Ever since my first job at MTV working as a music programmer, I can't stop trying to match people with music they might like. So, I wrote a book called Record Collecting for Girls and started interviewing musicians. The Music Concierge is a column where I share music I'm listening to that you might enjoy, with a little context. Get everything I've recommended this year on Spotify, follow me on Twitter or Facebook, and leave a comment below telling me what you're listening to this week.
Our Native Daughters "Black Myself"
This song (and the album it's on) contains observations on slavery that aren't always comfortable to listen to, but are very necessary. The songs were inspired by historical texts and the ancestral experiences of slavery based on stories passed down by their families. It's exciting to find a project like this that puts a spotlight on the often overlooked history of Black women in America; this one is capably helmed by Rhiannon Giddens (who conceived the project), Leyla McCalla, Allison Russell, and Amythyst Kiah. This fabulous album is available to stream on NPR (and out next week), so don't miss it.
Mae Muller "Leave It Out"
North London's Mae Muller is a good one to press play on if you kind of wonder what Lily Allen might be like if she launched her career today. Her braggadocios lyrics sort of remind me of Katy B, while the production has a reggae-infused element that is infectious. Forget being sad. Muller is here to give us all the infusion of self-confidence we need.
Ginette Claudette "Slow Up"
The title of this song gets it right: everything here is a very slow jam worth sitting down to enjoy. This native New Yorker, whose family has roots in the Dominican Republic, knows how to create a mood with her voice, which doesn't rush or overdo it, and with a super low beat packed with so much reverb, you can feel it all the way down your spine. She takes a page from the '90s R&B movement for this track, and I'm in no way mad at it.
Quin X 6lack "Mushroom Chocolate"
Also coming in slow, but building on an entirely different kind of beat, is Quin and 6lack. She calls her style "fantasy soul," and that makes sense — this beat sounds like something a Disney princess would mess with. The high pitch is offset by a lone bass line that moves things along, and the sparse, girliness of the track lets you know whose point of view you're supposed to pay attention to, even though it's a duet. This is a low-key way to say ladies to the front with music.
Moving Panoramas feat. Matthew Caws "In Tune"
Ah, I love a good shimmery guitar-driven rock track. This all-woman band from Austin recruited Matthew Caws of Nada Surf to harmonise with them on the track, but it's still all about the women. Well, their voices and a driving snare beat that I can't stop grooving to as I listen. The Jesus and Mary Chain could never get this haunting, though they have certainly given it a try with their honey and all.