Grey Reverend – A Hero’s Lie (Motion)
Having sold his soul at the crossroads of Brooklyn hipster cool and Elliott Smith-channeling emotional intensity, L.D. Brown presents his second full-length album for Ninja Tune offshoot Motion Audio. Not unlike Trouble-d troubadour Ray Lamontagne, Brown’s Grey Reverend alter-ego is a master of the understatement; quiet music that just seems BIG. Delicate melodies glide blissfully in the shadows of something more ominous, something more mysterious. For anyone who may have been introduced to this man’s music via his appearance on Bonobo’s stunning North Borders album, there couldn’t be a better, more rewarding starting to point for his solo material. Get the lowdown here.
Anna Calvi – One Breath (Domino)
This forthcoming second album (and accompanying tour) from the multi-ranged vocalist and guitar virtuoso Calvi finds her in an altogether more reflective mood than her Mercury and Brit nominated debut. While words and music still swoop and soar; the tone is one of introspection, self-exploration and of the balances of personality. Having taken a year to write and several hard weeks to record, One Breath is likely to be the album that catapults the Londoner to the global acclaim she hinted at with her debut. Check out the album trailer here.
Maya Jane Coles – Comfort (I Am Me)
Straddling the border of UK house and commercial pop, Maya Jane Coles’ stream of impeccable productions of the last three-or-so years have propelled her to dizzyingly exclusive heights of ‘dance producers who ought to make a full album’. From remixing Massive Attack and Gorillaz in 2010 to receiving more industry awards than most and providing mixes for the electronic music web-press elite; via her remix, guest and production work and her own compositions, Coles has stamped an indelible mark on modern British dance music. Laden with guest appearances and driven by her trademark understatedly-sophisticated production, Comfort is as accomplished as (proper) debut albums can be. Pop music for cool people, or cool music for pop people. Either way, we love it. Here’s her XLR8R podcast.
Mayer Hawthorne – Where Does This Door Go (Republic)
Nouveau soul in a similar vein to his previous releases (classic pop/soul songwriting mixed with modern R&B), but Hawthorne’s fourth album in as many years leans noticeably further towards the hip-hop that has always underpinned his past work. As a box-ticking exercise, Where Does This Door Go is immaculate- Pharrell production, Kendrick Lamar guesting, timeless songwriting- and as an outstanding piece of music it ticks every box we want. Leaving his previous nods to yacht-rock moored at the jetty of 2012, this is a record that seamlessly segues between modern studio technology and 60s composition. Watch the ‘making of’ mini-documentary here.
Various – Nicola Conte presents Viagem 5 (Far Out)
Our favourite Italian Brazilophile returns, with his latest compilation of aural exotica for Far Out. Focusing on the 1960s- a turbulent time indeed for Brazil- this selection takes in some of the rarest jazz samba and bossa on the decade, alongside some unheard (by us) takes on more familiar pieces, like the Breno Sauer Quartet interpretation of ‘Take It Easy My Brother Charlie’. Thanks to compilations like these we’re inclined to believe that no bad music came out of Brazil back then, and long may Conte continue to persuade us of that. Listen up over at the Far Out site.
Kon – On My Way (BBE)
More of the vintage futurism we’ve come to look forward to from BBE, this time in the shape of Kon’s debut album. To be crowed the ‘King of Crate-Diggers’ by BBE is no mean feat, but as soon as you immerse yourself in this piece of work you’ll understand. A lifetime of record collecting and an almost Pete Rock-esque understanding of groove conspire to make this masterpiece of soulful roots, eighties lushness and modern studio mastery. This is dancefloor music made up of a combination of parts wholly more precious and fragile. Let BBE tell you the full story.