Friday, December 29, 2017

2017 Year End Longlist, Part 6

So, as I type this, we're a little over 48 hours from 2018 so the NYE countdown show and the reveal of my Top 20 is just over a day and a half away. Here's the last of the longlist selections that didn't make the cut. And it should be mentioned that while I didn't do these posts in any order, the last half-dozen or so on this list were the very last records I ruled out for the 20.

Ibibio Sound Machine - Uyai [Merge]

Karriem Riggins - Headnod Suite [Stones Throw]

Mary Lattimore & Maxwel August Cory - Terelan Canyon [Constellation Tatsu]

Sam Amidon - The Following Mountain [Nonesuch]

Slow Spirit - Unnatured [Don't Get It Wet]

Louise Burns - Young Mopes [Light Organ Records]

Bottle Tree - Bottle Tree [International Anthem]

Dori Freeman - Letters Never Read [Free Dirt Records]

Emie R Roussel Trio - Intersections [Effendi]

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith - The Kid [Western Vinyl]

Bjork - Utopia [One Little Indian]

Faith Healer - Try ;-) [Mint Records]

Moses Sumney - Aromanticism [Jagjaguwar]

Big Thief - Capacity [Saddle Creek]

Shannon Lay - Living Water [Woodsist]

Curtis Harding - Face Your Fear [Anti-]

The Courtneys - II [Flying Dutchman]

Jordan Rakei - Wallflower [Ninja Tune]

Sunday, December 24, 2017

2017 Year End Longlist, Part 5

It's Christmas Eve as I write this, which means New Years' Eve is a week away. I'll be revealing my Top 20 that night on UMFM as part of my 13th annual countdown show, but in the interim here's more from the very long longlist I considered when compiling my picks.

Nnamdi Ogbonnaya - Drool [Sooper]

AndyFellaz - Beatbop Street [Cold Busted]

Scarper - Warmer Squares [Plexus]

Chip Wickham - La Sombra [Lovemonk]

Fauvely - Watch Me Overcomplicate This [Independent]

Japer Lee - Mirror Of Wind [Noumenal Loom]

Hector Plimmer - Sunshine [Independent]

Sufvyn - Ascension [Independent]

Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs - Feed the Rats [Rocket Recordings]

Hurray for the Riff Raff - The Navigator [ATO]

Ice Tha One - In The Paint [Independent]

Don Gero - Wizarding [Crash Symbols]

Toxic - This Is Beautiful Because We Are Beautiful People [esp-disk]

Satomimagae - Kemri [White Paddy Mountain]

Alex Lahey - I Love You Like A Brother [Dead Oceans]

Ingrid Laubrock - Serpentines [Intakt]

Fawda Trio - Road to Essaouira [Original Cultures]

Bei Bei & Shawn Lee - Year of the Funky [Legere Recordings]

Don Bryant - Don't Give Up On Love [Fat Possum]

Father John Misty - Pure Comedy [Sub Pop]

Heliocentrics - A World of Masks [Out There]

Saturday, December 23, 2017

2017 Year End Longlist, Part 4

Inching closer toward NYE and my Top 20 of 2017. In the meantime, here's more from the longlist of great music released this year.

Surfer Blood - Snowdonia [Joyful Noise]

L.A. Witch - L.A. Witch [Suicide Squeeze]

Chicago / London Underground - A Night Walking Through Mirrors [Cuneiform]

Nerina Pallot - Stay Lucky [Idaho]

Homeshake - Fresh Air [Royal Mountain Records]

Nicole Mitchell - Mandorla Awakening II: Emerging World [FPE Records]

Gokcen Kaynatan - Gokcen Kaynatan [Finders Keepers]

Izo FitzRoy - Skyline [Jalapeno]

Lunar Lemur - Meat Blob Groove Machine [Independent]

Nathan Fake - Providence [Ninja Tune]

The Atomic Bomb Band - The Atomic Bomb Band Plays The Music Of William Onyeabor [Luaka Bop]

Soul Scratch - Pushing Fire [Alive]

The Drip - The Haunting Fear of Inevitability [Relapse]

Dirty Projectors - Dirty Projectors [Domino]

Jonwayne - Rap Album Two [Authors Recording Co.]

The Cosmic Range - New Latitudes [Idee Fixe]

Tennis - Yours Conditionally [Mutually Detrimental]

The Meltdown - The Meltdown [Hope St Recording]

Pallbearer - Heartless [Profound Lore]

Laura Marling - Semper Femina [Kobalt]

Thundercat - Drunk [Brainfeeder]

Friday, December 22, 2017

2017 Yearend Longlist, Part 3

Working our way towards the end of the longlist and the reveal of my Top 20 on NYE.

