Skip directly to content
Browse by:
  • Friday, December 17, 2021
    Celebrating the Year in Nonesuch Music: 2021

    As 2021 draws to a close, and the Nonesuch Journal takes a bit of a hiatus till the start of what we hope will be a happy, healthier new year, it's time to take a look back and remember all of the great and diverse music made by Nonesuch artists over the past year. Many Nonesuch artists and their recent Nonesuch releases have made year's best lists and are up for Grammy Awards. So here, in words and music and in chronological order, is a look back at the year in Nonesuch music, in gratitude:


    JANUARY

    Vagabon
    Reason to Believe (ft. Courtney Barnett)

    The new year began with the release of Vagabon (aka Lætitia Tamko)'s cover of "Reason to Believe," featuring Courtney Barnett, on January 7. Their cover was inspired by Karen Dalton's version of the song, which was originally written and recorded by Tim Hardin in 1965 and has been covered by a wide range of artists since. After discovering Dalton's version, "I became obsessed," says Tamko, "and so a few days after discovering it, I was encouraged to record a cover of it in my garage." Barnett adds: "I'm a huge fan of Vagabon and Karen Dalton so this was a dream. They both have a voice that absolutely knocks the wind out of me."

    ---

    Caroline Shaw, Sō Percussion, Dawn Upshaw, Gilbert Kalish
    Narrow Sea

    Composer Caroline Shaw wrote Narrow Sea, the title piece to a new album released on January 22, for Sō Percussion, Dawn Upshaw, and Gilbert Kalish, who perform it on the album: five parts, each a new setting of a text from The Sacred Harp, the 19th-century collection of shape-note hymns. Also on the album is Sō Percussion's performance of Shaw's Taxidermy, which she wrote for the ensemble.

    Narrow Sea has been nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition and was included among the Guardian's year's best.

    ---

    Mariza
    Sings Amália

    Portuguese singer Mariza celebrated the 20th anniversary of her career and the centenary of the late Queen of Fado, Amália Rodrigues, with Mariza Sings Amália, her first full album of classics, which was released in the US on January 29. Though Mariza has sung pieces from Amália’s repertoire since the start of her career, this is the first complete album pairing the work of the late, great voice of 20th-century popular song and the singer who helped bring fado into the 21st century. "This is the best way I can find to pay my tribute to Amália," says Mariza, "and to thank her for the legacy and inspiration she gave us."

    ---

    Our New Orleans
    Our New Orleans (Expanded Edition)

    A newly remastered, expanded edition of the soul-stirring 2005 benefit album Our New Orleans was released on January 29. It includes five previously unreleased tracks as well as the original performances by Allen Toussaint, Dr. John, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Irma Thomas, Wild Magnolias, Buckwheat Zydeco, Randy Newman, and others. The album has thus far raised $1.5 million Habitat for Humanity’s post-Katrina rebuilding effort. "Rife with stirring performances," says the Washington Post, "Our New Orleans has the soul of the city."


    FEBRUARY

    The Staves
    Good Woman

    Good Woman, The Staves' first album in six years, was released on February 5. The album written and recorded in a time of turmoil for the band—the end of relationships, the death of their beloved mother, and the birth of Emily’s first child. Produced by John Congleton, the album stands as a testament to strength—of sisters, mothers, daughters—to love, loss, and change. To trying to be a good woman. "It’s a brilliant record, their new, fuller sound paying dividends," exclaims Record Collector. "It sounds cathartic to have recorded, and it’s cathartic to listen to."

    Later in the year, the trio went on to release three stripped-down, alternative versions of the album tracks "Good Woman," "Best Friend," and "Failure," as part of their Be Kind series.

    ---

    Mountain Man
    Sings Fiona Apple

    Mountain Man released Mountain Man Sings Fiona Apple, featuring its version of “Hot Knife,” from Apple’s 2012 album, The Idler Wheel..., the latest release in the trio's series of cover singles, on February 17. "If we followed Questlove's advice and made gratitude lists before we went to bed every night," the group says, "Fiona Apple would be at the top every time. She tells the truth like no one else does. Thank you, Fiona Apple. We love you."

    ---

    Emmylou Harris
    Red Dirt Girl

    To mark the 20th anniversary of Emmylou Harris's Nonesuch debut album, Red Dirt Girl, a limited-edition, translucent red 2-LP vinyl version was released on February 19. Harris wrote all but one of the tracks on Red Dirt Girl, which won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album. It was produced by Malcolm Burn, who also performs on the album, along with Buddy Miller, Daryl Johnson, and Ethan Johns. Dave Matthews sings a duet with Harris, and Bruce Springsteen, Patti Scialfa, and Patty Griffin also contribute vocals.


    MARCH

    Louis Andriessen
    The only one

    The Los Angeles Philharmonic's world premiere performance of The only one by Louis Andriessen—who, sadly, passed away on July 1 of this year—was recorded live at Walt Disney Concert Hall in May 2019, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen, with solo vocalist Nora Fischer, and released on March 5, 2021. Two artistic discoveries influenced Andriessen as he wrote the piece: a collection of poems by the Flemish poet Delphine Lecompte from The animals in me, and the work of Nora Fischer, an Amsterdam–based singer known for developing dynamic creative projects that fuse classical and pop music. “Andriessen used bits of old music, an allusion to the Dies Irae motif and some Minimalism, a jazz riff here and a Mexican brass allusion there, as he often has," says the Los Angeles Times. "But he always remakes it into a complex and powerfully blatant new thing, and here edge-of-your-seat operatically so."

