Monthly Archives: September 2020

Sharada Shashidhar – Rahu [Leaving Records]

Vocalist Sharada Shashidhar brings this vague and spacey collection of songs courtesy of Leaving Records. Simple harmonic structures give way to advanced arrangements.

Jamael Dean – Oblivion [Stones Throw]

Deep, spacey music put out on cassette from the ever expansive Stones Throw records. Lush ensemble work is really something else.

Joel Ross – Gato’s Gift [Blue Note]

Another single to come from Joel Ross’ forthcoming sophomore release, this written by Gabrielle Garo. It is a beautiful introspective piece that highlights cyclic chord motion and the pretty harp strums of Brandee Younger. Who Are You?, comes out in late October.

Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra (PAPA) – Little Africa [The Village]

Jamael Dean’s piano and Sharada Shashidar’s vocals open this beautiful burner that introduces the Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra’s new label, The Village, to audiences for the first time. PAPA has been a breeding ground for the West Coast’s most daring and creative Black American Musicians. Infectious melodies and incredible collective improvisation.

Joel Ross – More? [Blue Note Records]

The first single off of Ross’ sophomore effort Who Are You seems like a natural continuation of King Maker with Immanuel Wilkins’ pungent sax and Ross’ shimmering vibes leading a tense charge through a churning eddy. Harmonically things are more mysterious and darker than they were on King Maker. Who Are You comes out in […]

Blu & Exile – Miles [Dirty Science Records]

Really beautiful, almost carnival-like beats are juxtaposed against serious and dense lyrics. A vivid imagery that’s come to saturate a truly poetic genre seems to be reinvented here with, of course, themes of colors.

Trivium – What the Dead Men Say [Roadrunner]

Highly melodic, dark and syncopated. Definitely within the Zeitgesit of metal today that one should check out just for the rhythms.

Georgia Anne Muldrow – Mama, You Can Bet! [eOne Music]

Music filled with loping grooves, drastic mood shifts, hip samples, and dissonant choirs. Muldrow has been called the modern day Nina Simone and, certainly in the field of artistic weight, this is an apt comparison.


Ripping guitar and chanting vocals abound in this new album from Secret Machines. The band has been described as ethereal space-rock, a descriptor I find to be fitting. Listeners will hear the influence of such groups as Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin mixed with the synth of 80s pop. Play! FCC: 5 TRY: 2, 3, […]


From the same producer as Taylor Swift’s Folklore comes Hannah Georgas’ newest record of dream pop. Sleepy vocals create layered harmonies over driving beats and melancholy piano. Georgas’ lyrics are emotional and deeply personal, made all the more powerful by her whispered vocals. Play! FCC: 8, 9 TRY: 1, 3, 4 RIYL: Aidan Knight, Jenn […]


It’s the end of summer and you are enjoying each golden hour while you can. Atta Boy is on in the background with their latest album, bringing folksy and indie vibes to the day. Real lyrics, sweet instrumentation, play! FCC: Clean TRY: 1, 7 RIYL: Rainbow Kitten Surprise, Morningsiders, The Happy Fits


Get on the dance floor! Jabbawoki’s latest will have you jamming to funky guitar riffs and punctuated drums. Play! But watch out for FCC tracks… FCC: 3, 4, 5, 7 TRY: 2, RIYL: Frankie, Bedroom High Club, Sounds Like A Storm


Jump right into the soundtrack for an early 70s spy movie that will have you busting out both your salsa steps and your soul train moves. Mestizo Beat brings funk and groove with Nigerian, Ethiopian, and Cuban influence. Play, play, play! FCC: 3 TRY: 1, 4, 7 RIYL: Diggin’ Dirt, Black Market Brass, Jungle Fire


The latest album from March to May is full of whimsy, orchestral and exciting. This dynamic musical journey has been described as folk mixed with indie rock and chamber pop. Swelling vocals cascade over harp, acoustic guitar, piano, violin, cello, electric bass, and intricate drum patterns. Play! FCC: Clean TRY: 4, 7, 12 RIYL: David […]

John Fedchock NY Sextet – Into The Shadows [Summit Records]

From promoter: It’s the trombonist’s tenth album as leader, this time with an all-star group featuring trumpeter Scott Wendholt, tenor saxophonist Walt Weiskopf, pianist Allen Farnham, bassist David Finck, and drummer Eric Halvorson.

