In the spirit of uplifting and celebrating the achievements of women, each of us behind the scenes at Akira Records chose one of our favourite albums by a woman artist, along with a few extras for good measure because really, how are we meant to choose? Alongside the Staff Picks and brief history of IWD, we of course reached out to the artists on our roster too, who not only make the most compelling music themselves (find them all here) but who were equally keen to highlight just some of the women they regularly listen to.
This is a light-hearted look at some of our favourite writers and musicians, but the aim here is to highlight the still very necessary, vast, amount of work that International Women's Day represents; over a century on from its inception in 1911. The people at IWD have provided a list of selected charities for those able to donate, all of which we here at Akira Records fully support.
Dua Lipa - Future Nostalgia
Future Nostalgia; an album that I've listened to on repeat since the beginning of the pandemic.
I love the melodies, the production, the arrangements and of course Dua's vocals.
My favourite pop album in a long time.
1) Taylor Swift - evermore - coney island ft. The National
2) The Japanese House - Good at Falling - Lilo
Grouper - Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill
This was the first album by Liz Harris that I heard. It destroyed me - still does. I'm in complete awe of Liz Harris. Ifavourite don't think I can articulate the extent of the emotional response I have to this album and much of Liz Harris' music. For me, it's sublime.
1) Mary Lattimore - Silver Ladders - Sometimes He's In My Dreams
2) Malibu - One Life - One Life
Lorde - Melodrama
To me, music's biggest flex as a medium is how it can show you, so viscerally, a feeling once known but never before articulated until heard in song, which is what I love most about Melodrama. I absolutely adore it, it's a modern pop classic. It's unashamed, the stuff of operas: full of quiet nostalgia and pitiful wallowing and deranged angry-screaming. It's a technicolour moving picture encompassing the full range of emotions of a freshly-broken twenty-something crawling out of their first real heartbreak. I think if everyone could make moments into music like that, we'd all allow ourselves to live life a little more.
1) Laura Marling - I Speak Because I Can - Goodbye England (Covered In Snow)
2) Ariana Grande - Sweetener - get well soon
Estelle - Shine
Not very current, but this is such a nostalgic album for me. American Boy was such a big hit but there are some hidden gems on this albums.
It’s a great feel-good listen and for me I don’t think it could ever get old.
1) Noname - Diddy Bop - Telefone
2) Joy Crookes - Bad Feeling - Influence EP
Sylvan Esso - What Now
I love this album, it’s completely unique. There’s so much space, simplicity and clarity in Sylvan Esso’s music, whilst somehow feeling so rich and intricate at the same time. I love Amelia’s melodies, they create such strong new movements within the tracks and her delivery is so characterful, dynamic & playful. My favourite tracks are the last two ‘Slack Jaw’ & ‘Rewind’. I love the live versions they released on Youtube too, completely flipped the arrangements without losing any magic.
1) Solange - A Seat at the Table - Rise
2) Kelly Lee Owens - KLO - Throwing Lines
3) Phoebe Bridgers - Punisher - Garden Song
Joni Mitchell - Blue
Not just one of my favourite albums by a woman but one of my favourites of all time, irrespective of gender. It evokes such a wonderful sense of freedom on each listen, and always instils a kind of peaceful melancholy that’s perfect for reflecting on life. My favourite track from it has to be ‘River’.
1) Grace Jones - Nightclubbing - Pull up to the Bumper
2) Tracy Chapman - Tracy Chapman - Fast Car
Joanna Newsom - Ys
When I first heard this album it completely reshaped what songwriting was capable of in my mind. Every track is a poem that feels like it exists outside of time, somewhere between a Greek epic and an Appalachian folk song, exploring the interlocking heartbreak of love and death, and deftly conveying the mystery of our very being. Musically, the album is a tour de force of boldness, with mind-bending polyrhythmic harp playing, insanely imaginative string arrangements and chord progressions that splinter off like branches on a tree. Whilst this could be overwhelming, Newsom keeps the listener grounded throughout with her humanity and wit. She's a true gift.
1) Kate Bush - The Kick Inside - The Man with the Child in His Eyes
2) Joni Mitchell - Blue - A Case of You
I don’t like picking one favourite anything because it doesn’t feel fair when there are so many great albums! These are just some of my current or recent favourites: Kacey Musgraves - Golden Hour - I’ve probably listened to ‘slow burn’ about five million times. I also love Taylor Swift - 1989 and Maggie Rogers - Heard It in a Past Life.
1) Odessa - I Will Be There
2) Grimes - Violence
3) Kacy Hill - Unkind
4) Anything by Enya :)
For a full playlist to all tracks featured in artist and staff picks, head to Akira's Spotify page.