With so much good music coming through thick and fast, it’s easy for albums to drop online and go overlooked. Check out our weekly mini-guide to the essential releases you may have missed. Happy listening – and don’t forget to hit the links and support the artists.
Madalitso Band – Musakayike
Madalitso Band’s songs will warm your heart even on the coldest nights. Their infectious melodies will put a smile on your face no matter how you feel. The Malawian duo uses a one-string slide bass (Babatone), a cowskin foot drum thumped with the heel, and a four-string guitar to create an explosion of happiness that’ll leave you smiling and dancing. This one is for you if you want an album to uplift your spirits.
TC & the Groove Family – First Home
First Home is the exciting debut album from TC & the Groove Family. With support from BBC 6 Music and Jazz Revelations, the band has been honing their sound and developing a solid fanbase due to their energetic live shows and exciting blend of jazz and UK dance music. Top-quality debut released on Worm Discs that comes with all the consistency and quality we’ve come to expect from the Bristol label.
Wax Machine – Hermit’s Grove
An album recorded directly above a mortuary brings to mind doom and gloom. Well, Hermit’s Grove by Brighton band Wax Machine is a sun-drenched wave of psychedelia that takes in progressive psychedelia, kitsch Italian library music and Brazilian tropicalia… and it is absolutely fantastic.
Mali-l – In Session
This one has been around a little, and it’s our bad for not sharing it with you earlier. ‘In Session’ is the debut album from UK dub producer Mali-I. We’ve long been a fan of Mali-I, and this record showcases why we’ve been glancing admiringly all this time. The album draws on his love of UK Dub and innovators such as The Bug, Wackies, and Channel One, while also welcoming contemporary London sounds due to his long-time affiliation with Bradley Zero’s Rhythm Section label. Niceness!
Addis Pablo – In My Father’s House
I discovered this one on The Slow Music Movement, and like James, I had no idea Augustus Pablo had a music-making son. Following his father’s spiritual guidance, his melodica roots reggae and dub are the order of the day, and while as not groundbreaking as it was back in the day, it’s still pretty heavenly. Pablo Snr would undoubtedly approve. Brilliant, timeless sounds. Essential.
Leyla McCalla – Breaking The Thermometer
Duke University acquired the archives of Radio Haiti in 2016 and commissioned Leyla McCalla to develop a multi-disciplinary theatre project with them. That project blossomed into her latest album Breaking The Thermometer. The 15-track collection combines original compositions and traditional Haitian music with historical broadcasts and contemporary interviews to give a sense of Haiti’s political and social conflict during the late 20th century. This politically engaged and inspiring album displays a deeper look at McCalla’s ancestry.
RedGreenBlue – The End and The Begining
Taking inspiration from Chicago’s improvisational tradition, The End and the Beginning by RedGreenBlue offers a mesmeric, minimalist take on the city’s groove-based improvised music. The group features three of the city’s most notable players: Paul Giallorenzo (synthesiser, pump organ, electronics), Charlie Kirchen (bass), and Ryan Packard (drums, electronics). The ever-imaginative Ben LaMar Gay contributes to this recording on cornet and electronics. The trio create hypnotic-yet-still-dynamic sonic spaces from languid pulsation, subtle colour shifts, and bursts of virtuosic urgency throughout two side-long, introverted pieces.
V/A – Hidden Waters: Strange and Sublime Sounds of Rio de Janeiro
‘Hidden Waters: Strange and Sublime Sounds of Rio de Janeiro’ is the latest nugget released by Sounds and Colours. Once again, the beloved label comes up trumps with 23 groundbreaking artists from Rio’s resurgent music scene, including Ana Frango Elétrico, Thiago Nassif, and Antônio Neves, among many more. This time, the music ranges from bossa nova, samba, jazz and funk with an avant-garde edge. Recommended.
Léa Sen – You Of Now Pt. 1
When Léa Sen appeared on Joy Orbison’s ‘still slipping vol.1’, she caught my attention. The talented newcomer shared her debut EP ‘You Of Now Pt. 1‘ back in May. These five tracks are full of experimental pop beauty written, produced, and mixed by Sen.
Lunch Money Life – Under The Mercies
Lunch Money Life, a five-piece from London, continues to navigate styles, genres, and expectations deftly. It is impossible to predict what will happen with every release. The only thing to expect is the unexpected. Whatever you do, don’t let this one slip under your radar.