Albums

Alternative & Indie - Released October 13, 2017 | XL Recordings

Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music

Contemporary Jazz - Released September 29, 2017 | Young Turks Recordings

Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
In 2015, with his triple album aptly named The Epic, Kamasi Washington became, at over 34 years old, the new heartthrob of the jazz scene, even transcending its boundaries. It must be said that in parallel to his purely jazz works, the Californian saxophonist did a series of freelance works for artists as diverse as Kendrick Lamar (To Pimp a Butterfly and Damn), Flying Lotus (You’re Dead!), Thundercat (The Beyond / Where the Giants Roam), Run The Jewels (Run The Jewels 3) or even Ryan Adams (Gold). And since The Epic was released on Brainfeeder, the electro label created by Flying Lotus, all the elements were in place to make the man and his music even more atypical…. Here, this is yet again a “not really jazz” record label that welcomes him, Young Turks Records, a subdivision of XL Recordings where you’ll find The XX as well as FKA Twigs, Sampha and SBTRKT. A rather short opus (barely more than 30 minutes), Harmony Of Difference actually offers music that is mainly composed for a multimedia body of work presented at the Whitney Museum in New York, notably paintings by the saxophonist’s sister, Amani Washington, and a short film from the Spanish director AG Rojas. We arrive at a result rather in the spirit of The Epic. Kamasi Washington mixes energy and spirituality with the virtuosity for which he is known, his breath awakening the ghost of Gato Barbieri as well as the one of Pharoah Sanders. Also present is his capacity to stack the layers, whether percussive, blowing or harmonic, without ever being indigestible. On the contrary, the passion as well as the tsunami of emotions that emerge from Harmony Of Difference will even be able to reach an audience usually unreceptive to the jazz idiom… © MZ/Qobuz
£11.99
£9.59
Ash

Electro - Released September 29, 2017 | XL Recordings

Hi-Res Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
Everyone knows the English language. Fewer people are familiar with Yoruba… Thanks to Ibeyi’s first eponymous album released at the beginning of 2015, most people have been able to discover or rediscover this African language imported into Cuba in the 17th Century by slaves coming from the country that is now Nigeria. Ibeyi is the name of this duo led by two French Cuban twins of Venezuelan descent who shape a beautiful soul music, both driven and spiritual. Therefore they sing in Yoruba, but also in English and in Spanish. After offering large sections of melancholy that they sometimes transform into percussive hymns, Naomi and Lisa-Kaindé Diaz continue with Ash to mix music from their Afro-Cuban heritage (their father was none other than Anga Diaz, the drummer from the band Irakere) and from their own time, from electro to rap to pop. It’s a blending that they also apply to instruments, whether acoustic, electric or even electronic. Ibeyi even has some fun with Auto-Tune here! Finally, it’s worth noting that this second album is also a confluence of people with good taste, as we cross paths with the atypical Canadian pianist Chilly Gonzales, the furious Californian saxophonist Kamasi Washington, the bass player Meshell Ndegeocello and the Spanish rapper Mala Rodriguez. © MD/Qobuz

Alternative & Indie - Released September 22, 2017 | Jagjaguwar

Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music

Alternative & Indie - Released September 15, 2017 | Mexican Summer

Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
With Pom Pom, Ariel Marcus Rosenberg a.k.a. Ariel Pink probably released in 2014 his most accomplished recording. The one that also reached the largest audience. The Californian genius of Indie pop showed the full extent of his talent as a writer, composer and singer, able to produce a hit anyone can hum under the shower, as well as vastly more daring and complex compositions. Three years later Dedicated To Bobby Jameson is yet another reminder that Rosenberg can do it all! Now 39 years old, he appears to be more nostalgic than ever. Nostalgic of his own beginnings too, as the lo-fi options of this eleventh album are sometimes reminiscent of his first attempts. There is also an open reference to Bobby Jameson, cited in the album’s title, militant but forgotten cult songwriter of the sixties who battled depression after never reaching the heights of success. A marginal artist Ariel Pink can of course relate to… Even more baroque (sixties psychedelic pop, yet again, from Syd Barrett to the Beatles/Beach Boys), consistently caustic and quirky (Hello Frank Zappa!?) and never backing away from experimentation, Ariel Pink is, above everything else, the craftsman of wonderful melodies. © MD/Qobuz

Alternative & Indie - Released September 8, 2017 | Sacred Bones Records

Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
Martial synthesizers, cathedral echoes and tribal drums, Nicole Hummel aka Zola Jesus knows how to set up her very own scenery in only a few seconds. The American’s world could rapidly fall into the depressing or the claustrophobic, but no. Like its predecessors, this fifth album is riveting from the very first measures. A bit less pop than some recent productions and openly looking towards her first recordings, Okovi allows her voice to free itself a bit more of her influences (loosely, Lisa Gerrard, Björk, Kate Bush, Liz Fraser and Siouxsie) to further impose her solemnity. Especially since this 2017 vintage is probably her most personal one. In the grip of a certain malaise, Zola Jesus finds here a magnificent outlet, without ever wallowing in self-pity. It’s a kind a dark and beautiful meditation that is masterfully produced. © CM/Qobuz
£15.19
£12.89

