These releases among others are available to request at wyce.org/request or call (616)742-9923 For a complete list of everything we add visit: grcmc.org/wyce/music/library
Vagabon - Vagabon
Often times, when you see an artist naming an album after their artistic name, there is a strong attachment to the release. Yes, American music listeners are bombarded with introductory albums to singer/songwriters that recently came off of placing highly on a music competition show or a new record deal to a major label, but with this release, artist Laetitia Tamko is expanding on the creative desires behind the moniker “Vagabon.” While her debut release played around with genre-bending, this new album widens the scope of her many influences as an artist and producer (as this record was written and produced entirely by Tamko). There are a bevy of analog and digital sounds woven together to support a distinct evolution between albums, a statement highlighting the artistic visions and goals behind Vagabon. Her debut caused her to move to NYC to pursue music full-time, and this new releases cements her identity as a fierce creative delighting in the many sounds that can emphasize the vision she is pursuing.
Songs to check out: Every Woman, Water Me Down, Flood
Patrick Watson - Wave
Montreal singer/songwriter, film composer, and pianist Patrick Watson returns with Wave, a follow up to his group’s 2015 release Love Songs for Robots. While often commissioned to write for films/TV (Grey’s Anatomy, Walking Dead, The Good Doctor) or contributing to projects like Tower of Songs (a tribute to Leonard Cohen that included Elvis Costello, Philip Glass, and Lana Del Rey), this record instead focuses inwardly, reflecting on how one’s whole world can change with event, much like the unexpected crashing of a large wave. While making this record, Patrick Watson lost his mother, a longtime drummer in his group left the band, and he separated from his partner. Through this emotionally trying time, Patrick learned that you need to “sing a love song to yourself when no one else will, allowing the sound to carry you and learning to trust where you will land.” (Bandcamp Promo) The resulting sounds are hauntingly beautiful, within ambient textures built from lush strings, quiet synth layers, and rhythmic pulses pulled from different genre influences to craft a flowing body of work that feels like the journeying down a river of emotional strife. It’s an album to remind you that everything can change in a second and to take nothing for granted, and it so beautifully captures the emotional complexity behind these statements in a strong, succinct album release.
Songs to check out: Dream For Dreaming, Melody Noir, The Wave
Robert Glasper – F*** Yo Feelings
If you’re an avid follower of jazz/hip-hop/neo soul pianist/producer Robert Glasper, then you know his varied body of work with dozens of collaborations. He has worked with a variety of artists throughout his career, and I was first introduced to his Grammy-winning album with the Robert Glasper Experiment, Black Radio, as a budding jazz artist interested in Black American music. Now, he has returned with a mixtape style record that captures the various vibes and talents that often go into a Robert Glasper-related live show (much like his current Blue Note Residency). What started as a returning collaboration between Glasper, bassist/producer Derrick Hodge, and drummer Chris “Daddy” Dave (who haven’t worked together in the studio since Black Radio) expanded into a cast of guest artists that span generations of jazz, neo-soul, funk, and hip hop. To name a few of my personal favorite collaborators, the album has Yebba, Bilal, Rapsody, Andra Day, Terrace Martin, Taylor McFerrin, James Poyser, and Herbie Hancock, who “likes to mingle with mortals...he likes to learn from us” according to Glasper, who has worked with the jazz legend on previous projects. As casual as the approach to crafting a “mixtape” vibe can sound, there is such a strong presence on the album musically and moments of serious honesty about the world, humanity, and the healing emphasis around music. The title of the record comes from a willingness to be vulnerable and to be upfront about certain issues, not sugarcoating the messages behind the artistry to meet some sort of trend or broaden the appeal. This album has been in my rotating playlist since it came out, and it’s so cool to hear so many talented people coming together for this record. If you want more background on this record, there is a trailer on YouTube that explains the concept more in-depth!
Songs to check out: All I Do (feat. SIR, B Kelly, Song Bird), Endangered Black Woman (feat. Andra Day, Staceyann Chin), F*** Yo Feelings (feat. Yebba), Treal (feat. Yasiin Bey)
Hannah Williams & The Affirmations – 50 Foot Woman
Hannah Williams has had a cult following in the UK for a few years. She operated under a few different group names while establishing her abilities as soulful powerhouse, and with this second release under The Affirmations, she is defining her platform to stand tall and proud on a world tour. The Motown flavor on this record is palpable, reminiscent of so many artists that came through Hitsville but with a modern flare and polish to the production. The album title matches the sound, a powerhouse woman standing “50 feet tall” as she belts a soulful tune to the masses. It’s the confidence that comes from trying and failing, searching the world and simultaneously inward to find that artistic voice, and this album feels like a triumph. To have the best kept soul secret in the UK reach a world stage with the help of Jay Z on her single “Late Nights & Heartbreak [Jay Z 4:44 sample]” and then continuing to rocket skyward is inspiring, and it is such a pleasure to listen to this new record and celebrate with Hannah Williams!
Songs to check out: I Feel It, 50 Foot Woman, What Can We Do?
Jim James – The Order Of Nature
Fans of My Morning Jacket will recognize frontman Jim James for his creative vision that has shaped the band’s iconic sound for over two decades. With The Order of Nature, Jim’s focus turned to a rich orchestral sound paired with lyricism addressing guns, violence, religion, and overloading from social media, all drawing from parts of his discography. Within these divisive themes lies a mantra centered on love, pushing through the darkness with a radiant hope for a better future. The release pairs Jim’s writing, vocals, and musicianship with his hometown’s orchestra, The Louisville Orchestra, with current conductor/director Teddy Abrams. There are moments of activism in the vein of classic soul hits like “What’s Goin On?” placed against thematic material reminiscent of other American symphonic composers like Aaron Copeland, making for a rich tapestry of influences that compliment the various issues addressed throughout the record. This album is a great collaboration, and it showcases the power of expert musicians paired with skilled directors and visionaries, as the live recording also is paired with several videos to absorbed the messages in different contexts. If you’re a fan of Jim James’ music, contemporary orchestral music, or unique, conceptually driven collaborations, this is a great release for you to enjoy!
Songs to check out: Back To The End Of The World, Here In Spirit, Over And Over
New Music Monday is a collaboration with WYCE Staff and Dutcher Snedeker. These among others are all available for request at wyce.org/request or call (616) 742-9923 For a complete list of everything we add visit: grcmc.org/wyce/music/library