Brittany Howard, Fitz and The Tantrums, and The Highwomen with the new and noteworthy 

Brittany Howard, Jaime (ATO) – It’s not accurate to call this the first solo album by the founder of Alabama Shakes, though 2015’s Thunderbitch was a persona experiment in soul-punk. In the new album named for her deceased sister, Howard pulls out all artistic stops to deliver a voice-modified and mysterious mélange of trip-hop, poetry, soul and rock, touching upon experiences of racism growing up in the South. The track “13th-Century Metal” may offer the most sincere manifesto of the decade.

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Fitz and The Tantrums, All the Feels, (Elektra) – When LA’s Fitz and the Tantrums are firing on all cylinders, new songs like “Ready or Not” and “OCD” approach the intensity of their best hits. But naysayers who claim the band is a brazen response to market forces have a point. The band is generous in offering 17 tracks in 52 minutes, but too many seem formulaic, which is why many fans insist Tantrums are best experienced live, rather than in studio releases.
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The Highwomen
, s/t (Elektra) – These four country stars follow previous women’s country supergroups like I’m With Her, but the profile of members Brandi Carlile and Maren Morris ensure a wider audience. Don’t assume this debut effort might be too commercial. Carlile and Morris join voices with Natalie Hemby and Amanda Shires to offer 12 tracks with a notable Dolly Parton snarl — not to mention uncharacteristically plain speaking on cultural issues for the country community.


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