American Football, LP3 (Polyvinyl) –
Mike Kinsella, brother of Joan of Arc’s Tim Kinsella, has only released three albums with Chicago’s American Football in 20 years. Each attempts to crystallize breathless emotion, but the third new release matches emo classics like Death Cab’s 2003 Transatlanticism
. One might point to guests like Paramore’s Hayley Williams for enriching the mix, but it’s really about an ideal guitar and drum satori that matches the lyrical maturity.
Stella Donnelly, Beware of the Dogs (Secretly Canadian) –
Stella Donnelly, Beware of the Dogs
Those who consider Courtney Barnett the most badass woman in Australian rock should look west to Perth, where Stella Donnelly is setting new standards for frank and disarming #MeToo diatribes. Her debut album is not so much political as a bold folk-punk cry for freedom, delivered in a deceptively coy voice.
Not for Pussies, Into the East (Stellasounds/Bandcamp) –
Not for Pussies, Into the East
Brian and Janette Kidd regularly offer up ambient electronica from rural studios in Scotland. While every album is informed by Janette’s wise vocals, she expands into the mystical and personal in the new album, making “Dem Sonnengott” and “The Women” downright otherworldly.