As the Dalai Lama said, ‘There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow, so today is the right day to love, believe, do and mostly live.’ Whatever you choose, there’s never a better time than today, so keep moving forward. Here’s some albums that may inspire you to keep heading in that direction this month.
Blood Orange – Freetown Sound Atlantic – Contemporary R&B Singer/Songwriter Dev Hynes, under his Blood Orange moniker, is the contemporary equivalent of Prince mixed with Marvin Gaye. He elicits butter-smooth R&B for the thinking person. Unmatched and unbridled with his effort to turn a song into an avant-pop mixtape with statements of poetry and prose. On his third release, he captures a composition of political statement and commitment to letting female collaborators shine. From Debbie Harry to Nelly Furtado to Lorely Rodriquex, each elicit straightforward, multi-layered songs with meaning.
Jeff Beck – Loud Haller Atlantic – Contemporary Pop/Rock For a generation, Jeff Beck was the Yardbirds, and the backbone to a solo career that pushed the notes of album and hard-blues rock. These old fashioned values of arena-ready sound serve as the placard for Beck’s values and social consciousness. While not everyone necessarily supports the evolution of modern music, Beck harks to a time and call that pokes at reality television, loss of innocence and other challenges of our modern times. There is an invigorating sense that he still has a lot in the tank, even if he doesn’t want to drive all the way into the ills of the present.
Cash Cash – Blood, Sweat & 3 Years Atlantic – Pop / Dance / EDM Hits of electronic music production come as often as the Hollywood blockbusters these days. Anticipation for the next big thing and surefire successes are the norm. Blood, Sweat & 3 Years marks the celebration of many facets of dance and the EDM era. The New Jersey trio have recruited an impressive list of guests – including Nelly, Busta Rhymes, Goo Goo Dolls’ John Rzeznik, B.o.B., Christina Perri and Digital Farm Animals. From tracks such as ‘Surrender’ and ‘Escarole’, the group recall the finer moments of Swedish House Mafia and the Chemical Brothers on their third LP.
Michael Kiwanuka – Love & Hate Interscope – Contemporary Singer/Songwriter On his follow-up to 2012’s ‘Home Again’, Michael Kiwanuka pushes beyond his retro-soul nomenclature into an artistic progression heavier on his guitar showmanship and darker in tone. The result is a graceful statement that is worth the time to experience. The influence here is less breezy of its predecessor, and into elements of progressive-rock and drawn out songs built on structure rather than a standard checklist. A standout includes the timely single and social commentary piece of ‘Black man in a White World’, that feels lonesome and humble in message despite its upbeat tempo.
The Avalanches - Wildflower Astralwerks – Funky Breaks / Dance Crate-digging for records was once the heavy lifting and genius of the DJ’s mastermind. How parts and elements could be constructred and deconstructed with a fresh twist, served as the inspiration for true talent. After a 15-year hiatus, the Avalanches have returned with their long awaited follow up record that is filled with their trademark sound with elements of risk-taking. At first listen it falls short in some expectations, but their sample-based electronica endures where their choice of collaborators misses the mark. The result is a noteworthy album that hopefully reignites their spark to better things to come in timely succession.