Gary Clark Jr., This Land (Warner Entertainment) –
Gary Clark Jr., This Land
When Clark tore into the title track on Saturday Night Live recently, listeners were jolted not only by the topical angry reference to “Trump Country,” but the broader mix of R&B and rock surrounding Clark’s traditional blues. In this 17-track sprawling monster, Clark addresses black empowerment and the national image, but retains tasty guitar licks. The album may be a trifle long in a manner similar to Cass McCombs’ latest, but the hour-long magnum opus seems to be in favor this year.
FEELS, Post Earth (Wichita Recordings) –
Los Angeles has spawned plenty of women-led post-punk bands of late, and Laena Geronimo’s foursome FEELS is among the tightest. This sophomore album is more polished yet more harsh than the self-titled debut. It works best with brief punky call-and-response tunes like “Deconstructed,” or declarative minimal tracks that echo Gang of Four, like “Find a Way.” FEELS only loses energy when it tries to sound too mainstream.
Durand Jones & The Indications, American Love Call (Dead Oceans) –
Durand Jones & The Indications, American Love Call
Can five post-grads from Bloomington, Indiana, really hope to revive the strings-influenced soul of Curtis Mayfield or The Isley Brothers? The Indications’ debut album certainly won them believers, and this second album, the first on a national label, features works like “Don’t You Know” and “Too Many Tears” that make the sum product far more than a nostalgia novelty.