Aboogi (CD)

Imarhan’s new album, Aboogi, is a showstopper. This group of Tuareg musicians continues in the tradition of great desert blues bands like Tinariwen, even featuring members Mohamed At Itlale (aka Japonais) and Abdallah Ag Alhousseyni on the album. The voice of Sudanese singer Sulafa Elyas brings moments of otherworldly beauty to the grooved out tracks. And then there’s Gruff Rhys of the Super Furry Animals behind the recording desk. One of the most intriguing albums of the year with one of the most talented groups of musicians working today.

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Far In (CD)

Helado Negro’s Far In is a dreamy, blissed out experience. It’s all good vibes on the artist’s first release for 4AD, a fitting home for his chilled out, atmospheric work. The sound is classic Helado Negro, with perhaps a bit more optimism and brightness filtering in through the usual gauzy textures. Immersive, magical, and evocative, Far In is essential listening.

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Legacy+ (CD)

Afrobeat star Femi Kuti, son of the legendary Fela Kuti and a member of Egypt 80, has released his new album Stop The Hate packaged with the debut album from his son Made Kuti, For(e)ward. As a double album entitled Legacy+, the release is a celebration of flawless, classic Afrobeat and a newer variant that's infused with multiple genres -- both offering powerful messages about equality and the fight against corruption. Multi-instrumentalist Made Kuti performs all the music on his impressive debut in addition to accompanying his father. Made's "Free Your Mind" is an intricate and infectious jam, and "Your Enemy" is soulful and haunting while still maintaining a groove. Of course, Femi Kuti doesn't miss a beat with energetic tracks like "Pà Pá Pà" and the funky, stirring "As We Struggle Everyday."

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