Great 2018 Albums You May Have Missed

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Friday July 06, 2018

From Brooklyn Vegan

5 great 2018 albums you may have missed
By: Andrew Sacher

Anna & Elizabeth ‘” The Invisible Comes To Us

You won’t hear many albums like Anna & Elizabeth’s third LP, The Invisible Comes To Us. It’s folk music that will sound instantly familiar to any fan of the last several decades of folk music, but it also sounds unmistakably modern. If certain parts do sound very, very old, it’s because they sort of are. Anna Roberts-Gevalt and Elizabeth LaPrelle sourced much of the music for this album from the Helen Hartness Flanders archive at Vermont’s Middlebury College, which includes nearly 5,000 field recordings by Vermonters and New Englanders. (It makes sense to hear that this album was picked up by Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, the Smithsonian Institution’s nonprofit record label which is also home to recordings like ‘This Land Is Your Land.’) But what Anna & Elizabeth do with these old folk songs is what makes them sound so fresh. They teamed up with producer Benjamin Lazar Davis and drummer Jim White (of The Dirty Three and Xylouris White) to interpret the folk music they discovered in a context where synthesizers and acoustic guitars co-exist. There are parts of this album that sound like 1950s Greenwich Village and other parts that sound like ambient drone. Electronic and acoustic sounds have often proved to work well together, but Anna & Elizabeth still manage to do it in a way that feels unique. Not to mention they’ve got powerful voices that are perfect for this kind of thing. They sing in close harmony and they channel traditional folk styles without sounding retro. ‘It was all these people who were singing for their families, which is so different than ‘What record’s coming out this week?’,’ Anna said to NPR about the source material for this album. That quote gives you an idea of why Anna & Elizabeth’s execution of this music in 2018 feels so genuine. It sounds like they fully immersed themselves in this world of field recordings, far away from the Hottest New Songs. Sometimes the best way to write a vital record is by letting yourself remain entirely unaffected by the current zeitgeist, rather than trying to capture it.

Read about the rest of the albums here