Why you should care

Because music is life.

Every other week, our Performance editor shares what’s happening in her earbuds.

The first playlist of 2016 leads with one of the best records of 2015. Also, an Australian band that describes itself as specializing in “multidimensional, polyrhythmic gangster shit.”

Big Grrrl Small World, Lizzo’s second album, came out in 2015, but just barely — December 11. And that early Christmas present will be bringing joy to all the boys and girls well into 2016. The 27-year-old Detroit native makes songs that embrace a spectrum of sound and influence — funky and dirty, sweet and light — sometimes in the same track. We love the moments of spoken word, such as when she’s laughing and asking someone to speak French. “Ain’t I” is rooted in tribute to Sojourner Truth. And on the start of “Skin,” Lizzo says, “Learning to love yourself and learning to love your body is that whole journey that I feel like every person but more specifically women have to go through.…” The struggle for and celebration of self-love are at the heart of this music.

Melbourne’s Hiatus Kaiyote spins a dreamy, intoxicating sort of soul. It’s psychedelic; it’s conversational; it’s absorbing. Frontwoman Nai Palm’s voice evokes all your favorite R&B singers; she’s got a steampunk sense of style that feels like a seamless reflection of the four-part band’s work: nonconformist, broad in influence, prone to potentially gorgeous mutation.

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