    The only one has been nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition and is a Gramophone year-end Critics' Choice.

    ---

    Lake Street Dive
    Obviously

    Lake Street Dive's album Obviously, released on March 12, was produced by Mike Elizondo, a songwriting collaborator for Dr. Dre, Eminem, and 50 Cent and record producer for Fiona Apple and Mary J. Blige, among others. "Mike encouraged us to make bolder arrangement choices, take those chances and try those things," says bassist Bridget Kearney. "The record really is a success in what we set out to do: continue to challenge ourselves, continue to grow, and do things we’ve never done before." "You need to make this band part of your life," exclaims the AP. "Lake Street Dive have never sounded better, full and clear with every instrument given a chance to shine in every song."

    Mike Elizondo has been nominated for the Grammy Award for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical, for his work including Obviously. The album has made the year's best list of PopMatters and WFUV, and the album track "Same Old News" made NPR's Staff Picks. Spotify named the track "Hypotheticals" one of the year's Best Roots/Americana Songs.


    APRIL

    Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi
    They're Calling Me Home

    Rhiannon Giddens' album They’re Calling Me Home, released April 9, was recorded with Italian multi-instrumentalist Francesco Turrisi during the COVID-19 lockdown in Ireland. The two expats found themselves drawn to and comforted by the music of their native and adoptive countries of America, Italy, and Ireland, which they recorded at a spare studio on a working farm outside of Dublin. The result is a twelve-song album that speaks to the longing for the comfort of home as well as the metaphorical call "home" of death.

    They're Calling Me Home has been nominated for two Grammy Awards: Best Folk Album and Best American Roots song, for the track "Avalon." That song was also named one of the year's best by NPR Music. The album has made year's best lists from the New York Times, Boston Globe, GuardianUncut, Mojo, Irish Independent, Irish TimesPopMatters, and NPR's Ann Powers. The title track made Spotify's list of the year's Best Folk/Americana Songs.

    ---

    Laurie Anderson
    Big Science

    Laurie Anderson’s 1982 debut album, Big Science, returned to vinyl for the first time in thirty years on April 9, with a new red vinyl edition, which includes the original album re-mastered for a 25th anniversary CD release in 2007. Big Science foresaw the future, mixing performance art, pop, and electronics, most hauntingly on the hit single, "O Superman." "It's worth considering how readily Big Science stands alone, untethered from time and place," says Uncut. "And how, over the course of its near-40-year existence, it has been a record that has come to acquire new resonance with each generation, now standing as one of the most influential albums of the past four decades."

    ---

    Sound of Metal
    Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

    The original motion picture soundtrack for the acclaimed film Sound of Metal, winner of Academy Awards for Sound and Editing, was released on April 23. The soundtrack features a score by Abraham Marder and Nicolas Becker, with music written specifically for the film and pre-existing works. The world-renowned percussionist Evelyn Glennie is featured on three pieces; other performers include Marder and Becker; actors Riz Ahmed, Olivia Cooke, and Mathieu Amalric; Carolina Santana, Arthur H, and Martha Wainwright. “With its immersive sound design and understated storytelling," says Pitchfork, "Sound of Metal feels viscerally real."


    MAY

    Lianne La Havas
    Seven Times (Wu-Lu Remix)

    Lianne La Havas's track "Seven Times," a song from her latest, self-titled album, was remixed by her friend Wu-Lu and released on May 7. La Havas says: "So honoured to have you rework the song with all your heart and soul. I love you."

    ---

    Tigran Hamasyan
    Revisiting the Film

    Pianist and composer Tigran Hamasyan's single "Revisiting the Film," featuring drummer/composer Morgan Ågren and released on May 12, is a variation on "Our Film," a track from his 2020 album, The Call Within. "For years I have been a big fan of Morgan and finally had a chance to collaborate," says Hamasyan. "I hope this is going to be the beginning of our dialogue."

    ---

    The Black Keys
    Delta Kream

    The Black Keys' tenth studio album, Delta Kream, was released on May 14. The album celebrates the band’s roots, featuring eleven Mississippi hill country blues standards they've loved since they were teenagers, before they were a band, including songs by R. L. Burnside and Junior Kimbrough, among others. Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney recorded Delta Kream at Auerbach’s Easy Eye Sound studio in Nashville; they were joined by musicians Kenny Brown and Eric Deaton, long-time members of the bands of blues legends including Burnside and Kimbrough. The album takes its name from William Eggleston’s iconic Mississippi photograph on its cover.

    Delta Kream has made year's best lists from Uncut, Mojo, Guitar, Daily Mail, and WFUV. The album track "Crawling Kingsnake" was named to Spotify's lists of the year's Best Rock & Alternative Songs and the Blues Songs.

    ---

    k.d. lang
    makeover

    k.d. lang's makeover, released on May 28, is a new collection of classic remixes of some of her best-loved songs. The album brings these remixes, made between 1992 and 2000, together for the first time, and includes "Sexuality," "Miss Chatelaine," "Theme from The Valley of the Dolls," "Summerfling," and the #1 dance chart hits "Lifted By Love" and "If I Were You." makeover's cover art features a previously unseen 1995 portrait of lang by David LaChapelle. Nonesuch Store orders include a paper doll PDF set to print at home featuring iconic looks from throughout her career.