The Weather Station - The Weather Station [Outside]

Ikebe Shakedown - The Way Home [Colemine]

Cold Specks - Fool's Paradise [Arts & Crafts]

Susanne Sundfor - Music For People In Trouble [Bella Union]

Weaves - Wide Open [Buzz / Kanine]

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard with Mild High Club - Sketches of Brunswick East [ATO]

Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings - Soul of a Woman [Daptone]

Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile - Lotta Sea Lice [Matador]

Mostly Other People Do The Killing - Paint [Hot Cup Records]

Four Tet - New Energy [Text Records]

FKJ - French Kiwi Juice [Roche Musique]

Jaimie Branch - Fly or Die [International Anthem]

Yazmin Lacey - Black Moon [Running Circle]

Songhoy Blues - Resistance [Fat Possum]

The Shiverettes - Dead Men Can't Cat Call [Transistor 66]

Ross McHenry - The Outsiders [First Word Records]

Madeline Kenney - Night Night at the First Landing [Independent]

Shilpa Ray - Door Girl [Clandestine]

Gabrielle Shonk - Gabrielle Shonk [Universal]

Kamasi Washington - Harmony of Difference [Young Turks]

Queens of the Stone Age - Villains [Matador]

Thursday, December 21, 2017

2017 Year End Longlist, Part 2

I'll be revealing my Top 20 albums New Years' Eve on the 13th annual countdown show on UMFM, but in the interim, here's a rundown on the great stuff that didn't make the cut.


Yasmine Hamdan - Al Jamilat [Ipecac]

Half Waif - form/a [Cascine]

Bottle Tree - Bottle Tree [International Anthem]

Harriet Brown - Contact [Innovative Leisure]

Quantic & Nidia Gongora - Curao [Tru Thoughts]

Girlpool - Powerplant [Anti-]

Mac DeMarco - This Old Dog [Royal Mountain / Captured Tracks]

She-Devils - She-Devils [Independent]

Arve Henriksen - Towards Language [Rune Grammofon]

Dustin Wong & Takako Minekawa - Are Euphoria [Thrill Jockey]

Binker & Moses - Journey to the Mountain of Forever [Gearbox]

Fleet Foxes - Crack-Up [Nonesuch]

Golden Retriever - Rotations [Thrill Jockey]

Ex Eye - Ex Eye [Relapse]

Kacy & Clayton - The Siren's Song [New West]

The Accidentals - odyssey [Sony Masterworks]

Partner - In Search Of Lost Time [You've Changed]

St. Vincent - MASSEDUCTION [Loma Vista]

Destroyer - ken [Merge]

Roadkill Ghost Choir - False Youth Etcetera [Freakout]

Les Filles De Illighadad - Eghass Malan [Sahel Sounds]

Wares - Wares [Double Lunch]

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

2017 Year End Longlist, Part 1

Just eleven days until NYE and my 13th annual countdown show on UMFM. I'll be revealing my Top 20 albums that evening, but in the interim, here's a rundown on the great stuff that didn't make the cut. IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER.

Baast - Bazaar [Ubiquity]

Austra - Future Politics [Domino]

Fleece - Voyager [Independent]

Alejandra Ribera - This Island [Pheromone]

Stef Chura - Messes [Saddle Creek]

Bonobo - Migration [Ninja Tune]

Dayme Arocena - Cubafonia [Brownswood]

Mean Lady - Nature [Independent]

Ondatropica - Baile Bucanero [Soundway]

Teen Daze - Themes For Dying Earth [Flora]

Jeb Loy Nichols - Country Hustle [Inkind Music]

The Bug vs. Earth - Concrete Desert [Ninja Tune]

Jungle Fire - Jambu [Nacional]

El Michels Affair - Return To The 37th Chamber [Big Crown]

Future Islands - The Far Field [4AD]

Miles Mosley - Uprising [Alpha Pup / World Galaxy / Verve]

Ronald Bruner Jr. - Triumph [Alpha Pup / World Galaxy]

Blay Ambolley - Ketan [Agogo]

Onra - Chinoseries pt. 3 [Project: Mooncircle]

Mike Gao - Land Escape [Alpha Pup]

Yoko Miwa Trio - Pathways [Ocean Blue Tear Music]
Sadly, no embeddable tunes.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Gizelle Smith - "S.T.A.Y. ft Eric Boss"

Get out your wallets and mark your calendars. The new 7" from Manchester-born vocalist Gizelle Smith comes out on Jalapeno Records this Friday, December 1st.

"Sweet Memories" is ostensibly the A-side as it's listed first, but technically this is a "double A-side release" so "S.T.A.Y." featuring Stones Throw alum Eric Boss has equal billing.