Electro - Released September 1, 2017 | DFA Records - Columbia

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Pitchfork: Best New Music
LCD isn't dead! After having solemnly interred his group at a farewell concert in April 2011 in Madison Square Garden in his native New York, James Murphy has reawakened the beast, six years later, with American Dream. Dressed up like a twenty-first century David Byrne (striking on Other Voices, whose chorus sounds like classic-era Talking Heads), the leader and his motley crew have brought out a fourth album organised around blends of rock, punk, funk and electro. This album is LCD Soundsystem through and through, with more classic songs (Call the Police, an interesting meeting of David Bowie and U2), and fewer purely dancefloor numbers (Other Voices will get you up and dancing all the same) Talking Heads, then, as ever: but also Berlin-era Bowie (Change Yr Mind and Black Screen), as James Murphy's other major influence. A whisker off a half-century old, he didn't need to reinvent LCD Soundsystem - but rather, to bring their unique sound into bloom: to enshrine this music which he has sculpted since the mid-2000s, blending punk swagger, electro sounds, new wave gloom, the hedonism of dance, and the weight of the political context of the moment. © MD/Qobuz
£17.99
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Alternative & Indie - Released August 25, 2017 | Atlantic Records

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£11.99
£7.99

Alternative & Indie - Released August 18, 2017 | Procrastinate Music Traitors

Hi-Res Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music

Rap - Released July 21, 2017 | Columbia

Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
Proclaiming himself as Flower Boy T with that gravelly voice and irascible disposition befitting a proprietor of a rust-belt collision shop, Tyler, The Creator thrives on his paradoxical character and daily life throughout his self-produced fourth solo album. Despite the coarseness of its alternate title, Scum Fuck Flower Boy, this is easily the least vulgar Tyler release. It's also the most radiant one, akin to a modern-day N.E.R.D. album -- marching-band drums, curlicue strings and synthesizers, candy-coated melodies galore -- filled with purpose, lacking in aimless frivolity. This is a major creative advancement, no slapdash repository of provocations and whims. Going by the preceding lead double A-side, the album's essence was impossible to forecast. There was little indication from the pairing of the bare-knuckled blast "Who Dat Boy" with "911/Mr. Lonely," where a longing Tyler, over a supreme dazed groove, sees adoring fans and fast cars -- the latter self-effacingly acknowledged elsewhere as a recurring album theme -- as inadequate fill-ins for one-on-one time. The album contains another hard-hitting track in the form of "I Ain't Got Time!," with the rhymes ranging from routine threats to singular declarations ("Next line will have 'em like 'Whoa'/I been kissing white boys since 2004"), but its makeup is typified more by "911" and the similarly lively "Find Your Wings," off the preceding Cherry Bomb. Even with combination bleacher-stomping/trunk-rattling drums and an F-bomb, "See You Again" is a positively kaleidoscopic love song, tricked out with laser zaps, xylophones, strings, horns, and sugary lines like "I'd give up my bakery to have a piece of your pie." On "Pothole," a low-profile standout, Tyler approaches driving as a metaphor for life, laments his solitude and vehicular escapism, but then proudly asserts his lone-wolf status over the sheep: "I'd rather drown in a pool by myself than fuck with they fleece." While most of these songs are rife with anxiety and isolation, the open-hearted lyricism and wide-scoped productions, put together by an artist in peak form, make them immensely engrossing. Frank Ocean, Pharrell Williams, Kali Uchis, Syd, and Estelle are among 11 supporting cast members, not one of whom is inessential to the whole. ~ Andy Kellman

Rap - Released July 7, 2017 | Universal Music

Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
If Shawn Carter, a.k.a. Jay-Z, has found himself a target for clashes throughout 4:44, it's not with Kanye, or Kendrick, or any other fellow musician. No: the Brooklyn rapper's struggle is entirely with himself. At 47, having nothing to prove to anyone, Jay-Z is not out to gauge the competition or battle the new generation. Rather, he is hitting the psychoanalyst's couch. And 4:44 makes for a beautiful couch to do just that. Solid, robust and nicely designed. The album was produced by Ernest Dion Wilson a.k.a. No I.D. (it's rare for Jay-Z to hand the keys to a single producer) and it remains true to the fundamentals of Jay-Z's work. No vaguely electro sounds, no contemporary beats. Jay-Z has made a classic album, a true Jay-Z album, with groovy and erudite choices of samples (Fugees, Stevie Wonder, Funk Inc., Donny Hathaway to name a few) over which he lays down introspective rhymes on the turpitudes of conjugal life with Mrs Carter (who features on Family Feud), and reflecting on his status and ego. He is restrained in his choice of other artists who feature, inviting only Frank Ocean and Damian Marley to the album. But after listening to the album several times over, 4:44 impresses with its precision, its workmanship, and a certain kind of perfection. Jay-Z made the revolution years ago. What's important to him now is to continue to rule and be respected. Mission accomplished. © MD/Qobuz
£16.78
£12.47

