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Music We Like

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Raven (CD)

Kelela

On Raven , Kelela proves once again she’s one of the most exciting artists working in the alternative R&B space. The tracks on Raven sound like a sort of rebirth; the emotions are intense, the compositions innovative and exhilarating. There’s no predictability here and Kelela has her listeners on the edge of their seats the entire time as shimmering and ethereal textural tracks segue into drum ’n’ bass ballads and electronic washes of sound shift into dancehall grooves. Raven is impressive. If you dug what Kelela was doing before, these new tracks are on a whole other level.

Sublimation (CD)

Shalom

Shalom’s Sublimation is one of the most enjoyable, most assured debuts in recent memory. The Brooklyn-based, South Africa-raised artist creates urgent yet catchy-as-hell music that combines elements of power pop, punk, garage, indie, and even ‘90s alterna-pop. Shalom and producer Ryan Hemsworth (Quarter-Life Crisis) have crafted a super tight album that chronicles the ultra-loose and messy experiences of self-medicating, watching creative opportunities fall apart, and getting sick of being yourself. The joy of Sublimation , though, is the journey listeners go on as Shalom finds herself and her will to fight once again. Shalom is one to watch, to be sure, and this album will likely be on many year-end “best of” lists.

College Park (CD)

Logic

On his first independent release since leaving Def Jam, Logic goes back to his roots with College Park . Logic takes it back to 2011 on the album, giving us an autobiographical glimpse into a formative period. It’s a truly epic album, filled with the optimism and desperate hope of youth, alongside all the fears and challenges that lurk in the shadows. Featuring an all-star cast of collaborators, College Park has appearances from Bun B and Lil Keke, Norah Jones, Joey Bada$$, and RZA, just to name a few. It’s a heartfelt, high-octane album that showcases Logic doing what he does best.

High Drama (CD)

Adam Lambert

Adam Lambert delivers what he promises on High Drama . These tracks are simply grand: larger-than-life operatic rock numbers featuring Lambert’s smooth, soaring vocals, powered by a legend’s over-the-top rock ’n’ roll spirit and imbued with an artist’s emotional high-highs and low-lows. High Drama is an ingenious mix of cover songs, ranging from karaoke classics (Bonnie Tyler, Culture Club) to edgy recent releases (Billie Eilish, Lana Del Rey). Lambert delivers them all with panache; it’s a pleasure to hear his take on these tracks.

Marlowe 2 [Deluxe Edition] (LP)

Marlowe

Several years ago, producer L’Orange and rapper Solemn Brigham first brought us Marlowe, an alt-rap project with an ethos rooted in the musical stylings of the past and a lyricism inspired by the social issues of today. Now they’re back with Marlowe 2 . It’s an album that’s pure fire. The crackle of vintage vinyl samples, the propulsive beats, the vocals that swim seamlessly from funky to fierce; few acts are doing it like Marlowe these days. Brigham raps about police brutality, poverty, and the societal issues that dominate the news cycle today (but that stem back generations). This is heady stuff. The intelligent, impactful Marlowe 2 will work its power on both your heart and your mind.

Radical Romantics (CD)

Fever Ray

Fever Ray is back with their first album in five years, Radical Romantics . The album title is an accurate synopsis of this left-field electro-pop production; as you’d expect, the songs are glittering and strange, filled with twists and turns both lyrical and melodic, all rooted in a deep love for both the darkness and the (heavily filtered) light. Fans of The Knife will rejoice to hear that Karin Dreijer has recruited their brother and The Knife bandmate Olof Dreijer for the first several songs, creating a vibe that eventually shifts into more buoyant, technicolor sonic territory as the album goes on. Fellow travelers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross contribute, as do Nídia, Johannes Berglund, Peder Mannerfelt, and Vessel.

The Waeve (CD)

The Waeve

With the release of The Waeve's eponymous self-titled debut, Blur guitarist Graham Coxon and erstwhile Pipettes vocalist Rose Elinor Dougall have created one of the freshest, most interesting albums in a long time. The pair combines elements of shoegaze, psychedelia, post-punk and dark folk to create a lush, unpredictable, emotionally gripping set of songs. Both Coxon and Dougall contribute vocals, lending a unique timbre to each track. Coxon performs on saxophone as well as on the lute. It's an early contender, but this might be one of the year's best. Don't sleep on it!

Time's Arrow (CD)

Ladytron

Ladytron are back with one of their best records in recent memory, Time's Arrow . The band’s distinctive crystalline, icy sound is as darkly enchanting as always, but this time there’s some light amongst the shadows. The mood of the album moves naturally from tightly-wound, near-claustrophobic motorik electro-pop to more ethereal, dreamy, searching sounds. Ladytron sound like they’re stretching their wings on these songs; it’s a fitting soundtrack for our contemporary moment, in which things can sometimes feel so dark, but yet there’s always a glimmer of hope and transcendence.

Louie (CD)

Kenny Beats

Kenny Beats’ visionary debut Louie is one of the most exciting, creatively inspired hip-hop albums in recent memory. Having worked with everyone from Denzel Curry to Dominic Fike to Doja Cat, it’s no surprise that he’s capable of crafting an eclectic collection of tracks that both seamlessly flow and are a vibe unto themselves. The production is lush and atmospheric, the melodies influenced by retro soul, funk, and jazz. This joyous, groove-filled record feels like a summer day, whether you’re spinning it in the middle of winter or with the windows rolled all the way down.

Every Acre (CD)

H.C. McEntire

HC McEntire's Every Acre is the type of album that feels imbued with a sense of place, calling to mind the dusty roads and distant horizon of the best country and Americana. Her distinctive voice feels both tender and haunting; her lyrics capture emotions in a way few artists can. You'll want to keep this one on repeat, as these richly-textured songs have more to reveal with each listen. Lilting and lovely, Every Acre is McEntire at her very best.

Strange Dance (LP)

Philip Selway

Radiohead drummer Philip Selway evolves his sound on his third solo album, Strange Dance . The songs feel at once familiar and down-to-earth, cinematic and sweeping. Selway wrote the tracks at home on his piano and guitar, passing off drum duties to his impressive cast of collaborators. (Hannah Peel, Adrian Utley, Quinta, Marta Salogni, Valentina Magaletti, and Laura Moody all contribute to the soaring, orchestral atmosphere.) Strange Dance is an album that’s both inviting and intriguing, a nuanced work that nourishes the soul of the listener as much as it seems to have fed the creative spirit of its dream team of creators.

The Beauty In All [White Vinyl] (LP)

Oddisee

Oddisee's 2013 release The Beauty in All deserves another spin. Out now on white vinyl and opaque purple vinyl, this instrumental LP's title sums it up: you could easily soundtrack your day with any of these selections and get a 200% boost in your mood. The tracks radiate old-school soulfulness, whether Oddisee is trafficking in retro-futurism or taking it back to the eternally cool era of classic funk. The Beauty in All is cinematic, gorgeous, and brilliantly alive.

Amoeba Exclusive


Pre-order John Hicks Trio I’ll Give You Something To Remember Me By... on Amoeba Exclusive 180 gram solid silver vinyl! First time on vinyl and only 100 pressed! Available March 31st, 2023 via Tidal Waves Music.

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