With so much good music coming through thick and fast, it’s easy for albums to drop online and go overlooked. To help prevent this, we present our weekly mini-guide to the best albums you need to hear — stream music from De Lorians, SGJAZZ, Jaimie Branch, Ben Lamar Gay, and MALK. If you like what you hear, hit the links and support the artists.
De Lorians – De Lorians
De Lorians is a quintet of twenty-somethings prog psych-jazzers from Japan. Led by tenor saxophonist and synth player Takefumi Ishida the band fuse spiritual jazz, Canterbury-style rock, kraut, psychedelia, and electronic sounds for a mind-bending 32-minute adventure on their eponymous debut album. Fans of Frank Zappa fill your boots!
SGJAZZ – SGJAZZ
Kentucky producer Dr. Dundiff comes through with a new project, a group going by the name of SGJAZZ. The 10-track album blends smooth nu-soul with warm jazzy vibes that will be a real ear pleaser for fans of 30/70, Yakul and J.Lamotta who appears on the standout number. Other highlights come in the form of the funky bliss of ‘Monday’ with its smooth vibraphone vibe. The head-nodding swagger and killer Rhodes of ‘Like Glue’ will put you in a beautiful trance and the stop-start shuffling strut of ‘Wishing Well’ will move the hips! This is an assured and solid album that’s well worth adding to any future soul lovers collection.
Jaimie Branch – FLY or DIE II: bird dogs of paradise
New York-based composer, trumpeter, and (now) singer Jaimie Branch returns with a new album, FLY or DIE II: bird dogs of paradise. Recorded in London at Total Refreshment Centre and Cafe Oto the record features Lester St Louis (cello), Jason Ajemian (bass), Chad Taylor (drums, mbira) with contributions from Ben LaMar Gay (voice) Marvin Tate (voice) and Dan Bitney (synths, percussion). Tapping into themes of racism and injustices currently in America, the album is the result of a never-satisfied artist pushing her distinct style of progressive composition to new heights — while also stepping forward as a vocalist for the first time. A huge step up from her International Anthem debut (which was dope), and I feel there is even greater to come.
Ben Lamar Gay – East Of The Ryan
This isn’t an album to put on and let drift into the background. On East Of The Ryan, Chicago-based musician Ben Lamar Gay grabs your attention with his meticulously crafted, experimental jazz music that demands and rewards close attention. Recorded back in 2014, over six compositions Gay sonically recreates his youthful imagination about what kind of music might be happening inside the East of the Ryan – a hotel ballroom near his childhood home. From the off-kilter drum-groove, freaky synth work and hypnotic melodies of ‘Dipped’ to the entrancing bell ringing, warm synth textures and bumping groove of ‘Go And Get You A Plate. Try My Greens’ this is yet another imaginative and compelling set from Ben Lamar Gay. Very highly recommended, indeed.
MALK – ARCHANGEL
MALK’s 2017 album ‘Death From A Love’ caught our ears, and we’ve been salivating over pretty much everything he’s dropped since. The prolific London-based producer is on album number four of the year (including his (Mahatma X project), and the quality is still high. His music occupies its own unique place, incorporating the raw elements of hip-hop, electronica, electro-acoustic, and lo-fi beats put together with a DIY punk ethos. MALK continues to bring a fresh approach to the game, and he’s deserving of a much wider audience.