Rap - Released June 23, 2017 | Def Jam Recordings

Hi-Res Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
With his 2014 powerful and greasy seven-song Hell Can Wait EP of exclusively live from the street dark hip hop, Vince Staples showed from the get-go that he was to be counted on as a future star by perfectly narrating the daily lives of outlaws. Eight months later, his first album Summertime '06 confirmed this first impression and was considered as one of the best rap albums of 2015. The following summer, Staples took it one step further with his Prima Donna EP made up of seven new ultra-dark snapshots of his City of Angels (but not only…), in which his flow and lyrics shine at every turn. Most importantly, this EP showed that the rapper knew how to reinvent himself, to the extent of collaborating with British artist James Blake on two titles… In the last few years, gangsta-rap California and its derivatives have provided a wonderfully renewed cast (from Kendrick Lamar to Schoolboy Q, YG or even DJ Mustard, the stylistic range is particularly broad), even though the main ingredients remain the same (dope, guns, sex, alcohol and unemployment). In his own distinctive way, Vince Staples reinterprets all of these rehashed conventions and gives them a unique modern feel. The street may remain the same, but its actors know how to reinvent themselves. With Big Fish Theory, which splashes down on Summer 2017, the MC from Long Beach gives us anything but a Summertime ‘06 rehash. It’s rather a natural extension or even an evolution of Prima Donna. This second album, with out-of-this-world sounds, sails through fully assumed electro seas. Minimalist sounds, sometimes edging towards Detroit’s original techno. Supported by very unique tinkers (Zack Sekoff, SOPHIE, Jimmy Edgar, GTA and even Flume!), Vince Staples and his unique story telling dive into the meanders of unprecedented sound architecture. In Alyssa Interlude, he throws in an interview of Amy Winehouse, his idol, with a sample of the Temptations’ I Wish It Would Rain. Further on, Damon Albarn lays his voice on Love Can Be… and Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon lends his lyrics to Crabs In A Bucket. Big Fish Theory is filled with these more or less unexpected moments. In Homage for instance, Staples goes full on into clubbing. Obviously, the album features other prestigious albeit less surprising guests: A$AP Rocky in SAMO, Ray J, Ty Dolla Sign, Kučka, Juicy J in Big Fish, Kilo Kish, and of course the inevitable Kendrick Lamar in Yeah Right. This album leaves you stunned of an orgy of ideas that Staples was somewhat able to channel and give order to. In this regard, Big Fish Theory isn’t a child’s toy, but rather the brilliant manifest of an artist who cares little about genre conventions and makes his own rules. © MZ/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released June 23, 2017 | Young Turks Recordings

Hi-Res Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
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Alternative & Indie - Released June 16, 2017 | Nonesuch

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
Six years after Helplessness Blues, the Fleet Foxes have emerged from their burrow. These past six years don't seem to have deeply changed the DNA of this group of brilliant folk musicians from Seattle, or their obsession with vocal harmonies. With Crack-Up, Robin Pecknold (who voluntarily retired from the music world to return to university) seems to have no metaphysical problems in locating a point perfectly equidistant between Crosby Stills Nash & Young and the Beach Boys. Wreathed its habitual and almost-mystical halo of reverb, the Fleet Foxes' third album brings together the ample blessings of a Brian Wilson production job with a subtle use of harmonics that hasn't been heard since David Crosby recorded the wild If I Could Only Remember My Name sometime last century. Part way between bucolic ballad and semi-baroque flight of fancy, this luxuriantly-arranged folk music makes Crack-Up an inspired and impressive record. © MD/Qobuz

Alternative & Indie - Released June 16, 2017 | Universal Music

Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
It’s easy to be popular and commercial. It is less so to be popular, commercial AND brilliant. Yelich-O’Connor, aka Lorde, runs straight into this category reserved to a fortunate few. With Melodrama, the young New Zealander confirms a talent that was already impressive on Pure Heroine, her first album from 2013 released when she was only 16! All the elements of the pop identity are there. Lorde talks about herself, about being a 20 year old woman from the suburbs, about her dreams, solitude and ennui, about the transition to adulthood, about love of course, and also about disillusionment. In short, no pop cliché is missing. Lorde works wonders with the raw material accessible to all. Without trying to make the genre appear more complex, and staying firmly rooted in it, she establishes her singularity, her style, her name. “Writing Pure Heroine was my way of enshrining our teenage glory, putting it up in lights forever so that part of me never dies. Well, Melodrama is about what comes next... The party is about to start. I am about to show you the new world.” With this second album, she highlights even more the quality of her writing, and of her voice too. Musically, there is no lurid effect because everything is done to magnify the song, and nothing but the song. In a way, the mastery radiating from Melodrama puts her closer to Madonna, Elton John or Kate Bush than to Katy Perry or Miley Cyrus. And in her post teenager coating, she almost offers the ingenuousness of a rather mature soul singer… In short, such an understanding of the pop dialect at only 20 is rather astounding… © CM/Qobuz