Monthly Music Report: The 10 Best New Albums We Heard In March

Monthly Music Report: The 10 Best New Albums We Heard In March

Youthful talent dominates our list of the month’s essential albums. Billie Eilish’s debut album is an eerily assured outing that splits the difference between industrial-infused pop and Spotify-core, Little Simz sharpens her promise as an MC on the transcendent GREY Area and Jamaican talent Koffee lays out the future of reggae in five songs.

But it wasn’t all young guns. Jenny Lewis delivers what might be her best solo outing yet, a nuanced trek into love and loss through the music of Laurel Canyon and Nashville. Meanwhile, Yo-Yo Ma partnered with composer Esa-Pekka Salonen for a foray into the stratosphere, and rap veteran Quelle Chris wields his vocal weaponry to deconstruct our national fascination with guns.

Below you’ll find an alphabetized list of NPR Music’s top 10 albums for March 2019. Be sure to check out our top 20 songs from the month as well, which are also available in our Spotify playlist.

Mary Bragg, Violets As Camouflage

Mary Bragg

Violets As Camouflage

♬: APPLE / SPOTIFY / YOUTUBE / AMAZON

Country music taught us long ago that at some point, anyone with a heart will fall to pieces. On her fifth album, Nashville-based singer-songwriter Mary Bragg explores the little cracks that lead to that undone state, and compassionately argues that it’s possible to reassemble yourself. Her clear, warm alto, reminiscent of Patsy Cline, was made for confidences, and these gorgeously crafted and executed songs touch the listener on a deep level, where insight occurs. —Ann Powers

The Comet Is Coming, Trust In The Lifeforce Of The Deep Mystery

The Comet Is Coming

Trust In The Lifeforce Of The Deep Mystery

♬: APPLE / SPOTIFY / YOUTUBE / AMAZON

There’s a good chance that an algorithm is going to suggest this album to some teenage music fans and it’s going to change their world — the way they look at and listen to music — in the same way some late-night FM radio DJ turned us on to John Coltrane. That’s not to say that this London trio of sax, electronics and drums is quite as visionary as Coltrane, but it is to say that King Shabaka (a.k.a. U.K. jazz chieftain Shabaka Hutchings), Danalogue and Betamax are such a perfect antidote to the branded and ego-filled themes that pervades popular music. It’s a beautiful escape that feels so damn good. —Bob Boilen

Billie Eilish, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?

Billie Eilish

When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?

♬: APPLE / SPOTIFY / YOUTUBE / AMAZON

Billie Eilish begins her long-awaited debut album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? with a snicker and a gag. She takes her Invisalign off in the booth, spittle and all, before announcing that her album’s ready. This whole music thing, she seems to sneer? It’s just something she does for kicks. Good thing she’s just so adept at her singular brand of somber pop, flitting through a barrage of sonic adventures without so much as breaking a sweat.

Eilish brings her innocuous, haunted coo to seedy darkwave (“Bad Guy”), ukelele-fronted dream pop (“8”), soundbites taken from The Office (“My Strange Addiction”), spectral singer-songwriter fare (“Listen Before I Go”) and cabaret rabble-rousing (“All The Good Girls Go To Hell”). All the while, the young prodigy calls to mind Fiona Apple, Nine Inch Nails and Chromatics, a form-shifting pop star tailor-made for these times. She’s bending the new rules of Spotify-core — the same ones that vaulted her own rise from algorithm-curated playlist fixture to full-on supernova — to her will. Everyone else, as usual, just has to adjust. —Joshua BoteKoffee, Rapture

Koffee

Rapture EP

♬: APPLE / SPOTIFY / YOUTUBE / AMAZON

Like a shot of pure adrenaline, 19-year-old Koffee — a recent high school grad and native of Spanish Town, Jamaica — is making the most electrifying reggae in music right now. She is upholding traditional truths and riddims while infusing the music with newfound urgency. After months of slyly timed promotional singles, the young musician shared her cohesive debut project, the five-song EP Rapture. Clocking in at only 16 minutes, Rapture feels like a speedy motorbike trip through her hometown city streets. It’s comfortable, inviting and aided by a warm breeze, but picks up the pace and doesn’t shy away from dangerous swerves. Koffee offsets her conscious, wise-beyond-her-years delivery by peppering in millennial quips: “Me no waste time with the music / In yuh ears like any q-tip / Used to Facetime with the Blues / til Reggae bassline mek me lose it,” she rhymes on “Throne.” —Sidney Madden…Read More>>>

 

Source:- npr

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