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Electronic - To be released December 3, 2021 | Stones Throw

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Jazz - To be released November 10, 2021 | Stones Throw

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Jazz - To be released October 29, 2021 | Stones Throw

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Electronic - Released October 20, 2021 | Stones Throw

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Jazz - Released October 19, 2021 | Stones Throw

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Jazz - Released October 13, 2021 | Stones Throw

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R&B - Released October 1, 2021 | Stones Throw

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Jazz - Released September 22, 2021 | Stones Throw

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 17, 2021 | Stones Throw

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Centered around the songs of composer/producer/multi-instrumentalist Alex Brettin, Mild High Club developed from pleasantly warped soft rock into far more ambitious and musically rich material. Brettin teamed with Australian psychedelic shape shifters King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard for the tripped-out jazz of their 2017 collaborative album Sketches of Brunswick East, taking the stylistic exploration he did on his own to even further out places. Third proper Mild High Club album Going Going Gone continues to push further in terms of more complex arrangements and more adventurous songwriting, but also finds Brettin clearing away some of the experimental clutter that could come off as random on earlier albums. After a brief intro, "Dionysian State" kicks off an album with a sharp neo-soul groove that's as straightforward as it is strange. The same detuned synths, falsetto vocals, and unexpected shifts in song structure that were explored on earlier albums are still present, but they're all laid out in a way that's more economical and precise. Even when Brettin coats the entire mix in phaser, it's only briefly, and we're right back to Steely Dan level production and performances after what feels like a momentary glitch. Other relatively clean-cut stabs at psychedelic soul include "Me Myself and Dollar Hell," the laid-back and horn-heavy instrumental groove of "Dawn Patrol," the breezy shuffle of "It's Over Again," and album standout "A New High," a loungy and tropical jaunt featuring Brazilian vocalist Samira Winteron. Going Going Gone doesn't fully abandon Brettin's tendencies towards warped sounds, however. "I Don't Mind the Wait" moves dizzyingly through shifts in style and tempo, jumping from lazy bossa nova rhythms into breakneck drum n' bass rhythms, the overall speed and tonality of the song drifting at random. Other moments like the demented "Trash Heap," and "Waving" are disorienting, piling layers of distortion and jarring samples along with the more customary soul elements. Going Going Gone reaches new levels of clarity and composition for Mild High Club without losing the any of the damaged magic that made earlier albums such interesting puzzles. It's fun, mischievous, and wildly enjoyable, Brettin and friends turning straightlaced soul-funk and Weather Channel jazz inside out and dancing gleefully around the confusing and wonderful results. © Fred Thomas /TiVo
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R&B - Released September 13, 2021 | Stones Throw

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 9, 2021 | Stones Throw

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 8, 2021 | Stones Throw

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 2, 2021 | Stones Throw

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Jazz - Released August 31, 2021 | Stones Throw

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Jazz - Released August 27, 2021 | Stones Throw

