Look, we posted so many stories about Kendrick Lamar’s absolutely jaw-dropping new album DAMN. this month that I jokingly referred to the site as “Kendroxx” at one point. So no, I’m not going to bother including his incredible opus in this list — it’s designed to get your attention on the albums you might have missed this month. Which is why Father John Misty — another well-covered artist — and his own opus Pure Comedy won’t be on here either. But rest assured, I think both those records are phenomenal and will probably be toward the top of my own personal year end list.
For now, I want to direct your attention to some other great records that came out in April that you may have missed while you were bumping “DNA” or cry-laughing/puzzling over “Total Entertainment Forever.” I’m also not going to write anything more about The Chainsmokers album that I have grown to love. Instead, we’ll have a mix of indie rock, a great f*cking country album, an enormous R&B comeback, some overlooked rap releases, and a couple of folk records all guaranteed to blow your mind. April isn’t just for the heavyweights.
Future Islands, The Far Field
Future Islands have been slowly building from cult Baltimore favorite into honest-to-God national indie rockers since their breakout record Singles in 2014, which was their first for the storied indie label 4AD. The Far Field is their second for that label, and continues to expand on their expressive, introspective synthpop. One of the best parts of the band remains frontman Samuel T. Herring’s unabashed commitment to the music. Herring was memed by Letterman a couple years ago for his wildly earnest dance moves during the band’s TV debut on the show in 2014. Perhaps that’s the best way to explain the approach Herring and his band take with their evocative, delicate music — it goes all the way to the point of no return, and doesn’t ever apologize for feeling as much as it does. Mock it only if you’re too scared to fall in.
Joey Badass, All-Amerikkkan Badass
Instead of trying to add anything more to how spectacularly prescient this Joey Badass album is, how much it displays his growth as an artist, how much it builds off hip-hop’s history while looking directly into the eyes of our own American future, how it brings him into his own realm as a rapper, I will point you toward the review we published earlier this month where Aaron Williams already did all that. Read it, and give this record a listen, it will blow you away. Joey more than exceeded my expectations, give him the chance to do so with yours.
Diet Cig, Swear I’m Good At This
It’s so strange to me how frequently women are attacked when they try to make art. It certainly happens disproportionately to women, specifically young women, than it does to men. And it certainly comes from people who fall all over the gender spectrum, I see as many women hating on other women as I do men dismissing art that is femme or girly. Well, Swear I’m Good At This, Diet Cig’s debut album driven by Alex Luciano, is one of the most effeminate, flippant, giggly and cute albums of the year — and that’s part of what makes it so f*cking good. Whether she’s lamenting slut-shaming, losing friends over an ex (don’t worry Alex, those were sh*tty friends anyway), or tackling the specific challenges that face a woman pursuing the pop-punk ethos, Luciano and her thrilling guitar work are accompanied at every turn by Noah Bowman’s steadying, unassuming percussion. I, for one, find it nice to hear such an unabashedly female voice dominate an entire record — and one as good as this one, at that. Less songs about dudes who are existentially lost, more songs about summer camp kisses and sleeping in.