Kae Astra "Fortune EP (Modern Outsider)"
Apropos of nothing-but I must talk about kale an awful lot because my auto-correct refuses to allow me to type Kae Astra’s first name without changing it to a cerian leafy green vegetable that Misfit Market LOVES to send me in every box. So anyway, I had to “teach” my computer Kae as a spelling before writing this. Otherwise, it would have been a comedy of errors. Anyway… back to the music! Fortune (Modern Outsider), the new EP from Kae Astra is as artful a collection of pop-leaning music as your bound to hear. Her hushed, haunting vocals mixing with a swirl of synths, Eno-esque sound design, soaring melodies, minimal percussion tracks, and occasional choral arrangements. Full of dramatic turns and dreaminess, the whole thing sounds like if someone was recreating Spandau Ballet from memory. I hope you think that sounds as good as I mean it to. Give the lead-off track “Howl” a listen and see what I mean!
Rachel Grimes "The Way Forth (Temporary Residence)"
Composer/pianist extraordinaire Rachel Grimes is back with a heady, rousing concept of an album. The Way Forth (Temporary Residence) is a folk opera steeped in American history. The source of this history comes from 18th and 19th-century letters, documents, and photos from Kentucky. But as with everything Rachel does, the music is the main attraction here. Though there are tracks featuring spoken word and choral arrangements, it is all in service of Rachel’s beautiful music–here piano mixed with an Americana-esque chamber ensemble. Check out the first track from the album “Got Ahold of Me.”
Mikal Cronin "Seeker (Merge)"
For his fourth full-length record, Mikal Cronin forwent the naming scheme of his last few releases and went with Seeker (Merge). Well, whatever he was seeking he found, as Seeker is the best thing Mikal has ever recorded. Joyous, slightly (and blissfully) ramshackle in the best possible way. With each release, he’s been pulling back the layers of garage-ness his earliest releases had, and Seeker is the most focus the always fantastic Mikal has ever had. Like a reborn jam-free, song forward Dead, or a Simple Songs era Jim O’Rourke-this is the sound of maturity and confidence without sacrificing fun or rock ’n’ roll. Look, dude’s got a bachelor’s degree in music and it shows. This is some fantastic songwriting. Ok, I’ll stop waxing poetically and let the songs do the rest of the talking. Check out the Tom Petty meets The Dead intro of the super-fun “Show Me.”
Great Grandpa "Four Of Arrows (Double Double Whammy)"
Look. We all know it. You want some rock in your life. Nay, you NEED some rock in your life. That’s why you are about to absolutely fall head over heels in love with the new Great Grandpa album. Four Of Arrows (Double Double Whammy) is everything you want it to be. Equal parts boisterous and emotional, loud and quiet. It’s like they took everything you love about ‘90s indie and mixed it up with everything you love about modern indie sounds-and threw in some choice sensitivity to really hit you in the feels. Then they mixed in just a hint of country music to leave the whole thing sounding fresh and unique. Check out the emotional ballad-esque vibes of “Mono no Aware