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24-Carat Black's 'Ghetto' Is the Most Sampled Album Never Heard

33 1/3 book 24-Carat Black's Ghetto: Misfortune's Wealth, is a refreshing outlier in the series in that it's about an influential yet barely known album.


New Compilation Collects Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings' Covers

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings always brought joy and energy to their music. Hearing them cut loose on these covers lets us appreciate the verve with which they approached their art in any setting.


Electrosoul's SAULT Center Themselves Around Blackness on 'UNTITLED (Black Is)'

Mysterious electrosoul ensemble SAULT's UNTITLED (Black Is) is a stellar, uplifting record informed by timeless struggle, solidarity, and pride.


Thaba Captivate with Their Electrosoul on 'Eyes Rest Their Feet'

Thaba consistently sound like a dream, moving as they do at strange speeds, through electronic vapors.


Making a Masterpiece: An Interview with Legendary Composer Valerie Simpson

Fifty years after Ashford & Simpson gave Diana Ross her first number one solo hit with "Ain't No Mountain High Enough", Valerie Simpson reflects on a lifetime of writing chart-topping anthems for Motown and beyond.


Randy Newman's 'Born Again' Is His Best Critique of Toxic Masculinity

Randy Newman's satirical narrators lack self-reflection. This makes Newman the ideal songwriter to dismantle what would come to be called toxic masculinity.


Prince and the New Power Generation - 'Diamonds and Pearls' (Between the Grooves)

"Between the Grooves" take a deep dive into Prince's Diamonds and Pearls. The album offers explorations into the mysterious/strange sexual side of Prince, his preachy/pedantic side, and also his relaxed/smooth side.


Little Mix's 'Confetti' Breaks Up with Expectations

With Confetti, Little Mix have captured the best of both worlds: the beloved dance-pop that made them famous with newfound creative freedom and power.


Joan Osborne Discusses 'Trouble and Strife', Immigration, and the Hope for a Better World

On Trouble and Strife, Joan Osborne goes Americana and interviews immigrants and tells a story of persevering in these extraordinary and difficult times. Osborne chronicles what she sees and challenges listeners to take action.


Rosie Darling Introduces Herself to Manic World Whilst Wishing and "Coping"

Signed to Nettwerk Records after she took her musical pursuits to LA, Boston's Rosie Darling debuts as a singer-songwriter who brings a soothing voice and peace of mind to these turbulent times.


Ariana Grande 's 'Positions' Is Pure Pop Sugar

Ariana Grande's Positions is a perfect pop album in a very conservative sense of the term.


Black Diamond Queens: African American Women and Rock and Roll (excerpt)

Ikette Claudia Lennear, rumored to be the inspiration for Mick Jagger's "Brown Sugar", often felt disconnect between her identity as an African American woman and her engagement with rock. Enjoy this excerpt of cultural anthropologist Maureen Mahon's Black Diamond Queens, courtesy of Duke University Press.

Maureen Mahon

Aalok Bala Revels in Nature and Contradiction on EP 'Sacred Mirror'

Electronic musician Aalok Bala knows the night is not a simple mirror, "silver and exact"; it phases and echoes back, alive, sacred.


50 Years Ago B.B. King's 'Indianola Mississippi Seeds' Retooled R&B

B.B. King's passion for bringing the blues to a wider audience is in full flower on the landmark album, Indianola Mississippi Seeds.


Sly5thAve's 'What It Is' Is Sleek, Soulful, and a Good Time

What It Is, the new album from multi-instrumentalist, producer, and Quantic collaborator Sly5thAve, represents a triumph of musicianship over genre conventions.


The Budos Band Prove They Are Not 'Long in the Tooth'

The Budos Band are more ferociously funky than ever with their 15th-anniversary album, Long in the Tooth.


PM Picks Playlist 4: Stellie, The Brooks, Maude La​tour

Today's playlist features the premiere of Stellie's "Colours", some top-class funk from the Brooks, Berne's eco-conscious electropop, clever indie-pop from Maude Latour, Jaguar Jonze rocking the mic, and Meresha's "alien pop".


The Budos Band Call for Action on "The Wrangler" (premiere)

The Budos Band call on their fans for action with the powerful new track "The Wrangler" that falls somewhere between '60s spy thriller soundtrack and '70s Ethiojazz.