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When There's Love Around is Kiefer Shackelford's second full-length from Stones Throw in 2021. The first, Between Days, appeared in April, and showcased a more elegantly detailed, laid-back presentation. This set differs in approach yet underscores it overall. Kiefer enlisted -- for the first time -- a live band to work with him at Jazzy Jeff's studio. His cast includes saxophonist Josh Johnson, Will Logan and DJ Harrison on drums, Sam Wilkes on bass, and Andy McCauley on electric bass and guitar. The set is divided into halves. The first meditates on his often-lonely childhood, while the second grieves for his recently deceased grandmother. Despite the melancholy emotion, the vibe here is blissful and sunny. Kiefer composed all but one of the set's 12 tracks. The title cut is a cover of the Crusaders' tune recorded in 1974. Kiefer pays a lovely homage to their pianist Joe Sample's timing, phrasing, and open, assonant lyricism, melding electric and acoustic pianos above a ticking, skittering beat, a slowly wandering bassline, and layers of cascading synths. Another standout is the contemporary jazz vibe in "Lift Somebody Up," wherein Johnson's lyric sax playing meets Kiefer's maximal piano while the band erects feel-good grooves -- and funky breaks -- behind them. "Crybaby" is a hypnotic midtempo ballad that weds Latin percussion, piano, harp, and a dubwise bassline in a trancey cadence that follows a gentle winding vamp. It's eerie, haunting, and utterly lovely. "Curly" recalls Three Sounds' pianist/keyboardist Gene Harris' graceful take on jazz-funk. Sampled strings pulse along with synth and kick drums before a bluesy piano and sax melody emerge, then melt into the progression. "Areti's Love" is a glorious ballad wherein Theremin, synth, and acoustic piano dovetail in a detailed harmony that could have been penned by George Duke. Throughout the tune, spacy psychedelic production effects frame the poignant, even spiritual lyricism in Kiefer's piano playing. Closer "I Love My Friends" is spidery jazz-funk with a head-nodding beat framed by hi-hat, snare, and ride cymbals that pulse under vamping guitars, a loping bassline, and a gritty keyboard progression from Kiefer worthy of vintage Herbie Hancock. A meaty yet gloriously expansive acoustic piano break near the end amplifies that impression. When There's Love Around sounds like Kiefer's first fully formed outing. These deceptively complex, melodic tunes are beautifully written, arranged, and presented with organic-sounding production that balances the lyric center of each composition with texturally spacious warmth and imagination. This is easily his finest outing to date. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released August 16, 2021 | Stones Throw

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Film Soundtracks - Released August 13, 2021 | Stones Throw

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Jazz - Released August 10, 2021 | Stones Throw

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Soul - Released August 6, 2021 | Stones Throw

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Almost three-and-a-half years after they released Six Rocks, GB and Yeofi Andoh reappeared under their duo alias the Steoples with a fluid if twisting rumination on the ecstasy and agony of a vanishing romance. The veteran underground musicians soon made it known that "Alas Alice" wasn't a metaphor for the Steoples, as their second album, Wide Through the Eyes of No One, landed within a few months. "Alas Alice" reappears here as a bonus track. Although it isn't quite congruous with what precedes it, the song indicated the album's stormy mix of contrasting emotions and sounds, and its effect, a sense of solace -- with a tender overarching message to stay openhearted and resolute -- in response to turbulence. Whereas much of Six Rocks was purposefully undone and structurally oblique, this set is bound tighter, perhaps a consequence of additional live instrumentation, such as the softly buoyant bass of Joel Whitley. No one integrates and modernizes disparate R&B sounds across eras quite like GB and Andoh do here. Late-'60s psychedelic soul, progressive '70s folk-jazz (particularly Terry Callier's), and early-'80s machine soul are all in the mix. In the most energized moments, there are hints of latter-day Masters at Work fusionist dancefloor projects like Nuyorican Soul and Elements of Life, though the constant somber quality in Andoh's transfixing voice is always present, and there are some eerie currents from what sounds like a Mellotron. The sequencing front-loads the material filled with celebratory spirit and renewed appreciation for the sharing of space ("Ain't it natural to sing along?"), illuminated with dancing strings, flickering guitar, and caressing female background vocals. It stars to get real dim around "Lonely Behavior," a chilling ballad of isolation ("When I see my friends, they pixelatin'"). During the second half, the album slips into pitch-black darkness for "Leaning on Me," with Andoh bewailing his "laces left untied" and "face pushed to the ground," but it's drawn beautifully with whirling synthesizers and a layered vocal arrangement evoking the image of the subject being pulled into a vortex. Out of that burbles and churns "The Real Wealth," where Andoh consults an elder and gets some poetic wisdom that rejuvenates his spirit. It isn't the last song on the album proper, but it's the payoff -- a heartening one at that. © Andy Kellman /TiVo
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R&B - Released August 4, 2021 | Stones Throw

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