Heavy Rotation: McFadden & Whitehead, Shalamar, Edith Piaf, Sigma

My week just gone has been filled with the funk and disco of Shalamar and McFadden & Whitehead, and the classical romance of celebrated French chanteuse, Edith Piaf. Continue reading

Jordan Rakei – Cloak review

Jordan Rakei is an Australian singer and producer making soulful, dreamlike R&B. He released his Groove Curse EP in 2014, and contributed to Disclosure’s 2015 album, Caracal, with the track ‘Masterpiece’. His debut album, Cloak, is an innovative and modestly arresting creation that discerning listeners will appreciate. Continue reading

Terrace Martin – Velvet Portraits review

Just when you think you’ve got the measure of Terrace Martin, he surprises you yet again. The Los Angeles born musician and producer has worked with the likes of Snoop Dogg, Talib Kweli and Robert Glasper, not to mention playing a major role in shaping Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly. Martin’s latest album, Velvet Portraits, is a stunning chameleon of a record with enough musical hues to match an Ikea colour chart. Continue reading

Lady Wray – Queen Alone review

Queen Alone is the triumphant return of soultress Nicole Wray. Once the protégé of Missy Elliot, Wray is a singer whose talent has long gone unrecognised. Three years on from her collaboration with UK singer-songwriter Terri Walker, Lady – and 18 years since her last solo project, Make It Hot – Wray has come good yet again. Continue reading

Xylaroo – Sweetooth review

Xylaroo are Holly and Coco Chant: two sisters making marvellously imaginative music which draws from an exotic cocktail of musical influences. The two sisters have lived in half a dozen countries, including Papua New Guinea, Hong Kong and Sri Lanka, before settling – for the moment – in Canning Town, London. Their debut album, Sweetooth, is a journey that’s profoundly broad, wildly original and downright delicious on every level. Continue reading

Various Artists – Hidden Figures: The Album review

Soul meets space travel on the soundtrack for forthcoming film, Hidden Figures. It comes courtesy of Pharrell Williams – who also worked on the film’s score with Hans Zimmer – and features guest spots by Lalah Hathaway, Mary J Blige, Alicia Keys, Janelle Monáe and Kim Burrell. Continue reading

Jam of the Week: Lady Wray – Smiling

Soul goddess Nicole Wray is back. The singer – now known as Lady Wray – was last on the scene as part of Lady, a heaven-sent coupling with UK R&B singer-songwriter Terri Walker. Together these harmonic sisters released a phenomenal self-titled LP of old-school soul on Truth and Soul Records, which included standouts such as ‘Money’ and ‘Sweet Lady’. Continue reading

Alicia Keys – Here review

Alicia Keys 2016 (Mar) press photo (1431x805)Alicia Keys’ sixth album, Here, is an unexpected masterwork. Quite unlike her previous release, Girl on Fire, it is an album infused with rhythm, creativity and purpose not heard since her earliest albums. And it’s also one of this year’s must-hear releases. Continue reading