Oakland’s Zion I is back with another great album of conscious hip-hop. The Labyrinth released back on October 27th via Mind Over Matter Records and features production turns from Ariano, Mikos the Gawd, Teeko and Decap as well as guest appearances from Deuce Eclipse and Codnay Holiday. The Labyrinth addresses the current state of Black America and ever-persistent racism that’s becoming more toxic and prevalent with every police shooting of a black man and every hate comment from the growing alt-right.
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Nashville singer-songwriters Brigitte DeMeyer and Will Kimbrough have worked together for years and became best friends in the process. Now, the duo is set to release their first album as an official duo. Mockingbird Soul, releasing January 27th, is an Americana album through and through as it brings in all the great roots genres that populate Americana, including blues, country, early jazz, gospel, folk and bluegrass. DeMeyer thinks of their sound as acoustic soul and that’s a fabulous description as you can here on their new single “Rainy Day”, a genuinely soulful number that has us eagerly awaiting the album’s release.
In his review of St. Lenox‘s new album, John Paul said, “St. Lenox represents that singular voice, at once very much of its time and utterly timeless in its thematic universality. Ten Hymns from My American Gothic is nothing short of a 21st century pop masterpiece.” St. Lenox (Andrew Choi) is a master of melody with an uncanny ease at crafting super catchy pop songs that never leave your head. His new single “You Don’t Call Me Anymore” exemplifies this as the jangle pop tune is utterly irresistible. For the video, Choi enlisted New York performance artist Matthew Silver who is well-known amongst the public spaces of the city. Silver injects humor into the proceedings in a way that’ll delight and make you smile in these scary and tumultuous times. Meanwhile, Choi’s music will lighten your day with its jangly upbeat tones and to-die-for hooks.
London’s SAMA play a soulful form of electropop loaded to the brim with great hooks. “What Love Is All About” is the band’s latest single and it should nestle comfortably next Rudimental and Penguin Prison within your collection. “Sama” means “listening” in both Arabic and Farsi, but it also references a spiritual journey wherein one finds love and truth. We could sure use a little of both in these troubled times.
Composed and arranged by Simon Hanes, and performed by him and his 15-piece orchestra, Tredici Bacci, Amore per Tutti is a soundtrack for an Italian movie that was never made. The 11-track album is Hanes’ homage to the film scores of the ‘60s and ‘70s, an era when composers like Ennio Morricone, Nino Rota, Bruno Nicolai, Luis Bacalov, Armando Trovajoli and many other lesser-known figures created vivid soundscapes for genre films—gialli (gory thriller and horror flicks), polizieschi (police procedurals), and the western all’italiana (better known as spaghetti westerns). Their work often was eclectic, mixing and matching, sometimes in a single soundtrack, jazz, free jazz, bossa nova, rock, electronic music, and mariachi.