Diandra’s 2016 in Music
Esperanza Spalding was inspired by her alter-ego Emily for this year’s album, Emily’s D+Evolution. It’s refreshing to see an accomplished and eccentric jazz musician appear in mainstream locations, with a Target album exclusive and an appearance in the Uniqlo catalog. [Full disclosure: I work at full-time at a Uniqlo location, and saw her not just in the catalog, but also in one of the promotional videos that plays on rotation on the store’s screens]. Farewell Dolly  sounds fine as is, but I’ll take Amy’s word  that the songs benefit from a live performance, as shown in this video for Ebony & Ivy:
While looking for videos of Spalding’s music, I clicked on the recommended video of Benjamin Clementine’s soulful lament I Won’t Complain.
Thanks for the recommendation, YouTube.
Black Mirror viewers might recognize Alev Lenz’s moody new song Fall into Me from the third season finale, Hated in the Nation.
For more singer-songwriters working with complex, multilayered sounds, try Agnes Obel, with Stretch Your Ears [Bandcamp], Trojan Horses [Bandcamp] and Golden Green [Bandcamp]; as well as instrumental pieces Red Virgin Soil [Bandcamp] and Grasshopper [Bandcamp].
Benjamin Biolay is reliably unpredictable with his idiosyncratic brand of nouvelle chanson. Palermo Hollywood is named after the Palermo neighborhood in Argentina featured in the video for the title track [MV]. Much of the album was recorded in Argentina, with Argentine musicians, including veteran reggae artist Alika on the irresistibly danceable number La Noche Ya No Existe . Though I’ve listened to Biolay’s music for over ten years, I was still taken by surprise by the cumbia-chanson blend in Masterchef , though previous albums did have brief Argentine-inspired moments here and there. Palermo Spleen  is a truly odd cinematic tune, with Morricone-like whistles and horns, with an operatic turn at the end that continues in C628.
While I usually stay clear of typical ‘80’s pop sounds, whether they be tributes or actual artifacts of the era, Radiation City’s swaying song Butter [Bandcamp] somehow ensnared me into playing the song on repeat. Oil Show [Bandcamp] shows off an unabashedly bubbly side, while Milky White [Bandcamp] has some funk strut. In Brazil, Céu released another quiet, breathy album, Tropix. Though her style doesn’t quite match mine, I do appreciate the wistful sound of Sangria , which melts into a light dance track in Perfume do Invisível.
Note: Epilepsy warning.