Sarah Jaffe can’t stay still.
The 28-year-old singer-songwriter’s creative evolution over the last decade has been fascinating, not least because she’s continued to take calculated risks, pivoting from storm cloud-draped folk-pop to austere electronic meditations to her latest stylistic shift, a splitting of the difference between opacity and intimacy, which makes Don’t Disconnect, Jaffe’s third full-length record, a satisfying blend of edginess and approachability.
Collaborating with producer (and Midlake member) McKenzie Smith at Denton’s Redwood Studio, Jaffe continues to yearn for genuine connections — a persistent theme throughout her catalog — and packs her spacious songs with plenty of acidic asides (“I’ll be leaving now/I can show myself out,” Jaffe intones during Satire). Don’t Disconnect is, particularly in its back half — Lover Girl and Slow Pour make an astonishing twofer — a record that quietly overwhelms with its confident style and creative restlessness.
Jaffe will celebrate the release of Don’t Disconnect Aug. 23 at Dallas’ Majestic Theatre with Josh T. Pearson.
Gollay, ‘Built for Love’
Built for Love, the debut album from Fort Worth songstress Rachel Gollay, is one of the best albums to materialize this year, from not only Fort Worth but North Texas. Exhibiting a preternatural control of not only her whip-smart lyrics but the dense, lustrous compositions in which she places them, it’s a deeply intoxicating listen from first track to last. With a novelist’s flair for detail — Receptionist is an achingly beautiful short story — and a musical omnivore’s willingness to absorb influence from anywhere, Built for Love spills out of the speakers fully formed, an incredibly polished first showing (produced by Russell Jack and Joshua Jones) catapulting Gollay to the front ranks of essential Texas artists. Gollay celebrates the release of Built for Love Saturday at Lola’s Saloon with Jetta in the Ghost Tree, Foxtrot Uniform and the Beans.
Vincent Neil Emerson, ‘Poor Boy Songs’
Fort Worth troubadour Vincent Neil Emerson is on a mission. His new LP, Poor Boy Songs, was made “with the intent of preserving traditional music from the southern United States, a form of music that seems to be fading from our world.” Recorded at the Where House by Luke McGlathery, the 10-track Songs features standards like Nine Hundred Miles and Hesitation Blues, performed with little more than acoustic guitar and Emerson’s wise-beyond-his-years voice. Part tribute and part testament, this Poor Boy is a genuine North Texas treasure.