R&B/Soul

Debut Album: Nick Hakim – Green Twins (2017/05/19) / New Track ‘Bet She Looks Like You ‘

:: Whoop Whoop!


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Nick Hakim will release his debut full-length album Green Twins via ATO Records on May 19, and the release will be preceded by a North American & European tour. The anticipated album follows his breakthrough Where Will We Go, Pt. I & II EPs that were self-released on his Earseed Records and praised by the New York Times, NPR Music and more. Green Twins is an experimental step forward with emotional heft gleaned from his experiences in the years since. Intimate first single, “Bet She Looks Like You,” was recorded mostly in the New York-based singer-songwriter’s home bedroom, and was one of the first songs that saw Hakim embrace his new experimental way of songwriting and recording.

Each track on the album peels back a particular aspect of his life. He notes that, “a lot of it is what I was thinking in the moment, very specific songs… many of them are like self-portraits.“ He says of Green Twins, “I also felt the need to push my creativity in a different way than I had on the EPs.” The record draws from influences spanning Robert Wyatt, Marvin Gaye and Shuggie Otis to My Bloody Valentine. “We wanted to imagine what it would have sounded like if RZA had produced a Portishead album. We experimented with engineering techniques from Phil Spector and Al Green’s Back Up Train, drum programming from RZA and Outkast, and were listening to a lot of The Impressions, John Lennon, Wu-Tang, Madlib, and Screaming Jay Hawkins.”

The story of Green Twins truly began when, armed with the masters for his EPs, Hakim moved from Boston to Brooklyn, spending his time fleshing out unfinished ideas in his bedroom. He came up with lyrics on the spot, recording sketches and lyrics on voice memos and a four-track cassette recorder. From there, Green Twins came about as a sum of its parts: Hakim took the demo recordings to studios in New York City, Philadelphia and London, and built on them with engineers including Andrew Sarlo (bass, engineering, production), keeping the original essence of the songs intact. Sarlo notes that, “for other artists, a demo serves as a potential shape the song could form into. But for Nick, demos are more like creating a temple: a sanctuary that now we have to go into and somehow clean, furnish, and get ready for other people to experience the sermon in.”

Hakim’s debut comes as the culmination of years chiseling his skills as a musician. Hailing from Washington, D.C., he grew up in a musical household—his older brother introduced him to bands like Bad Brains and Nirvana, and his parents exposed him to Nueva canción—while he set out on his own to discover the DC music scene. He didn’t take an interest in learning an instrument until high school, when he taught himself to play the keys. After graduation, he moved to Boston to continue his study of music. In the time since moving to Brooklyn and setting to work for three years on Green Twins, he embraced the live circuit, both as a solo musician and with his band, whom he’s brought together from within his community in Boston and New York.

With Green Twins, Hakim plans to tour through the beginning of the year (see tour dates below), and hopes that folks will connect with the songs he’s written. “I think everybody feels insecure about certain things and everybody has lost people dear to them. I think I’m writing about common things that people feel,” he says. “I think I’m very grateful for anybody that’s listening or wants to be a part of my little world that I’ve created through song.” [Press Release via Bandcamp]

Cover Art:

Artist: Nick Hakim
Title of Debut Album: Green Twins
Release Date: May 19, 2017
Label: ATO Records

Track Listing:
1. Green Twins
2. Bet She Looks Like You
3. Roller Skates
4. Needy Bees
5. TYAF
6. Cuffed
7. Miss Chew (feat. Jesse & Forever)
8. Farmissplease
9. Those Days (feat. Onyx Collective)
10. Slowly
11. The Want
12. JP

Upcoming Tour Dates:
Apr 19 The Dome – London, UK (Sold Out)
Apr 20 Le Pop Up du Label – Paris, FR
Apr 21 Brussels, BE – Chez PIAS
Apr 22 Studio 672 – Cologne, DE
Apr 23 Bitterzoet – Amsterdam, NL
Apr 25 Berghain Kantine – Berlin, DE
May 11 The Drake Hotel – Toronto, ON
May 12 Bar Le Ritz PBD – Montréal, QC
May 13 Brighton Music Hall – Boston, MA
May 14 Iron Horse Music Hall – Northampton, MA
May 17 Bowery Ballroom – New York, NY
May 20 Rock & Roll Hotel – Washington, DC
Nov 7 The Lantern – Bristol
Nov 8 KOKO – London, UK
Nov 9 The Deaf Institute – Manchester, UK
Nov 10 King Tut’s – Glasgow, UK
Nov 11 Brudenell Social Club – Leeds, UK

Follow ‘Nick Hakim’ on:
Facebook | Soundcloud | TwitterBandcamp

More ‘Nick Hakim’ on Music Pickings:
2014, Oct 27 – Listen: Where Will We Go, Pt. 1 + Pt. 2 [Full Album Streams]

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New Album: Cody Chesnutt – My Love Divine Degree (2017/06/02)

:: Definitely a MUST!


