Jam of the Week: Gavin Turek – Good Look for You

California singer Gavin Turek may as well have stepped out of 1970s. She’s making new dance music with an obvious admiration for old-school disco and the electro of 70s and 80s.

As well as singing and songwriting, Turek has contributed to music by TokiMonsta and soul man Mayer Hawthorne’s group, Tuxedo. She’s also release tributes to Donna Summer and electronic music pioneer Giorgio Moroder. Continue reading

Jam of the Week: London Grammar – Rooting for You

Kicking off 2017 in operatic style is the return of London Grammar.

Guitarist Dan Rothman, multi-instrumentalist Dominic ‘Dot’ Major and vocalist Hannah Reid rocked the hearts of all who heard their melancholy music when they debuted four years ago. The trio’s album, If You Wait, contained deep pools of emotion capable of bringing tears to the eyes. Continue reading

Mahalia – Diary of Me review

For a girl who hasn’t yet entered her twenties, Jamaican-Irish singer Mahalia Burkmar has achieved an awful lot already. She’s performed with Emeli Sandé, opened shows for Ed Sheeran and Tom Odeel, and appeared on the big screen in Noel Clarke’s Brotherhood.

Raised in Leicester, and now living in Birmingham, the 18-year-old’s first full-length mixtape, Diary of Me, is a mellow amalgamation of acoustic guitar melodies and chilled pop, which form the beds for her autobiography songs. Continue reading

Jam of the Week: The Hempolics – Me Love to Sing

Closing out the bitter slog that was 2016 are a band who are bringing the sunshine grooves of the Caribbean to the urban metropolis. The Hempolics are a little-known ska band from London, who have steadily been crafting their sound for over a decade now. They have received attention from radio, not to mention the fellow musicians, such as La Roux, Eliza Doolittle and Paolo Nutini. Continue reading

Jam of the Week: Marika Hackman – Driving Under Stars

British folk singer Marika Hackman released her haunting debut album, We Slept at Last in 2015. That album was all original material, none of which appeared on her trio of EPs which preceded it.

Continuing her zeal for new music, Hackman has come up with spins on some Christmas favourites and a couple original songs for her first ever holiday EP. Continue reading

Best albums of 2016: top 10

Here we go. The top 10. Every one of these albums is a veritable buffet of sounds and sensations. There’s love, there’s soul, there’s rhythms and words to help you reach higher.

A special mention must go to Xylaroo for their debut album, Sweetooth, which appears to be the best 2016 album practically no one has heard.

What have your albums of the year been? Tweet me with your thoughts via @aarnlee.

10. Xylaroo – Sweetooth
9. Skepta – Konnichiwa
8. Nao – For All We Know
7. Frank Ocean – Blonde
6. Shura – Nothing’s Real
5. Billie Marten – Writing of Blues and Yellows
4. Alicia Keys – Here
3. Solange – A Seat at the Table
2. Michael Kiwanuka – Love & Hate
1. Anderson Paak – Malibu
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Jam of the Week: Bonobo – Break Apart (ft. Rhye)

The return of electronic downtempo supremo Simon Green, better known as Bonobo, is imminent. His previous albums Black Sands and The North Borders are two of the finest collections of travel music you can find. Continue reading

Best albums of 2016: 20 to 11

In my penultimate 2016 albums post we have David Bowie’s final album, crisp hip hop from Kano and Common, Bat for Lashes’s latest art piece, Kate Tempest’s thunderous spoken word epic, plus we two of best hidden gems in the form of Tall Black Guy’s second LP and the debut album from London jazz-hip hop collective, Fur.

20. David Bowie – Blackstar
19. Corinne Bailey Rae – The Heart Speaks in Whispers
18. Common – Black America Again
17. Fur – Soon at the Latest
16. Tall Black Guy – Let’s Take a Trip
15. Bat for Lashes – The Bride
14. Kano – Made in the Manor
13. Kate Tempest – Let Them Eat Chaos
12. White Denim – Stiff
11. BadBadNotGood – IV
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