Posts by: Guia Cortassa

Album of the Week: Forced Witness by Alex Cameron

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"Where does one draw the line when you as a person believe in progress, but as a writer feel like you need to focus on people who would challenge that, who would ask us to regress?" ...more

Album of the Week: Call It Love by Briana Marela

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Call It Love is Briana Marela’s third album, and her first after signing with Jagjaguwar. In the album’s ten tracks, the Seattleite explores the many facets of love, from its early sweet moments to the ending of a relationship, with a detour inspired by the book The Farthest Shore by Ursula K Le Guin.

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Album of the Week: Vic Mensa’s The Autobiography

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At only twenty-four, Vic Mensa is already an established member of the Chicago music scene and a social justice activist—from protesting his hometown police department after the shooting of shooting of Laquan McDonald to flying to Standing Rock and joining with the protestors to fight against allowing construction the Dakota Access Pipeline, he’s made his political feelings known.

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Album of the Week: Mellow Waves by Cornelius

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Cornelius is the alter ego of the legendary Japanese composer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Keigo Oyamada.

Twenty years after releasing their iconic album Fantasma in 1997, and putting an end to an eleven-year-long silence, the Tokyo-based musician and his band are now back with Mellow Waves, out now via Rostrum Records.

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Album of the Week: Something to Tell You by HAIM

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Four years after releasing their impressive debut album Days Are GoneHAIM are back with their long-awaited sophomore project, Something to Tell You, out now via Polydor.

The three Angeleno sisters Este, Danielle, and Alana have kept their distinctive, classic rock sound—inherited from the cover band they fronted in the early days together with their parents—smoothed out by the perfect production of longtime collaborator Ariel Rechtshaid, with help from Rostam Batmanglij.

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Album of the Week: Dust by Laurel Halo

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Born in Michigan but currently based in Berlin, Germany, Laurel Halo is one of the most compelling electronic producers around. Halo’s third album, Dust, is out now from Hyperdub, and is breaking all preconceptions about women in electronic music.

Mixing experimental beats, synth pop, and abstract sounds, with techno hints that peek out in her live sets, the classical and free-jazz trained musician creates a new, 3D sonic experience in her compositions.

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Album of the Week: Fake Sugar by Beth Ditto

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After rising to fame a decade ago with her band Gossip, and following a five-year silence, Beth Ditto is back on the scene with her first solo album, Fake Sugar, out now via Virgin.

Ditto’s charming pop performances find a new awakening in the twelve tracks of the album, on which she sings again about love, relationships (with her wife of four years, in particular), friendship, and human rights.

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Album of the Week: Bravado by Kirin J. Callinan

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“With every decision I made, I picked the least-tasteful option,” Australian singer-songwriter Kirin J. Callinan told the FADER in discussing how his newest album, Bravado (Terrible Records) came to be.

A wacky yet riveting  journey into the clichés of contemporary pop but with a distinguished sonic quality and production, the album features guest appearances from DeMarco, Weyes Blood, James Chance, Alex Cameron, Connan Mockasin, Owen Pallet, Sean Nicholas Savage, and the Finn Family.

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Album of the Week: To Syria, With Love by Omar Souleyman

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Before becoming one of the most praised electronic music producers of the last few years, Omar Souleyman was a successful wedding singer in his homeland Syria, with something like five hundred live albums released through 2011, the year the civil war broke in his country, forcing him to flee to Turkey, where he’s been based ever since.

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Album of the Week: True to Self by Bryson Tiller

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Bryson Tiller made himself known in 2015, when, hailing from the streets of Louisville, KY, the then-twenty-two-year-old singer, rapper, and songwriter posted his debut single “Don’t” on his Soundcloud page, introducing a new style that blends “the urgency of trap music with the smoother sound of alternative R&B.” Subsequently, Tiller released his first album, T R A P S O U L, via RCA.