Smith first came to my attention via releases with German act The Mighty Mocambos released on the venerable Legere Recordings and that's apparently where Kenny Dope first picked up on her talent. Wax Poetics debuted the release yesterday and it landed in my inbox this morning. I have listened to "S.T.A.Y." a half-dozen times already and just finished playing it on Cellophane Radio, UMFM's new music program. If you didn't catch it then, do yourself a favour and listen to it now. It's a heartwarming scorcher.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Amber Navran - "He's Been Gone"

I missed it when it dropped last month, but Moonchild's Amber Navran dropped a solo EP called Speak Up, and it's an all-too-brief slice of neo-soul/jazz goodness.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Kaidi Tatham - "Hard Times"

NOT the Baby Huey cut, but still pretty darn funky, this is the lead-off track from Belfast organist Kaidi Tatham's EP of the same name due out December 1st on First Word Records.

Did not recognize Tatham's name but apparently he's provided musical contributions for artists including Amy Winehouse, Slum Village, Mulatu Astatke, Soul II Soul, Leroy Burgess, Amp Fiddler, Macy Gray, King Britt, DJ Spinna, Mr Scruff and IG Culture.

Now THAT is a list.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

The Tibbs - "Lies"

Dutch funk/soul band The Tibbs released their full-length record Takin' Over mid-2016 on RR fave Record Kicks and have likely been touring the heck out of it, leaving little time for the studio.
But this morning, in my inbox, "Lies" landed and the actual 45 will be dropping December 1st.

What a  showcase for Elsa Bekman this tune is - she gets breathy, she growls, she howls and she absolutely OWNS this performance. She may be backed by the solid musicians in the band, but when she sings "I've gotta do this by myself," it's in some way a statement about her role on this cut.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Deva Mahal - "Snakes"

Clearly tied into the  gospel origins of soul music, this biblical allegory of a torch song from NYC's Deva Mahal is a stunner. Great voice and an impassioned delivery. Plus, handclaps.

If you don't end up belting out the chorus of "look to the mountains" alongside Mahal, I question your commitment to living.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Myles Sanko - "Forget Me Not (Rob Hardt remix)"

Always happy to have some new Sanko in my inbox. Can't wait to hear the original tune and the b-side "Promises" but for now the disco-strut of the Rob Hardt remix is a groovy way to approach the weekend.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

BADBADNOTGOOD - "I Don't Know (ft. Samuel T. Herring)"

Following on the heels of one of my favourite records of 2016 - and favourite organ lines of all time - Toronto's BADBADNOTGOOD and Future Islands' Samuel T Herring just dropped this triumphant torch song via Innovative Leisure.

The protagonist of the song might not know, but I sure do. This is a a stunner.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Poirier - "Sowia ft. Samito"

Wow. This is departure from past work by Montreal producer Poirier. Maybe that accounts for the jump from Ninja Tune to Wonderwheel (the latter home to recent RR post subject Alsarah & the Nubatones).

There's only the one track from the forthcoming Be Alright EP (due out next Friday) so maybe the rest of the short player is less like this Afro-Electro slice, but I have my doubts.

Interesting new sound, dynamic direction for this artist.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Jr. Thomas & The Volcanos - "What A Shame"

Apparently Friday is Colemine Records Day. Last week I shared The Flying Stars of Brooklyn NY a-side and now here's another hot 45 for you from Jr. Thomas & The Volcanos.


Friday, September 29, 2017

The Flying Stars of Brooklyn NY - "My God Has A Telephone"

In the world of drummers stepping out from behind the kit to take the mic, it seldom works out, but when it does, boy does it ever.

Aaron Frazer, timekeeper for Durand Jones & The Indications, hinted at his vocal chops on "Is It Any Wonder" from last year's Durand Jones & The Indications LP. With his new project The Flying Stars of Brooklyn NY, Frazer just dropped a gospel gem that's coming out as a 45 on Colemine Records.

(The Ohio soul label is also set to release the third record from Ikebe Shakedown, who were previously on RR fave Ubiquity Records).

Even before I heard Frazer's falsetto on "My God Has A Telephone," I knew I was going to love this cut. The ascending / descending bass guitar line that is tagged with a glockenspiel chime before the beat kicks in is the subtle promise that this sh*t is going to BURN.


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Wild Beasts - "Punk Drunk And Trembling"

Bummer news this morning. Looooooooooooonng time RR faves, Wild Beasts have announced they're calling it a day. But on the way out they dropped this new cut. I feel like the crying bald guy in the video after hearing they'll be recording no longer.

"What's done is done."