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Cover Art:

Artist: Cody Chesnutt
Title of Album: My Love Divine Degree
Release Date: June 02, 2017
Label: One Little Indian Records

Track Listing:
1 Anything Can Happen
2 Africa the Future
3 She Ran Away
4 Bullets in the Street and Blood (feat. Raphael Saadiq)
5 So Sad to See (A Lost Generation)
6 Always Sebrena
7 Make a Better Man
8 I Stay Ready
9 Image of Love
10 It’s in the Love
11 This Green Leaf
12 Peace (Side-By-Side)
13 Shine on the Mic
14 Have You Heard Anything from the Lord Today

Upcoming Tour Dates:
May 18 // Tavastia Klubi // Helsinki, Finland
May 20 // Parkteatret, Oslo, Norway
May 21 // Studion På Kulturhuset Stadsteatern // Stockholm, Sweden
May 23 // Häkken // Hamburg
May 25 // People’s Place // Amsterdam, Netherlands
May 27 // Point Ephémère // Paris, France
May 29 // Mill // München

Follow ‘Cody Chesnutt’ on:
Official Website | Facebook | Twitter

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More ‘Cody Chesnutt’ on MusicPickings:
2012, Nov 03 – That’s Still Mama / New Album ‘Landing On A Hundred’

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Debut Album: Harriet Brown – Contact

:: Yeeessss!


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Ascending from Los Angeles by way of the Bay Area, artist, writer and producer Harriet Brown is back to deliver his debut album, Contact, the follow-up to his 2014 EP, New Era. Composed, arranged, co-produced and performed by your very own himself, Contact is a concept album about communication and the contact we purposely, accidentally and inherently struggle to make between friends, lovers and strangers, be them human or otherwise. And when it comes to the live show, Harriet Brown will stun you. It’s an all-in-one package deal with sensual vocals, live loops, groovin’ drum machines, manic guitar lines and thick synths, all at the hands of one being. It’s no secret that this multi-instrumentalist and producer is influenced sonically and ethically by The Artist himself. And If Prince is his king, Sade is his queen, as they reside over an ever expanding court of every genre that falls in between. Harriet Brown’s sound is not what you’d expect from a one man band – sexual and sensitive, ambiguous and androgynous, prepare to be paralyzed by the sounds of Harriet Brown.

Cover Art:

Artist: Harriet Brown
Title of Album: Contact
Release Date: April 21, 2017
Label: Innovative Leisure

Track Listing:
1 Intro
2 ESP
3 Paralyzed
4 Cybernetiplegia
5 Contact
6 Mother
7 Obsession
8 Cryptid
9 Atlantis
10 Outro (Athanasi)
11 In My Head

Follow ‘Harriet Brown’ on:
Official Website | Facebook | SoundCloud | Bandcamp

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Debut Album: Syd – Fin (2017/02/03) [Full Album Stream]

:: Ready for The Internet Syd’s album, Fin!


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Cover Art:

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Artist: Syd
Title of Debut Album: Fin
Release Date: February 03, 2017
Label: Columbia Records

Track Listing:
1 Explicit Shake Em Off
2 Know
3 No Complaints
4 Nothin to Somethin
5 All About Me
6 Smile More
7 Got Her Own
8 Drown in It
9 Body
10 Dollar Bills
11 Over (feat. 6LACK)
12 Insecurities


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Follow ‘Syd’ on:
Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | SoundCloud | Instagram

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Read more: Fader interview

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New Album: José James – Love in a Time of Madness (2017/02/24) / New Single ‘Always There’

:: Not to miss!


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José James is reborn as a powerful voice in contemporary R&B on Love in a Time of Madness, his vibrant new album which will be released on February 24. The album pre-order launches today along with the release of the lead track “Always There,” which is available instantly to fans with pre-order. WATCH THE “ALWAYS THERE” VIDEO

Moviegoers next month will find James featured in an on-screen performing role in the highly-anticipated sequel Fifty Shades Darker, which is set for release on February 10. James has also announced a U.S. tour that kicks off March 16 in Atlanta and includes shows at the Bowery Ballroom in New York City on March 23 and Echo in Los Angeles on March 28. Visit josejamesmusic.com for more details.

