Soul

New Album: Jordan Rakei – Wallflower (2017/09/22)

:: I’m in LOVE


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“Wallflower”: introverted, misunderstood, sensitive, strange and seemingly unknowable.

Newly signed to Ninja Tune, Jordan Rakei has battled his inner demons and written an inspirational, soul-stirring record in the process. Titled “Wallflower” which will be released on 22nd September 2017.

At only 25, the multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and producer – born in New Zealand to a Kiwi mother and father from the Cook Islands – is a rare talent whose distinct take on soul captures a sonic and emotional awareness many artists spend their entire careers chasing. He writes with a maturity and flair that belies his years and new album “Wallflower” sees Jordan edging beyond the peripheries of the genial, often sun-flecked sound his fans have come to know him for. The easy swing that has been the backbone of his sound from the outset is ever present, harking back to teenage days spent in his bedroom with his beloved MPC trying to emulate 9th Wonder and Pete Rock. On “Wallflower” the tools and the process have evolved – the focus is on live instrumentation – but the groove and the cadence are unmistakable, framing soul and jazz in a truly vibrant oeuvre that simultaneously recalls his predecessors The Roots and peers The Internet, Nick Hakim and Hiatus Kaiyote. 

Jordan’s whirlwind rise has been a predominately solo effort. His exceptional musical ability (he writes, sings and plays most of the instrumentation on his records himself) is accompanied by an unrelenting – yet agreeably humble – ambition. His aptitude and knack for songwriting caught the attention of tastemakers following the release of his 2014 EP “Groove Curse”. His self-released debut album “Cloak” (2016) lit the blue touch paper, earning him a coveted set at Pitchfork Avant-Garde Block Party that year; supports for the likes of Jamie Woon and NAO; and a call-up to play AMP. Drawing early support from the Soulection crew, he has collaborated with Taku, Tom Misch, FKJ, and lent vocals to the Disclosure track ‘Masterpiece’ (from their 2015 album “Caracal”) after the duo were tipped off by a friend who had seen Jordan play a tiny basement bar in Australia. At radio, Jordan has been championed at BBC R1/1Xtra by Annie Mac, Huw Stephens, Mistajam, Jamz Supernova, Toddla T plus Mary Anne Hobbs and Gilles Peterson at BBC Radio 6 Music. 

Jordan considers “Wallflower” his most personal work yet – it’s an emotive opus inspired by his own struggles with introversion and anxiety. Sonically lush and complex, yet lyrically relatable and unguarded, listeners are offered a glimpse into the mind and artistry of a musician who grapples with his own self- image and fears every day. On ‘Sorceress’ (recently supremely reworked by Photay) the ego is personified as a sinister and controlling spirit figure led by equal parts understated ethereal guitar and Jordan’s superb multi-layered vocals. New single ‘Nerve’, featuring Dave Okumu of The Invisible on guitar, is upbeat and incites a sense of renewal as its lyrics call out the fallacies within self-constructed paradigms. Elsewhere, the ska-tinged ‘Clues Blues’ is laced with trombone and saxophone by Ahmad Dayes and Wayne Francis II from South London pillars United Vibrations. 

“It’s about how the ego can fully control the way you act and perceive life,” he says. Jordan’s decision to leave his home in Brisbane for London in 2015 has had a life changing effect on his music, his career and his outlook. Just thinking about a 10,000 mile relocation was traumatic, and these feelings were exacerbated by his introversion and anxiety. However, he plucked up the courage to make the move and never looked back. 

“In Australia, I was stuck in a bubble”, Jordan explains. “When I moved to London I had to deal with my introversion through ‘exposure therapy’. Every day I met new people for a whole year. I met every producer, songwriter, and musician I could. You have to improve as a person to improve as an artist”. Building a new community in London, Jordan linked with Tom Misch, Loyle Carner, Richard Spaven and Alfa Mist – musical likeminds experimenting on the fringes of jazz, soul and hip-hop – and also met Bradley Zero, founder of South London record label and party Rhythm Section. Bradley encouraged him to try his hand at a collection of dancefloor-driven tunes which became the EP “Joy, Ease, Lightness”, released by the label at the end of 2016 under the alias Dan Kye. 