Maybe this will be like when LCD Soundsystem called it quits.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Ross McHenry - "The Outsiders Part 3"


Opened up my email to discover an update from Bandcamp that Ross McHenry is set to follow-up Child of Somebody with The Outsiders, due out November 10 on First Word Records.

Only the one track streaming so far, but it's another sweet slice of jazz from the Australian multi-instrumentalist. I'm definitely keen to hear it in the context of the three part suite in the middle of the record. Love the way this one builds.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Alsarah & The Nubatones - "3yan T3ban (Oddisee remix)"

I've already written about Alsarah and the Nubatones and Oddissee individually before, so it shouldn't be a surprise that a collab between the two via an Oddisee remix of a cut from Manara would end up here. The duo have already collaborated previously and are linked by Sudanese heritage so it's a comfortable relationship and Oddisee honours the source material. Can't wait to hear the rest of the remixes on the record, though it's nearly a whole month away.

You can pre-order the album now and it's out September 22nd on Wonderwheel Recordings (which also released recent killer EPs from El Búho).

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Sagamore - "Pearl of the Sky"

It pays to amble around the pages of Bandcamp and click on things with interesting album art. Granted, it's a bit of "judging a book by its cover" but it can certainly lead you to check out something from an act you'd never heard of before. I didn't know a thing about Sagamore (who turn out to be from Melbourne much like a lot of other artists I've enjoyed of late) before seeing their cubist cover art and checking out "Pearl of the Sky."

Ringing guitar lines set the table for a dream-pop song, but then the percussion goes all Afro-beat, in service of slackadaisacal vocals. Maybe this is Australia's answer to Vampire Weekend.

Shannon Lay - "The Moons Detriment"

There's only one song streaming from the Living Water LP on Shannon Lay's Bandcamp right now, but my god what a voice. "The Moon's Detriment" is carried by her mellifluous singing and supported by gentle finger-picking and cello accompaniment. Can't wait to hear more.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Jordan Rakei - "Nerve"

The whole notion that you need to learn to love yourself before you can truly love another is something Rakei tackles in the lyrics on new single "Nerve" from his forthcoming Ninja Tune LP, Wallflower. "How can I find a reason to love you, when I don't love myself," is the simple, but not simplistic chorus to this wobbly tune. No surprise it's delivered with trademark Rakei-nan soul.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Chris LaRocca - "Wild"


August 23rd. That's the date Chris LaRocca drops Voila, his new EP and you need to book some time off that day to absorb the record and probably some more time to head home and play it under the covers with your lover.

Forget #followfriday on social media, today with "Wild" it's #f**kfriday (even though this dropped on Wednesday).

Get it on.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Jen Cloher - "Regional Echo"

 I started typing "Jen Cloher" into Google to look up info on her after receiving a digital submission of her self-titled album and auto-fill inserted "Courtney Barnett" as soon as I hit the space-bar after the "H" in Cloher. So, yeah, apparently the Melbourne, Australia singer-songwriter and co-founder of Milk! Records is inextricably tied to her co-founder Barnett. But hopefully, with the release of the new album on August 11th, she'll step into the limelight on her own. "Regional Echo" (below) is certainly my favourite on first pass, but Jen Cloher is front-to-back good.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Cold Specks - "Fool's Paradise"

I didn't catch this on Monday when it dropped as I was dealing with the implosion of my worklife (building the station broadcasts from had total power failure and we were off air), but happy to hear the title track from Cold Specks' forthcoming LP now that things are returning to normal.

This is some subtle soul.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Ex Eye - "Xenolith, The Anvil"

Described as "post-everything" Ex Eye is the brainchild of Canadian experimental music icon Colin Stetson who goes super deep and super loud and finds himself on Relapse instead of his usual home at Constellation. Not sure if  this'll qualify for the Polaris, but it's a front-runner for my ballot right now if it does.

You can hear the record in its' entirety and buy it over at Bandcamp.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

My Polaris Prize Ballot - 2017 Round Two

So if you missed the post about my first round ballot for the 2017 Polaris Music Prize, just a refresher that I voted for the following 5:

01 A Tribe Called Red - We Are The Halluci Nation [Radicalized Records]
02 BADBADNOTGOOD - IV [Arts & Crafts]
03 Klo Pelgag - L'Etoile Thoracique [Coyote Records]
04 BEYRIES - Landing [Bonsound]
05 Alejandra Ribera - This Island [Pheromone]

My #4 and 5 sadly did not make the cut of the longlist, meaning I had to look at my own personal longlist to fill those spots on the second ballot.

All told, of 25 albums I had under consideration, 9 from my list made the actual Longlist so I had to pick two from the six albums that weren't in my initial ballot.