Even for an artist as creatively restless as James, Love in a Time of Madness is something new: an R&B focused foray into moody soul, electronic pop, and trap-addled beats, with the occasional influence of African folk, American gospel and Minneapolitan funk. And though James’ voice is no less agile and his ear no less adventurous, this is also his most relatable, daresay sexiest work yet, detailing love’s ups and downs without holding back an ounce of emotion.

“Movement has been on my mind,” says James. “Not just hearts and minds—I want people to hit the dance floor. I could make jazz albums the rest of my life, but I want to reach people, man. I like Jamie xx as much as I like Miles Davis, you know? ”

Love in a Time of Madness follows James’ 2015 Billie Holiday tribute album Yesterday I Had the Blues and his rock infused 2014 album While You Were Sleeping. The New York Times wrote that James’ 2013 breakthrough No Beginning No End “sounds like the result of the black-pop continuum, jazz and soul and hip-hop and R&B, slow-cooked for more than 50 years.” NPR Music noted that “James makes utterly contemporary music,” adding that he “skirts categories with ease, fitting in with current R&B innovators like Frank Ocean or Miguel” and “he holistically heals the rift between radio-friendly songcraft and virtuoso flair.”

James initially planned on Love in a Time of Madness being a double album. One side would be about love, and the other about societal madness—a response to the systemic and often physical violence perpetrated on U.S. citizens of color. But as he worked on the music, he recalls, “The madness part was getting way more out of control. The murders kept happening and it became overwhelming and depressing.” So instead of rehashing the pain, James doubled down on the part of the album that could provide healing. That’s not to say James’ take on love is all so rosy. This is an album where romance isn’t always romantic. James wanted to tell love’s whole story.

Sonically, James was inspired by modern approaches to pop identity and songwriting—the holistic vision of Grimes, the creative engine of Kanye West, the curated image of FKA Twigs, the genre-mashing of The Internet, the sonic space of Bryson Tiller, and even the savvy studio choices of Ellie Goulding. He left behind the bands of his previous albums to instead work with topline writers and producers—Miguel collaborator Tario holds down most of Love in a Time of Madness alongside Likeminds (Pharoahe Monch, Anthony Hamilton)—plus began vocal lessons, hit the gym, and started working on himself in new ways. He considered how today’s solo star confirms Andy Warhol’s assertion that art and artist are one and the same, and thought about how Quincy Jones approached Off the Wall by being current “without dumbing anything down.”

“There’s a resurgence of something I haven’t seen since the ’90s or ’00s, when hip-hop, R&B, and pop were converging in really thrilling ways through folks like Tribe, Erykah Badu, or D’Angelo,” says James. “There’s a whole new generation now that’s unafraid to blend it all together. The world is ready for this kind of thing again.” [Press release via Blue NoteRecords]

Cover Art:
jj_loveinatimeofmadness_cover5x5

Artist: José James
Title of Album: Love in a Time of Madness
Release Date: February 24, 2017
Label: Blue Note Records

Track Listing: 
1 Always There
2 What Good Is Love
3 Let It Fall (feat. Mali Music)
4 Last Night
5 Remember Our Love
6 Live Your Fantasy
7 Ladies Man
8 To Be With You
9 You Know I Know
10 Breakthrough
11 Closer
12 I’m Yours (feat. Oleta Adams)

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Upcoming Tour Dates: 

Mar 16 // Center Stage Theater // Atlanta, GA
Mar 17 // Motorco Music Hall, Durham, NC
Mar 18 // U Street Music Hall // Washington, DC
Mar 23 // The Bowery Ballroom // New York, NY
Mar 25 // El Club // Detroit, MI
Mar 28 // The Echo // Los Angeles, CA
Mar 29 // The Independent // San Francisco, CA
Mar 31 // Doug Fir Lounge // Portland, OR
Apr 13 // Alte Feuerwache // Mannheim, Germany
Apr 15 // Club Bahnhof Ehrenfeld (CBE) // Cologne, Germany
>> The full touring schedule is available here

Follow ‘José James’ on:
Official Website | Facebook | Twitter

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More ‘José James’ on Music Pickings:
2015, Jan 25 – New Album: Yesterday I Had The Blues: The Music Of Billie Holiday (2015/02/17)
2014, Jul 06 – New Album: While You Were Sleeping (2014/06/10)
2013, Dec 26 – Listen: The Christmas Song
2013, Aug 09 – New EP: Come To My Door
2013, Feb 08 – New Album: No Beginning No End (2013/01/22)
2012, Sep 02 – It’s All Over Your Body / New Album ‘No Beginning, No End’
2012, August 29 – José James feat. Flying Lotus – Visions of Violet
2011, Oct 29 – José James LIVE TONIGHT
2011, Oct 07 – Trouble – AllSaints Basement Sessions
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Listen: Shafiq Husayn – On Our Way Home ft. Fatima & Jimetta Rose

:: Killer cut!