In many ways “Wallflower” is a direct emotional response to his new surroundings and is undoubtedly testament to Jordan’s personal strength, drive and overriding passion for his art as well as a reflection of his openness and eagerness to reach out and explore London’s fertile music underground. It cements not only his importance as a contemporary, and truly exhilarating, soul voice on the international stage, but his stature as a producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist in total command of his sonic vision. [Press Release via Bandcamp]

Cover Art:

Artist: Jordan Rakei
Title of Album: Wallflower
Release Date: September 22, 2017
Label: Ninja Tune

Tracklist:
1. Eye To Eye
2. May
3. Sorceress
4. Nerve
5. Goodbyes
6. Clues Blues
7. Chemical Coincidence
8. Carnation
9. Lucid
10. Hiding Place
11. Wallflower (feat. Kaya Thomas-Dyke)

Upcoming Tour Dates:
Sep 17 // Mercury Lounge // New York, NY
Sep 19 // Constellation Room at the Observatory // Santa Ana, CA
Sep 20 // Troubadour West Hollywood, CA Sep 22 Popscene @ Rickshaw Stop // San Francisco, CA
Sep 22 // Popscene @ Rickshaw Stop // San Francisco, CA
Oct 11 // O2 Institute3 // Birmingham, UK
Oct 12 // Thekla // Bristol, UK
Oct 13 // The Haunt // Brighton, UK
Oct 16 // Manchester Gorilla // Manchester, UK
>> The full touring schedule is available here

Follow ‘Jordan Rakei’ on:
Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | SoundCloud |  Bandcamp

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Debut Album: Moses Sumney – Aromanticism (2017/09/22) / Track ‘Doomed’

:: Incredible album!

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Since emerging onto the scene in 2014, Moses Sumney has ridden a wave of word-of-mouth praise, hushed recordings, and dynamic live performances. It’s an organic, patient ascent all too rare in today’s musical climate. In a voice both mellifluous and haunting, Sumney makes future music that transmogrifies classic tropes, like moon-colony choir reinterpretations of old jazz gems. His vocals narrate a personal journey through universal loneliness atop otherworldly compositional backdrops.

Following the self-release of his debut cassette EP, Mid-City Island, and 2015’s 7″, Seeds/Pleas, Sumney has performed around the world alongside forebears like David Byrne, Karen O, Sufjan Stevens, Solange, James Blake and more. With his 2016 Lamentations EP, The California and Ghana-raised troubadour widened the spectrum of his heretofore “bedroom” music, incorporating songs that feature more elaborate production and evocative songwriting. Now his inspired ascent continues.

His proper debut album, Aromanticism is a concept album about lovelessness as a sonic dreamscape. It seeks to interrogate the social constructions around romance. The debut will include the devastating, billowing synths of “Doomed,” which in a way serves as the album’s thesis statement, as well as new versions of standouts “Lonely World” and “Plastic.” It’s a deliberate, jaw-dropping statement that can leave you both enlightened and empty. [Press release by Bandcamp]

Cover Art:

Artist: Moses Sumney
Title of Debut Album: Aromanticism
Release Date: September 22, 2017
Label: Jagjaguwar

Tracklist:
1. Man on the Moon (Reprise)
2. Don’t Bother Calling
3. Plastic
4. Quarrel
5. Stoicism
6. Lonely World
7. Make Out in My Car
8. The Cocoon-Eyed Baby
9. Doomed
10. Indulge Me
11. Self-Help Tape


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Upcoming Tour Dates:
Sep 22 // Irenic // San Diego, CA
Sep 24 // Hollywood Bowl // Los Angeles, CA
Sep 26 // Great American Music Hall // San Francisco, CA
Sep 28 // The Crocodile // Seattle, WA
Sep 29 // Doug Fir Lounge // Portland, OR
Sep 30 St. James Hall // Vancouver, BC
Oct 03 // Icehouse // Minneapolis, MN
Oct 04 // Old Town School of Folk Music // Chicago, IL
Oct 05 // Mod Club Theatre // Toronto, ON
Oct 09 // The Sinclair // Cambridge, MA
Oct 11 // Music Hall of Williamsburg // Brooklyn, NY
>> The full touring schedule is available here