This is the final ballot I submitted:

 01 A Tribe Called Red - We Are The Halluci Nation [Radicalized Records]
02 BADBADNOTGOOD - IV [Arts & Crafts]
03 Klo Pelgag - L'Etoile Thoracique [Coyote Records]
04 Louise Burns - Young Mopes [Light Organ Records]
05 Figure Walking - The Big Other [Disintegration Records]

We'll see how I fared tomorrow morning as the Shortlist will be announced at 11am ET / 8am PT on the CBC Music Facebook page. (just click the hyper-link)

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

KOKOKO! - Tokoliana / L.O.V.E.

Man, this is some FIRE. Only two tracks from the three KOs, but they are stunners, particularly the a-side, "Tokoliana." Post-punk from the Democratic Republic of Congo? Sign me up.

Yazmin Lacey - "A Mother Lost"

The entirety of the Black Moon EP is worth your time, but start with the subtle, jazzy "A Mother Lost." Yazmin Lacey's vocals manage to somehow seem both light and effortless, while conveying weight and depth in this beautifully sad song.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Meklit - "Yerakeh Yeresal (ft. Andrew Bird)"

Six Degrees had fallen off my radar for a while as far as labels go, but with the release of When The People Move The Music Moves To, by San Francisco vocalist Meklit, they've certainly got my attention again. Lovely.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Son Little - "Blue Magic (Waikiki)"

Anti- continues to have a fascinating A&R department. On the heels of a great new record from Girlpool, as well as sleeper Jade Jackson and The Drums, they're set to release a new full-length from blues / r&b artist Son Little and the lead-off single is just a pristine slice of summer. The only constant with their releases is quality. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Elisapie - "Forefathers"

Bonsound just announced that they've signed Elisapie and to mark the occasion - as well as to honour National Aboriginal Day - they've shared her cover of Willie Thrasher's "Forefathers," described as "a monument of Inuit culture, a manifesto on Aboriginal peoples’ millennia-long ownership of the territory"
It's been five years since Elisapie released Travelling Love so it's exciting to have some new music from her though we'll have to wait until winter 2018 for the release of The Ballad of the Runaway Girl from the Inuk singer.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

No Vacation - "Yam Yam"

I feel like Miki Berenyi doesn't get enough credit for the gauzy dreampop that's been coming out of late. She and her band Lush were doing this so long ago that their albums are likely older than the members of No Vacation. Which isn't to say "Yam Yam" is derivative, but rather that it owes a lot to the UK act's more shoegazy tracks that were sometimes overshadowed by the jangly pop they also excelled at.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Songhoy Blues - "Bamako"

Due out next week on Fat Possum, Résistance, by Malian act Songhoy Blues only has this one track currently streaming on Bandcamp but if it's not enough to convince you to pre-order it of get your local shop to bring it in, well I don't know what to say.

Zara McFarlane - "All Africa"

I'm going to have to track down the original Max Roach cut that soul singer Zara McFarlane has "re-cast" as I've never heard it and I'm curious to know how it differs from this take and what it shares with McFarlane's version.

Also, big ups to Binker & Moses who are - as usual - supporting McFarlane here, and who just dropped a great new double LP on Gearbox Records.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Alvvays - "In Undertow"

Summer just started, but you've got to wait the whole thing through for the September 8 release of Antisocialites, the sophomore record from Alvvays, but lead-off single "In Undertow" is the perfect sun-dappled slice to tide you over until then.

Monday, June 5, 2017

My Polaris Prize Ballot - 2017 Round One

It's that time of the year again. The first ballot for the Polaris Prize is due tomorrow and from the initial 5 selections submitted by each juror, we'll get the 40 entry Longlist (which will be announced June 13th in Ottawa).

From hundreds of possibilities that were released during the eligibility period (including stuff that crossed my plate at UMFM, as well as all the suggestions made by my fellow jurors), I whittled things down to a personal longlist of 25 entries.

They are (alphabetically):

