild affair, highlighted by the Beck collaboration, “Night Running.”
One of my biggest personal revelations this year is the one in which I realized I really like Cage The Elephant. The other was that I LOVE capers.
It’s been a weird year for me so far.
5. Sinkane Dépaysé
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but here in this country of ours immigration has become somewhat of a hot topic. On Dépaysé, Ahmed Gallab, the lead singer and songwriter for Sinkane, goes right at the subject over music that veers seamlessly from reggae to world beat.
Bottom line kids is that this shit is both fun and informative and around here we call that a two-fer. Two-fers rock.
4. Anderson .Paak Ventura
On his last album, Oxnard, .Paak got away from some of the things that he initially hooked us with, mainly feel-good, funk-inspired jams, and instead got a little too heavy with the self-indulgent hip hop. It’s one of those times where it’s not like it was a bad record, it’s just that it wasn’t what we had come to expect from .Paak, so it was jarring.
On Ventura he seems to have reversed course again and the good times are back.
Let me be clear, I’m cool with whatever .Paak wants to do because I think he’s one of the brightest young guns out there. But with that being said, I like Ventura better than Oxnard, so take that for what you will.
3. Lizzo Cuz I Love You
Lizzo doesn’t give two shits what you think and I effin’ love that. I love that she can drop a song as fierce as “Truth Hurts” one minute and then a tune as funky and fun as “Juice” the next.
Plus she plays the flute. Who still plays the flute these days besides dudes in Jethro Tull tribute bands?
2. The Black Keys “Let’s Rock!”
I’m still living with this album, but after spinning it a handful of times in one morning, I feel confident in placing it second on this list. It’s old school, vintage Black Keys! Gone are the flourishes added by Danger Mouse and in their place, the no-frills blues guitar and thumping drums of early Keys’ albums.
I don’t think I had realized how much I had missed that version of the band, but I’m glad both the band and that version of the band are back.
1. Gary Clark Jr. This Land
When Clark dropped the first single for his new album, the album’s title track, it was clear that the Texas guitar-slinger wasn’t messing around. Not that he had before, but now it seemed as if he had found a voice as strong as his guitar playing and the results were devastatingly beautiful.
This Land is more focused than his previous albums, but still feature Clark effortlessly bouncing back and forth from style to style, whether it’s blues rock, reggae, funk or soul. On This Land it’s kind of like when athlete finally puts it all together and takes their game up to a whole new level.
It’s effin’ exciting as all hell.
New Music Round-Up’s Ten Favorite Songs (So Far)
10. “That’s Not True” Skip Marley feat. Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley
This song makes me wish I was sitting in a super comfortable beach chair.
9. “MIDDLE CHILD” J. Cole
This song makes me wish my speakers could go louder.
8. “Patience” Tame Impala
This song makes me wish I was driving through a city at night with no traffic and the windows down.
7. “GIRL” Maren Morris
This song makes me wish I listened to music my wife listens to more.
6. “In the Capital” Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever
This song makes me wish it was always 75 degrees and sunny.
5. “This Land” Gary Clark Jr.
This song makes me wish I was in a position to angrily flip a table over.
4. “Night Running” Cage The Elephant feat. Beck
This song makes me wish I was hanging out at a spot that I was cool enough to hang out at.
3. “bad guy” Billie Eilish
This song makes me wish I was more talented at 17.
2. “Sympathy” Vampire Weekend
This song makes me wish the new Vampire Weekend album was like, half as long, and maybe a little bit better than it is.
1. “Truth Hurts” Lizzo
This song makes me wish I could tell someone who I really feel about them.
Elsewhere in Music…
Let’s All Learn A Little, Laugh A Little
Thanks, Drunk History.
And here, while we’re thinking about it, let’s take an hour or so and listen to some Sam Cooke. It’s never a bad thing to do.
So Like, Woodstock 50 is Back On?
STOP ASKING! NO ONE KNOWS! JUST GO TO THE BEACH AND LISTEN TO SANTANA OR SOMETHING!
This Week in Nailed It
And Speaking of Steven Hyden
Hyden, a music journalist who writes for UPROXX and The Ringer has a new podcast coming out that sounds delightful. “Break Stuff: The Story of Woodstock ’99” is an eight-part series about the epic shitshow that was Woodstock ’99. Hyden spent seven months interviewing everyone from musicians to EMTs.
Now in case you forgot, Woodstock 99 came just five years after the successful and largely well-received Woodstock 94, but was a much different festival. Over 400,000 people attended the festival that featured performances from Korn, DMX, The Offspring, Limp Bizkit, Rage Against the Machine, Bush, Kid Rock and more.
You know, bands and acts you’d associate with the vibe you think of when you think of Woodstock.
The festival was marred by oppressive heat, a lack of shade and shameless price-gauging (small bottles of water costs $4.) Numerous sexual assaults were reported and on the final night fires broke out, followed by rioting and more violence.
So yeah, an epic shitshow.
The podcast will be available on Luminary once it premieres on July 9th.
A Quick Dispatch from Phish Tour
And We’ll End Here
See you next week!