Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Kratos Himself - "Take U With Me"

Dutch producer Kratos Himself  - who previously got a mention here on RR for his 2016 album Stay True - is set to release Solstice / Part II on June 21st.

Just the one song streaming on Bandcamp so far in advance of the album drop but it's hella promising as what sounds like a kalimba line starts things off with a subtle percussive accompaniment before the melody line comes in and the beat truly drops around 0:42. This is a slow burner and a trance-like tune.

Bliss out summer folks.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

My Polaris Prize Ballot - 2019 Round One

So last night at midnight CT, my ballot for the first round of the 2019 Polaris Music Prize was due. And after the usual down-to-the-wire sweating it out, I whittled my own longlist down to my five album ballot.

As I've done in the past, I'm sharing my longlist and ballot and I have to say this was another tough year. There were several albums I agonized over up to the deadline and did some soul-searching and flip-flopping before I pressed 'submit.'

Some of these titles will come as no surprise to people who've followed the blog or listened to my show on UMFM - the reason I've played them or shared them is because I've enjoyed them.

Kudos to all who are listed below - I'm a big fan of what you're doing. I strongly encourage people to check these albums out.

Here's my alphabetical longlist:

AKUA - Them Spirits
Allison Au Quartet - Wander Wonder
Black Legary - sirulian memorii
Tanika Charles - The Gumption
Isla Craig - The Becoming
Simon Daniel - Nightcrawler
Sarah Davachi - Gave In Rest
Elaquent - Blessing In Disguise
FET.NAT - Le Mal
Flying Horses - Reverie
Greys - Age Hasn't Spoiled You
Jayda G - Significant Changes
Korea Town Acid - Mahogany Forest
nehiyawak - Starlight EP
Safia Nolin - dans le noir
Rhye - Spirit EP
Joseph Shabason - Anne
Shay Lia - Dangerous
Slow Spirit - Idle
Snotty Nose Rez Kids - Trapline
Alexandra Streliski - Inscape
Teen Daze - Bioluminescence
TOBi - Still
Tony Wilson & Burn Down the Cornfield - This Way Thru the Forest
Justin Wright - Music For Staying Warm
Yes We Mystic - Ten Seated Figures

And here's my ballot:

It just so happens the Longlist reveal is taking place in Winnipeg this year. Fingers-crossed some of these albums will be among those announced on June 20th at The Forks.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Joe Armon-Jones "Icy Roads (Stacked)"

I've been touting UK jazz for a while now and singing the praise of key player Joe Armon-Jones for some time as well. So it should be no surprise that the A-side to his new 10" ends up on here.

Particularly when he enlists the talents of bassist Mutali Chashi of KOKOROKO, who provides such a wide-tire firm-grip bassline for Armon-Jones to drive these icy roads on.

As the info on the Bandcamp page notes, the release has " killer artwork nodding to Thrust-era Herbie Hancock" so you have a good sense of what this sounds like before you ever press play. This is some funky soulful jazz right here. Very curious to hear the B-side "Aquarius" when the physical drops at the end of June.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Sufjan Stevens - "Love Yourself"

The physical (limited edition) 7" of this new Sufjan Stevens track isn't out til the end of June, but Stevens has released an newly finished version of a song he wrote over twenty years ago (the demo version is included on the Bandcamp).

Stevens has released this now - along with "With My Whole Heart" - to mark Pride Month and a portion of the proceeds from sales will to two organizations assisting homeless LGBTQ+ youth in New York and Detroit.

It can be a hard thing for anyone to love themselves, but particularly for queer folx who exist in a world that inflicts violence on them for simply being.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Chris Orrick - "Spent A Lot Of Time"

Detroit MC Chris Orrick just dropped his latest album, Out To Sea, on the always reliable Mello Music Group today (May 24th) and I've had one full pass through the record. Unsurprisingly solid, with a throwback vibe to the production - by Man@Work -  and a thoroughly now tone to the lyrics which is no surprise when reading that:

This album is dedicated to the damage done by the 2016 United States Presidential Election, Social Media and the 24 Hour News Cycle. 

My favourite cut on the album is "Spent A Lot Of Time" built atop a great jazzy loop with piano and sax dancing on a boom-bap percussive note, all in service of a deeply philosophical and questioning set of verses.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Meernaa - "Thinking Of You"


Oakland's Meernaa, who were responsible for, "Good Luck," my #5 song of 2018, are back and have a new record called Heart Hunger due imminently on Native Cat Recordings and they JUST dropped a track from it today.

No surprise it is GOLD. RR readers know how much I love Rhye and "Thinking Of You" could fit pretty snuggly on a playlist alongside Mike Milosh's future-soul-love-songs.

Just click play on the Youtube link and let it take you away.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Matthew 'Doc' Dunn - "Mind Of My Lover"

Despite being huge into the group The Cosmic Range (their album The Gratitude Principle is in the running for my Polaris ballot), I totally missed the boat on the fact that they have an imprint under the band's name and have released material from Matthew 'Doc' Dunn, including Lightbourn from last summer.

Speaking of summer, my favourite track off the album is "Mind Of My Lover," a surprising slice of yacht rock that luxuriates in a warm bath of a groove for nearly six minutes and features Dunn's yearning (but still pleasant) vocals.