 A Tribe Called Red - We Are The Halluci Nation [Radicalized Records]
 Austra - Future Politics [Domino]
 BADBADNOTGOOD - IV [Arts & Crafts]
 BEYRIES - Landing [Bonsound]
 Black Atlass - Haunted Paradise [Fool's Gold]
 Louise Burns - Young Mopes [Light Organ Records]
 Castle If - Plant Material [Independent]
 Chocolat - Recontrer Looloo [Dare To Care Records]
 The Cosmic Range - New Latitudes [Idee Fixe]
 The Courtneys - II [Flying Nun]
 Mac DeMarco - This Old Dog [Captured Tracks/Royal Mountain Records]
 DJ Shub - Pow Wow Step [Independent]
 Duotang - New Occupation [Stomp]
 Figure Walking - The Big Other [Disintegration Records]
 Fleece - Voyager [Independent]
 Homeshake - Fresh Air [Royal Mountain Records]
 Japandroids - Near To The Wild Heart Of Life [Arts & Crafts]
 Carly Rae Jepsen - Emotion: Side B [Interscope]
 Aleem Khan - Urbana Champagne [Independent]
 Klo Pelgag - L'Etoile Thoracique [Coyote Records]
 Northern Cree - It's A Cree Thing [Canyon Records]
 Lou Phelps - 001: Experiments [Independent]
 Alejandra Ribera - This Island [Pheromone]
 The Shiverettes - Dead Men Can't Cat Call [Transistor 66]
 Tasha The Amazon - Die Every Day [The Truth Music Group]

One thing I strive for in coming up with my Polaris ballot is consistency with my Year-End lists so it shouldn't be surprising to reveal that not only was We Are The Halluci Nation my #1 album of 2016, it's also the top spot on my Polaris 2017 ballot.

Here's my 5 in order:
01 A Tribe Called Red - We Are The Halluci Nation [Radicalized Records]
02 BADBADNOTGOOD - IV [Arts & Crafts]
03 Klo Pelgag - L'Etoile Thoracique [Coyote Records]
04 BEYRIES - Landing [Bonsound]
05 Alejandra Ribera - This Island [Pheromone]

P.S. I want to give a special shout out to some albums I quite enjoyed that the jury brought to my attention:
Alain Lefevre - Sas Agapo
Booji Boys - Booji Boys
Le Couleur - P.O.P.
Leanne Simpson - f(l)ight
Hooded Fang - Dynasty House
Sarah Davach- All My Circles Run

and finally, the self-titled record from She-Devils that came my way mid-May and I really didn't get enough time with to make the cut.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Mel Alston Jr. - "The Big Picture"

It's not the song they've embedded on their piece about the best new soul releases, but kudos to Bandcamp for bringing Dayton, Ohio's Mel Alston Jr. to my attention. After listening to leadoff track "The Day After Forever" I just let the LP keep rolling and when "The Big Picture" (track 3) hit, I was all in on this soul-singer. Great plaintive voice, fantastic production, this is some top-shelf r&b.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Hector Plimmer - "Bossa B"

The Glenn Astro and Deoke remixes aren't posted yet, but the Plimmer original of "Bossa B" is a percolating groove that has a subtle, intermittent keyboard line and great echo-effected drums.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Nicole Mitchell - Mandorla Awakening II: Emerging Worlds

Kudos to former UMFM programmer Jeff Friesen - aka Little Beard - for always keeping an eye out for the far-reaches of jazz sounds. It's thanks to him that FPE Records from Illinois and this record from Nicole Mitchell came to my attention. If you've been digging the Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda comp that recently came out, Mandorla Awakening II: Emerging Worlds should be on your to-do list.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Profusion - "Where Do I Begin?"

Formed from a connection on MySpace (!!??) Profusion is a collaboration between Emeson and K15. Subtle beats and smooth vocals = contemporary soul.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Jane Weaver - "Slow Motion"

Liverpool's Jane Weaver releases her latest LP, Modern Kosmology tomorrow, but you can give it a spin now. "Slow Motion" is my favourite of the bunch, but this is a front-to-back solid effort.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Amir Bresler - "Afro Golden Line"

Not the first funky Israeli I've recommended (that'd be Kutiman, way back in the Ear To The Sound days), but Amir Bresler is certainly the latest to make me think "Holy Sh*t" just as much as I think "Holy Land." Just the A-side from this one available to check out so far, but it features Sefi Zisling on trumpet, which is how it popped up on my radar.

**If you haven't heard Beyond the Things I Know from Zisling, get thee to a Bandcamp stream.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Fleet Foxes - "Fool's Errand"

Kinda bonkers, but beautiful. Looking forward to hearing the rest of Crack Up, the new Fleet Foxes album.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Calcedon - "Sparrow"

I don't know if the rest of Echo In measures up to the lead-off track, "Sparrow," but damned if it isn't a phenomenal single. That opening guitar line sounds like Paul Simon, but then it gets a bit screwed and chopped and things get BIG.

Friday, April 28, 2017

The Cactus Channel & Sam Cromack - "Sleep Demon"

Since the rise of Courtney Barnett I've been enjoying a lot of indie-rock coming out of Australia (Heart Beach, Julia Jacklin, anon.) but thanks to the folks at Hope Street Recordings, it's becoming a great source of soul music as well. My first discovery from the label was the country-soul of The Meltdown (think Jeb Loy Nichols) and now comes The Cactus Channel and Sam Cromack's collaboration, Do It For Nothing. Cromack's the guest vocalist and boy does he bring the heat. Torch-song level emotion throughout the EP, but particularly on "Sleep Demon" below.

