HIP HOP

J Dilla – The Diary

Jay Dee’s journal of rhymes unearthed. 

1. J DillaOriginally scheduled for release in 2002, The Diary is the sixth posthumous album from J Dilla. Spitting verses as often as he was banging out beats, JD has been a prolific representation of Detroit hip hop.  This album features his rhymes over heat from top-notch producers like MadlibPete RockHi-Tek and more.

by J Boogie


SALSA

Curator’s Pick: Bobby Valentín – Mi Ritmo Es Bueno

¡Viva el rey del bajo!

2. Bobby ValentinThe legendary bassist and arranger behind the Fania All-Stars, Bobby Valentín celebrates his 75th year with this heavy old school slice of descargas. Featuring killer singers, a hard-hitting horn section and the maestro’s bass front and center, this album was recorded live to tape to bring el sonido clásico de la salsa in full effect.

by Diego Gonzalez


POP

James TW – First Impressions EP

James TW’s First Impressions point to the makings of pop’s next heartthrob. 

3. james twAfter introducing himself to the world with a heartfelt cover of Natalie Imbruglia’s “Torn,” newcomer James TW reveals his own songwriting chops on this debut EP. Fans of James Bay and Ed Sheeran will be flocking in droves to TW’s soulful pop-rock serenades.

by Jordan Davidoff


ROCK

Ace Frehley – Origins Vol. 1

Frehley and friends jam on his record collection.

4. Ace FrehleyEver since hitting with Hello’s “New York Groove,” the former KISS guitarist has been putting his spaceman stamp on various cover songs. Here, Lita Ford joins Frehley on an alluring rendition of The Troggs’ “Wild Thing.” Slash joins him on Thin Lizzy’s “Emerald” and Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready plays on “Cold Gin.”

by Eric Shea


FUTURE BRASIL

BaianaSystem  Duas Cidades

Pra Bahia

5. Banana SystemThis debut full-length from the Salvador de Bahia outfit goes well beyond a standard Brazilian reggae release, and describing it as such does a disservice to the ingenuity herein. Completely non-derivative of standard dub-fusion templates and rooted in an unwavering Afro Brazilian identity, heavy electro elements never dilute the organic analog funk feel which work so well throughout.

by Marcos Juarez


COMEDY

Nikki Glaser – Perfect

What Would Khaleesi Do? Listen to this album.

6. Nikki GlaserIn her first comedy special, the Last Comic Standing veteran and host of Comedy Central’s hit Not Safe brings enough raunch to make even her pal Amy Schumer blush. She takes on the vaping moms of Teen Moms, the bummed-out mascot of Kumon Learning Center and reveals the real meaning of tank-tops.

by Kelly Anneken


 

SINGER/SONGWRITER

Graham Nash – This Path Tonight

A Climatic Tale of Love and Loss

7. Graham NashFollowing the divorce of his wife and severing his ties with CSN, the title track finds Nash channeling Phil Collins as he faces an apocalyptic landscape of “crumbling rock and stones on fire.” This heartfelt album shows off the veteran singer-songwriter’s soothing voice and moving songwriting as he embarks on a new journey.

by Michelle Solomon


 

DANCEHALL REGGAE

ZJ Liquid Msquared

ZJ’s star studded spotlight.

Reggae’s8. ZJ Liquid strongest releases always carry the stamp of visionary producers. On Msquared, ZJ guides a pantheon of reggae talents over crisp riddims that demonstrate his eclectic production. The resulting collaborations are stellar: Demarco singjays over “Collin.” Meanwhile, Konshens’ sultry “Action,” Kalado’s soca fueled “Fuego” and Vybz’s dancehall serenade “Forever” are highlights on a standout album.

by Diego Herrera


 

PUNK

face to face – Protection

SoCal punks return to their roots. 

9. Face to FaceFor 25 years, face to face have been the progenitors of third-wave California punk. They come full-circle on Protection, marking their return to Fat Wreck Chords, the label that released their 1993 debut Don’t Turn Away. Eight records later, long-time fans will find that Protection has more in common with their seminal early albums.

by Mat Bates


INDIE ROCK

Indie Sub of the Week: Sun Valley Gun Club – Sun Valley Gun Club

Perfect Sound Forever

10. Sun Valley Gun ClubFrom the abstract, exquisite corpse style song titles to the wasted, slacker vibe, these laid back locals wear their unabashed love for Pavement like a badge of honor. SVGC’s self-titled debut is a woozy, twang flecked throwback to the glory days of nineties college rock, replete with slouchy pop smarts and a charmingly off-kilter Malkmussian drawl.

by Andee Connors

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