Follow ‘Moses Sumney’ on:
Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | SoundCloud | Bandcamp

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More ‘Moses Sumney’ on Music Pickings:
2015, Nov 03 – Listen: Seeds

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Listen: Jimmy Whoo – Motel Music Part. II [Full Album Stream]

:: Sunday morning vibes…


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Cover Art:

Artist: Jimmy Whoo
Title of Album: Motel Music Part. II
Release Date: March 17, 2017
Label: Grande Ville Records

Tracklist:
1. Intro 29th Street
2. Cruisin
3. Diamond
4. Nite Eye – Jimmy Whoo ft. Sabrina Bellaouel & Loubenski
5. Wildcats
6. Hold Tight
7. Hollywood- Jimmy Whoo ft. Sabrina Bellaouel
8. Interlude (Full Moon)
9. Outro (My High)

Upcoming Tour Dates:
06 Oct // Le Trabendo // Paris, France

Follow ‘Jimmy Whoo’ on:
Facebook | Twitter | SoundCloud | Bandcamp | Instagram

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New Album: Melanie De Biasio – Lilies (2017/10/06) // New Single ‘Gold Junkies’

:: The first taste of  ‘Lilies’

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As Melanie De Biasio explains in her own words; “For me, Lilies has a darkness, but it’s also luminous. After my experiences with (previous releases) ‘No Deal’ and ‘Blackened Cities’, I just wanted to retreat to a cave with my Pro-Tools, my computer, and my cheap, 100Euro Shure SM-58 microphone. I could have gone to a big studio, made a big production – but I wanted none of that. I wanted to go back to the seed of creativity, the simplest materials. I was in this room where there was no light, no night or day at all, no heat. Very uncomfortable. But I felt free. I was happy to have this feeling – ‘I don’t need more, I have everything I need here.’”

Lilies resonates with beauty, multi-instrumentalist De Biasio casting a mesmerising shadow over the proceedings alongside her long-term ensemble of players and will undoubtedly once again see her further the acclaim of fans both in Europe and further afield. [Press release]

Cover Art:

Artist: Melanie De Biasio
Title of Album: Lilies
Release Date: October 6h, 2017
Label: Play It Again Sam

Tracklist:
1 Your Freedom Is the End of Me
2 Gold Junkies
3 Lilies
4 Let Me Love You
5 Sitting in the Stairwell
6 Brother
7 Afro Blue
8 All My Worlds
9 And My Heart Goes On


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Upcoming Tour Dates:
14 Oct // Belgrave Music Hall & Canteen // Leeds, UK
15 Oct // The Deaf Institute, Manchester, UK
16 Octr // Scala, London, UK
18 Oct // Chabada, Angers, France
20 Oct // Théâtre de la Ville, Valence, France
21 Oct // Transbordeur, Villeurbanne, France
22–28 Oct // FESTIVAL LES ROCKOMOTIVES 2017 Rockomotives, Vendôme, France
25 Oct // Stereolux, Nantes, France
26 Oct // La Cooperative De Mai, Clermont-Ferrand, France
27 Oct // Le Rocher De Palmer, Cenon, France
>> The full touring schedule is available here

Follow ‘Melanie De Biasio’ on:
Official Website | Facebook | Twitter

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More ‘Melanie De Biasio’ on Music Pickings:
2014, Dec 31 – Listen: I’m Gonna Leave You / New EP ‘No Deal’ (2014/12/16)

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Re-Release: D’Angelo – Brown Sugar // Three Remixes ‘Cruisin’, ‘Brown Sugar’ and ‘Me and Those Dreamin Eyes of Mine’

:: This album is a landmark!

