Friday Reviews | The Seven Best Albums Out February 7

Khruangbin & Leon Bridges - Texas Sun EP

Two of recent years’ best Texas artists, psych-rock trio Khruangbin and retro-soul singer Leon Bridges, have collaborated on the fittingly titled Texas Sun EP. The four-song album combines Bridges’ crooning vocals with the spacious, Middle-Eastern influenced musical backing, settling on a sound that modernizes classic gospel influences. It’s a fantastic pairing that feels almost effortless, and one you won’t want to miss. 

The Lone Bellow - Half Moon Light

Folk trio The Lone Bellow have garnered a dedicated following through their emotional songwriting, packed with gorgeous harmonies and a delicate, melodic backing. Their newest record, Half Moon Light, was produced by the National’s Aaron Dessner, who adds a fuller sound, with a web of percussive drumming, horns, piano and more giving a distinct, fresh sound to the band’s work and an undeniable energy. 

Chicago Farmer - Flyover Country

A midwestern staple at this point, the city’s own Chicago Farmer uses his farm-town roots to inflict his folk songs with an undeniable authenticity. Like fellow midwesterner John Prine, his songs combine storytelling, detail and a clear emotional drive to reach a powerful whole. Combining ballads with energetic, romping roots tunes, Flyover Country finds Chicago Farmer doing what he does best.

Makaya McCraven - We’re New Again: A Reimagining of Gil Scott-Heron

Chicago drummer and producer Makaya McCraven is an endlessly prolific fountain of creativity in our local scene, and rarely has his artistic merit shined more than on his newest work, a reimagining of Gil Scott-Heron’s final record, We’re New Again. As the original was largely unfinished and pieced together by producers in the studio, the re-working feels appropriate, and McCraven manages to use a jazz, hip-hop and funk backing to create an atmosphere that does the late artist justice. We’re New Again is one you’ll simply have to hear to believe, and is a simply incredible piece of work from one of Chicago’s most talented artists.

Antibalas - Fu Chronicles

The newest work from world-influenced funk and soul project Antibalas is a strange but compelling one. Fu Chronicles combines an odd kung fu backstory with Afrobeat over the course of its six songs. Funky bass lines work seamlessly with the textured percussion rhythms, as waves of vocals and horns enter and exit simultaneously. With Fu Chronicles, the band proves to be as relevant and important in today’s scene as ever. 

The SteelDrivers - Bad For You

When bluegrass staples The SteelDrivers lost singer Gary Nichols, they went back to the drawing board, unable to finish the record they had begun with their previous band member, who had initially served as the replacement for Chris Stapleton. Fortunately, the band found 25-year-old Kelvin Damrell, who steps in with the same authentic and soulful vocal-style fans would expect from Stapleton. His new presence gives an obvious newfound energy to the band, which drives these 11 new songs to incredible heights.

Green Day - Father Of All Motherfuckers

Today’s most surprising release comes from pop-punk staples Green Day, who released the relentlessly energetic Father Of All Motherfuckers. The record, which packs 10 songs into 25 minutes, channels a manic energy that fans haven’t seen from the band since their early years. It’s fun, anthemic, infectious, and, above all, energetic. Though maintaining a clean production and sprinkling in some glam influence, it’s clear that Green Day are having all the fun that they used to. 


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