2015 has been a fantastic year for music . . . and it's not even June yet. Thanks to my highly obsessive personality, I have this thing where I only listen to a particular album or artist for about a month straight. Once I'm sick of it, I move on to something else. (I do the same thing with books, movies, shows, hobbies . . . it's rather sad, actually.) Here are the new albums I've been obsessed with so far this year. (note: some of these albums came out at the end of 2014, but I start listening to Christmas music exclusively at the beginning of November, so they didn't show up on my radar until January.)
The Phosphorescent Blues - The Punch Brothers
If you've known me for any amount of time at all, you know I'm obsessed with Chris Thile. Nickel Creek has been my favorite band since I was ten years old. I finally got to see them last year at the Ryman when they were touring for their reunion album. This January I finally got to see Chris' new(ish) project, The Punch Brothers, at the Ryman, and it was an incredible show. It's completely impossible to define what genre the Punch Brothers fall in to. (Is awesome a genre? IDK.) They play bluegrass instruments . . . and sometimes they play bluegrass . . . but very little on their new album resembles bluegrass. *Points to their Debussy cover* The entire band is basically made up of virtuosoes, and I feel smarter just listening to them play.
Carrie and Lowell - Sufjan Stevens
I actually wrote a really long and impassioned personal essay about this album on Tumblr. It's way too fangirl-y to post here, but here's the gist: this album is everything. It is, hands down, going to be my favorite album of the year. And that's saying a lot. The album chronicles Sufjan's journey of grief after his estranged mother died. I seriously cry every time I listen to this album, because Sufjan has beautifully captured all of the feelings that go along with grief. Also, it's Sufjan. This album is sparse, emotional, folksy--everything you'd want from a Sufjan album. (If you read this, Sufjan, I'm really sad you aren't doing a show anywhere near Nashville. That's not nice.)
Kintsugi - Death Cab for Cutie
Full disclosure: this is not my favorite DCFC album. Not even close. I still love Plans and Transatlanticism the best. However, I did get to see DCFC at the Ryman a few weeks ago, and this album was so good live. Ben's lyrics aren't quite up to par on this album, but it's pretty musically impressive (but not "I Will Possess Your Heart" impressive.) Also, it's about Ben's breakup with Zooey Deschanel, so there's that.
Monterey - The Milk Carton Kids
Do you need to just be mellow? Do you want bare-bones folk that still manages to be technically impressive? Do you want stellar harmonies blended so seamlessly you can't quite distinguish who, exactly, is singing what? Do you want musicians with humor so dry they could moonlight as comedians? Then you need The Milk Carton Kids. True story: Joey and Kenneth of TMCK once made Marcus Mumford cry because their voices and guitar playing were so beautiful. (Don't believe me? Watch the Another Day, Another Time documentary/concert.)
You Got This - Haas Kowert Tice
I know what you're thinking: Katy, that bass playing sounds really familiar. That's because Paul--the Kowert in Haas Kowert Tice--is the bassist for the Punch Brothers. Actually, you're probably not thinking that because I'm sure no one obsesses over instrumental neo-classical bluegrass like I do. Whatever. These guys are great. I saw them last week with my dad and sister (my father is the whole reason I'm even in to this kind of music) and they did not disappoint. I'm actually going to go see them again this weekend. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
For your convenience, here's a playlist with my favorite songs off each album.