    JUNE

    Chris Thile
    Laysongs

    Chris Thile’s Laysongs, his first truly solo album, was released on June 4. It's just Thile, his voice, and his mandolin, on new recordings of six original songs and three covers, all of which contextualize and banter with his ideas about spirituality. Recorded in a converted upstate New York church during the pandemic, Laysongs features the three-part Salt (in the Wounds) of the Earth, which was inspired by C.S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters; a song Thile wrote about Dionysus; a selection from Béla Bartók’s Sonata for Solo Violin; “God Is Alive, Magic Is Afoot” based on Buffy Sainte-Marie’s adaptation of a Leonard Cohen poem; and a Hazel Dickens cover.

    Laysongs was in Mojo's year's best issue, named one of the Best Things I've Heard All Year by David Crosby. 

    ---

    Brad Mehldau & Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
    Variations on a Melancholy Theme

    Brad Mehldau’s Variations on a Melancholy Theme, released on June 11, features the pianist/composer and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, which commissioned this orchestral version of the work—a theme and eleven variations plus a cadenza and postlude. The album also includes an encore, “Variations ‘X’ and ‘Y.'" "I imagine it as if Brahms woke up one day and had the blues," Mehldau says of the piece, which combines the classical form with jazz harmonies. "While the theme evokes melancholy, I let it be used as a springboard for other happy, wild, violent, and reckless emotions as the variations progress."

    ---

    Caroline Shaw & Sō Percussion
    Let the Soil Play Its Simple Part

    Let the Soil Play Its Simple Part, released June 25, is an album of songs written and performed by Caroline Shaw and Sō Percussion. With Shaw on vocals and Sō filling out this new band, they developed songs in the studio, with lyrics inspired by their own wide-ranging interests: James Joyce, the Sacred Harp hymnal, a poem by Anne Carson, the Bible’s Book of Ruth, the American roots tune “I’ll Fly Away,” the pop music of ABBA, and more.

    ---

    kd lang
    Miss Chatelaine (Iron Hoof Remix) with Orville Peck

    After working on makeover, her collection of classic dance remixes released in May, k.d. lang reached out to country artist/songwriter Orville Peck to remix her 1992 hit "Miss Chatelaine." The result, released on June 25, "marries his music with my own beautifully," she says. "Orville and I have a lot in common and similar perspectives; I was honored when he agreed to remix one of my songs. I wanted to give him total creative freedom to do whatever he wanted with it and now I’m thrilled with the end result." "I've always been such a huge fan of k.d.'s," says Peck. "Not only is she a queer icon but an incredible musician who blazed a lot of trails. I was so honored when she asked me to remix the song and couldn’t wait to put my own spin on it."


    JULY

    Conor Oberst
    Ruminations (Expanded Edition)

    In the winter of 2016, Conor Oberst found himself hibernating in his hometown of Omaha after living in New York City for more than a decade. He emerged with the unexpectedly raw, unadorned solo album Ruminations. Ruminations (Expanded Edition), first released for Record Store Day's RSD Drops on June 12 of this year and more widely and on all formats on July 23, includes five bonus tracks, four of which are previously unreleased. The vinyl, pressed on two 140-gram LPs, includes an exclusive etching on side D.

    ---

    Randy Newman
    Roll with the Punches: The Studio Albums (1979–2017)

    Randy Newman’s eight-LP box set Roll with the Punches: The Studio Albums (1979–2017) was first released for Record Store Day's second RSD Drop, on July 17. It comprises his latest seven studio albums—Born Again, Trouble in Paradise, Land of Dreams, Faust, Bad Love (on vinyl for the first time), Harps and Angels, and Dark Matter—on 140-gram vinyl, featuring original album jackets, lyric/credit sheets, and Faust demos.


    SEPTEMBER

    Emmylou Harris
    Ramble in Music City: The Lost Concert

    Emmylou Harris and the Nash Ramblers' Ramble in Music City: The Lost Concert, released on September 3, features the 1990 Nashville debut of the acoustic all-star group—Sam Bush, Roy Huskey Jr., Larry Atamanuik, Al Perkins, Jon Randall Stewart—at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center. The concert was recorded and shelved until now, when, more than 30 years later, it has been unearthed to be released for the first time. The set features entirely different songs from the band's acclaimed live album At the Ryman, with music by A.P. Carter, Rodney Crowell, Ruth Franks, the Louvin Brothers, Doc Pomus, Paul Simon, Townes Van Zandt, and Harris herself.

    ---

    Sam Gendel
    Isfahan / My Little Suede Shoes

    On a two-track single released on September 3, saxophonist Sam Gendel interprets two jazz standards—Duke Ellington's "Isfahan" and Cal Massey‘s “My Little Suede Shoes,” a song popularized by Charlie Parker—in the manner of sonic construction / deconstruction on his 2020 Nonesuch debut album, Satin Doll, with Gabe Noel on electric bass and Philippe Melanson on electronic percussion.

    ---

    k.d. lang
    Constant Craving (Fashionably Late Remix) with Tracy Young

    k.d. lang and producer Tracy Young's “Constant Craving (Fashionably Late Remix),” released on September 17, is the first-ever official remix of lang’s 1993 Grammy-winning hit. It follows the May 2021 release of makeover, a new collection of classic dance remixes from the era. "When ‘Constant Craving’ was the single, my team wanted to do a remix of it, and I was feeling protective and said ‘No, I don’t want to touch it," lang recalls. "When we were putting together makeover, we realized we didn’t have a ‘Constant Craving’ remix! And that was why.” Young says: “The song continues to resonate through generations, and it speaks about the struggles of life and the resiliency of the human spirit—an inspirational message that is so needed right now."

    "Constant Craving (Fashionably Late Remix)" has been nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Remixed Recording.

