A Tribe Called Quest – We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service review

A Tribe Called Quest are one of the pillars of 1990s hip hop, with hits such as ‘Electric Relaxation’, ‘Award Tour’ and, perhaps their biggest crossover, ‘Can I Kick It?’. Work on this album, Quest’s first album in 18 years, and their final, had been underway when member Phife Dawg passed away on March 22, 2016.

This loss shook the world of music, and, understandably, the remaining Quest members – Q-Tip, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Jarobi White – are still coming to terms with it. However, in Q-Tip’s words, armed with Dawg’s “blueprint of what we had to do”, the Quest members reformed, tapped up old friends, such as Busta Rhymes, as well as the likes of Talib Kweli, André 3000, Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar and Anderson Paak, and have delivered a sublime hip hop buffet. Continue reading

Laura Mvula – The Dreaming Room review

Laura Mvula’s powerful and nuanced Sing to the Moon was a remarkable album made even more remarkable by the fact that it was her debut. Her second album doesn’t manage the all-out excellence of her first time, but it still a superb album in its own right that shouldn’t be missed. Continue reading

David Bowie – Blackstar review

David Bowie, 2013, by Jimmy King (1400x786)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. Continue reading

Jam of the Week: John Mayer – Love on the Weekend

John Mayer - Love on the Weekend single (600x338)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. Continue reading

Solange – A Seat at the Table review

Solange - Cranes video still, 01 (1280x720)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. Continue reading

Jam of the Week: Solange – Don’t Touch My Hair (ft. Sampha)

Solange - Don't Touch My Hair music video still, 01 (980x490)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. Continue reading

Beyoncé – Lemonade review

Beyonce - Lemonade promo 01 (940x469)Away from the visual accompaniments and release hype, Beyoncé Knowles’s sixth album, Lemonade, represents a tipping pointing for the megastar: this isn’t pop music for clubbers and beach dwellers; its pop music coloured with the politics of the day for socially conscientious clubbers and beach dwellers. This is about protest and power, and Beyoncé wants you to know it’s personal. Continue reading

Izzy Bizu – A Moment of Madness review

Izzy Bizu, press photo 2015 (2880x1620)Izzy Bizu’s debut album is a party. A party with plenty of liquid punch, your favourite selection of synthetic snacks and few real surprises. It’s like a made-for-radio tour through pop albums of the last two decades: a dollop of Jess Glynne, a pinch of Little Mix, a squeeze of Jamelia and just a hint of Little Jackie. But, what it lacks in originality it makes up for in sheer sun-glazed pick-‘n’-mix pop. Continue reading