The best releases out on Feb. 3 : All Songs Considered : NPR

RAYE’s debut full-length, My 21st Century Blues, is one of NPR Music’s picks for the best albums out on Feb. 3.

Callum Walker Hutchinson/Courtesy of the artist

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Callum Walker Hutchinson/Courtesy of the artist

British singer RAYE is just 25 years old, but her debut full-length feels like a longtime coming. After slogging it out as a songwriter for better-known artists, battling with her label over delays and persistent sexism in the music industry, her stunning album, My 21st Century Blues is finally here. On this week’s show, we give a listen and talk about the ways RAYE navigated and overcame the obstacles to make a breathtaking, expansive and genre-busting album that will likely hold on through to year to be one of the best of 2023.

We’ve also got a sometimes soaring and deeply moving album from the singer known as SYML, new music from the 80-year-old jazz drummer and vibraphonist Joe Chambers, country singer Shania Twain‘s first new album in six years and more. WBEZ and Vocalo Radio‘s Ayana Contreras joins contributor Cyrena Touros, WRTI Editorial Director Nate Chinen and host Robin Hilton as they share their picks for the best new albums out on Feb. 3.

Featured Albums:

  1. SYML — The Day My Father Died
    Featured Songs: “Chariot,” “Howling (feat. Lucius),” “Lost Myself (feat. Guy Garvey),” “The Day My Father Died”
  2. RAYE — My 21st Century Blues
    Featured Songs: “The Thrill Is Gone,” “Oscar Winning Tears,” “Hard Out Here”
  3. Joe Chambers — Dance Kobina
    Featured Songs: “Gazelle Suite,” “Caravanserai”
  4. Young Fathers — Heavy Heavy
    Featured Songs: “Geronimo,” “I Saw,” “Tell Somebody”
  5. Shania Twain — Queen of Me
    Featured Song: “Pretty Liar”

Lightning Round Picks:

  • Epik High — Strawberry
  • The Go! Team — Get Up Sequences Part Two
  • James Brandon Lewis — Eye of I
  • Robert Forster — The Candle and the Flame

Other notable releases for Feb. 3:

  • Ben Wolfe — Unjust
  • Best Fern — Earth Then Air
  • Fantastic Negrito — Grandfather Courage
  • Hamish Hawk — Angel Numbers
  • Loscil & Lawrence English — Colours of Air
  • M(h)aol — Attachment Style
  • The Psychotic Monks — Pink Colour Surgery
  • Somebody’s Child — Somebody’s Child
  • Sunny War — Anarchist Gospel
  • Tropical F*** Storm — SUBMERSIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Various — Ears of the People: Ekonting Songs from Senegal and the Gambia

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