Blues' Johnny Ray Daniels Sings About "Somewhere to Lay My Head" (premiere)

Johnny Ray Daniels' "Somewhere to Lay My Head" is from new compilation that's a companion to a book detailing the work of artist/musician/folklorist Freeman Vines. Vines chronicles racism and injustice via his work.


Otis Junior and Dr. Dundiff Tells Us "When It's Sweet" It's So Sweet

Neo-soul singer Otis Junior teams with fellow Kentuckian Dr. Dundiff and his hip-hop beats for the silky, groovy "When It's Sweet".


The Masonic Travelers Offer Stirring Rendition of "Rock My Soul" (premiere)

The Last Shall Be First: the JCR Records Story, Volume 1 captures the sacred soul of Memphis in the 1970s and features a wide range of largely forgotten artists waiting to be rediscovered. Hear the Masonic Travelers "Rock My Soul".


Mobley Laments the Evil of "James Crow" in the US

Austin's Mobley makes upbeat-sounding, soulful pop-rock songs with a political conscience, as on his latest single, "James Crow".


Tikyra Jackson's Empowering "No More Fear" Comes to Video (premiere)

Southern Avenue drummer and backing vocalist, Tikyra Jackson offers a new video for "No More Fear". "My intention is to show that I stand and rejoice in my identity."


Gregory Porter Creates Another Collection of Soul-Jazz Gems on 'All Rise'

All Rise is another diamond in Gregory Porter's catalog of precious gems. There is studied wisdom, a graceful sagaciousness that accompanies the tracks.


Sola Rosa and Thandi Phoenix Are Onto "Something Good" with Their Soulful New Single

New Zealand dance producer Sola Rosa teams with rising soul singer Thandi Phoenix for the upbeat, discofied, joyful, and positive "Something Good".


Bette Smith Offers Ear-Razing "I'm a Sinner" (premiere +interview)

Soul singer Bette Smith teamed with Matt Patton of Drive-by Truckers for new album, The Good, the Bad and the Bette, that strikes several deeply personal chords. Hear her latest blistering single, "I'm a Sinner".

Mixed Media

Raul Midón Gets Topical With "Dancing Off the Edge" (premiere)

Raul Midón's "Dancing Off the Edge" balances the realities of 2020 with musical uplift and his singular soulfulness.


Canadian Producer Whipped Cream Captures the Zeitgeist on 'Who Is Whipped Cream?'

Whipped Cream's debut is a perfect tonic to all the bottled-up rage and pent-up energy many of us are feeling this year while reminding our bodies of the dancefloors to which we will one day return.


Gromo and Rhea Raj Make Seductive Electrosoul on "Slowly" (premiere)

Electro/hip-hop producer, Gromo teams with pop/R&B singer Rhea Raj for a beat-filled, Latin- and Indian-influenced electrosoul stunner, the winning "Slowly".


"Let the Sunshine In" with Tony-Winning Legend Melba Moore

After blazing trails at the Met and in the Broadway cast of Hair, Melba Moore reflects on her groundbreaking career while celebrating a pair of new gospel and dance releases.


River Hooks Gazes Soulfully at "Mountains" (premiere)

Fans of Billie Eilish, Chelsea Cutler, and Jessie Reyez will find elements of the familiar here, but River Hooks proves herself as an artist with her own voice working in a well-honored tradition.


Soul Legend Bettye LaVette Gets Jazzy on New Covers LP 'Blackbirds'

Bettye LaVette offers jazzy interpretations of past classics on Blackbirds.


Soul's Busty and the Bass Talk to Their Younger Selves on 'Eddie'

Macy Gray and George Clinton contribute to Montreal-based soul collective Busty and the Bass' smooth R&B based sounds on new album Eddie.


Buscrates Brings the G-Funk on Soulful "How Ya Gonna Do It"

Pittsburgh's Buscrates marries a soulful Kate Moe Dee vocal to G-Funk beats and deep grooves on his latest single, "How Ya Gonna Do It".


Swiss Neo-Soul Singer Ay Wing Has the "Antidote"

Berlin's Ay Wing creates a late summer anthem with her latest electrosoul single, "Antidote".


Funky Starwolf Has a "Bad Feeling" (premiere)

St. Louis funk-poppers Starwolf release "Bad Feeling" in which dreamy funk and soul vibes abound.

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