Three Awesome Albums for Your Autumn Rotation
by Henry Claudy on Friday, October 21st, 2016
It has been five long years since Bon Iver’s last project, Bon Iver, Bon Iver. In that time, Justin Vernon, the band’s founder and lead creative mind, has appeared on Kanye West albums, started two other bands, and curated a music festival in his hometown. Despite his activity, Vernon has been rather silent about the potential for new Bon Iver material, until he announced 22, A Million this past August.
The work in 22, A Million is in the same vein as other stripped back albums released this year, such as Frank Ocean’s Blonde and James Blake’s The Color In Anything. The opening track, “22 (OVER S∞∞N),” is a perfect example of this album’s minimalism. The song opens with a single vocal loop, and subtle strings are added as Vernon croons. This sound is displayed further with tracks like “33 ‘GOD,’” “715 – CRΣΣKs,” and “666 ʇ.”
Although 22, A Million offers a glimpse into a new side and sound of Bon Iver, the traditional folk sound present on the band’s first LP, For Emma, Forever Ago, is still apparent in tracks like “29 #Strafford APTS.” Even with a weaker second half, 22, A Million is an extremely interesting and beautiful experiment that every Bon Iver fan, and even new listeners, should check out.
Standout Tracks: “22 (OVER S∞∞N),” “10 d E A T h b R E a s T ⚄ ⚄,” “29 #Strafford APTS.”
Hamilton Leithauser and Rostam make an indie supergroup with their release of the album I Had a Dream That You Were Mine. Leithauser is the former lead singer of The Walkmen, a post-punk revival band formed in Washington DC, whose vocals and nostalgic lyrics drive this project. He offers an amazing vocal range on the album, from faint whispers to near-deafening screams to beautiful harmonization with Rostam.
Rostam is the former producer/vocalist of the baroque pop supergroup Vampire Weekend. The haunting vocals, vibrant crescendos, and world influences from VW’s Modern Vampires of the City are also exhibited in I Had a Dream That You Were Mine. One highlight of the album is the the beautiful finger picking in “In A Black Out,” which you might have heard in a recent Apple advertisement. Overall, the album is a great showing of what Leithauser and Rostam can do when they aren’t tied to their own bands. For those who can’t wait for Vampire Weekend’s next album, make sure to listen to I Had a Dream that You Were Mine.
Standout Tracks: “1000 Times,” “In A Black Out.”
Mac Miller has been pumping out album after album for the past few years. Last year, he released GOOD AM, a solid project that had a few outstanding singles. Miller took criticism to heart when creating The Divine Feminine, a pseudo-concept album based on the women in his life and influenced by his current relationship with Ariana Grande.
Grande makes multiple cameos throughout the album, her most prominent feature occurring in “My Favorite Part,” in which, the couple trades off verses about their relationship. Other standout features from the album are Anderson .Paak’s chorus on “Dang!” and Ty Dolla $ign’s crooning on “Cinderella.” The project utilizes the smooth-jazz beats that Miller similarly explores on his mixtape Faces, while also drawing from sounds showcased by Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly and Kaytranada’s 99.9%.
Miller shows incredible growth from his frat-rap routes with this new album, suggesting a promising future for the Pittsburgh-born musician. The Divine Feminine is a great listen for a relaxed environment, so make sure to check it out.
Standout Tracks: “Dang!,” “Cinderella,” “We.”
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