1. Aretha Franklin – Amazing Grace: The Complete Recordings (Rhinophonic, Soul/R&B)
A extended reissue of the classic live album of the same name, this is a precious recording. As the piano enters, Aretha is just warming up her pipes. She lets the chorus take the first few lines before spilling her own truth, and you can feel the rapture of the crowd even through the old recording. She takes about 8 syllables to sing the word “amazing,” and we’re hanging on each one.
2. Lambchop – This (Is What I Wanted To Tell You) (Merge, Rock)
Lambchop, once a full band with a dozen plus live members, is now mostly the solo project of longtime frontman Kurt Wagner. Not to worry, this newest record is dripping with invention. The auto-tuned soul sounds of Wagner’s latest opus is clearer and bouncier than Lambchop’s last album, FLOTUS, but is no less brilliant.
RIYL: Bon Iver, Sun Kil Moon, Silver Jews
3. Nilufer Yanya – Miss Universe (ATO, Pop)
These songs are so fun, you can barely keep from dancing. “In Your Head” opens with an off-kilter groove that sounds like Kevin Parker never took Tame Impala to its maximalist ends. This is indie with just enough production messiness to keep it interesting.
RIYL: Guerilla Toss, Spellling, Tirzah
4. Dangermouse & Karen O – Lux Prima (30th Century, Rock)
Karen O and Dangermouse together sounds indulgent on paper, so we’ll just go ahead and say it: this is an indulgent record. That being said, Karen O’s recent collaborations have been sorely overlooked, and Dangermouse’s neo-jazz production is the perfect backdrop to keep her voice close to our hearts.
RIYL: Air, Sparklehorse, Broken Bells
5. Lake Minnetonka – Melbourneapolis (Two and Four Music, Soul/R&B/Local)
Although it came out late last year, it’s excellent that we finally have a physical copy. Lake Minnetonka know which elements of Purple Snow work and which ones don’t. Keep the funk, keep the soul, and, most importantly, keep the Prince.
RIYL: Black Market Brass, Antibalas