    ---

    Jeremy Denk & The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra
    Mozart Piano Concertos

    On Mozart Piano Concertos, released on September 17, pianist Jeremy Denk is joined by The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra for two Mozart concertos—No. 25 in C Major, K. 503, and No. 20 in D Minor, K. 466—bookending the composer's solo Rondo in A Minor, K. 511. "Denk approaches everything with questing intelligence and energy," says the Observer. "His ornaments and cadenzas are full of wit and imagination, his ear for detail incisive and bracing. The excellent Saint Paul players match his variety and range of expression. As ever, Denk’s probing liner notes shed light, making an already engrossing album more than worth the purchase.”


    OCTOBER

    Laurie Anderson & Sam Gendel
    Sweaters (Sam Gendel Remix)

    In a new remix released on October 20, Sam Gendel reinterprets Laurie Anderson's "Sweaters," from her landmark 1982 debut album, Big Science. On the remix, which Gendel produced and engineered, he plays alto saxophone, contrabass guitar, and wind synthesizer, while incorporating elements of the original recording, including Anderson’s vocals and violin, Rufus Harley on bagpipes, and David Van Tieghem on drums.


    NOVEMBER

    The Black Keys
    El Camino - 10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition

    A special tenth-anniversary edition of The Black Keys' landmark multiple Grammy Award–winning album El Camino was released on November 5. The collection is available in a Super Deluxe version of five LPs—including the original album remastered, a previously unreleased Live in Portland, ME concert recording, a BBC Radio 1 Zane Lowe session from 2012, a 2011 Electro-Vox session, an extensive photo book, a limited-edition poster and lithograph, and a "new car scent" air freshener—or four CDs (minus the poster and air freshener) and a three-LP Deluxe version, which includes the remastered album and the live recording. Rolling Stone hailed El Camino for bringing "raw, riffed-out power back to pop's lexicon." The Guardian said, "They sound like a band who think they've made the year's best rock 'n' roll album, probably because that's exactly what they've done."

    ---

    Ben LaMar Gay
    Open Arms to Open Us

    Open Arms to Open Us, released on November 19 on International Anthem / Nonesuch Records, lives up to NPR's claim that "there is no one universe for Ben LaMar Gay, he just sonic booms from one sound to another." On the album, recorded at International Anthem studios in Chicago, Gay interweaves jazz, blues, ballads, R&B, raga, new music, nursery rhyme, Tropicália, two-step, hip-hop, and beyond in his most colorful and communicable work yet, an expression of his signature omni-genre, "Pan-Americana" brew.

    The album has made year's best lists from The Quietus, The Wire, AllMusic, and Bandcamp, and in Mojo's year-end issue, Angel Bat Dawid named it among The Best Things I've Heard All Year.


    DECEMBER

    Jeff Parker
    Forfolks

    Jeff Parker’s solo guitar album Forfolks, released just last week on International Anthem / Nonesuch Records, December 10, on vinyl and today on CD, includes interpretations of Thelonious Monk's “Ugly Beauty” and the standard “My Ideal,” plus six original compositions: two earlier tunes, “Four Folks" and “La Jetée,” and four new loop-driven, stratiform works that marry melodic improvisation with electronic textures. "A beautifully freewheeling, guitar-driven expression of joy and musical exploration," says Guitar World, "a masterpiece of improvisation." "Beautiful, resonant, and focused," says the Quietus. "This matches anything he’s produced during his career so far."

    Forfolks made year's best lists from The Quietus, Treble, Aquarium Drunkard, and The Vinyl Factory.

    ---

    Tyondai Braxton
    Dia/Phonolydian

    Tyondai Braxton released “Dia" and "Phonolydian”—his first new music in five years—on December 8. The two new tracks feature Braxton on electronics and were recorded in his home studio in Bearsville, New York. They mark the beginning in a series of new releases to continue through the new year.


    AND SO, THE YEAR IN MUSIC

    The above playlist can also be found on our Playlists page, along with our recently updated holiday playlist and many others we hope you'll enjoy.


    There is, of course, more great music to come in 2022. Multiple songs have been released from and pre-orders are already available for Hell on Church Street, Punch Brothers' reimagining of the late bluegrass great Tony Rice’s landmark solo album Church Street Blues, out January 14; Hurray for the Riff Raff's Nonesuch debut album, LIFE ON EARTH, out February 18; and Cécile McLorin Salvant's Nonesuch debut album, Ghost Song, out March 4. And Molly Tuttle has released "She'll Change," the first track off her forthcoming Nonesuch debut album, with her band Golden Highway.

    Happy Holidays from everyone at Nonesuch Records!

    Journal Articles:Artist News

Enjoy This Post?

Share This Post

Celebrating the Year in Nonesuch Music: 2021

Browse by:
nonesuch's picture
on December 17, 2021 - 9:00am
Article Type: 
Publish date: 
Friday, December 17, 2021 - 09:00
Excerpt: 

As 2021 draws to a close, and the Nonesuch Journal takes a bit of a hiatus till the start of what we hope will be a happy, healthier new year, it's time to take a look back and remember all of the great and diverse music made by Nonesuch artists over the past year. Many of them have made year's best lists and are up for Grammy Awards. So here, in words and music and in chronological order, is a look back at the year in Nonesuch music, in gratitude.

