RS Picks: Our Ten Favorite Albums of the Last Month – Rolling Stone
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Stream These Albums: March 2019

Here are the best albums of the last month: Solange’s laidback homecoming, Ex-Hex’s garage-rock party, Danger Mouse’s trippy collaboration with Karen O and more.

solange dangermouse karen o jenny lewis

Max Hirschberger, Elliot Lee Hazel, Autumn de Wilde

Solange, When I Get Home

Solange carries her history like a talisman. It’s there to remind her — and us — how to remain grounded while moving forward. With When I Get Home, she pays tribute to her roots in Houston by presenting a therapeutic and transfixing scrapbook that seamlessly brings together the past and the future of her home. With 19 songs the clock in at under 40 minutes total, Solange’s tribute takes an unusual form. She offers brief but potent statements; over half the tracks are under three minutes and each one bleeds into the other like watercolors on her canvas. Even more interestingly, the album, even with its short, punk-length songs, never feels rushed. In fact, it moves like molasses even when the flo and the freak’n get the BPM up ever so slightly. Every moment, beat, sample and feature feel carefully constructed and articulated, and for Solange, that’s just her default mode of creation. — Brittany Spanos

Jenny Lewis, On the Line

The child SoCal film star came out as a singer-songwriter adept in the ‘00s with Rilo Kiley, flirted with Omaha’s indie scene for a hot minute, and ended up squarely where she started. You hear the sound of her LA hometurf singing loud through On The Line, her fourth solo set. As glorious as the sound of this thing is, glinting with letter-perfect ‘70s-’80s rock sonics and touches of 21st-century psychedelic irony, the songs are the show, written by a woman of a particular age from a perspective well past jaded — she’s been there done that — swung back around to a wide-eyed, faintly zen reportage. Poetic images pop, among them a little trip up north “in a borrowed convertible red Porsche/ with a narcoleptic poet from Duluth” that triggers existential reveries (“Heads Gonna Roll”). — Will Hermes

Stella Donnelly, Beware of the Dogs

Donnelly’s gently conversational singing and acerbic drollery evokes a vaunted lineage of indie-rock real-talkers from Jonathan Richman and Belle & Sebastian to Courtney Barnett and Free Cake For Every Creature; musically she recalls the spare, strummy charm of K Records champs like the Softies or the cocktail-hour prettiness of Ivy. But Beware of the Dogs is a triumph on its own terms, going from high point to high point as she maps the pains, pleasures and anxieties of her personal patch of twentysomething bohemia. — Jon Dolan

Todd Sinder, Cash Cabin Sessions Vol. 3

Todd Snider’s an ace word guy — his lyrics are razor sharp, unsparing, hilarious, and surprisingly tender — so this bare-bones acoustic LP is a fine idea. Punchlines fly from the get-go (there’s no Vol. 1 or 2), with humanity the usual butt of the jokes, though Trump’s a target, too. Take “Talking Reality Television Blues,” a tribute to Dylan (see “Talking John Birch Society Blues,” “Talking World War III Blues,” etc.) and Woody Guthrie before him that draws a line from Milton Berle’s Texaco Star Theatre through MTV, Fox News and The Apprentice, dissecting the talking blues trope along the way. — Will Hermes

Ex-Hex, It’s Real

“Angie, are you tough enuh-uff/To let it go?” asks Mary Timony over sugared electric guitar churn at the outset of Ex Hex’s latest, immortalizing a new rock’n’roll Angie with as much performative heartache and swagger as Jagger, maybe more. Ex Hex’s second album is about garage-rock thrust at its core, like prime Stones and their own debut Rips. Like that LP, it draws a through-line from the Shangri-Las to Blondie to Sleater-Kinney to, well, Ex-Hex. — Will Hermes

Karen O & Danger Mouse, Lux Prima

Karen O and Danger Mouse have described their first-ever collaborative album Lux Prima as a “shared destination,” and by the sounds of it, space is their place. The nine-song LP is a lush journey down the milky way of their rock ’n’ roll sensibilities, meaning a bit of the signature rough-around-the-edges heaviness in Karen O’s voice converging with Danger Mouse’s star-gazing, atmospheric production. — Brittany Spanos

Kate Bush, The Other Sides

Like her American soulmate and former collaborator PrinceKate Bush generated cartloads of top-flight recordings during her hypercreative peak years that, for whatever reasons, didn’t make it onto albums. This set finally bundles the evidence: 34 tracks, including some of the avant-pop auteur’s most gorgeous, extravagant, intimate, and bonkers material — b-sides, remixes, and an album’s-worth of stray, often strange covers. — Will Hermes

Various Artists, Nigeria 70

The first Nigeria 70 compilation was an ear-opener for fans of Fela Kuti and King Sunny Ade, cultural ambassadors whose Nigerian exports blew the minds of funky post-punks and disco connoisseurs in the U.S. and U.K. in the 1980s. Nigeria 70 version 1.0 laid out a banquet of tracks by those men and lesser-known peers: The Lijadu Sisters, Sir Victor Uwaifo, and the mysterious William Onyeabor, subject of a major revival project decades later. This third volume doubles down on the era, and then some. — Will Hermes

Keith Richards, Talk Is Cheap: 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition

In 1988, Richards took advantage of time off in the Stones’ schedule and went into the studio with a crack band he dubbed the X-Pensive Winos, including guitarist Waddy Wachtel, keyboard player Ivan Neville and drummer-producer Steve Jordan. The result was a surprise: not just the debut solo LP by pretty much the last Sixties icon left who’d never gone solo, but an album with a loose vibrancy and rich sense of musical history. The deluxe edition includes six bonus tracks that show just how much fun these guys were having at the time. — Jon Dolan

The Mekons, Deserted

California’s High Desert is heavy with rock history. It’s where country-rock icon Gram Parsons had his corpse cremated by friends; where an Irish band found a name and cover image for a great LP; where Jim Morrison dropped acid and made a movie. Now The Mekons — those zany, erudite and beloved British punk-country-reggae-rock survivors — join the processional with Deserted. Recorded near Joshua Tree, the LP loses itself in the desert and finds timely survival metaphors everywhere. — Will Hermes

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