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LA based master teacher and musical visionary Shafiq Husayn prepares to initiate ‘The Loop’ with the first official single from his heavily anticipated sophomore LP. This time enlisting the vocal talents of long time Eglo Records collaborator Fatima and fellow LA native Jimetta Rose. The single follows 2014’s ‘It Better For You’ EP, which helped introduce the world to the talents of Anderson Paak. [Press Release via Bandcamp]

Cover Art:
shafiq-husayn-on-our-way-home-ft-fatima-jimetta-rose

Artist: Shafiq Husayn
Title of Single: On Our Way Home
Release Date: September 02, 2016
Label: Eglo Records

Follow ‘Shafiq Husayn’ on:
Facebook | Twitter | SoundCloud

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Listen: Uffe – From Me / New Album ‘No!’

:: One to put a smile on your face!


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Danish producer Uffe Christensen returns to Tartelet Records with his second LP ‘No!’, a deeply personal LP to follow 2015’s unanimously unfuckwithable debut ‘Radio Days’. Every bit as abundant as his first, it’s a record that scales polyrhythmic percussion, improvised jazz, & billowing ballads. This, that and so much more, it’s a triumph of one man’s instinctive ear –– and should be consumed in one sitting.

A year after his dynamic debut ‘Radio Days’, Uffe resurfaces on Tartelet with a record cut in the same spirit as the last: a borderless approach to music-making with organic instrumentation at its heart. Genres collide peaceably ––off-beat soul with jazz, hip-hop with the heft of house––and are melded smooth with an earthy warmth. Like nearly all at camp Tartelet, he’s a producer who is more interested in cutting loose than playing to the tune of dominant modes in dance music. In that, his album’s title is instructive: a ‘no’ to the tyranny of trends, to slavish Facebook likes, to creative compromise. Beyond the babble of fleeting fads, Uffe enjoys his place on the perimeter –– an outlier searching critically for something closer to a timeless groove.

Uffe has all of the intuition of the self-taught instrumentalist, following his ear into unexpected rhythmic and tonal combinations. It’s what gives the album its urgent appeal: the sound of tentative experiments being made live, of sequences improvised amongst friends. Far from a churn of simple floor fodder, the album is a journey through a consummate narrative. Shy guitar interlude ‘Fridge Magnet Radio Theme’ feels its way out of the warbling jazz breakdown in ‘Lesser Known Values’. ‘The Fact’, an unexpected vocal ballad, follows the broken beat of ‘Solo, So Loud’. With the record’s pleading closer ‘From Me’, it’s a story with a start, middle, and end. A long player as long players should be.

As Tartelet continue their run of consistently solid EPs & 12″s, it’s still these album moments that remain the best gateways into the label’s distinctive sound. Alongside Max Graef’s debut ‘Rivers of the Red Planet’ and Glenn Astro’s ‘Throwback’, Uffe’s ‘No’ is a mirror to the Tartelet spirit and sits amongst the imprint’s best. For lovers of the true album –– the full-length proper, the one-take listen –– this one’s for you. [Press Release via Bandcamp]

Cover Art:
uffe-from-me

Artist: Uffe
Title of Album: No!
Release Date: October 14, 2016
Label: Tartelet Records

Tracklist:
1. No!
2. Lesser-Known Values
3. Fridge Magnet Theme
4. I Care
5. Come On Try
6. Keep Smiles
7. Next To You
8. Black Hole
9. Jump Into
10. Solo So Loud
11. The Fact
12. You Seem Happy
13. From Me
14. From Me (Long Dub)
15. Keep Smiles (Short Dub)

Follow ‘Uffe’ on:
Facebook | SoundCloud

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More ‘Uffe’ on Music Pickings:
2012, Dec 10 – New EP: STRÆSS!
2012, Jul 10 – I’ll Leave Soon [Official Video] / New EP ‘Colors Outside’

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