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The Big Takeover Issue #86
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Samuel Levy: July 7, 2020

1. Miss Universe
Miss Universe is English singer Nilüfer Yanya’s debut album and, if its quality any indication of her future work, we have a lot to look forward to. Yanya blends and moves between genres effortlessly; it’s sometimes hard to tell whether you’re listening to jazz, funk, soul, or indie rock, but regardless, you know what you’re listening to is good.

2. U.F.O.F.
Big Thief’s third studio album is a hypnotic trip. Its eerie combination of hushed vocals, chimes, acoustic guitar and ambient sound really make you feel like you’ve traveled somewhere new and beautiful.

3. See You Tomorrow
Both mystical and soothing, this album is exactly what modern music doesn’t know it’s missing. The Innocence Mission’s See You Tomorrow feels stuck out of time, and sometimes unclassifiable genre-wise. Karen Peris’s haunting, ghostly voice is an unforgettable highlight.

4. The Big Freeze
Although it’s classified as alternative rock, I couldn’t help but hear a slight Southern sensibility in this beautiful album by Laura Stevenson. Her voice has the soothing charm of Casey Musgraves, but her melodies are more nuanced, unpredictable, and emotionally complex. One of 2019’s best.

5. On The Line
I love the vintage vibe of this must-listen indie rock album. With On The Line, Jenny Lewis expresses a feeling of misty Old Hollywood nostalgia beyond her years and before her generation (or mine, for that matter).

6. Reunion
I had never heard of Jason Isbell before I heard this just-released album and now I’m a fan. Reunion manages to capture an early 2000’s indie rock sound while never feeling derivative or old-fashioned.

7. The Unseen In Between
Steve Gunn’s melodies are always moving, somehow both melancholy and life-affirming. His fourth studio album is no different. The subtlety and simplicity of his music and lyrics is a breath of fresh air among so much affected, try-hard indie rock.

8. Traditional Techniques
I’m not always a fan of such pared-down folk rock, but there’s something charming about Stephen Malkmus’s modest, casually delivered vocals and guitar combo.

9. No Man’s Land
Singer-songwriter Frank Turner’s concept album about historical woman has a sensitive soul and a good heart. Some have dubbed its lyrics an example of “mansplaining,” but I like it for the music more than the content. Its catchy melodies should be easy, pleasant listening for any folk rock lover out there.

10. Reward
Such a strange, beautiful album. Each song is largely instrumental without a clear melody or structure and yet one can’t help but be moved by Café Le Bon’s eccentric and soulful vision.

 

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