Red Letter Year is DiFranco’s most collaborative release on her independent label — once again giving the anti-establishment finger to the man. Deep, layered arrangements of jazz-infused rhythms have replaced her trademark staccato, fierce-fingerpicking concoctions. Brass melodies featured in the title track and prickly hooks peaking over jazzy riffs in “Emancipated Minor” highlight the indie rocker’s new sound. The standout “Alla This” whips out DiFranco’s snappy tongue, condemning male-worshiping religion and the war: “I can’t support the troops/cuz every last one of them is being duped.” Good listens include “Present/Infant,” “The Atom,” and “Star Matter.”
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