PB #1

Artist of the Week: Natalie Prass

As far as music goes, 2015 isn’t messing around. We’ve already seen releases from electronic producer-singers Panda Bear and Bjork, post-punk goddesses Sleater-Kinney, and British superproducer Mark Ronson. But my favorite album of the young year is Natalie Prass’s self-titled debut Natalie Prassreleased today via Spacebomb Records. Prass uses orchestral chamber instrumentation to complement her subdued and restrained voice. Her unique blend of country and soul is unlike anything I’ve heard before, and innovation is always welcome in a genre that desperately needs it.

Thematically, the record generally refers to mistreatment of women by their lovers; lead single “Why Don’t You Believe In Me” sees Prass explore how, especially within gender roles, men can be condescendingly cruel to women, while pretending not to realize what they’re doing. “My Baby Don’t Understand Me” features one of the most beautiful bridges I’ve ever heard; it’s impossible not to be caught up in emotion as “Our love is a long goodbye/ waiting on the train to cry” repeats over and over, rising in pitch and instrumentals until climactic release. Finally, album highlight “Violently” features lush horns, flitting flutes, and capitalizes on my soft spot for high strings. Prass is tired of the formalities of talking and beginning a relationship, instead wanting to know anything and everything about whomever she’s addressing (“I just wanna know you violently/ I’ve had enough of this talking politely”). Listen to it, it’s great.

Side note: stop insulting country music. I don’t understand it. To dismiss an entire genre of music that included some of the greatest artists in music history (Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, James Taylor) is silly and immature. Wanna hear good country? Listen to this or this or this or this. Okay. Done. Off my soapbox.

What I’m listening to this week:

Tobias Jesso Jr. | “How Could You Babe”

Natalie Prass | “Violently”

How To Dress Well | “The One” (feat. TĀLĀ)

Frank Ocean | “At Your Best (You Are Love)” (Isley Brothers/Aaliyah Cover)

Waxahatchee | “Air”