Another week, another load of great music. With the final album of A Tribe Called Quest being released last week, it seemed only natural to let them kick things off. Enjoy.
1. ‘SPACE PROGRAM’ – A Tribe Called Quest
‘We got it from here…Thank You 4 Your service’ is the sixth, and reportedly final studio album from hip-hop pioneers A Tribe Called Quest. Recorded in the secrecy, the album was started as Phife Dawg and Q-Tip started to repair their relationship. Phife passed away in March, so the album half serves as a send-off to one of the founding fathers of modern hip-hop, and is as strong as any of the group’s earlier output.
2. ‘ME AND YOUR MAMA’ – Childish Gambino
Donald Glover is an artist who is involved in a number of different creative areas, and his 2013 release Because the Internet proved that he was a talented musician, as well as an actor and comedian. His latest single, ‘Me and Your Mama,’ shows creative growth in that it appears to have moved away slightly from much of what was found on Because the Internet. The track starts off softly, but builds into a huge, funk and gospel-fuelled crescendo sprinkled with classic hip-hop flavours. It’s given me high hopes for future releases.
3. ‘DO IT AGAIN’ – Lady Wray
Released on Wray’s album Queen Alone back in September, ‘Do it Again’ is soulful, R&B heavy track that shows off Wray’s gorgeous voice. Wray’s been in the industry since the late 90’s, and her latest release shows how she’s developed artistically, and how nearly two decades in the business helps you perfect your craft.
4. ‘I WILL FOLLOW YOU’ – Toulouse
New York-based musician Toulouse shows off his skill for crafting beautifully intricate and gorgeously delicate music on ‘I Will Follow You.’ A cover of Peggy March’s 1961 ‘I Will Follow Him,’ Toulouse here sings softly, offering up a voice I could listen to forever. It just seems to glide over the backing piano, dipping in and out of a near-faultless falsetto with ease.
5. ‘KERALA’ – Bonobo
Dropped a couple of weeks ago, ‘Kerala’ is the lead single off of Bonobo’s upcoming album, Migration, slated for release in the New Year. It’s a well-produced, infectious track that implies cultures from all around the globe have been a massive influence on the album. As a migrant to the US himself, the LP is likely to combine sounds that Bonobo has heard throughout his life and career. Great stuff.
6. ‘DEAD ALIVE’ – The Shins
Have you ever had “a Shins moment”? If you don’t know what I mean, go watch this clip real quick. I’ve had several, and they’re always mind-blowing, but also a little terrifying. The Shins released this track a couple of weeks ago, and it’s been on the radio loads ever since. I don’t mind that though, because it’s absolutely incredible. Jaunty, a little psychedelic, and a load of fun, it promises that their upcoming album is going to be brilliant.
7. ‘WHISTLE KING’ – The Georgia Flood
Does what it says on the tin hey? I’m so funny. ‘Whistle King’ starts out with, well, whistling. Hence that awful attempt at humour back there. Eventually though, the track evolves into a foot-thumping, riff-laden track that will become stuck in your head for days. The duo, raised in Georgia but now based in Atlanta, have created an incredible track here, and I’m looking forward to hearing the rest of the album when it’s released this Friday. Definitely keep an eye out.
8. ‘LYING HAS TO STOP’ – Soft Hair
If that picture doesn’t tell you much of what you need to know about these two, I don’t know what will. Soft Hair, a musical project started by LA Priest and Connan Mockasin, released their first album a few weeks back. It reportedly took five years to make, as the two had to fit in recording around their solo careers. However, it’s good they didn’t rush it, as it’s a psychedelic slow burner, full of interesting sounds and off-kilter production qualities. I bloody love it.
9. ‘GOSSAMER THIN’ – Conor Oberst
Ruminations was released a while ago by Bright Eyes front-man Conor Oberst, but I heard Gossamer Thin on the radio last week and have been playing it constantly ever since. It’s heavy on folk and blues influences, and contains typically upsetting lyrics from Mr Oberst. It’s a beautifully crafted and beautifully performed track and definitely deserves a spin.
10. ‘O.P.P’ – Naughty by Nature
I Thought it would be fitting to have some hip-hop heavy-hitters to close out this week’s playlist as I’d also opened with them. So, here’s ‘O.P.P’, probably Naughty by Nature’s most well-known track. Sampling the Jackson 5’s ‘ABC,’ the track was the breakthrough hit for New Jersey-based outfit. It’s a good representation of how early hip-hop groups worked so well together, and helped put East Coast hip-hop firmly on the map.