We expressed our opinion on the release of Michael Jackson’s posthumous new album Xscape when news of a D’Angelo produced contribution was announced, so its only fair we follow up with new developments…
The albums title track has hit the web and unlike most of the crap Sony has churned out since MJ’s passing – this is actually pretty passable as a legit posthumous release. My feelings on releasing unfinished music remains the same, but as far as ‘Xscape’ goes as a single – it sounds like it could have very easily been a part of Invincible – Jackson’s last solo record. Depending on what side of the fence you sit on with that album – you’ll either love this or hate it. I personally love hearing Michael’s voice like this – powerful, defined and pissed off – but like near enough most of the up-tempos on Invincible, the production feels far too forced and mechanical – a problem I’ve had with Darkchild’s production for years now. That aside though, this is a surprisingly promising start.
You’ll remember we featured London singer/producer Bayou and his single ‘Varsity Jacket’ back in June ’11. Today he releases a new number called ‘Airlock’, a far less fragile follow up to its predecessor, the song is punctured with staccato hi-hats, acoustic chords and foggy electronic synths. Like ‘Varsity Jacket’ though the new single features Bayou’s delicate and warm falsetto.
Introducing vocalist/producer dd elle, whose latest single ‘love me only’ (no caps) will have you smitten with its effortless, dreamy vibe and hazy vocals. Melt into the hushed, colourful palette and let its sweet and tropical aroma tug at your heartstrings. Not much is known on dd elle but we do know he/she is releasing his/her debut EP soon, and that it will be titled u. Press play. We’ll keep you updated.
Introducing Bangalore duo Klypp, and their spectacularly constructed debut EP Manifest. Band members Faheem and Karthik Basker entrance with jolts of cool, breezy electronica and mellow vocals that simmer elegantly. The four tracks seem to collide perfectly; seamlessly moving from chapter to chapter – it’s quite beautiful. This is perhaps one of the strongest debuts we’ve heard all year, take a listen below.
Following the splendid ‘Word’s I Don’t Remember‘, How To Dress Well shares another gem from his forthcoming new album What is This Heart? out June 23. ‘Repeat Pleasure’ finds the perfect equity between hazy aerial soundscapes and heartfelt melody as it sees Tom Krell expressing that exquisitely tuned falsetto. This material feels a lot more refined this time around; it’s fuller and more colourful. Take a listen below, and check out the tracklist for What is This Heart? after the jump.
Despite finishing his takeover world tour just last week Drake is clearly not keen on slowing things down. This week has already seen the release a new Lauryn Hill-sampling freestyle called ‘Draft Day’ and now today, he lets loose another new cut titled ‘Days in the East’. Produced by fellow Canadian PARTYNEXTDOOR, the new slow jam features Aubrey’s astute melodic word play that this time even sees him shouting out our beloved Erykah Badu (“remember one night i went to to Erykah Badu house, she made tea for me, we talked about love and what life could really be for me”). Take a listen.
XL Recordings’ RATKING has offered up a full stream of their debut album So It Goes ahead of its April 8th release. The new album builds on the bands already acclaimed New York grime-rap sound and features previous singles ‘So Sick Stories’ featuring King Krule and ‘Canal’. RATKING’s approach to stuttered beats is met with unapologetically hardened verses. Listen up – this is beautiful.
Head over to NPR to listen to So It Goes in full.
Even three years after his passing the power of Gil-Scott Heron on record is still palpable. ‘Alien (Hold On To Your Dreams)’ is the first single taken off Heron’s forthcoming posthumous album Nothing New which will be released by XL Recordings on Record Store Day (April 19th). The album will consist of material recorded during the I’m New Here sessions in 2008. The LP will consist of stripped-down renditions of some of Heron’s best known tracks and will be packaged with personal notes from XL Recordings founder Richard Russell. Only 3,000 copies will be available to buy on the day, so if you want one you’ll need to be quick… And herein lies the difference between good and bad posthumous releases.
As for the track – just listen, you don’t need me to tell you how awesome it is.
Sony announced this week plans to release another posthumous Michael Jackson album titled Xscape which will hit shelves on May 13th. The news was accompanied by the albums, quite frankly ridiculous, artwork and was met (by me) with large scepticism. And even despite the latest news that our hero D’Angelo will have a production credit on a track featuring Questlove & Mary J. Blige – my scepticism is still vigilant.
Of course the very notion that D’Angelo has even glanced at a song graced by Michael Jackson is enough to make our heads (and presumably, the universe) explode but the truth is, these are songs Jackson never intended to see the light of day. These are incomplete songs void of MJ’s true completed vision – I can’t imagine any true artist (past or present) feeling satisfied at the idea of their music being released without their approval; hence why Stevie Wonder, Prince and Madlib all intend on having their masters destroyed after they die – to protect the integrity of their legacy… Not to mention everything that Sony has touched since MJ’s passing has been utterly shambolic.
So yes, a pretty significant, albeit selfish, victory for us fans but we’ll wait until we hear the full thing before we embrace an illegitimate Michael Jackson album.
This has quickly become one of the best EPs I’ve heard all year. Producer and vocalist Oceaán’s swirling lo-fi aesthetic takes flight in his self-titled debut EP. In tracks like ‘Turned Away’ and ‘Need U’, Oceaán lets his soft, airy vocals caress the minimal soundbed provided, bringing a sense of calm and relaxation. Highlight tracks ‘Basement’, ‘Turned Away’ and ’Your Side’ leave you gushing over Oceaán production style. Tuck in below, this is golden.