@@@ Sho Barraka: The Narrative (Humble Beast, 2016). I would put Christian hip hop in the left field hip hop dropbox. It surely is concious hip hop with the religious element not visible in this first tune. The instrumentation and playing is pretty mellow and laidback and Barraka’s flow on the microphone is precise and the his voice is pleasantly sharp. The second tune is uptempo with a James Brown black power funk arrangement. Not surprising as the tune is called Soul, 1971. I’ve peeped three tunes and this is an uplifting and funky listen.
@@@ Kadhja Bonet: The Visitor (Fat Possum, 2016). Blurbed as an alternative folk record on this week’s All Music notable release email Apple Music has this record blurbed as a sort of soul/folk mash flavor pack with elements of jazz and r&b. For sure Ms. Bonet has been blessed with a gorgeous voice and on this second tune, Honeycomb, I most definitely hear the old school soul sounds. String swells, a really nice drum sound and mellow instrumentation. Due to Bonet’s voice and the playing there is a super meticulous vibe to this record –usually I’m not a big fan of that but to my ears she’s singing from her heart. I’m a bit surprised a record like this would appear on Fat Possum which usually traffics in white boy blues/noise/punk/indie and I think it’s a disservice slapping a folk label on this record. It’s an out soul record to me and Imma swing back on this when I have more time.
@@@ The Radio Dept.: Running out of Love (Labrador, 2016). Mainstream pop rock off this week’s All Music weekly email. It’s not a rock guitar record but the synths do sound a bit like guitars and the feeling is rock brisk not fully electro. My main problem is dude’s voice — it’s kind of mopey and dour. Not a fully flat bike tire but definitely deflated. Meticulous production, everything in its place but not an overabundance of soul going on here. Groomed like a Nordic ski trail.
@@@ Big Baby D.R.A.M.: WiFi (Empire/Atlantic, 2016) I was pretty into Big Baby’s summer jam Broccoli — yet another slang for smoking the weed and whatnot. This tune is a love song, slow with a nice guitar sample and I’m thinking this is Big Baby on the mic. Erykah Badu has a guest appearance and she’s all sultry and whatnot about her WiFi connection. No strings attached, we’re still connected, no strings attached, we’re still connected — that’s a pretty smart and funny lyric for a tune called WiFi. I like Big Baby D.R.A.M. (that stands for Does Real Ass Music) and I’m gonna have to swing back and check the whole record. And you gotta check that tune Broccoli.
YTD recordings listened to: 838
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 468
Not good music: 314
Honorable Mentions: 14
Possibles: Chris McGregor, Dave Arner Trio, Zomby, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Leviathan, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Janelle Monae, Luther Dickinson, Destruction Unit, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Gentleman Surfer, Satoko Fuji, Mystic Braves, Divanhana, Unrestrained, Moken, Systema Solar, Brian Eno, Juan Atkins, Drone, Lantern, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, Miramar, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Joe Sticky, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes, Neurosis, Magrudergrind, Solange, Acid Arab, Xylouris White, Vadou Game, Michael Wollny/Vincent Peirani, Kadhja Bonet