Matt Wilson – Hug [Palmetto]

From promoter: “Featuring Wilson’s long-running quartet with saxophonist Jeff Lederer, cornetist Kirk Knuffke and bassist Chris Lightcap, Hug documents one of jazz’s most potent and expressive working bands exploring a typically far-flung Wilsonian program.”

May Erlewine – Anyway [Sapsucker]

A mellow, groovy album co-led by Woody Goss of Vulfpeck fame. Everything about this album is silky smooth though and cohesive. Recommended track is ‘Palm of My Hand’.

Sessa (Boiled) Grandeza

Enchanting Brazilian vocals and sweet instrumentals make this a dreamy escape. It definitely has a classic feel, but there are some really creative musical compositions, mostly minimal but at times multi-layered. Soft guitars, horns, hand drums, and backing vocals make this a dynamic release! Try: 1,4,7,10,11  RIYL: Palm Wine Music, The Gilberto family, Portuguese,  FCC: None

Kalumet (Hawaii Bonsai) Transatlantic Locomotive

Described as “Cumbia Dub Acid Tropical Bass Danse” and it’s REALLY good! This release has more of a trance feel but still has the traditional Andean instruments in each song (pan flute, accordion, hand drums, clarinet) It definitely has a darker fatter nubbier feel than other Tropical bass – so good! Try: 1,2,4,5,7  RIYL: Tropical Bass, […]

Amambay 100.000 (Hawaii Bonsai) Volá

More amazing Amazonica from this great label. Gritty female vocals sing passionately over an awesome blend of traditional instruments and modern bass. This release sounds more classic and has less production than others; more of a roots sound for sure. Incredible bass, hand drums, accordion, and pan flute keep this sounding organic and minimal. Try: 1,3,5,6,9,10  […]

Vusi Mahlasela (ATO) Shebeen Queen

“South African Folk Master” gives us a beautiful live album. His skill on the guitar combined with the character in his voice make this a real treat. He sings of his birthplace and the things that make South Africa great in this deeply personal album from a master. Try: 2,3,5,6,9,11  RIYL: African Musical Legends, Hugh Masekela, […]

Toots & The Maytals (BMG) Got To Be Tough

Reggae OG family at 77 Years old and still making great music! Zak Starkey, Ringo Star, and Ziggy Marley have their fingerprints on this album as well. Solid reggae and the man is in good voice! Really nice variety of tunes on this album, with political themes in the lyrics Try: 1,3,5,8,  RIYL: Bob Marley, Peter […]

Mielycumbia (Hawaii Bonsai) G.B.A. III

Slammin’ Tropical Bass! Great traditional Cumbia and Amazonica with phat beats. Accordion, Clarinet, Congas/hand drums, Pan flutes and more folk instruments combined with modern bass and production make the a HOT release. Limited vocals, every song is a dance party! Try: ALL  RIYL: Tropical Bass, Hawaii Bonsai, Cumbia Moderno FCC: None *TBs Faves

Mestizo Beat (GottaGroove) Canoga Madness

This is everything great about jazz-funk! It sounds like an album straight outta the 60s/70s with that porn funk sound – so good! Every song is an instrumental funk odyssey played by masters. Try: 1,2,4,6,8,9,10  RIYL: Porn Funk, Brownout, Shaft FCC: None *TBs Faves

Maldito Final Feliz (Hawaii Bonsai) La Ciudad de Color

High energy latin dance music! Cumbia, Reggaeton, Hip Hop, EDM, Salsa, Tropical Bass all represented here. Another great release from an amazing label! Try: 1,3  RIYL: Latin Electronica, Reggaeton, Tropical Bass, Hawaii Bonsai FCC: None *TBs Faves