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Album of the Week: She-Devils by the She-Devils

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Coming from Montreal’s notable music scene, the She-Devils, Audrey Ann Boucher and Kyle Jukka, approach their music-making more as visual artists than songwriters. Boucher draws and paints cartoon-influenced images, including the group’s album art, and Jukka is a “sound sculptor,” molding sonic pieces from samples and loops.

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Album of the Week: Powerplant by Girlpool

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Powerplant is the sophomore album of Los Angeles duo Girlpool, now out via Anti-Records. Starting out with an intimate, bedroom pop made up of vocals over guitar and bass, Harmony Tividad and Cleo Tucker then recruited Miles Wintner to record drums on their new material, creating a fuller sound which could easily fit under the “folk punk” umbrella, but taking up way more space than that.

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Album of the Week: Harriet Brown’s Contact

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Hailing from the Bay Area and now based in Los Angeles, Harriet Brown is the self-proclaimed champion of “romantic funk,” a realm where Prince is king and Sade is queen. His debut Contact, just released by Innovative Leisure, is “a concept album about communication and the contact we purposely, accidentally and inherently struggle to make between friends, lovers and strangers, be them human or otherwise.”

Drawing inspiration from the late 1980s American funk and early 1990s British R&B, Brown composed, arranged, co-produced, and performed all the album’s tracks without any sense of nostalgia, updating familiar sounds to fit with the current cultural climate, “sexual and sensitive, ambiguous and androgynous.”

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Album of the Week: Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN.

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With rumors and speculation about another new record dropping on the second Coachella weekend flying, Kendrick Lamar’s fourth studio album DAMN. (out via TDE/ Interscope) has already established itself as an instant classic.

Lamar, who prefers to identify as musician and a writer rather than a rapper, called his album “Very urgent.” DAMN.

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Album of the Week: Arca by Arca

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In 2012, after leaving their homeland Venezuela for New York City and then London, Alejandro Ghersi began playing music under the stage name of Arca. A former child star, Ghersi has collaborated with Bjork and Kanye West. Now, the twenty-six-year-old producer and composer is releasing their third, eponymous album—the first via XL Recordings, and the first to feature Ghersi’s compelling vocals, breaking their long streak of producing extremely experimental, instrumental works.

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Album of the Week: Tei Shi’s Crawl Space

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Tei Shi is Valerie Teicher—born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, raised between Bogota, Colombia, and Vancouver, Canada, she now lives in New York after graduating from Boston’s Berklee College of Music. Her new album, Crawl Space, out now from Downtown Records, is her coming-of-age diary transposed into music.

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Album of the Week: Jay Som’s Everybody Works

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Jay Som is the musical project of San Francisco singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Melina Duterte. The moniker was found via an online baby name generator and means “Victory Moon.” Everybody Works is her sophomore release, out via Polyvinyl Record.

Writing, recording, playing on, and producing almost every bit of her new album, Duterte keeps her signature DIY approach—wedding lo-fi rock to hi-fi home orchestration, and weaving evocative autobiographical poetry into energetic punk, electrified folk, and dreamy alt-funk.

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Album of the Week: Nadia Reid’s Preservation

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“I remember recording the tracks, it was about 11 at night, and I felt almost transcendental, as if I was out of my body, singing these words to myself. That’s what these songs are: a confession to my future and past self.” So Nadia Reid introduces her sophomore album Preservation, out now on new British label Basin Rock.

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Album of the Week: Peter Silberman’s Impermanence

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“It’s not the notes you play, it’s the notes you don’t play.” This quote from Miles Davis is what inspired Peter Silberman during the make of his first solo album, Impermanence, out now via Transgressive.

Forced by a temporary hearing impairment to leave Brooklyn, Silberman learned to deal with silence and its ungraspable dimensions in a quiet place in upstate New York, slowly reintroducing even the softest sounds into his life bit by bit as time went by, making music whispering words with an acoustic guitar, and singing about his illness and recovery.

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