Cat Power, Wanderer (Domino) –
While some fans of Cat Power, aka Chan Marshall, might argue that past albums Jukebox
represented a turn from stage fright to confident, soulful delivery, Wanderer
is Marshall’s full-on transcendence. It is not just the guest vocals from Lana Del Rey, but Marshall’s own ability to meld chanteuse nightclub and camp revival styles. Each track on Wanderer
is simple, direct and true, and the album’s liner-note dedication (“to the truth and those in the struggle”) fits with Marshall’s uncompromising politics and passion.
Hymn for Her, Pop-N-Downers (HFH) –
Lucy Tight and Wayne Waxing sound like they’re aiming for novelty with the title of their fifth album, so it’s no surprise the LP sounds like a Broadway revue with a touch of Fiery Furnaces thrown in. The couple’s recent multiple Colorado stops are indicative of a life lived on the road, generating wild flights of fancy from an Airstream trailer. Tracks like “Dingle Town” and “November” are at once global in influence and at home in your own backyard.