The ska-influenced Chicago rock of Wild Belle was truly something to adore when their debut, Isles, arrived in 2013. The combination of smooth vocals and psychedelic slow jams from the brother and sister group was delicious. On Dreamland, the duo has gone even more experimental, producing a fierce follow-up that channels the musical grandeur of Firefly composer Greg Edmonson and singer Paloma Faith in one place.
David Bowie was an artist to the very end. Since the musician passed away just days after its release, so much has been said and written about Blackstar, the final parting gift from the pioneering figure, that it seems improbable to say anything that hasn’t already been said. I have labelled this a “review”, but really this is an encouragement for you to listen to Blackstar if you haven’t already.
If you’re going to hitchhike across the United States, you’d do well to bring some John Mayer with you. (And not only because his instrumental contribution to Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange is still one of the greatest one-minute instrumental interludes of recent memory.) The music of this Connecticut guitarist and rock singer conjures up idyllic visions of America’s wild lands.
It is said that the tough times are the true measure of a person’s character. By that definition, Solange is empress, artist and saviour all in one. Eight years after this maverick R&B singer’s second album, and four years since her cathartic portrait of a break-up (True EP), she has gifted us with a bold, vibrant album about freedom and the worth of her people.
Surprise digital album releases have simply become the “new standard” for a section of big-name artists. Still, Solange’s reveal of her first full-length album since 2008, A Seat at the Table, was enough to send the R&B faithful into a spin last week.
This month sees the return of brother-sister group, Wild Belle, with the follow-up to their sublime debut album, Isles.
Long-time fans of musician and producer, Danger Mouse, will know that his musical palette is as wide as his hair is big. 30th Century Records is a brand-new imprint label set up by the Mouse to look for “things that I like or that I connect with in some way that maybe other people are not”. This inaugural release features 11 unknown, or barely known, artists, and is a stimulating appetiser to what 30th Century may bring us in the months and years to come.