When It Hits:Five albums for April 2015
Ivy Tripp by Waxahatchee (7 Apr 2015)
Just one of the many female vocalists who have been taking indie music to unique places in recent years, Katie Crutchfield has been on a roll with the upcoming release of her third album in the last five years. Her soft voice, with an underlining raspiness supported by simple guitar and drum rhythms share stories of self-reflection, love, and heartbreak. She questions her relationships and struggles with decisions of staying or leaving, like in her single â€œAir,â€ â€œWe stand hand-in-hand idle in our course. When we are moving, we just pretend to be strangers lamenting a means to an end.â€ Its simplistic tones surfacing above a much deeper, intimate meaning are what make her songs so relatable.
People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm by A Tribe Called Quest (15th anniversary, 17 Apr 1990)
Ever uttered the words, â€œCan I kick it?â€ to the gorgeous honey or fly cat at the bar on late Saturday night in the hopes of starting a discussion or hanging out later? If so, you probably have A Tribe Called Quest to thank for making that 4-word phrase commonly known throughout our discourse. Yet thatâ€™s not all. A Tribe Called Quest and their first album Peopleâ€™s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm have gone on to become essential listening for anyone interested in understanding the foundation of hip hop and rap. Although politically conscious like many of their early rap and alternative hip hop companions, A Tribe Called Quest became known for their positivity and clean lyrics on top of unique samples. Although with no opportunity to see A Tribe Called Quest live in the near future, fans of the genre will be happy to hear that Los Angeles counterparts, Jurassic Five will be playing at Big Cat in Osaka as part of their reunion tour on April 13.
Sound & Color by Alabama Shakes (20 Apr 2015)
As an American I know all about the stereotypes people â€“ both local and foreign â€“ have about Alabama and to be fair, I might even be willing to concede a few of them. Yet, there should be no doubt that this southern American state also births incredible musical talent. Not only does the above mentioned Waxahatchee hail from Alabama, but as you guessed so do the extremely talented Alabama Shakes. After releasing their first studio album Boys & Girls in 2012 and receiving three Grammy nominations for it in 2013, Alabama Shakes have continued to combine their brand of folk, rock, and soul to offer an incredibly addicting sound. Frontwoman Brittany Howardâ€™s voice is a perfect mix between King of Leonâ€™s Caleb Followill and Macy Gray and fits nicely with bandmates who never shy away from an opportunity to get lost in their music. The newest album with their singles â€œDonâ€™t Wanna Fightâ€ and â€œGimme All Your Loveâ€ promises to build upon their previous success.
Sucker by Charli XCX (15 Dec 2014, playing in Osaka 15 Apr 2015)
After a positive reception at last yearâ€™s Summer Sonic, Charli XCX returns to Japan following the release of her newest album Sucker. Her songs blend of electric, pop, and rock align with many current J-Pop stars and allow her to garner a wide audience in Japan. At twenty-two and with two albums out in two years, Charli shows no sign of slowing down, despite complaints of selling out (a theme the song â€œSuckerâ€ addresses).
White Men Are Black Men Too by Young Fathers (6 Apr 2015)
Like the previous artists, Young Fathersâ€™s music combines a variety of genres and is too complex to simply blanket with an alternative hip-hop title. Instead what this group out of Edinburgh can be called with complete certainty is passionate. Although making music since their teens, the group, now in their late twenties, didnâ€™t release a studio album until 2014 where they went on to surprise many by winning the Mercury Award â€“ best album from the United Kingdom and Ireland â€“ for 2014. Similar to Alabama Shakes and Charli XCX, Young Fathers appear to continue defining their sound on their sophomore album and further address issues important to them as they did on their debut album Dead.