Taken Away – Moodymann

Moodymann has two modes: lusty and haunting. His new album Taken Away retains some of his signature erotic funk, but ache come to the fore.

At the start of 2019 Moodymann (Kenny Dixon Jr.) was involved in a pretty terrifying incident with the police – a reality that people of colour face in America on a shockingly frequent basis. Famously enigmatic, he does his talking through his sampling, and his message comes across loud and clear, especially in the title track. It’s house music, it’s foot-stomping, but it is filled with pain and anger.

My take on some more upbeat Moodymann here and here, or you can read an excellent review of the album on Pitchfork here. Shout out to Ben Gomori’s Turned On for the tip.

Superego – Harvey Sutherland

Harvey Sutherland makes music like a man who lives in perma-Summer. It must be the Aussie in him. Anyway, a couple of months ago he foretold our weather by releasing a typically upbeat funky single, Superego. It’ll tick a lot of boxes.

Bonus track: Superego is nice, but nothing on his classics. Know this one?

Bonus playlist: if you like your tracks house-y and and your instruments piano-y then I have the perfect playlist for you. Bloody hell I want to go out.

The Slow Rush – Tame Impala

The Slow Rush is without a doubt my album of the quarantine session so far. It’s Tame Impala’s 4th and it’s a cracker.

Kevin Parker recorded this between native Australia and LA – and that provides a really nice window through which to understand the sound. It’s this awesome struggle between a lazy, beachy indie sound, and the more intense, highly produced electronic LA vibe. I hope you enjoy it as much as I am.

Bonus track: Ben Gomori’s remix of Breathe Deeper gently lifts it up one notch. Lovely.

Photo credit: Neil Krug

Melt Away – Jadu Heart

*NEW SOUNDS FOR YOUR BORED QUARANTINED EARS*

Jadu Heart’s first full length album is excellent. The masked duo are growing with every release – tightening their grip on their screwed-up electro-pop style, and casting a spell over the listener. The interplay between their voices (his rough and raw, hers sweet and tender) is perfectly measured; and the switches between moody and playful are perfectly executed. Even the album’s more straightforward rougher edges serve to increase its charm.

You can probably tell I like it. And it I like it more each time I put it on. Oh and boy you should see them live.

Most of the tracks have already been released so it might feel quite familiar. My star picks are Wanderlife and Harry Brompton’s Ice Tea, but in truth I could list half of the tracks on there.

More of my thoughts on Jadu Heart here.

Ecstasy – Disclosure

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; you’ve got to hand it to Disclosure. They seem to be able to ride each musical wave as it comes, while maintaining something that makes them distinctive. Much easier said than done.

Their latest offering is out now on Island Records. They seem completely oblivious to the fact that it isn’t mid-Summer, but I won’t hold that against them. It is sun-soaked house banger after banger. Props.

My top pick is Tondo, a high energy afro-infused number. Enjoy.

More of my thoughts on the lads’ previous release here.

JPEG – Digitalism

Remember when Digitalism were just so on it? The year was 2007, and the album was Idealism. Pogo, proper stuff. Anyway now it’s 2020 and they’ve lost a bit of their lustre, but it still ain’t bad. Their 4th album is called JPEG and it came out a few months ago.

In particular, check out Panavision for some uplifting electronic fun.

Bonus album: yeah I’m not going to leave you hanging like that.

New Shit Has Come to Light – Lovebirds

A cheeky little 3-tracker from Lovebirds. If I had to sum it up in three words I would say: happy dancefloor grooves.

But I don’t have to sum it up in three words. I have as many as I want. It’s my blog. Here are some more words.

It kicks off with Glove, a pleasing little house number with the kind of bassline that sort of went out of fashion in 2012, kicking in around 3 minutes in. Next we have Da Sixty – smooth where Glove is funk, but still with the time to incorporate a little Hugh Masakela sample. I don’t hate it. Finally, the stand-out track is Disco Train – as you would expect from the title it lifts heavily from Kiki Gyan’s song of the same name, but gives it a little bassy re-rub.

Not an EP that is ever going to blow your mind, but its nice, its tidy and it’ll give you some nice toe-tapping moments.

Bonus track: I’ve had to go to Youtube to find a full-length version of this beauty from 2011. Lovebirds’ all time #1 smasher, Want You in My Soul.

placeholder – Hand Habits

A bit of a change of pace here – something to nurse your Sunday heads. Meg Duffy’s Hand Habits was my most-played band of 2019; I’m slightly hooked on their particular brand of wistful folk . Lead singer Meg Duffy’s vocals waver in a fragile kind of way that draws emotion right to the surface. It’s beautiful, it’s calming and feels real. I hope you like.

Bonus album: placeholder is her second album, but the first, Wildly Idle (Humble Before the Void), is just as nice. Enjoy.

There’s a lot more to say about Meg Duffy, but I don’t really feel qualified. If you want to read more about how her album is “staging queer stories against a wistful Americana backdrop” then read this Pitchfork review.