If it wasn’t for the accent, you would think Jade Bird was another southwestern American half-country, half-Stevie Nicks songwriter. You know, the kind we love around here. It’s easy to know where the confusion might come from: in her second album, the English musician is joined by producer Dave Cobb (who else?) to bring us one of the most interesting Americana records of the year so far.
Signing singer-songwriter Arlo McKinley for his Oh Boy Records was probably one of the last gifts John Prine gave us. With a full powered Memphis-based band backing him, “Die Midwestern” is a goldmine of western folk-rock tunes. Plus: new tracks by Will Johnson, Jeremy Ivey, Paul Cauthen, Jerry Joseph, Ulver, Protomartyr, Julianna Barwick, Sufjan Stevens, Jupiter Sprites, Tomberlin, Orville Peck, Sam Rae Music, Liz Simmons, Kathleen Edwards, Bonnie Prince Billy, Charley Crockett, Samuel Úria, Puerto, The Two Tracks, Jeremy Tuplin, Daniel Romano, THE EELS, Father John Misty, The Avett Brothers, and Warren Givens.
Though it helps, you don’t have to be a 25 year-old millennial to deeply empathise with Phoebe Bridgers’ sophomore album, “Punisher”. The star-studded ensemble of guests (Conor Oberst, Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus) and its universal and hauntingly beautiful themes of lost love, impostor syndrome and the end of the world will leave their mark on you. We dare you to try to listen to it only once. +: new tracks by Bob Dylan, Bright Eyes, Hayley Thompson-King, Mike Polizze (Purling Hiss), Tiña, The Fiery Furnaces, Elephant Stone, Sun on Shade (Heath Fogg from Alabama Shakes), Los Retros, Gum Country, Sports Team, Fontaines D.C., Noveller, Jeremy Fetzer, Wilder Maker & Gabriel Birnbaum, Thomas Csorba, Colter Wall, John Craigie, Neil Young, Willie Nelson, Ronnie Fauss, Arlo McKinley, Steve Gunn & Cass McCombs, and Mary Chapin Carpenter.