The sun is out in LA; the beach towel is on the lawn. Grab your sunglasses, SPF, and bluetooth speaker and go listen to these five incredible female artists.
In March of 2018 Lucy Dacus released her second studio album Historian. I was still obsessing over her EP No Burden from 2016 and when Historian came out two years later I was skeptical. I was worried that the sound and quality of the song writing Dacus had presented in the EP could not be maintained on a full album, but I was completely mistaken. Dacus’s songwriting is far and away some of the best writing I have seen manifest over the course of two subsequent albums in a long time. Lyrically I am often surprised and often pleased by her clever turns of phrase, hurt by her ability to articulate precise emotion, and dazzled by the revelatory notions about the human experience that are so often present in her music. Her songs often start slow and soft, easing listeners into a dream like daze until suddenly her impressive vocal range and resonant guitar sections startle them awake. Some of my favorite tracks from Historian are “Addictions,” “Yours & Mine,” and “Next of Kin,” but if you haven’t heard her EP go back and revisit that to shed some additional tears.
The band Snail Mail which consists of three members is led by the 19 year old Lindsey Jordan. Alongside Alex Bass and Ray Brown, the bassist and drummer respectively, Snail Mail’s most recently released the studio album Lush in 2018. The album is best described as self aware and, for me at least, nostalgic. “Golden Dream,” “Pristine,” and “Heat Wave” all illustrate the clarity that only angst in youth can produce. Lindsey Jordan’s voice is clear and powerful. The cohesion of the album is impressive and it maintains a steadiness that is genuinely delightful to listen to in a sitting. Hopefully the first of many full albums to come, I am excited to watch the trajectory of Lindsey Jordan’s career.
Nobody, nobody, nobody can exclude Mitski from this list. Sorry, I’m done. I promise. Mitski Miyawaki is basically taking the world by storm. Her latest release was a full studio album from 2018, Be The Cowboy, which made it onto our favorite albums of 2018 list. This impressive Japanese American singer-songwriter has a beautiful falsetto, soothing voice, and songwriting that really tries to destroy your emotional well being. The first song I heard by her is also her most popular song, “Nobody,” but “Old Friend,” “Machine Washer Heart,” and “Me and My Husband” are equally as brilliant. If you haven’t listened to this album just go. Enjoy.
Sophie Allison, otherwise known as Soccer Mommy, is a young singer-songwriter from Nashville, Tennessee. Of these five artists I’m least familiar with her work, but the two singles she released this year “Blossom (Demo)” and “Be Seeing You” have made me fall in love with her music. The fully produced version of “Blossom” that is found on her latest album, Clean, is from 2018. Hearing these two iterations of the same song in reverse order helped me understand how talented and precise Soccer Mommy’s music is despite how effortless it feels. This is the type of music you can listen to while you stare out of the window of a car at fields of flowers. All of her music is dreamy and reverent and I’m looking forward to dive back into some of her older work.
I first started listening to Courtney Barnett when I found “Elevator Operator” on someone’s playlist back in 2015 and after listening to “Depreston” I was hooked. Born in Sydney, Australia Barnett has been a stand out artist for the past few years. Her latest album Tell Me How You Really Feel is successful in telling us how Barnett really feels. Her lyrics deliver what feels like a flurry of punches and she is quick on her toes, but sometimes just direct. Between the lyricism of “Nameless, Faceless” Men are scared that women will laugh at them / I wanna walk through the park in the dark / Women are scared that men will kill them and “City Looks Pretty” It’s vicious in winter, you never say what you mean / Friends treat you like a stranger and / Strangers treat you like their best friend, oh well Courtney is pretty much singing what I am scared to say out loud. Her honest and straightforward art makes truth feel like poetry. Her rambling vocals, prose-like lyrics, and the grungy guitar that backtracks almost every song always keep me returning to her music for just one more listen. And one more.
Featured: Snail Mail (via W Magazine)