Listening recommendations from the past, present, Portland and the periphery.
India Jordan is making some of the best retro-house on the planet right now, and last year’s For You is frenzy-inducing stuff, pitched at hair-raising tempos and replete with screaming soul samples and video-game blips. House loves to pitch itself as the music of healing and liberation, but it’s rare that it actually makes you believe it through sheer force of sound. Also, you have to admire the chutzpah in naming an album For You—then putting yourself looking in the mirror on the cover.
Erika de Casier is going to blow up. Even if she doesn’t, this sweet, stylish Portuguese-Danish soul singer will still have two cult classics under her belt: last year’s Essentials and now Sensational, her debut for vaunted indie label 4AD. The sound’s a little less sedate than on Essentials and messes with a few more genres, but it’s still distinctly hers: skittering TR-808 drum machines and bossa-nova guitars, all boiled down to a simmer. The post-pandemic baby boom has its soundtrack.
Mayahuel, the first album from Sávila in three years, immerses itself in the sounds of the Mexican state of Oaxaca—not just musically, but in the field recordings of local natural phenomena and city scenes that undergird its six tracks. Meanwhile, their “ancestral club” sound is as rewarding as ever: a vision of dance music’s future written in organic instruments and pre-Hispanic percussion, light as a feather even at its most formidable.
Anne Guthrie’s new album Gyropédie uses field recordings and her own French horn playing to piece together an audio diary of a cross-country trip from New York to California. You can practically feel the morning chill and the melancholy of the solo journey as these four lengthy tracks wash by. Most of our lives have been in transition in the past year-plus, but the desire to document our personal turning points rarely yields more tactile and terrific results than here.