Despite the current political and social climate, this year has championed some of the best releases by women in the music industry. Week after week, seasoned and new female musicians are releasing records that are undoubtedly some of the best of the year. From dream pop to folk rock, these women are paving the way to be on year-end “best of” lists in December.
Lucy Rose’s Something’s Changing
The former Bombay Bicycle Club backing singer’s third album was two years in the making, and is her most complex album. With jazz rhythms and a collaboration track with The Staves, Rose manages to break new ground while maintaining her folk roots. The album’s title reflects Rose’s songwriting— both contemplative and curious, yet confident.
Highlights: “Is This Called Home”, “Second Chance”, “No Good At All”
Marika Hackman’s I’m Not Your Man
English-born Marika Hackman’s second studio album is a welcome contrast from her first. While her debut album was soaked in folky harmonies, I’m Not Your Man embraces garage rock and clever lyrics (No one takes us seriously/ just because I wear a dress). Hackman has been known to say that change for an artist is imperative for a long career, and with this record it looks like she’ll be around for awhile.
Highlights: “Boyfriend”, “My Lover Cindy”, “Time’s Been Reckless”
Molly Burch’s Please Be Mine
It’s fitting that Molly Burch’s debut album Please Be Mine was released so close to Valentine’s Day. For fans of Angel Olsen and Patsy Cline, Burch draws upon her childhood influencers—Billie Holiday and Nina Simone—throughout the record. Her classically trained jazz vocals paired with midcentury melodies makes for a collection of wistful confessions.
Highlights: “Try”, “Fool”, “Please Be Mine”
Jay Som’s Everybody Works
Oakland based songwriter Melina Duterte started recording under the name Jay Som in her childhood bedroom, exploring the bedroom pop genre in a literal sense. Everybody Works is a continuation of her first record both sonically and lyrically. As one of the most intimate and carefully written albums to be released this year, Duterte puts her thoughts and feelings on display.
Highlights: “The Bus Song”, “One More Time, Please”, “For Light”
Hazel English’s Just Give In / Never Going Home
With only an EP to her name, Hazel English’s sun-soaked songs earned her an “artist to watch” title early on in her music career. Her debut album does not disappoint. The Oakland native’s eleven track record is perfectly suited for a sunset drive through L.A.—something exhibited in the music video for “Fix”. With drum machines and reverb pedals, Just Give In / Never Going Home will be on repeat all summer long.
Highlights: “Love Is Dead”, “Never Going Home”, “Make It Better”