This August, a number of star-studded names returned from hiatus to release new music: Missy Elliott surprised us all with her first album in 14 years, and Sleater-Kinney teamed up with St. Vincent to release their first album since 2015 (despite drummer Janet Weiss’ announcement that she is leaving the band). August also gave us new Lana del Rey and spectacular debuts from Clairo, Lunch Duchess, and more.
An album that I have not been able to put down this month is Jay Som’s Anak Ko. The album is her third LP, and easily her best. Jay Som’s Melina Duterte’s prowess as a songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer has always impressed me — she played all of the instruments on her first two albums and produced them herself. On Anak Ko, Duterte’s production creates breezy soundscapes that somehow manage to blend a Phil Collins-esque drum fill and key modulation into one song, and still make it sound effortless.
Philly indie rockers Queen of Jeans released the stellar sophomore album, If you’re not afraid, I’m not afraid. Each song is like a punch to the heart, packed with honest lyrics about accepting loss and becoming stronger because of it. You hear me talk with band members Miriam Devora and Mattie Glass over at the Pass The Mic Podcast.
This month on the podcast, I also chatted with Lunch Duchess’ Katharine Seggerman about writing upbeat and catchy songs that tackle serious topics for Lunch Duchess’ debut album, Crying for Fun.
Minneapolis singer-songwriter Lydia Liza released two new singles this month: “Josephine,” and “Crow on a Branch,” which is a collaboration with the former Motion City Soundtrack frontman Justin Courtney Pierre. The two songs present startlingly different moods that show just how versatile Liza can be. “Crow on a Branch” pulses with electric guitar fuzz, while the subtle string section in “Josephine” swells softly and directs all attention to Liza’s masterful and emotionally articulate vocal inflections.
Check out the playlist below to hear the rest of my monthly picks like the Rostam-produced debut album from Clairo, New Zealand artist Skux’s ode to cooties, and more.