Debut LP by frequent featuring vocalist (Solange, Drake, Kanye, Frank Ocean) Sampha is filled with meditative soul ballads sung in his gorgeous falsetto. It’s a beautiful, but fairly downbeat album concerned with processing grief and self-discovery. It’s one of the year’s best albums so far.
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Debut solo album by member of the band the internet who got her start with the Odd Future crew. Syd is a young, gay woman with a punk-rock look, but each of the 12 songs of this album are sexy, sultry, confidently delivered radio ready R&B. It will be fascinating to see if the mad-talented Syd, with an outsider look and persona, can break through to the mainstream.
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JENS LEKMAN- LIFE WILL SEE YOU NOW
“Life Will See You Now” is the fourth full-length offering from the sweet, twee, vulnerable, tender-hearted Swede. It’s a step up from his last two with Jens offering optimistic, light disco beats and female backing vocals with a nods to Balearic club music, which belie the ache at the core of most of his lyrics. Jens wears his heart on his sleeve like this generation’s Jonathan Richman.
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DIRTY PROJECTORS- DIRTY PROJECTORS
Dave Longstreth continues his Dirty Projectors project, with a break-up record about former bandmate Amber Coffman. Longstreth is very musical but esoteric with offbeat rhythms and arrangements prominent throughout the album, and his unmistakably distinct high-pitched vocals make the Dirty Projectors “not for everybody”. My guess is that “Dirty Projectors” will prove to be a grower but early standout tracks include “Up In Hudson”, “Keep Your Name” and “Little Bubble”.
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Third album by hotshot L.A. bassist Thundercat is a free-form, often goofy “day in the life of” album made up of 23 songs, each around two minutes. The vibe is experimental but also a loose and laid back fusion of soul, funk & jazz with each song flowing right into the next. Standout tracks include “Friend Zone”, “Show You The Way” (with Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald!) and last year’s cut “Them Changes”, which is maybe the best of them all.
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