Copy: 

As 2021 draws to a close, and the Nonesuch Journal takes a bit of a hiatus till the start of what we hope will be a happy, healthier new year, it's time to take a look back and remember all of the great and diverse music made by Nonesuch artists over the past year. Many Nonesuch artists and their recent Nonesuch releases have made year's best lists and are up for Grammy Awards. So here, in words and music and in chronological order, is a look back at the year in Nonesuch music, in gratitude:


JANUARY

Vagabon
Reason to Believe (ft. Courtney Barnett)

The new year began with the release of Vagabon (aka Lætitia Tamko)'s cover of "Reason to Believe," featuring Courtney Barnett, on January 7. Their cover was inspired by Karen Dalton's version of the song, which was originally written and recorded by Tim Hardin in 1965 and has been covered by a wide range of artists since. After discovering Dalton's version, "I became obsessed," says Tamko, "and so a few days after discovering it, I was encouraged to record a cover of it in my garage." Barnett adds: "I'm a huge fan of Vagabon and Karen Dalton so this was a dream. They both have a voice that absolutely knocks the wind out of me."

---

Caroline Shaw, Sō Percussion, Dawn Upshaw, Gilbert Kalish
Narrow Sea

Composer Caroline Shaw wrote Narrow Sea, the title piece to a new album released on January 22, for Sō Percussion, Dawn Upshaw, and Gilbert Kalish, who perform it on the album: five parts, each a new setting of a text from The Sacred Harp, the 19th-century collection of shape-note hymns. Also on the album is Sō Percussion's performance of Shaw's Taxidermy, which she wrote for the ensemble.

Narrow Sea has been nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition and was included among the Guardian's year's best.

---

Mariza
Sings Amália

Portuguese singer Mariza celebrated the 20th anniversary of her career and the centenary of the late Queen of Fado, Amália Rodrigues, with Mariza Sings Amália, her first full album of classics, which was released in the US on January 29. Though Mariza has sung pieces from Amália’s repertoire since the start of her career, this is the first complete album pairing the work of the late, great voice of 20th-century popular song and the singer who helped bring fado into the 21st century. "This is the best way I can find to pay my tribute to Amália," says Mariza, "and to thank her for the legacy and inspiration she gave us."

---

Our New Orleans
Our New Orleans (Expanded Edition)

A newly remastered, expanded edition of the soul-stirring 2005 benefit album Our New Orleans was released on January 29. It includes five previously unreleased tracks as well as the original performances by Allen Toussaint, Dr. John, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Irma Thomas, Wild Magnolias, Buckwheat Zydeco, Randy Newman, and others. The album has thus far raised $1.5 million Habitat for Humanity’s post-Katrina rebuilding effort. "Rife with stirring performances," says the Washington Post, "Our New Orleans has the soul of the city."


FEBRUARY

The Staves
Good Woman

Good Woman, The Staves' first album in six years, was released on February 5. The album written and recorded in a time of turmoil for the band—the end of relationships, the death of their beloved mother, and the birth of Emily’s first child. Produced by John Congleton, the album stands as a testament to strength—of sisters, mothers, daughters—to love, loss, and change. To trying to be a good woman. "It’s a brilliant record, their new, fuller sound paying dividends," exclaims Record Collector. "It sounds cathartic to have recorded, and it’s cathartic to listen to."

Later in the year, the trio went on to release three stripped-down, alternative versions of the album tracks "Good Woman," "Best Friend," and "Failure," as part of their Be Kind series.

---

Mountain Man
Sings Fiona Apple

Mountain Man released Mountain Man Sings Fiona Apple, featuring its version of “Hot Knife,” from Apple’s 2012 album, The Idler Wheel..., the latest release in the trio's series of cover singles, on February 17. "If we followed Questlove's advice and made gratitude lists before we went to bed every night," the group says, "Fiona Apple would be at the top every time. She tells the truth like no one else does. Thank you, Fiona Apple. We love you."

---

Emmylou Harris
Red Dirt Girl

To mark the 20th anniversary of Emmylou Harris's Nonesuch debut album, Red Dirt Girl, a limited-edition, translucent red 2-LP vinyl version was released on February 19. Harris wrote all but one of the tracks on Red Dirt Girl, which won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album. It was produced by Malcolm Burn, who also performs on the album, along with Buddy Miller, Daryl Johnson, and Ethan Johns. Dave Matthews sings a duet with Harris, and Bruce Springsteen, Patti Scialfa, and Patty Griffin also contribute vocals.


MARCH

Louis Andriessen
The only one

The Los Angeles Philharmonic's world premiere performance of The only one by Louis Andriessen—who, sadly, passed away on July 1 of this year—was recorded live at Walt Disney Concert Hall in May 2019, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen, with solo vocalist Nora Fischer, and released on March 5, 2021. Two artistic discoveries influenced Andriessen as he wrote the piece: a collection of poems by the Flemish poet Delphine Lecompte from The animals in me, and the work of Nora Fischer, an Amsterdam–based singer known for developing dynamic creative projects that fuse classical and pop music. “Andriessen used bits of old music, an allusion to the Dies Irae motif and some Minimalism, a jazz riff here and a Mexican brass allusion there, as he often has," says the Los Angeles Times. "But he always remakes it into a complex and powerfully blatant new thing, and here edge-of-your-seat operatically so."

The only one has been nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition and is a Gramophone year-end Critics' Choice.

---

Lake Street Dive
Obviously

Lake Street Dive's album Obviously, released on March 12, was produced by Mike Elizondo, a songwriting collaborator for Dr. Dre, Eminem, and 50 Cent and record producer for Fiona Apple and Mary J. Blige, among others. "Mike encouraged us to make bolder arrangement choices, take those chances and try those things," says bassist Bridget Kearney. "The record really is a success in what we set out to do: continue to challenge ourselves, continue to grow, and do things we’ve never done before." "You need to make this band part of your life," exclaims the AP. "Lake Street Dive have never sounded better, full and clear with every instrument given a chance to shine in every song."

