1. Amanda Palmer – There Will Be No Intermission (Cooking Vinyl, Rock)
Former member of The Dresden Dolls and a solo stalwart for well over a decade, Amanda Palmer’s newest is a burst of emotion and calm intricacy. Sometimes whispering into the microphone and sometimes wailing with a ukelele, Palmer’s delivery demands attention on the rapturous yet immediate “Voicemail for Jill.”
RIYL: Regina Spektor, Ani Difranco, Fiona Apple
2. Yann Tiersen – ALL (Mute, Electronic)
Since capturing the hearts of millions on the soundtrack for Amelie all those years ago, Yann Tiersen has been quite busy. Through the repetitive landscapes of his Infinity album and the stark soundtracks he’s done in recent years, ALL truly feels like the best of his work. Simple pianos are shot through with psychedelic swells and beating hearts are made lighter by present minds.
RIYL: Erik Satie, Tim Hecker, Nils Frahm
3. The Florists – Prayer Starter (Self-released, Rock/Local)
Jeez, what a fabulous name for a punk record. For a band with such an incredible gig/work ethic, it’s amazing frontperson Jo Kellen is able to piece together such a fabulous record while also juggling a Cedar Cultural Center Commission. The Florists get better each time you see them, and it’s easy to do since they never stop captivating local crowds as mainstays of the Mortimer’s stage.
RIYL: The Mountain Goats, Joyce Manor, Against Me!
4. Better Oblivion Community Center – Better Oblivion Community Center (Dead Oceans, Rock)
The new collaboration between Phoebe Bridgers and Conor Oberst seemed like a head-scratcher at fist. But, the more you listen to BOCC the more it makes sense. Bridgers’s knack for candid introspection pairs brilliantly with Oberst’s immediacy, and the idea to split songwriting duties is a move that propels both artists gracefully forward.
RIYL: Son Volt, boygenius, Monsters of Folk
5. Hand Habits – Placeholder (Saddle Creek, Rock)
Saddle Creek still knows how to pick ’em. The title track on Placeholder tells us the tale of Meg Duffy, and takes us through an indie journey that manages to not rip off any of the litany of projects she’s had her hand in for years. To boot, these guitar solos are not to be missed.
RIYL: Lucy Dacus, Wilco, Angel Olsen