Keep your eyes on Hope Street and your ears on their roster!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

This Flame I Carry - "Dustbowls"

 These are the tags Noah Cebuliak - aka This Flame I Carry - lists at the bottom of the Bandcamp page for new album Taboos: folk r&b jazz lofi neo-soul prog folk

If you're not intrigued by a fairly disparate group of genres, then I doubt you're following RR on the regular. The spooky bells, Cebuliak's wispy vocals and haunting violin on "Dustbowls" are all underpinned by Patrick Latreille's phenomenal acoustic bass.

Can't wait to hear the rest of the album.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Dwight Trible - "What The World Needs Now Is Love (ft. Matthew Halsall)"

I have a pretty big love for old pop - particularly the likes of Burt Bacharach who wrote this classic with Hal David, and an equally large love for great jazz vocalists so this cut is a no-brainer.

Trible sounds like Terry Callier on this cover, and the strings (harp!) swell beautifully behind him.

Can't wait to hear the rest.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

I Ninhos Pega - "Pinha Taburim"

Record Store Day is just three more sleeps away, and one of the things I'm hoping pops up at my local shop is the Sonor Music Editions reissues including the soundtrack for La Seduzione. Check out this swanky sexual organ number.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Gabriel Garzón-Montano - "Crawl (Karriem Riggins Remix)"

I've been jonesing on Garzón-Montano's Jardin  and Riggins' Headnod Suite records separately, so it's no surprise that a remix of the former by the latter would resonate. There's more snap to the bounce of Riggins' percussion on this remix, which pairs nicely with the inherent syncopation of Garzón-Montano's vocals.

Play. Bounce. Repeat.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Nautilus - "We Live In Brooklyn Baby"

 This lead-off track from Japanese trio Nautilus' Nautiloid Quest LP is one funky stroll. Those arpeggiated octave lines on keys are particularly entrancing.And the way they f**k with the timing, speeding up, slowing down and nearly full-stopping is just awesome as all get out.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Jasper Lee - "Veils of Crocus"

Woah. It pays to read the small print. I get release books sent to me with splashy one-page promos for big name releases, but in the late pages of those pdf's are terse one paragraph descriptions of a host of "minor" albums. This morning, I read about Mirror of Wind from Jasper Lee on Noumenal Loom and mention of  "influence from exotica, free jazz and the golden age of holistic LP experiences."

Colour me intrigued. And after listening to the album in its entirety on Bandcamp, colour me hooked. I've embedded my favourite track, "Veils of Crocus" below to spotlight, but it flows so seamlessly into "Primeval Currents" that I strongly recommend just listening to the whole thing.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

El Michaels Affair - "Tearz ft. Lee Fields & The Shacks"

Crazy, but it's been eight (!!!!!!!) years since the El Michaels Affair first entered the 37th Chamber. Big Crown - the label responsible for the Lady Wray LP I loved last year - will be releasing the Return on April 14th. Only one track up right now, but it's got breathy vocals from The Shacks and anguished gasps from Lee Fields.

Vincent Ahehehinnou - "Best Woman"

Oh man, this track is straight FIRE!!! That rhythm guitar line alone is enough to send me over, but when that trumpet blazes a solo midway through there's no doubt that "Best Woman" is a killer cut. Do yourself a favour and read the crazy story of Vincent Ahehehinnou's departure from Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou.

Analog Africa FTW, once again.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Children of Zeus - "I Can't Wait"

The description for this track on First Word Records' Bandcamp page is "Hashtag baby making music... This is grown folk shit. Classic slow jam material."

It don't get more apt than that.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

(Gyedu) Blay Ambolley - "Simigwa-Do"

This is Ghanian artist Gyedu Blay Ambolley's THIRTIETH (30 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) album [< that's one exclamation mark for each release].

"Simigwa-Do" is the first cut that's been made available from Ketan and it's a terrific slice of highlife brought to you by RR fave, Agogo Records.

Pre-order the double LP now and set your iCal for May 12 when the rest of the goodness drops.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Tennis - "My Emotions Are Blinding"

Oh man. So much good music lately. I'm buried under an avalanche of submissions both digital and physical of late and have been busy digging out.

One of the pure pleasures among the bunch is Yours Conditionally, the new LP from Tennis. Alaina Moore's vocals are so breezy and the song "My Emotions Are Blinding" has such an 70's AM vibe it could fit snugly alongside something from Rumours.

