Music Monday: SZA, Jidenna, Ladyhawke, Laura Mvula and Roman Gianarthur
This week’s playlist starts out with a killer track from Laura Mvula’s recent album, The Dreaming Room. Her beautiful, booming voice fills the air with these lyrics:
Nobody ever told her she was beauty
One day she realized she was already free
The color in her eyes was fire risen
She found the light inside a new a horizon
OH MY MY! OH MY SHE FLIES!!!
OH MY MY! OH MY SHE FIGHTS!!
A song of liberation, “Phenomenal Woman” could practically be the WYV theme song. Tough act to follow? Kelis shows you who’s in charge with “Bossy,” a throwback feminist fave from 2006. The playlist continues with more from Atlanta: Janelle Monáe’s protégés, Wondaland, from the St. Eephus mixtape; Jidenna; St. Beauty; Deep Cotton and Roman Gianarthur (the younger brother of Nate “Rocket” Wonder, half of Deep Cotton). These brilliant young Afrofuturists are an example of a new generation of Southern visionaries, as the title of their album, Welcome to the Future, suggests.
Rather than speak over their experience, watch Wondaland talk about who they are and what they are doing!
Music from Beth Orton, Ladyhawke and more!
New releases from Beth Orton and Ladyhawke also grace today’s eclectic mix. Orton, a pioneer of the “folktronica” genre, has been on the scene since 1993. She initially worked with William Orbit and the Chemical Brothers, but did not really reach a broader audience until her Trailer Park album in 1996. All of her recent releases are “carbon neutral” — trees are planted in a poor area of Mexico to offset the emissions generated by the production of her albums. However, she recently defaced trees in Joshua Tree National Park, for which Orton later apologized.
New Zealander Ladyhawke recently released her third album, Wild Things. The queer electropop artist is also an aspie. Ladyhawke, also known as Pip Brown, attributes her love of music to her autism, which led her to delve deeply into her mother’s Beatles and Pretenders record collections. Ladyhawke gets her name from the ’80s fantasy film starring Michelle Pfeiffer.
Music Monday Explores SZA, The Crystal Ark
A lot of folks were introduced to one of our Music Monday musicians, SZA, through her collaborations with artists like Rihanna, Willow, and others. She’s establishing herself firmly within the new guard of R&B artists like FKA Twigs, Miguel and Tinashe. The young musician grew up in an Orthodox Muslim household, attended a Muslim prep school and studied ballet. The ethereal chill wave artist cites diverse influences such as Bjork, Wu, Wes Anderson, Spike Lee, Jamiroquai and Ella Fitzgerald.
DFA Records veteran Gavin Rossum teams up with Viva Ruiz to form the psychedelic, avant-pop disco duo The Crystal Ark. The pair recreates Tusk, Fleetwood Mac’s iconic album, and transforms it into something completely different yet respectful of the original. While this is not a new track, it is one which could easily be lost in a catalog of tribute albums. With such a standout song, we couldn’t let that happen.
There are so many artists to explore on this mix, but instead we suggest that you simply dive in!