Medium Rotation — White Jesus Black Problems; Big Time

FANTASTIC NEGRITO White Jesus Black Problems (Storefront Records) — Xavier Amin Dphrepaulezz has a new story to tell on White Jesus Black Problems, his fifth studio album under the name Fantastic Negrito. Some impromptu examination of his family tree yielded surprising new facts about his lineage, including an ancestor who was a Scottish woman who broke the law by falling into a romance with an enslaved Black man. That unearthed history drive a lot of the lyrics, such as the funky swipe at capitalism’s callousness on “Highest Bidder” or the neo-blues whirligig of “Register of Free Negroes.” That unity of purpose doesn’t translate to a redundancy of sound. Like north-star predecessors Prince and David Bowie, Fantastic Negrito will rove anywhere his inspiration takes him and bring loose-limbed inventiveness to every musical form he strides across.”Venomous Dogma” has the swoony verve of vintage glam rock, and “They Go Low” outdoes Jack White at his own game. At its very best, White Jesus Black Problems is stunner. Keep spinning your head with the following tracks: “Nibbadip,” “Trudoo,” “In My Head,” and the gospel-fueled “Virginia Soil.”

ANGEL OLSEN Big Time (Jagjaguwar) — Going back to at least her breakthrough LP, Burn Your Fire for No Witness, Angel Olsen has been a master of majestic melancholy. She’s flirted with more buoyant material from time to time, but her heart always seems most engaged when she’s ruthlessly mining its aches and crafting somber music to suit what she carts out of the darkness. It was probably inevitable, then, that the Asheville, North Carolina resident would more fully embrace the classic country music tones in her songwriting, exploiting the old-dirt-road reportage of misery that represents the genre at its most affecting. Big Time gives good twang on its lovely title cut and the lush and languid “This Is How It Works.” Olsen doesn’t settle for mere pastiche, opting more often to incorporate elements of the form into her own distinct style, whether on the swelling, majestic “Go Home” or the tough “Anti-Glory.” Olsen’s emotional directness is riveting throughout, as if she’s sharing rather than performing. That’s long been the case, but Big Time might achieve new levels of illuminating intimacy. In addition the already mentioned cuts, check “All the Good Times,” the delicate “Ghost On,” slow-build wonder “Right Now,” and “Chasing the Sun.”

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