Daveed Diggs is 1/2 a step away from household-name-level stardom after winning a Tony for his work in the unimaginably successful Broadway musical Hamilton. The educational, historical content of Hamilton is a great juxtaposition with this release: an EP of grimy, explicit rap verses paired with the industrial and jarring production that makes clipping worth multiple listens. Both “Wriggle” and “Hot Fuck No Love” are vile in their blatant sexual imagery, but it is delivered so well from such a talented rapper that I find myself feeling empathetic rather than reviled.
Standout Track: “Back Up”
2. Marian Hill Act One
Marian Hill’s Sway project knocked me off my feet: a slim, special LP filled with roomy club R&B tunes. Here, the group continues their same format with few changes to the formula.
Standout Track: “Talk To Me”
3. Band of Horses Why Are You OK
I haven’t really liked much of Band of Horses releases besides their early success Everything All The Time. Now, ten years later, BOH finds their niche again writing songs with memorable melodies and beautiful guitar tones. I think this album will grow more on me the more I listen to it this year.
Standout Track: “Solemn Oath”
4. Will Butler Friday Night
This live recording has solid rock songs from Butler’s project he helms outside of his work in Arcade Fire. This music has got a lot more punch and drive than anything recent from the indie group, and this album is charming because it includes playful dialogue between Will and the crowd. Most of the live concert recording are tracks from Butler’s debut album Policy, but the new tracks keep up the same enthusiasm and energy from the older tracks. It’s all fun in here.
Standout Track: “Public Defender”
More Solid Releases: The Kills Ice & Age; Pale Dian Narrow Birth ; Fitz and the Tantrums Fitz & the Tantrums; Red Hot Chili Peppers The Getaway