Mike Elizondo has been nominated for the Grammy Award for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical, for his work including Obviously. The album has made the year's best list of PopMatters and WFUV, and the album track "Same Old News" made NPR's Staff Picks. Spotify named the track "Hypotheticals" one of the year's Best Roots/Americana Songs.


APRIL

Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi
They're Calling Me Home

Rhiannon Giddens' album They’re Calling Me Home, released April 9, was recorded with Italian multi-instrumentalist Francesco Turrisi during the COVID-19 lockdown in Ireland. The two expats found themselves drawn to and comforted by the music of their native and adoptive countries of America, Italy, and Ireland, which they recorded at a spare studio on a working farm outside of Dublin. The result is a twelve-song album that speaks to the longing for the comfort of home as well as the metaphorical call "home" of death.

They're Calling Me Home has been nominated for two Grammy Awards: Best Folk Album and Best American Roots song, for the track "Avalon." That song was also named one of the year's best by NPR Music. The album has made year's best lists from the New York Times, Boston Globe, GuardianUncut, Mojo, Irish Independent, Irish TimesPopMatters, and NPR's Ann Powers. The title track made Spotify's list of the year's Best Folk/Americana Songs.

---

Laurie Anderson
Big Science

Laurie Anderson’s 1982 debut album, Big Science, returned to vinyl for the first time in thirty years on April 9, with a new red vinyl edition, which includes the original album re-mastered for a 25th anniversary CD release in 2007. Big Science foresaw the future, mixing performance art, pop, and electronics, most hauntingly on the hit single, "O Superman." "It's worth considering how readily Big Science stands alone, untethered from time and place," says Uncut. "And how, over the course of its near-40-year existence, it has been a record that has come to acquire new resonance with each generation, now standing as one of the most influential albums of the past four decades."

---

Sound of Metal
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

The original motion picture soundtrack for the acclaimed film Sound of Metal, winner of Academy Awards for Sound and Editing, was released on April 23. The soundtrack features a score by Abraham Marder and Nicolas Becker, with music written specifically for the film and pre-existing works. The world-renowned percussionist Evelyn Glennie is featured on three pieces; other performers include Marder and Becker; actors Riz Ahmed, Olivia Cooke, and Mathieu Amalric; Carolina Santana, Arthur H, and Martha Wainwright. “With its immersive sound design and understated storytelling," says Pitchfork, "Sound of Metal feels viscerally real."


MAY

Lianne La Havas
Seven Times (Wu-Lu Remix)

Lianne La Havas's track "Seven Times," a song from her latest, self-titled album, was remixed by her friend Wu-Lu and released on May 7. La Havas says: "So honoured to have you rework the song with all your heart and soul. I love you."

---

Tigran Hamasyan
Revisiting the Film

Pianist and composer Tigran Hamasyan's single "Revisiting the Film," featuring drummer/composer Morgan Ågren and released on May 12, is a variation on "Our Film," a track from his 2020 album, The Call Within. "For years I have been a big fan of Morgan and finally had a chance to collaborate," says Hamasyan. "I hope this is going to be the beginning of our dialogue."

---

The Black Keys
Delta Kream

The Black Keys' tenth studio album, Delta Kream, was released on May 14. The album celebrates the band’s roots, featuring eleven Mississippi hill country blues standards they've loved since they were teenagers, before they were a band, including songs by R. L. Burnside and Junior Kimbrough, among others. Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney recorded Delta Kream at Auerbach’s Easy Eye Sound studio in Nashville; they were joined by musicians Kenny Brown and Eric Deaton, long-time members of the bands of blues legends including Burnside and Kimbrough. The album takes its name from William Eggleston’s iconic Mississippi photograph on its cover.

Delta Kream has made year's best lists from Uncut, Mojo, Guitar, Daily Mail, and WFUV. The album track "Crawling Kingsnake" was named to Spotify's lists of the year's Best Rock & Alternative Songs and the Blues Songs.

---

k.d. lang
makeover

k.d. lang's makeover, released on May 28, is a new collection of classic remixes of some of her best-loved songs. The album brings these remixes, made between 1992 and 2000, together for the first time, and includes "Sexuality," "Miss Chatelaine," "Theme from The Valley of the Dolls," "Summerfling," and the #1 dance chart hits "Lifted By Love" and "If I Were You." makeover's cover art features a previously unseen 1995 portrait of lang by David LaChapelle. Nonesuch Store orders include a paper doll PDF set to print at home featuring iconic looks from throughout her career.


JUNE

Chris Thile
Laysongs

Chris Thile’s Laysongs, his first truly solo album, was released on June 4. It's just Thile, his voice, and his mandolin, on new recordings of six original songs and three covers, all of which contextualize and banter with his ideas about spirituality. Recorded in a converted upstate New York church during the pandemic, Laysongs features the three-part Salt (in the Wounds) of the Earth, which was inspired by C.S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters; a song Thile wrote about Dionysus; a selection from Béla Bartók’s Sonata for Solo Violin; “God Is Alive, Magic Is Afoot” based on Buffy Sainte-Marie’s adaptation of a Leonard Cohen poem; and a Hazel Dickens cover.

Laysongs was in Mojo's year's best issue, named one of the Best Things I've Heard All Year by David Crosby. 

