Another month, another slew of great music releases! From smooth chamber pop to beautiful Baroque gems, here are our top album picks for April. 

Tightrope Walker

by Rachael Yamagata 

Inspired by high-wire man Philippe Petit, singer-songwriter Rachael Yamagata’s new album ponders why we do things in life. It’s a warm, homey, Sunday-morning kind of record defined by her one-of-a-kind vocals: a smoky, chocolaty alto, ranging from velvety crooning to gutsy, Joplin-like howls—both of which she makes the most of on this album.

Similarly, she doesn’t shy away from experimenting with genre: there’s the bossa nova-inspired “Tightrope Walker”; the edgier blues-rock riffs of “Nobody” and even some string arrangements in “I’m Going Back”—all of which the singer pulls off with effortless ease. And then there’s “Let Me Be Your Girl”: a soulful, hearty ballad with 1960s girl band-style backup vocals, horns and mellow guitar filling every nook and cranny—pure bliss. Yamagata’s consistent warmth and disarming simplicity will make this record a solid comfort staple in your music library.

Read more: Rachael Yamagata: Records that changed my life 

 

Find The Ways

by Allred and Broderick 

Musicians Peter Broderick and David Allred teamed up for a new music project aiming to create something as minimal as possible and remind us to appreciate the simple fundamentals of life. And listening to the first opening notes of their debut album, you can tell they really nailed it.

Find the Ways is pure audio lotion: soothing and calming, it’s the kind of music that'll take you on a journey of self-examination and tranquility. With nothing but vocals, a violin and an upright bass, they create pure, stripped-down and wholesome music, bringing artists such as Philip Glass and Simon and Garfunkel to mind. Don't worry if it all sounds too grave and serious however; while the music can get quite solemn, the duo know how to lighten the mood with some tongue-in-cheek lyrics and the occasional humorous comment. 

 

Sincerely, Future Pollution

by Timber Timbre 

If you’re in search of something darker and more insidious this month, Timber Timbre are the natural choice. The Canadian folk-blues masters return with their sixth studio album, following the critically acclaimed Hot Dreams of 2014. Inspired by, and reflecting the politically chaotic times, Sincerely, Future Pollution is an incredibly varied, dystopian blend of everything from unsettling poetry in the vein of Bad Seeds to the blatantly electronic sounds of 80s’ post-industrial.

The result is a wonderfully inventive, unexpected and oddly erotic Lynchian shake. Look out for “Floating Cathedral” in particular—a wistful little number that’ll trick you into thinking it’s The Beatles’ “And I Love Her”, before dropping you into the rousingly grimy, Leaving Las Vegas-like world. 

 

Belong

by San Fermin 

Spirited, dynamic and pulsating with life, San Fermin’s third studio album won’t let you drift off for a moment. Not that it’s insolent or overbearing—it’s just that every second of each track is packed with diverse complexity. Whether it’s instrumentation, mood or pace, every song will surprise you with something different and fresh. The only constant on this album is the neverending creative energy.

Considering how positive and bouncy the album sounds, you’d be surprised to learn that this energy stems from bandleader Ellis Ludwig-Leone’s intention to confront disconnection, displacement and everyday anxiety. For him, Belong served a sort of cathartic function, helping him “name the problem and figure out how to live with it”. It’s inevitably a big part of the record’s charm, adding unspoken depth and meaning to the silky smooth indie pop tunes. 

 

Percy Grainger: Folk Music 

by Claire Booth and Christopher Glynn

If you’re unfamiliar with the life and work of Australian composer Percy Grainger, you might want to advance that to the top of your music priority list. Widely acclaimed as one of the most gifted concert pianists of his generation, Grainger was friends with the likes of Edvard Grieg and Frederick Delius. He was also an unusually eccentric character who loved garish outfits of his own design and devised a composer-ranking system, placing himself above Mozart and Tchaikovsky.

All strangeness aside though, Grainger was known for collecting and arranging English folk song and, hence, played an important role in reviving interest in British folk music in the early 20th century. This joyous collection from soprano Claire Booth and pianist Christopher Glynn explores Grainger’s stunning folk song output with great verve and passion, revealing English folk music as an incredibly alluring, multifaceted genre. One of the most comprehensive surveys available on the market today, it’s a perfect album for seasoned Grainger enthusiasts and curious newcomers alike.

 

Bach Trios 

by Yo-Yo Ma, Chris Thile, Edgar Meyer

The serious music offerings continue with the cellist superstar Yo-Yo Ma’s latest recording of Bach trios, along with Grammy-winning bassist Edgar Meyer and mandolinist Chris Thile. The album comprises works by J S Bach originally written for keyboard instruments, plus one sonata for viola da gamba.

Yo-Yo Ma, who’s won countless Grammy awards and whose discography includes more than one hundred albums, is considered one of today’s foremost interpreters of Bach. Here he reunites with Thile and Meyer after collaborating with them on The Goat Rodeo Sessions in 2011. Their natural accord and harmony really come through on this album: the performance is sharp, crystal clear and loaded with intense emotion and complexity—the kind of music that instantly gives away the mastery and virtuosity of the players. A must for any Baroque music fan!

 

God’s Problem Child

by Willie Nelson 

Country legend Willie Nelson shows no signs of slowing down with his latest album God’s Problem Child, which is the embodiment of everything we love about the man. Pleasantly paced, contemplative and good-humoured, it makes ample space for meaty guitar and harmonica solos and some playful remarks.

Highlights include the jokey “Still Not Dead”, referring to the recurrent hoaxes announcing Nelson’s death and containing the matter-of-factly lyrics: “I woke up still not dead again today”; as well as the gorgeous title track “God’s Problem Child” featuring the deep, booming vocals by Leon Russell in what was one of his last recordings. It’s a familiar, cosy collection that’s an absolute must for any country fan. 

 

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