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Cover Art:

Artist: D’Angelo
Title of Album: Brown Sugar
Release Date: August 25, 2017
Label: Virgin

Tracklist:

CD 1 (Remastered album with bonus tracks)
1. “Brown Sugar”
2. “Alright”
3. “Jonz In My Bonz”
4. “Me And Those Dreamin’ Eyes Of Mine”
5. “Sh*t, Damn, Motherf*cker”
6. “Smooth”
7. “Cruisin’”
8. “When We Get By”
9. “Lady”
10. “Higher”

Bonus Tracks
11. “Brown Sugar”
12. “Me And Those Dreamin’ Eyes Of Mine” A Cappella (released on promotional 12” single)
13. “Brown Sugar” Instrumental (released on 12” single)
14. “Lady” Just Tha Beat Mix Instrumental w/Chorus (Mixed by DJ Premier; released on CD Maxi-Single)
15. “Brown Sugar” Alternate Version (released on 12” single)

CD 2 (More Sugar)
1. “Brown Sugar” King Tech Remix feat. Kool G. Rap (released on 12” promotional single)
2. “Me And Those Dreamin’ Eyes Of Mine Def Squad Remix feat. Redman (Remixed by Erick Sermon for Funk Lord Productions; released on 12” single)
3. “Cruisin’” Cut The Sax Remix (Remix by King Tech; Released on 12” single)
4. “Lady” Just Tha Beat Mix/featuring AZ (Remixed by DJ Premier for Works of Mart Productions, Inc.; released on CD Maxi-Single)
5. “Brown Sugar” Soul Inside 808 Mix (Mix by DJ Dodge; released on U.K. 12” single)
6. “Me And Those Dreamin’ Eyes Of Mine” Two Way Street Mix (Remixed by DJ Premier for Works of Mart Productions, Inc.; released on promotional 12” single)
7. “Cruisin’” Dallas Austin Remix (released on 12” single)
8. “Lady” 2B3 Shake Dat Ass Mix (Remix produced by Neville Thomas and Pule Pheto for 2B3 Productions; released on U.K. CD Maxi-Single)
9. “Brown Sugar” Incognito Molasses Remix (released on “She’s Always In My Hair” promotional 12” single)
10. “Me And Those Dreamin’ Eyes Of Mine” Dreamy Remix (Remixed by Erick Sermon for Funk Lord Productions; released on promotional 12” single)
11. “Cruisin’” Wet Remix (released on CD single)
12. “Brown Sugar” Dollar Bag Mix (released on U.K. 12” single)
13. “Cruisin’” God Made Me Funky Remix (released on promotional 12” single)
14. “Brown Sugar” CJ Mackintosh Remix (Additional production and Remix by CJ Mackintosh; released on the various artists CD collection Nu Classic Soul)
15. “Lady” CJ Mackintosh Mix Radio Edit (Additional production and Remix by CJ Mackintosh; released on U.K. CD Maxi-Single)
16. “Cruisin” Who’s Fooling Who Mix (released on promotional 12” single)

Upcoming Tour Dates:
No tour dates

Follow ‘D’Angelo’ on:
Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud

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More ‘D’Angelo’ on Music Pickings:
2014, Dec 16 – New Album: Black Messiah / First Single ‘Sugah Daddy’

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Listen: Hiatus Kaiyote – Laputa (Taylor McFerrin Remix feat. Anderson .Paak)

:: Amazing vibes!


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Cover Art:

Artist: Hiatus Kaiyote
Title of Album: Laputa (Taylor McFerrin Remix feat. Anderson .Paak)
Release Date: April 15, 2016
Label: Masterworks

Follow ‘Hiatus Kaiyote’ on:
Official WebsiteFacebook | Twitter | Soundcloud| Bandcamp

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More ‘Hiatus Kaiyote’ on Music Pickings:
2015, Mar 31 – New Album: Choose Your Weapon (2015/03/31) / Track ‘By Fire
2015, Nov 25 – New EP: By Fire (2014/12/025) [Full Album Stream]
2013, May 15 – New Track: Nia Andrews – Colours (Hiatus Kaiyote Remix) [Free Download]
2012, Aug 25 – Nakamarra / New Album ‘Tawk Tomahawk’ [Full Album Stream]

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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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