---

Brad Mehldau & Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
Variations on a Melancholy Theme

Brad Mehldau’s Variations on a Melancholy Theme, released on June 11, features the pianist/composer and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, which commissioned this orchestral version of the work—a theme and eleven variations plus a cadenza and postlude. The album also includes an encore, “Variations ‘X’ and ‘Y.'" "I imagine it as if Brahms woke up one day and had the blues," Mehldau says of the piece, which combines the classical form with jazz harmonies. "While the theme evokes melancholy, I let it be used as a springboard for other happy, wild, violent, and reckless emotions as the variations progress."

---

Caroline Shaw & Sō Percussion
Let the Soil Play Its Simple Part

Let the Soil Play Its Simple Part, released June 25, is an album of songs written and performed by Caroline Shaw and Sō Percussion. With Shaw on vocals and Sō filling out this new band, they developed songs in the studio, with lyrics inspired by their own wide-ranging interests: James Joyce, the Sacred Harp hymnal, a poem by Anne Carson, the Bible’s Book of Ruth, the American roots tune “I’ll Fly Away,” the pop music of ABBA, and more.

---

kd lang
Miss Chatelaine (Iron Hoof Remix) with Orville Peck

After working on makeover, her collection of classic dance remixes released in May, k.d. lang reached out to country artist/songwriter Orville Peck to remix her 1992 hit "Miss Chatelaine." The result, released on June 25, "marries his music with my own beautifully," she says. "Orville and I have a lot in common and similar perspectives; I was honored when he agreed to remix one of my songs. I wanted to give him total creative freedom to do whatever he wanted with it and now I’m thrilled with the end result." "I've always been such a huge fan of k.d.'s," says Peck. "Not only is she a queer icon but an incredible musician who blazed a lot of trails. I was so honored when she asked me to remix the song and couldn’t wait to put my own spin on it."


JULY

Conor Oberst
Ruminations (Expanded Edition)

In the winter of 2016, Conor Oberst found himself hibernating in his hometown of Omaha after living in New York City for more than a decade. He emerged with the unexpectedly raw, unadorned solo album Ruminations. Ruminations (Expanded Edition), first released for Record Store Day's RSD Drops on June 12 of this year and more widely and on all formats on July 23, includes five bonus tracks, four of which are previously unreleased. The vinyl, pressed on two 140-gram LPs, includes an exclusive etching on side D.

---

Randy Newman
Roll with the Punches: The Studio Albums (1979–2017)

Randy Newman’s eight-LP box set Roll with the Punches: The Studio Albums (1979–2017) was first released for Record Store Day's second RSD Drop, on July 17. It comprises his latest seven studio albums—Born Again, Trouble in Paradise, Land of Dreams, Faust, Bad Love (on vinyl for the first time), Harps and Angels, and Dark Matter—on 140-gram vinyl, featuring original album jackets, lyric/credit sheets, and Faust demos.


SEPTEMBER

Emmylou Harris
Ramble in Music City: The Lost Concert

Emmylou Harris and the Nash Ramblers' Ramble in Music City: The Lost Concert, released on September 3, features the 1990 Nashville debut of the acoustic all-star group—Sam Bush, Roy Huskey Jr., Larry Atamanuik, Al Perkins, Jon Randall Stewart—at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center. The concert was recorded and shelved until now, when, more than 30 years later, it has been unearthed to be released for the first time. The set features entirely different songs from the band's acclaimed live album At the Ryman, with music by A.P. Carter, Rodney Crowell, Ruth Franks, the Louvin Brothers, Doc Pomus, Paul Simon, Townes Van Zandt, and Harris herself.

---

Sam Gendel
Isfahan / My Little Suede Shoes

On a two-track single released on September 3, saxophonist Sam Gendel interprets two jazz standards—Duke Ellington's "Isfahan" and Cal Massey‘s “My Little Suede Shoes,” a song popularized by Charlie Parker—in the manner of sonic construction / deconstruction on his 2020 Nonesuch debut album, Satin Doll, with Gabe Noel on electric bass and Philippe Melanson on electronic percussion.

---

k.d. lang
Constant Craving (Fashionably Late Remix) with Tracy Young

k.d. lang and producer Tracy Young's “Constant Craving (Fashionably Late Remix),” released on September 17, is the first-ever official remix of lang’s 1993 Grammy-winning hit. It follows the May 2021 release of makeover, a new collection of classic dance remixes from the era. "When ‘Constant Craving’ was the single, my team wanted to do a remix of it, and I was feeling protective and said ‘No, I don’t want to touch it," lang recalls. "When we were putting together makeover, we realized we didn’t have a ‘Constant Craving’ remix! And that was why.” Young says: “The song continues to resonate through generations, and it speaks about the struggles of life and the resiliency of the human spirit—an inspirational message that is so needed right now."

"Constant Craving (Fashionably Late Remix)" has been nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Remixed Recording.

---

Jeremy Denk & The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra
Mozart Piano Concertos

On Mozart Piano Concertos, released on September 17, pianist Jeremy Denk is joined by The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra for two Mozart concertos—No. 25 in C Major, K. 503, and No. 20 in D Minor, K. 466—bookending the composer's solo Rondo in A Minor, K. 511. "Denk approaches everything with questing intelligence and energy," says the Observer. "His ornaments and cadenzas are full of wit and imagination, his ear for detail incisive and bracing. The excellent Saint Paul players match his variety and range of expression. As ever, Denk’s probing liner notes shed light, making an already engrossing album more than worth the purchase.”


