I'm writing about music in my newsletter, so I thought I'd share some of my favourite stuff at the end of the month. Let's get into it!

Note: Bandcamp links to the records are the priority. I'll just link to Youtube if there is no Bandcamp link.

Gemini Rights - Steve Lacy

This was on my radar before it came out but my friend, Kelly, urged me to check it out with a sense of immediacy. I’m glad I did.

It takes a lot of courage and pure talent to make music that straddles the crossover point of Stevie Wonder and Prince. I feel like it would be too easy to fall into pastiche or facsimile with those artists. This record does not do that.

Lacy was (is?) the guitarist in The Internet. They haven’t put out a record since 2011, I’m hopeful they will at some point. Yet, with such a strong suite of songs as evidenced here, maybe we don’t need another release from The Internet?

There’s enough real feelings and emotions here to almost, almost feel overwhelming but with the combination of irresistible groove and highly skilled songwriting, Steve serves up a truly modern relationship record. Love in the 21st Century is fucking complicated and this album navigates the many thrills and ills with grace, sophistication and a staggering swagger that swings with deep self-awareness and understanding.

Zola Jesus - Arkhon

Quickly, I need to say that Sacred Bones Records is one the most vital record labels. It melts my mind that they’re able to build such a creatively rich catalogue. Very few of their releases fail to hit the spot. Though, I must admit, Zola Jesus is one of those artists. Until now.

Because I love the label so much, I’ve still listened to her records but never gone back to them. I was expecting to do the same with this one. Yet, after a few listens, I was connected and engaged in a way I didn’t think I would be.

It’s a pop record, let’s be straight here. Not a shiny 2022 pop record that’s gonna soundtrack your cousin's nail bar, though. This is a pop record that subverts with a soupçon of industrial and 80’s alt pop influences.

Without sounding like an exercise in retro nostalgia, it holds up a mirror to the collective solitude we’ve experienced over the past few years. From a dark place, it pulls hope, comfort and growth into the world.

I listened to this record four times in a row the first day I heard it and I’ve gone back to again and again to find it resonating harder and deeper with me each time. I started pouring over the lyrics and finding myself floored by their poetic grace and flow. A true marvel.