If we could order music like steak, I'd say "make mine underdone please." I love Beyoncé as much as the next person, but in this era of hit song science I feel like some top ten music feels like it rolled right off a conveyor belt. Lately, I've been listening to two really fresh female musician-composers whose work feels personal and immediate to me.
The first, Amy Lynne Johnson, told me she recorded her digital piano album, "Piano Poetry: Peace To You" from a midnight inspiration. These dreamlike, flowing compositions came to her during sleep like a message to deliver. Despite her lack of formal training, she decided to put them right out there and recorded what she heard in a studio with a friend. Listening to her I feel like I'm in a downtown loft with that effortlessly talented friend who just sat down and started improvising the coolest, chill New Agey stuff ever. I guarantee her selection of unique piano poems will help keep your anxiety clouds at bay.
I'm also newly addicted to the utterly enchanting Swedish-Icelandic artist Hannah Mia. I first heard her sultry voice and album, "Out of Water (feat. The Northern Taylor Squad)," while driving in a van around Iceland's volcanic landscape. Her album is totally homegrown and, in addition to her original compositions, showcases the moody wind and strings talent of European musical conservatory students who pitched in to help her. Her new single, "In This Together," is a grand call to stand up to bigotry. When I listen to "The White Beast," I get shivers. I'm certain she's singing about a mythical version of a water-spiriting Nix (see post Sept. 8, 2016). Her voice is full of yearning and sadness and immediacy. You'll feel like you're in the front row of the coolest late-night jazz club ever.