With so much good music coming through thick and fast, it’s easy for brand-new music to drop online and go overlooked. To help prevent this, we’ve picked five new releases you need to hear — stream music from Wu-Lu, Ezra Collective, Laura Misch, Claude Fontaine and Freya Roy. If you like what you hear, hit the links and support the artists.
Wu-Lu – S.U.F.O.S.
One year on from his superb N.A.I.S., (Not As It Seems) E.P. South London based producer Wu-Lu returns with the follow up ‘S.U.F.O.S.’ (Save Us From Ourselves) and the feel is similar to his previous project with a robust and psychedelic rock/soul/jazz sound underpinned with passionate songwriting and reliable instrumentation. S.U.F.O.S. sees Wu-Lu collaborate with long-term friends, Binisa Bonner, Kwake Bass, Nubya Garcia, Eun, Demae Wodu, and Morgan Simpson (drummer from band Black Midi) who all put their stamp on the engaging and musically rich album. The groove driven ‘Back 2 4’ features rolling drums and killer guitar riffs plus a rugged bassline on top of which Binisa Bonner tones soar above. Recent single ‘Seven’ comes correct with hard-hitting drums, jangly guitar clash and murky lo-fi electronics, while his drawled out vocals, speaks on “caring about someone so much but not being able to help them the way you want to.” Dropping things down a notch with its the loose arrangement, mellow sax lines complete with languorous guitar leads and his hushed vocals the title track is an enchanting musical treat. No categories – just great music.
Ezra Collective – You Can’t Steal My Joy
Debut album from Ezra Collective and this 13-track offering is a brilliant showcase for their supreme talents. The London five-piece featuring Femi Koleoso (drums), TJ Koleoso (bass), James Mollison (tenor saxophone), Joe Armon-Jones (keys) and Dylan Jones (trumpet) continue their journey of fusing Afrobeat, Latin grooves, hip-hop beats with classic jazz melodies. The album also features some close friends including singer Jorja Smith on ‘Reasons in Disguise’, rapper Loyle Carner on ‘What Am I to Do?’ and London-based Afrobeat 8-piece KOKOROKO who collaborate on the epic cover of Fela Kuti’s 1972 classic ‘Shakara’. Essential!
Laura Misch – Lonely City
South-East London saxophonist/singer/producer Laura Misch is an artist we’ve been heralding for quite a while now, and with each release, she continues to impress. Her new LP, Lonely City, sees her expand her sonic palette even further, delving deep into electronics to craft delicate sax-layered soundscapes. A world away from the neo-soul cadence that spanned her 2017 album Playground, these new tunes which lyrically explore the harsh realities of city living are a cosmic cocktail of brooding experimental electronics, with jazz textures. Minimal yet fluid, cold yet warming each song thrives with its own personality. Pay close attention to the alluring opener OoOoOoo, or Night Drive with its delicate synth sounds wrapped in twinkling piano keys. The meandering sax lines on Walk Alone In Your Own Thoughts are also a must listen. All in all a solid album – tune in below.
Claude Fontaine – Claude Fontaine
This ten song set will simultaneously take you back to the golden age of Studio One as well as bossa nova and tropicalia alike. Claude Fontaine is an American girl with a French name who while living in London stumbled across Portobello Road, and the world-renowned record store Honest Jon’s, a long-lived spot for records collected from the furthest edges of the world. Digging through the racks, she came across Studio One, Trojan, rocksteady and also many Brazilian delights. Loving the music she heard she decided to make a record of her own—an album singing her own love songs (with Jane Birkin-style ye-ye elan) that itself is a love song to classic reggae and Brazilian music, and an album honouring that feeling of finding a home away from home. The record features a ridiculous array of talent including guitarist Tony Chin (King Tubby, Lee Perry, Jackie Mittoo, Max Romeo, Sly & Robbie), bassist Ronnie’ Stepper’ McQueen of Steel Pulse, and Ziggy Marley drummer Rock Deadrick, as well as Brazilian drummer Airto Moreira, guitarist Fabiano Do Nascimento, percussionist Gibi Dos Santos and bassist Andre De Santanna. This LP comes highly recommended.
Freya Roy – A.H.L.K.E.
Freya Roy recently returned after a five-year hiatus with ‘Midnight Train an enchanting neo-soul and jazz track that offered a snapshot of her stellar talents. A.H.L.K.E. her debut album maintains the style of smooth neo-soul and silky jazz with tinges of R&B and hip hop. Beautiful haunting melodies, honeyed vocals and dreamy compositions make this album a must listen. Standouts songs include ‘My Ground’, ‘Take Me Out Of Town’, ‘Midnight Train’, ’22 Movements’, and ‘Breathe’. This project is a solid first offering, and I for one am looking forward to watching Freya Roy grow.