Goat Girl — ‘On All Fours’
THE GOOD: Female British post-punk rock group Goat Girl dodges the sophomore slump with the moody, multi-layered “On All Fours.”
THE BAD: Nope.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Goat Girl brings on a multi-faceted listening experience, brandishing a sound that merges gothic modern rock with punk attitudes and a smattering of classic Stereolab within the keyboards and harmonies. The band doesn’t shy away from experimentation as it continues to develop musically. “Fours” is much more expansive than its taut self-titled 2018 debut.
Here, the ladies go for something whirring and hypnotic while they lyrically scare you out of complacency. Subject matter runs the gamut from big themes like the climate crisis (“Pest”) to small, yet no less stinging, everyday annoyances, such as an awful daily commute (“P.T.S. Tea”). Then they toss in the occasional flippant but still fascinating exercise, such as “Jazz (In the Supermarket).”
BUY IT?: Surely.
Loretta Lynn — ‘Still Woman Enough’
THE GOOD: At 89, country legend Loretta Lynn isn’t finished yet.
THE BAD: Nothing.
THE NITTY GRITTY: “Still Woman Enough” is the fourth in a planned five-album series co-produced by Lynn’s daughter, Patsy Lynn Russell, and John Carter Cash, son of Johnny and June Carter Cash. Like its predecessors, the record is an authentic mix of traditional country and bluegrass tracks — a blend of old songs and new.
Lynn revisits some of her biggest hits. “I Wanna Be Free” still packs a punch. “One’s on the Way” and “You Ain’t Woman Enough” are both turned into duets with newcomer Margo Price and fellow Nashville veteran Tanya Tucker, respectively. Lynn also goes back to traditional tunes, such as “Keep on the Sunny Side” and “Old Kentucky Home.”
The title cut is the only NEW composition here. The songwriter spans all generations by trading lines with both Reba McEntire and Carrie Underwood. It’s another fantastic set from a voice that still resonates strongly after all these decades.
BUY IT?: Definitely.
Tune-Yards — ‘Sketchy’
THE GOOD: Indie pop band Tune-Yards (Merrill Garbus and Nate Brenner) releases a topical fifth.
THE BAD: Some of the messages feel heavy-handed (Tune-Yards has always been guilty of this), but overall, “Sketchy” is a catchy, even joyful, record despite some darker lyrical spots.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Garbus has addressed cultural problems in the past. “Sketchy” doesn’t change this trend. However, with its high spirits and multi-faceted live instrumentation, the new record truly feels like a call to action instead of simply being another “awareness” set. Tracks such as buzzing and beat-heavy lead single “Nowhere Man” and the crackling, cautionary “Sometime” immediately pull us in, shaking away our complacency. Musically, street rhythms carry blasts of smooth jazz-pop and jagged alt-rock noise; Garbus happily screams her messages over the top.
BUY IT?: Yes.