Be sure to check out the album version, but enjoy this live take on KCRW.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Oddisee - "NNGE (ft. Toine)"

I'm not even going to comment on this cut. I present the lyrics straight from Oddisee's Bandcamp page.

Verse One - Oddisee
I mean what is there to fear/
I''m from black America this is just another year/
If you're new to disrespect by your elected puppeteer/
well let me show you how to persevere/
Just get up every time somebody knocks you down/
& celebrate in front of people like they're not around/
& if they try to build a wall to keep you balling out of bounds/
Use the bench they told to you warm to keep the fences knocking down/ Shout out to latinos because hustling ain't illegal/
Whether praying to the east or the padre, we all are equal/
But if parted they will progress in stopping us getting C notes/
Well let me asked the crowd, do one of y'all disagree, no/
This is for chocolate city though I represent the county/
Until your vote is counted know I got you until I'm outy/
it's all about the effort & effortlessly fresher/
If I'm preaching to choir know they're bound to get the lecture/
it went from folks around me, pushing envelopes & boundaries/
So you won't only hear me where you found me/
I'm somewhere asking questions like can I afforded the most/
You better answer me with more than a no/
Ooh, never not getting enough/ From this life that I'm leading/ & all I believe in/
ya'll go, I ain't leaving/
I'm posted, like/ (x2) This if for the county/
& the areas surrounding/ DC, Maryland & Virginia/ know I'm with you/
Verse Two - Toine
What are you willing to let die first/ Your pride or your freedom/
The story of my life's inner conflict/ It's like I follow my dreams/
But how am I supposed to slide in the DM/
On the mic, is what I'm trying accomplish/
I used to do it for the fist bumps & applauses/
But caring about respect started making me nauseous/
You walk in a room, $ bammas speak to you cautious/
like employees trying to figure out who the boss is/
so now I just kick it for, the most divine/
Working overtime/
Sitting with an open bottle, looking for an open mind/
trying not to be aggressively jaded/
Because I find myself just getting faded/
& I know that ain’t quite me/
I step up for whatever it might be/
& RSVP when inspiration invite me/
Because who else gonna look out for those who look like me/ another disenfranchised boy in a white tee/
Ooh, never not getting enough/ From this life that I'm leading/ & all I believe in/
ya'll go, I ain't leaving/
I'm posted, like/ (x2) This if for the county/
& the areas surrounding/ DC, Maryland & Virginia/ know I'm with you/
Verse Three - Oddisee
All I know is love/
I give it & I get it, I can never get enough/
Sympathy to enemies cause hate ain't in blood/
& if you can relate you've given up/
I'm trying to make the most of it though/
Getting close is a no/
Want nothing less than yes because it's suppose to be so/ The cost of nothing's too low/
My expectations are too high/
I'd rather die/
Than be complacent with the way that it goes/
Apathy is a disease & we're just steady sharing needles/ Unaffected people carry evil/
Ease is what know/
We've got to raise the bar though/
The sorrows of today will give away to a tomorrow/
So what's a week of paid leave/
& empty promises of hiring/
Just to fire me before retirement/
I'm trying to make more in one day than 401 K/
So give me what you promised to pay/
Because it's never enough/
Ooh, never not getting enough/ From this life that I'm leading/ & all I believe in/
ya'll go, I ain't leaving/
I'm posted, like/ (x2) This if for the county/
& the areas surrounding/ DC, Maryland & Virginia/
know I'm with you/

Mean Lady - "Walking Flower"

Newark, Delaware band Mean Lady have released a couple singles since 2013's Love Now (which was my #4 album that year), but FINALLY dropped a new full-length on the world. Nature came out on Valentine's Day *swoon* and Katie Dill's vocals remain as wonderfully nonchalant and captivating as they were on Love Now. The matter-of-fact delivery within a narrow range is what makes the effect of the occasional swoops (like the 2:50 and 4:00 marks on "Walking Flower") so potent.

Plus these two know their way around a melody like nobody's business.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Hejira - "No Matter"

The Lima Limo Ceremony is the all-too-brief new release from London trio Hejira. On the heels of a trip to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia the group decided to create the Lima Limo Records and this 7" is the first release "No Matter" is an understated and drowsy beauty of a track. Like a Kings of Convenience b-side played at half-speed.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Oscar Key Sung - "Shallow"

A little romantic gift to all the music-lovers from Melbourne's smooth crooner, Oscar Key Sung.


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Chris LaRocca - "Closer"

Somehow I missed the boat on LaRocca's Sextape work, but this track under his own name is completely in my wheelhouse. Downtempo neo-soul with falsetto? SIGN ME UP.

I actually just became his 91st follower on Soundcloud and this number needs to blow up. Get on it.