SUNNY WAR: Simple Syrup: LP

I love Sunny War’s guitar playing—full-sounding acoustic runs that reach back to ragtime and old jazz—so my favorite songs are the ones with sparser arrangements, like “Like Nina,” where after a trippy, rippling guitar intro, her husky, mellow voice effortlessly matches the guitar’s notes. “Effortless” is a big word here—while Sunny’s lyrics hit hard, whether addressing a vet with PTSD, expectations for Black women in America, or self-deprecatingly describing loneliness, the music is rich and summery with a wide appeal. Sunny War is of the punk scene, but she gets a lot of attention from Americana types, and I love the idea of this expertly played, honestly felt music Trojan horsing her worldview into their sterile, “cowboy hat on a guy who went to Pratt” playlists. –Chris Terry (Hen House / Org Music)