Feb 2022

Black Radio III (CD)

Robert Glasper delivers another career-high album with Black Radio III. The talented pianist conjures up multi-faceted moods, with a sense of yearning and hope emerging from his assured, elegant keys. Glasper's brought some heavy hitters to the proceedings, too, with Killer Mike, Big K.R.I.T., and BJ the Chicago Kid appearing on the brilliant "Black Superhero." H.E.R. and Meshell Ndegeocello appear on the addictive, achingly beautiful "Better Than I Imagined." Elsewhere on the album, Q-Tip, Common, Ty Dolla Sign, Esperanza Spalding, Jennifer Hudson, Yebba, and Ant Clemons make excellent contributions. Black Radio III is straight up fantastic and will probably land on many year end "best of" lists.

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Laurel Hell (CD)

If you’ve slept on the Mitski train so far, Laurel Hell should wake you up. It’s a showstopper for Mitski, filled with yearning, beauty, and addictively catchy melodies. The tracks are richly infused with emotion, whether it’s a heart jerker of a ballad (Mitski-style, of course) or an ‘80s influenced indie dance track. She seamlessly moves from one genre to the next, creating an album that’s meant to be listened to as an experience rather than just a collection of excellent standalone tracks, although each of these is good enough to serve as a single. Turn this one up loud, get immersed in the music, and let it all out.

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LP3 (CD)

Hippo Campus has the rare ability to craft songs about life’s most challenging aspects and weave them into easy-to-love, pure-and-simple enjoyable melodies. Their latest, LP3, is filled with lushly-constructed indie pop gems that should boost any mood. Now, you’d be forgiven for not immediately realizing that the band is diving into some real deep waters here, taking on themes of despair, loss, and rediscovery. The vibe is absolutely gorgeous: occasionally breezy, grooved out, and dreamy. But there’s real meaning here and perhaps that’s what makes LP3 such the incredible album it is. Transcendent, moving, and best of all, totally danceable.

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