OCTOBER

Laurie Anderson & Sam Gendel
Sweaters (Sam Gendel Remix)

In a new remix released on October 20, Sam Gendel reinterprets Laurie Anderson's "Sweaters," from her landmark 1982 debut album, Big Science. On the remix, which Gendel produced and engineered, he plays alto saxophone, contrabass guitar, and wind synthesizer, while incorporating elements of the original recording, including Anderson’s vocals and violin, Rufus Harley on bagpipes, and David Van Tieghem on drums.


NOVEMBER

The Black Keys
El Camino - 10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition

A special tenth-anniversary edition of The Black Keys' landmark multiple Grammy Award–winning album El Camino was released on November 5. The collection is available in a Super Deluxe version of five LPs—including the original album remastered, a previously unreleased Live in Portland, ME concert recording, a BBC Radio 1 Zane Lowe session from 2012, a 2011 Electro-Vox session, an extensive photo book, a limited-edition poster and lithograph, and a "new car scent" air freshener—or four CDs (minus the poster and air freshener) and a three-LP Deluxe version, which includes the remastered album and the live recording. Rolling Stone hailed El Camino for bringing "raw, riffed-out power back to pop's lexicon." The Guardian said, "They sound like a band who think they've made the year's best rock 'n' roll album, probably because that's exactly what they've done."

---

Ben LaMar Gay
Open Arms to Open Us

Open Arms to Open Us, released on November 19 on International Anthem / Nonesuch Records, lives up to NPR's claim that "there is no one universe for Ben LaMar Gay, he just sonic booms from one sound to another." On the album, recorded at International Anthem studios in Chicago, Gay interweaves jazz, blues, ballads, R&B, raga, new music, nursery rhyme, Tropicália, two-step, hip-hop, and beyond in his most colorful and communicable work yet, an expression of his signature omni-genre, "Pan-Americana" brew.

The album has made year's best lists from The Quietus, The Wire, AllMusic, and Bandcamp, and in Mojo's year-end issue, Angel Bat Dawid named it among The Best Things I've Heard All Year.


DECEMBER

Jeff Parker
Forfolks

Jeff Parker’s solo guitar album Forfolks, released just last week on International Anthem / Nonesuch Records, December 10, on vinyl and today on CD, includes interpretations of Thelonious Monk's “Ugly Beauty” and the standard “My Ideal,” plus six original compositions: two earlier tunes, “Four Folks" and “La Jetée,” and four new loop-driven, stratiform works that marry melodic improvisation with electronic textures. "A beautifully freewheeling, guitar-driven expression of joy and musical exploration," says Guitar World, "a masterpiece of improvisation." "Beautiful, resonant, and focused," says the Quietus. "This matches anything he’s produced during his career so far."

Forfolks made year's best lists from The Quietus, Treble, Aquarium Drunkard, and The Vinyl Factory.

---

Tyondai Braxton
Dia/Phonolydian

Tyondai Braxton released “Dia" and "Phonolydian”—his first new music in five years—on December 8. The two new tracks feature Braxton on electronics and were recorded in his home studio in Bearsville, New York. They mark the beginning in a series of new releases to continue through the new year.


AND SO, THE YEAR IN MUSIC

The above playlist can also be found on our Playlists page, along with our recently updated holiday playlist and many others we hope you'll enjoy.


There is, of course, more great music to come in 2022. Multiple songs have been released from and pre-orders are already available for Hell on Church Street, Punch Brothers' reimagining of the late bluegrass great Tony Rice’s landmark solo album Church Street Blues, out January 14; Hurray for the Riff Raff's Nonesuch debut album, LIFE ON EARTH, out February 18; and Cécile McLorin Salvant's Nonesuch debut album, Ghost Song, out March 4. And Molly Tuttle has released "She'll Change," the first track off her forthcoming Nonesuch debut album, with her band Golden Highway.

Happy Holidays from everyone at Nonesuch Records!

featuredimage: 
Celebrating the Year in Nonesuch Music: 2021

Related Posts

  • Tuesday, January 25, 2022
    Tuesday, January 25, 2022

    Composer/singer/songwriter Gabriel Kahane releases Magnificent Bird on March 25. On the album, Kahane chronicles the final month of a year spent off the internet, reveling in the tension between quiet, domestic concerns, and the roiling chaos of a nation and planet in crisis. “Sit Shiva,” the album’s first single, out now, finds Kahane skirting the rules of his digital hiatus in order to mourn, online, the death of his maternal grandmother; in typical fashion, he mines not just pathos, but humor and grace amidst his family’s grief. You can watch the video here. Pre-orders of Magnificent Bird from Bandcamp and Nonesuch Store include an exclusive, limited-edition print autographed by Kahane, while they last.

    Journal Topics: Album ReleaseArtist NewsVideo
  • Tuesday, January 25, 2022
    Tuesday, January 25, 2022

    Hurray for the Riff Raff (aka Alynda Segarra) has announced a tour of the UK and Europe this summer. The tour, which features songs from their upcoming album, LIFE ON EARTH, starts at Whelan's in Dublin on August 31 and includes shows in Glasgow, Manchester, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, and more. The concerts follow Hurray for the Riff Raff's spring tour of North America. 

    Journal Topics: Artist NewsOn Tour
[{"parent":{"title":"Get on the list !","body":" Get exclusive information about NONESUCH tour dates, video premieres and special announcements ","field_newsletter_id":"14075483","field_label_list_id":"6389157","field_display_rates":"-1","field_preview_mode":"false","field_lbox_height":"","field_lbox_width":"","field_toaster_timeout":"16000","field_toaster_position":"From Bottom","field_turnkey_height":"800"}}]

Performs On