Hello all, once again it’s that time where I do a run-down of some albums that I think are worth checking out, with some brief impassioned reasons as to why.
Lil Simz – A Curious Tale Of Trials + Persons
UK female MC Lil Simz comes through on her debut album with a set of songs that are both diverse and full of promise. She tells in detail the story of growing up with hardships such as the struggle to be accepted as a female rapper – a pressure that makes it harder to crack into the music industry than being a male one.
Despite all of this pressure ‘A Curious Tale Of Trials + Persons’ is filled with ecstatically experimental beats – much like Kendrick Lamar’s ‘To Pimp a Butterfly’ (who actually spoke passionately about Lil Simz himself) in that it takes live Jazz-influenced instrumentation and flips it on its head. It’s a far cry from the Grime that’s taking off in Britain right now, and it’s a risk that she’s taken and as a result benefits from because it helps her stand out amongst so many other UK rappers not doing anything quite as experimental as she is. She uses her outlandishness as a weapon and doesn’t hold back on the personal details of her life. Lil Simz is easily one of the most exciting voices in UK Hip-Hop today.
Youth Lagoon – Savage Hills Ballroom
Youth Lagoon, AKA Trevor Powers continues his path of creating ambitious Dream-Pop. His new album ‘Savage Hills Ballroom’ is a lot more confident in the way it strides than what we got on his last two albums which floated around painting magical pictures for teenagers laying in their bedrooms stoned off their face (I know people who still do it to this day).
On his new album his vocals — which are an acquired taste — are pushed a lot further forward in the mixing making them sound like they’re delivered with much more authority than before – even when the lyrics themselves portray self-doubt and raises many questions at times. Musically it’s still absolutely luscious despite being a lot more forward in the approach, all the instrumentals sound a lot more crisp and Powers uses everything in his arsenal to create a gorgeous little album that continues his ever interesting growth as an artist.
Julia Holter – Have You In My Wilderness
Julia Holter’s new album approaches intimacy with some of the most heavenly, ethereal music of the year, that’s simultaneously some of the most in-your-face material she’s put out, when compared to previous works. ‘Have You In My Wilderness’ is the record that will give her a new wave of hype as it’s her most accessible yet, as well as being an album that doesn’t particularly have a central theme throughout. She instead conjures up individual stories from song to song that are all backed up with warm, orchestral instrumentals. As a result these songs can go from dark to uplifting very wuickly, yet they all capture a piece of Holter’s personality that we’ve seldom seen in her music before, and this gives the record an unexpected aspect of coherency based just on that alone.