Blues/folk/soul singer Ruthie Foster is a roots music wunderkind. From those aforementioned three genres and into gospel and rock, Foster refuses to be penned in, but rather allows her muse to take her where it will and we the audience are just left shaking our heads in collective amazement. What resonates with me the most about Foster is that she’s a pure musical force of nature, a master musician and an artist graced with one of the finest vocal instruments in the roots world.
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Neo-swing band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy first found fame in the ‘90s during the long-overdue Louis Prima revival that suddenly brought swing bands from coast to coast to greater prominence. But Big Bad Voodoo Daddy was always among the best of the lot with a really tight band that could jump, jive and wail just like their many musical heroes.
Minnesotan singer-songwriter Rachael Kilgour’s newest music is born from the rollercoaster that followed an excruciating divorce. Before Rabbit in the Road, all of her previous work focused on marrying in her early 20s and living as a young step-parent in a same-sex relationship, deftly chronicling all of the ignorance on behalf of the religious, governmental, and just plain ignorant against her family.
Mike Schiller: Sampha’s been riding a wave of under-the-radar success thanks largely to memorable guest spots with Drake, Kanye West and Solange, and it feels like he’s barely a step away from hitting pop radio and turning his sizable talent into megastardom. This is probably not that step, but it is further confirmation of the power and beauty that Sampha brings to his music. The ring of the piano itself is beautiful here; the slightly distant sound we get from (presumably) using an upright rather than a grand piano is perfect for the mood Sampha’s going for, and his words—and they way he delivers those words, pushing through some of them, falling off toward the ends of lines—are absolutely, stunningly gorgeous. [9/10]
Adriane Pontecorvo: The world’s coolest dads are back with a snarling, on-the-nose critique of jingoism, current politics, and, above all, a lack of full-scale revolt. Their electronics are as sharp and slick as ever, layers of rocking synths and growling guitars that build as Dave Gahan bitterly tries to fan the flames of rebellion. Depeche Mode didn’t come this far to let the masses stay comfortable. This is a band that’s here to rile the blissfully ignorant and the unduly comfortable, and “Where’s the Revolution”, has no time for the rabble that won’t be roused. [7/10]