May was not a sunny month in Glasgow but the music kept things bright. Somehow, the usual eclectic assortment of jazz, hip-hop, funk, pop, and dance music seems to keep making its way to my ears. Here are some of my favorite albums from the month.
Also, check out a playlist of tracks that have caught my attention on my Right About Now playlist.
Blue Lab Beats
The Sounds of Afrotronica
This one kind of defies categorization. An instrumental jazz funk afro beats album? Whatever. It’s so good it hurts. I play this all. the. time.
We are a jazztronica duo from London aged 22 and 27. Our influences include jazz, hip-hop, soul, funk, R&B and others. Mix it all up and out comes the sound of Blue Lab Beats!
Check out the newest EP as well, We Will Rise. 🌬️
I had probably heard Benny Sings before (this is his eight album!) but this one has been a revelation. A perfect Saturday afternoon album.
The Hour of Khrysis
My friends and I know Khrysis as one of the best (and most underrated) producers of the last 20 years. This album continues that legacy. Must. Listen.
The Sharecropper’s Daughter
I don’t know much about Daniel Norgren, but he hits me in the same place as War on Drugs, Lord Huron, My Morning Jacket, and Andrew Hibbard with a mix of rock, blues, and country. This has been my favorite morning album this month.
El Michaels Affair
A funky, mostly-instrumental, album that is just perfect as a backdrop for work or play.
Michels had spent the better part of three decades as an industry fixture: playing sax with Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings when he was still a teenager, becoming Raekwon’s favorite session musician, working with everyone from Beyoncé and Jay Z to the Black Keys. After a while, though, he settled into the role of upstate dad, ferrying his three kids to and from school, often with the music on the car stereo blasting a song he had a hand in creating.
Leon Michaels also backed up Freddie Gibbs and Madlib on one of the year’s most popular Tiny Desk Concerts. 🤯
Honorable mentions ✌️
The new CZARFACE with MF Doom album Super What? is really good (hip-hop supergroup with Inspectah Deck from Wu-Tang!?). I am really liking Zo! – Abstractions for its chill R&B vibe. Also, Arlo Parks – Collapsed In Sunbeams is great songwriting and good for any occasion.