Austin singer-songwriter duo Penny and Sparrow move from delicate folk to rough-edged Americana on their new album, Let a Lover Drown You. Vocalist Andy Baxter and composer Kyle Jahnke met while roommates at the University of Texas at Austin. The intensity that comes with living together contributes to the closeness and tightness of their harmonies, which have been compared on occasion to Simon and Garfunkel. “Makeshift” highlights these talents brilliantly and leans toward the folk end of Penny and Sparrow’s musical spectrum.
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Janiva Magness has built a career on the intersections of genres, seamlessly blending blues, Americana, country, pop, and most importantly soul into her own unique sound. After years on highly respected Chicago blues label, Alligator Records, Magness stepped out on her own with 2014’s Original releasing via her own label Fathead Records. For her latest, Love Wins Again releasing in April, Magness partners with Blue Élan Records, a pairing that is allowing her to increase her presence on the exploding Americana scene. “Love Wins Again” is her latest single and it’s a deeply soulful number that makes one want to dance the groove.
Sarah Zupko: Throwing Shade critiques the phony plasticity and the anti-intellectualism of social media most effectively on “hashtag IRL”. The music is simple and the annoying hashtags are called out for a good reason, to highlight the essential impermanence and aural clutter of much of today’s internet, particularly the Twitterverse, but also our clickbait culture. [7/10]
Ari Rosenschein: Wire meets the Fluid on the most postmodern release Sub Pop has offered thus far. There is a Cobainesque guitar solo, and Dino Jr. touches everywhere. Grunge. ‘90s. Nirvana. Sonic Youth. There, I included them all. But actually, a fresh, fierce sound is developing in So Pitted’s rehearsal room. [6/10]