Here’s another two weeks of music, and it’s a good one. This one really has a lot of good collaborative projects. Rhiannon Giddens and Francesco Turrisi have a 2nd album out together, Jay Som and Palehound are behind the project called “Bachelor”, Andrew Bird and Jimbo Mathus, Talib Kweli and Diamond D. I really enjoy seeing artists working together to create something new.
High on the list of “well, that was unexpected” is this new Tom Jones album. To be fair, I haven’t kept up with his music, and how it has developed. I know “It’s Not Unusual” and a few others. So hearing “Talking Reality Television Blues” on the radio, and thinking it was Nick Cave singing over a Radiohead sample seemed more likely than learning it was Tom Jones. That is still the standout song for me on Surrounded By Time, but the whole album has a sneaky, biting, humor somehow blended in with a charming sincerity that really won me over on it. Also, you can’t deny he’s taken good care of his voice over the years. Hard to believe that strong vocal belongs a man approaching 81 this year.
“We stayed tuned in, and here we are.
Reality killed by a reality star.”
A pair of hip hop greats have teamed up for the project known as Gotham. Talib Kweli and Diamond D’s full album is out now, and it is excellent. I’ve heard some say Kweli has a tendancy to be preachy in his rhymes. I see him as someone who takes very seriously the platform he has, and the platform the music industry has in general. This is a man who made his name responding clearly to hip-hop becoming shallow pop. He and Diamond D are top of their game together on this project. They’ve knocked it out of the park on this album, and it’s hard to pick a couple standout tracks. I really enjoyed “The Quiet One” which was one of singles released before the album, and since hearing the full record I’ve really enjoyed “In Due Time” and “Chillin While Black”.
I have been really enoying this new album from Jupiter & Okwess. The Congolese group, led by frontman Jupiter Bakondji, have branched out more on this record. While still firmly rooted in the sound of their home, they include guest artists from the Chile, Brazil, France, and multiple parts of the US. They meld their high-energy afrobeat with artists that compliment them in unexpected ways. I was especially pleased to see one of my favorite Chilean artists, Ana Tijoux, included on the album. Bakondji’s vocals are versatile, and the album really showcases his abilities. With 2018’s Kin Sonic, they stormed in with high-energy. Now with Na Kozonga, they’re not just maintaining their energy… they’re also showing off their ability to deliver songs with a range of moods.
Other favorites in this edition are Dinosaur Jr, Mdou Moctar, Miss Grit, and Fruit Bats.
Rhiannon Giddens, Francesco Turrisi – Calling Me Home
Ayron Jones – Free
Dinosaur Jr – I Ain’t
Mdou Moctar – Afrique Victime
Jupiter & Okwess, Ana Tijoux – You Sold Me a Dream
Topaz Jones, Maxo, Phonte – Who?
Gotham, Talib Kweli, Diamond D, Nire Alldai – In Due Time
Elaquent – The Official
Marlon Craft – Tell Me Today
Miss Grit – Buy the Banter
Flock of Dimes – Walking
U.S.Girls, Buffetlibre – 4 American Dollars (Buffetlibre remix)
Andrew Hung – Promises
Tom Jones – No Hole In My Head
Lord Huron – Long Lost
Rhiannon Giddens, Francesco Turrisi – Bully For You
Andrew Bird, Jimbo Mathus – Encircle My Love
Fruit Bats – Gullwing Doors
Low Island – Don’t Let the Light In
Bachelor, Jay Som, Palehound – Stay in the Car
Magna Carda – Propaganda
Gotham, Talib Kweli, Diamond D – Chillin While Black