Soul

Take Me Apart (CD)

On Take Me Apart, Kelela proves once again that she’s at the forefront of new, dark, and dreamy R&B. The album is lush, heady, and captivating. In short, it’s got that unique Kelela stamp. Although it’s her show, the songstress has also assembled a dream team for this one; some of the songs are co-written by The xx’s Romy Madley Croft and production duties are split between Arca, Kingdom, Jam City, Bok Bok, and Ariel Rechtshaid. Filled with deep grooves and an alluring atmosphere, Take Me Apart will be in heavy rotation.

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Purple Rain [Deluxe Edition] (CD)

The audio for the 2017 reissue of Purple Rain was taken from the 2015 Paisley Park remaster of the original soundtrack tapes (overseen by Prince himself) and the album sounds better than ever — more vibrant, more alive, more straight up sexy. In addition to the classic album, the Deluxe version features eleven unreleased tracks from 1983-1984. The great thing about this reissue is it’s not just for collectors and diehard fans; those unreleased tracks are peak Prince, which means they’re worth the price of the album alone. When you can take one of the greatest albums of all time and add that little extra somethin’-somethin’ that makes it just that tiny bit even better, you know you’ve got your hands on a quality reissue.

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Yes Lawd! (CD)

On Yes Lawd!, Anderson .Paak and Knxwledge’s debut LP as NxWorries, the duo have crafted a sublime modern soul/funk record. With soaring strings, gritty vocals, and ultra cool cinematic flourishes that sound like the soundtrack to a forgotten Blaxploitation flick, the album manages to sound both super contemporary and like a bona fide classic. Despite its October release date, this is a definite summer record, essential for backyard BBQs, driving with the windows down, and sitting around the pool. .Paak himself has called the collaboration “my best work” and it’s definitely something special; let’s hope these two continue to make beautiful music together.

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Jardin (CD)

Many music fans know the name Gabriel Garzón-Montano because Drake sampled his early track “6 8” on “The Jungle,” but the Brooklyn-born French Colombian singer proves his own power on Jardin. Put out by Stones Throw, the album is lush and vibrant, with a bit of ‘70s haze and urban funk to round things out. It’s no wonder that labelmate Mayer Hawthorne is a fan; both artists traffic in the vivid musical traditions of the past while still managing to sound fresh and intriguing. The music on this debut effort is multi-layered and exquisite; put your headphones on, turn it up, and let yourself be transported.

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TLC (CD)

The ‘90s might not seem so far away, but the ladies of TLC are definitely R&B icons in their own right. That’s why the tracks on their latest LP are so interesting; with only one guest appearance (from the mighty Snoop) and melodies that draw heavily from classic funk and soul, the focus here is squarely on the women, their legacy, and how they defined R&B. (There’s even a well-placed Earth, Wind & Fire sample on standout track “It’s Sunny,” just in case you need a reminder of how their work fits in with some of the biggest names in urban music.) Other memorable tracks include “Way Back;” nostalgic, infectious, and just straight up fun, it’s the perfect summer song while “Haters” is cool, confident, and laidback. Their new album is T-Boz and Chilli’s final release as a group, but TLC will leave you wanting more.

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