This Month's Picks

Ruby (CD)

Macy Gray
Nobody makes music quite like Macy Gray. Ruby is the raspy-voiced singer’s tenth album and it’s packed with her signature smart, vivacious brand of retro-tinged R&B/soul. Lead single “Sugar Daddy” is a fittingly sweet and seductive walk through the candy shop — it’s a sophisticated, innuendo-laced late night jam. Also of note is guitarist Gary Clark Jr.’s appearance on the excellent “Buddha.” There’s something for everyone here, from uplifting, feel good strummers to lush throwback soul and jazz to outspoken, politically topical ballads. More
Genre: Soul

Petaluma (CD)

This Wild Life
After trying out some synthesizer touches for their last album Low Tides , Long Beach, California's This Wild Life is back to keeping it acoustically real on Petaluma , an album as sunny as the sunflower depicted on the cover art. Producer Ryan Hadlock utilizes the same polish he brought to the Lumineers (which is most evident on the sing-along single "Headfirst"), and the band brings their strongest collection of songs to date, making for a satisfying listening if you're cleaning the house or driving with the top down. More
Genre: Rock

Everyday Life, Everyday People (CD)

Slightly Stoopid
Ocean Beach natives Slightly Stupid bring the sunny California vibes to their latest release, Everyday Life, Everyday People , and this time they've roped in a number of big guests to join them. From Chali 2na on the groove heavy "Higher Now," to Yellowman taking the helm on "Livin' In Babylon" and UB40's Ali Campbell on a frisky cover of reggae staple "Legalize It," the ride is a full of chill fun from start to finish. More
Genre: Rock, Reggae

ye (CD)

Kanye West
Kanye West's follow up to 2016's The Life of Pablo  is, as the cover art would imply, a deeply personal affair. Over its brisk seven songs West compiles another signature collection of well-curated beats to underline his latest self-analytical musings and observations, with guest appearances including Ty Dolla $ign and Nicki Minaj on "Violent Crimes," and Kid Cudi and 070 Shake on album highlight "Ghost Town." More
Genre: Hip Hop

Redemption (CD)

Jay Rock
After suffering a near fatal motorcycle accident in 2016, hip hop artist Jay Rock is back with a new lease on life that is in full display on his third release Redemption . With help from fellow Top Dawg Entertainment breakouts Kendrick Lamar and SZA as well as guests Future, J Cole, and Jeremih, Rock raps about overcoming his latest struggles and becoming stronger in the process in a way that continues to inspire both those from the Watts projects he comes from as well as his growing fan base. More
Genre: Hip Hop

The Blueprint (CD)

Blu, Shafiq Husayn
After a brief appearance online, The Blueprint , the latest mixtape from L.A.-based rapper Johnson Barnes III, better known as Blu, is given an official release. For this particular outing Blu has chosen to collaborate with hip hop producer Shafiq Husayn, one third of the production team Sa-Ra Creative Partners, who has previously worked with artists such as Erykah Badu, Thundercat, Ty Dolla $ign, and Kanye West. Decked out in gang culture down to the cover art, the final product serves Blu's smooth delivery well as he delivers an aural love letter to the city they both he and Husayn call home. More
Genre: Hip Hop

Both Directions At Once: The Lost Album (CD)

John Coltrane
As more and more miles of dusty tapes are exhumed from the vaults of long-deceased musical icons, claims of “lost albums” abound. Likewise, so do questions as to whether that material necessary denotes that merit. Both Directions At Once is an unearthed recording session from the ’63 John Coltrane Quartet. That’s the classic quartet for ya: McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison, and Elvin Jones. Love Supreme and Crescent -era Coltrane. The telepathic frequency those four operated on in their brief 3-year existence is unparalleled, and their transcendent playing advanced the tonal and melodic possibilities of jazz. Both Directions features, among others, a couple of untitled originals, and extended 12-bar blues-based vamp, and an early reworking of “Nature Boy.” As a lost album, one would place it as a natural bridge between 1962’s Coltrane and the aforementioned Crescent . Was the session that birthed Both Directions ultimately meant as its own complete artistic statement, or a coincidental treasure trove of extra material from the group that would go on to record jazz’s apex? The question is irrelevant; the proof is in the playing. These songs are statement enough. More
Genre: Jazz

Proper Dose (CD)

The Story So Far
The pop-punk bliss of The Story So Far starts to approach lysergic levels on their newest album; perhaps that title is more than just a winking nod towards such. How else to explain songs like “Upside Down,” which sounds like the group leaving behind their coveted New Found Glory and Blink-182 records for the saucer eyed spaciness of Tame Impala? Even on relatively more straightforward tracks such as “Out Of It,” the production on Proper Dose features plenty of airy reverb and echo, softening these songs around the edges and giving them a hypnotic, kaleidoscopic quality. Sometimes psychedelia finds you in the most unexpected places. More
Genre: Rock

Thank God It's Friday [40th Anniversary Edition] (BLU)

Set in one night at the hottest disco in town during an epic dance contest, this fun flick captures the great music, dancing, and fashions of the disco era. The soundtrack includes Donna Summer’s “Last Dance” and the Commodores’ “Too Hot to Trot.” Plus, early performances from Jeff Goldblum and Debra Winger! More

Documentary Now: Seasons 1 & 2 (BLU)

Fred Armisen, Bill Hader, and Seth Meyers are the masterminds behind this IFC original series that smartly parodies famous documentaries of our times. Hosted by Dame Helen Mirren, each episode is shot in a different documentary film style.More