Music Suitcase: Favorite Albums from March 2019

Each month I listen to far too much music and share my highlights with the class. Female vocalists rule the roost this month. A number of these are albums are especially lyrically driven. Feel free to comment with your favorite albums from March that I might have missed!

Over The Rhine, Love And Revelation

Charming, wise and warm, the Cincinatti band’s 14th album is pure American folk, and a good deal more guitar-driven (less piano-driven) than most of their work. The band earns its wholesomeness with earnest but sophisticated lyrics, and an always endearing earthiness. Highlights: “Love and Revelation,” “May God Love You Like You’ve Never Been Loved,” “Given Road”

Amanda Palmer, There Will Be No Intermission

This incredibly intense, confessional 6th album by the former Dresden Doll reads like a book set to music, whose chapters are mostly 8-minute epics songs just as lyrically dense and as soaked with emotional resonance as they are long. It’s musically solid too, and the orchestral interludes add an interesting color too. Bring tissues for this one. Highlights: “A Mother’s Confession,” “The Thing About Things,” “Bigger On The Inside”

Billie Eilish, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?

Stunning dark electro-pop from a 17-year-old genius (and her brother Finneas), Eilish’s debut full-length plunges the listener into a roiling sea of infectious beats. Her lyrics are confessional, fierce and empowered, with a wry sense of humor; textual interludes and fourth wall breaks add some extra charm. It’s both incredibly cinematic and disarmingly personal. Highlights: “Bury A Friend,” “You Should See Me In A Crown,” “All The Good Girls Go To Hell”

The Comet Is Coming, Trust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery

This UK trio uses sax, drums and programmed sounds to blaze a trail through the wildest reaches of jazz, funk, electronica and beyond. Highlights: “Birth of Creation,” “Blood of the Past,” “Timewave Zero”

Luther Dickinson and the Sisters of the Strawberry Moon, Solstice

A winning collaboration between guitarist Dickinson and a handful of women vocalists, most notably Birds of Chicago and Amy LeVare. Folk with a Gospel wing. Highlights: “Superlover,” “Hallelujah (I’m A Dreamer),” “Til It’s Gone”

Weezer, Weezer (Black Album)

This is maybe the first time Weezer’s flung itself into pop music without losing their emotional resonance. Radio-friendly pop/rock with heart. Highlights: “Zombie Bastards,” “High As A Kite,” “Byzantine”

Nilüfer Yanya, Miss Universe

A varied and fascinating first full-length from a UK-based guitar-driven indie pop artist with roots in the 80s. Features concept-album-ish interludes. Highlights: “Paralysed,” “The Unordained,” “Melt”

Hozier, Wasteland, Baby!

Rather than changing much at all in the years after his debut, the Irish rocker doubles down on his own blend of rock, R&B, gospel and soul his sound, his voice always the star of the show. Highlights: “Nina Cried Power,” “Nobody,” “Dinners and Diatribes”

Dexter Story, Bahir

East African music, jazz and soul are the driving force on the internationally renowned rennaisance musician’s third solo project. Highlights: “Gold,” “Buna Be Chow,” “Shuruba Song”

Kim Lenz, Slowly Speeding

Brassy, ferocious rockabilly from one of its more celebrated revivalists, branching out in a variety of satisfying directions. Highlights: “Percolate,” “Bogeyman,” “Bury Me Deep”

White Denim, Side Effects

Maybe this Austin band’s most dynamic and engaging work yet, Side Effects showcases James Petralli’s guitar work at its most psychedelic. Highlights: “Hallelujah Strike Gold,” “Shanalala,” “NY Money”

KXNG Crooked, The Weeklys Vol. 1

The former Slaughterhouse rapper compiles the first 10 of the fast and furious freestyles he’s been releasing weekly in 2019. Highlights: “Halfway Me,” “Get It Easy,” “Bar’d Up”

CHAI, Punk

This all-female Japanese quartet plays noisy, playful, post-punk influenced pop music. Fun, energetic and free-wheeling. Highlights: “Choose Go!,” “Feal The Beat,” “Future”

Son Volt, Union

The alt-country band minces no words and pulls no punches on an album full of indictments against the present Presidential administration. Highlights: “Broadsides,” “The 99,” “The Reason”

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Stefan Wenger

Stef is a Bronx-bred, California-dwelling, 1977-born Libra-Aquarian lifelong music junkie. He is also a writer, improviser, singer, director and voice actor. .