Sharon Van Etten – Are We There

New York singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten tests patience with a slow burner of a new record.

Meshell Ndegeocello – “Conviction”

Singer/songwriter/bassist Meshell Ndegeocello doesn’t get enough respect. She had some low-level visibility a few years ago when she released her first couple albums, but has since faded into a small niche where her small but ultra-devoted fanbase follows her every move. I only really got invested in her music when she released her last LP, the sort of amazing Weather, and so I am pretty stoked that she has a new release on the way.

The first song to leak from it is “Conviction,” and it’s pretty standard Meshell. Slightly funky, headbobbing guitar, bass, and drums. All of it is complemented as superbly as ever by her sultry, sensuous voice. Its this passionate and husky voice that first lured me in, back when I heard “Objects in Mirror are Closer than They Appear”, the fantastic track from Weather, and it doesn’t disappoint here. Ndegeocello is definitely an under-the-radar gem, but I hope this time around she blips more into the middle of the screen.

Ndegeocello’s new record Comet Come to Me is out June 3 via Naive, and features contributions from Shara Worden!

ikea-graveyard – stray

Alofa Gould is a 19-year-old Vista, CA-based singer-songwriter who has recorded under the moniker Your Bruise, and now under ikea-graveyard. This month, she put out a split EP with touringmates Bulldog Eyes and Yukon, as well as this collection of demos she recorded on her porch, called stray. The tracks are breezy and feature only Gould’s lovely voice and acoustic guitar, but while simple, they manage to be quite evocative. She caps off the tape with a nice Joyce Manor cover, too. Happy listening!

Timber Timbre – “Curtains?!”

The sound of Timber Timbre’s latest and greatest LP Hot Dreams calls to mind the visuals of either a Lynchian Western or vintage film noir. This Tyler T. Williams-directed video for album highlight “Curtains?!” delivers on the latter, starring Williams collaborator Joel Kliebe as an apparent hitman just released from prison and getting back to business. The stark, shady atmosphere here is (in my opinion) a much better fit for Timber Timbre’s sonic direction than Chad VanGaalen‘s trippy animation for “Bang the Drum Slowly,” although give that one a chance too, if you’ve yet to.

Sharon Van Etten – “Your Love Is Killing Me”

Singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten and her band hammer out a loud but patient ballad on “Your Love Is Killing Me.” Without doing it intentionally–I don’t think–the instrumentation on this one works more like a drone than it does indie or folk rock.

Sharon kicks things off with a distant drum beat, twang-y guitar leads, and some somber keys. Everything just builds, builds, and builds from there. The movement of the song is subtle, but it continues to grow more and more intense as it draws to a close, slowing the progression down a bit on occasion.

“Burn my skin so I can feel you,” Sharon calls out, lining that lyric up with a series of other contradictions that point out just how flawed this “love” she’s speaking of is. Sharon’s voice, like usual, is incredibly powerful, beautiful, and delivered with an immense amount of conviction.

Look for Sharon’s next album, Are We There, via Jagjaguwar on May 27th.

Lykke Li – I Never Learn

The new Lykke Li record is her saddest and most heartbroken release yet.

Damon Albarn – Everyday Robots

Damon Albarn’s latest record may be slightly passionless and relentlessly dreary, but he delivers some stand-out songs throughout the tracklist here.

Sharon Van Etten – “Every Time The Sun Comes Up”

No holds barred on this new Sharon Van Etten track. With some elongated, expressive vocal melodies, I think she’s delivering some of her most straightforward lyricism yet. The spacious instrumentation complements her confident vocal delivery fantastically, and the chorus on this thing flourishes beautifully with vocal harmonies bright, shimmering guitars.

Look for Sharon’s new record, Are We There, on May 27th via Jagjaguwar.

Carla Bozulich – Boy

Bringing together elements of folk, blues, experimental rock, and noise, Carla Bozulich makes one of the most unorthodox singer-songwriter records you’ll hear this year.

Timber Timbre – Hot Dreams

Even though it leaves me starving for more, Timber Timbre’s latest record features some of the best tracks and instrumentation to ever come out of this project.