There is so much in this list that I want to write about. The second single has been released from Angelique Kidjo’s reimagining of the Talking Heads classic album, Remain in Light, and you couldn’t ask for a better artist to present this album in a new way. I’m also including Childish Gambino’s single that took the world by storm two weeks ago. I actually didn’t see the video until the last edition was ready to go. There are fantastic new albums out from Wussy, Middle Kids, Bombino, Black Stax, and Ry Cooder, and there are some exciting singles from Neko Case and Balmorhea.
I usually listen to the radio throughout my workday, and glean all kinds of new discoveries from KEXP Seattle. Sometimes, I need to change things up, and recently I’ve finally checked out a podcast that I’ve been meaning to try for awhile. Romesh Ranganathan has a podcast called Hip Hop Saved My Life, and it has given me a few discoveries so far as I’ve caught up on some of the catalog of 50-some episodes. The best so far, though, has been Ocean Wisdom. Now, I’ve only been into Hip Hop for the past 4-5 yrs, so I’m no expert. That said, Ocean Wisdom can absolutely spit fire. His new double-LP, Wizville, was released back in February, and features guest appearances from Method Man, Rodney P, Dizzee Rascal, and Jehst.
I wrote a bit about Ry Cooder recently, and last week his new album, Prodigal Son, was released. Ry is an artist that never quits learning, trying new things, and putting out the absolute best music that he can. On this new record, we are treated to a master of blues, folk and gospel giving us masterful blues, folk, and gospel. Ry may have delved deep into soundtrack composition and won grammys for his ambitious world music projects, but there is nothing quite like hearing a blues master just play his guitar. That’s what this record is, and it is beautiful. Standout tracks here are “Straight Street”, “Harbor of Love” and the title track. He’s played with such legends as Taj Mahal, The Rolling Stones, John Lee Hooker, Van Morrison, Ali Farka Toure and V.M. Bhatt, and he takes all the knowledge he’s amassed to this point and puts it into this record. Here’s more from Ry on The Prodigal Son.
Also, this week… Bombino released his new record, Deran, and in my eyes this is your reigning guitar-hook king. On the local side of things, Black Stax released a fantastic album of Hip-hop and R&B that just smashes it out of the park, and Jeff Ament (Pearl Jam) has a great new rocker of a record called Heaven/Hell. And finally, I’ve got to mention Middle Kids because the chorus on that tune, “Mistake” is so perfect. Enjoy!
Childish Gambino – This is America
Angelique Kidjo – Once in a Lifetime
Aterciopelados, Ana Tijoux – Play
Black Stax – Loyalty is Royalty
Ocean Wisdom – Eye Contact
Nocando – True Autumn
Jeff Ament – The Door
Balmorhea – Shone
Ry Cooder – Harbor of Love
Sera Cahoone – Worry All Your Life
Traveller – Hummingbird
Half Man, Half Biscuit – Man of Constant Sorrow (With a Garage in Constant Use)
Courtney Barnett – Help Your Self
Goat Girl – Throw Me a Bone
Wussy – One Per Customer
Neko Case – Curse of the I-5 Corridor
Middle Kids – Mistake
James – Better Than That
Black Stax – Fiyahstorm
Ry Cooder – Nobody’s Fault But Mine
Bombino – Tenesse
Sidi Toure – Djirbi Mardjie
Nickodemus – Inmortales (Body Move)
Ocean Wisdom – Ting Dun (feat. Method Man)