The album might have been inexplicably snubbed by both the CMAs and the Grammys this year, but it’s merely the opening salvo from a career artist who’s just getting started.
Much ado was made of the fact that country outsider Sturgill Simpson was overlooked at this year’s CMA Awards.
But what is perhaps most important about Midwest Farmer’s Daughter is that it — along with many of the entries on this list — is exactly the kind of record that people who say records don’t matter anymore need to hear.
Let’s face it: For years, it was pretty impossible to truly get the the Diarrhea Planet phenom without seeing them live.
And though the band’s crowd-surfer-inspiring shows are marked by airtight, acrobatic performances, they’re as grand and communal as they are because DP’s expertly memorable, tidal-wave-sized shout-along anthems have never sounded as big on record as they do onstage.
Sometimes brooding and dark, sometimes nervy and playful, Victoria’s songs are consistently creative and singular, aided largely by Roger Moutenot’s lush, well-rounded production.
The album too On Modern Country, Nashville ace guitarist William Tyler distills the entirety of country music’s time-honored history of storytelling into a high-gravity cosmic pool of pastoral, cinematic instrumental Americana.
These rich, complex and expansive arrangements are a wordless self-described “love letter to what we are losing in America” that are tingbe the most quotable album of the year, but it’s no mere assembly of navel-gazing pith.
Lines like, “There’s a redneck bummer / In an H2 Hummer / And he sure does hate the queers / I guess some life choices are cries for help / That nobody ever hears” couldn’t be drawn from anything less strange than real life.
The sparse solo acoustic guitar of his previous albums is replaced here with spacey synths and dreamy pedal steel unfurling underneath Tyler’s existential tinkering.
The result is an immersive, unwinding diorama of the places between destinations, the thoughts between ideas, and the emotions we feel between moods.
I think XLRD wins this round, because even though its documentation is sparse, it's not rocket science, and it get's the worksheets, relatively quickly, and more importantly correctly!