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BabaFive Alarm Funk, “We Play the Funk”

It is funky, and it features Bootsy

Hayley MuirMarlon Williams, “What’s Chasing You”

This young artist from New Zealand is hitting some real throwback Roy Orbison vibes on his latest full-length record, Make Way For Love. It’s not all nostalgia, though, as the fuzzy production on standout single What’s Chasing You pulls it right back into 2018, pedal-steel and all. Williams might defy genre – a little bit country, a little bit indie, a little bit americana, a little bit garage – but it’s songs like this that feel so good it doesn’t matter what category it falls into.

Mark AntonelliLucy Soltzman, violin / Keith Jarrett, piano & Friends, “First Gamelan from Lou Harrison’s Suite for Violin, Piano & Small Orchestra”

East meets West in this piece by Lou Harrison. It’s the first piece of his music I ever heard. Like Claude Debussy before him, he was inspired by Indonesian Gamelan percussion music and actually called himself a “Pacific Rim composer”. I like to think of it as World Classical music chock full of interesting and unusual sounds!

Amy van KeekenImarhan, “Azzaman”

This Algerian sextet has a debut album of Tuareg desert rock and if you dig the likes of Tinariwen and Bombino you will love this record. Formed in 2006 the group all grew up near each other in Tamanrasset, Southern Algeria, in a Tuareg community of Northern Malian descent. The name “Imarhan” in the language of the Kel Tamashek people means ‘the ones I care about’. There is care in every track on this recording; care, feeling and groove. Fun Fact: Eyadou Ag Leche of Tinariwen is a cousin of frontman Sadam, and guided their evolution and produced and co-wrote several songs on this album.

Tony KingBenny Greb, “Mrs. Thomas”

Is one auto-didactic if they are already playing professionally before they start taking lessons? Such is the case with German DJ, producer and drummer Benny Greb who took his first lesson at 13, but actually began tinkering around on the kit at six years of age. And so it goes that this gifted – dare one say rhythmical prodigy serves up food for the soul on his latest offering Grebfruit 2 – “Mrs. Thomas” is probably the most cheeky music lesson you’ll get all year!

Grant StovelShannon & the Clams, “”Backstreets””

50s pop, ’60s garage rock, even a touch o’ ska… you’ll feel traces of them all on this standout from Shannon & the Clams brand-new record.
At once smooth and ragged, the Oakland quartet swagger their way through this number with impassioned verve.
And the lyrics are full of sly nods to various great songs of yesteryear:
Del Shannon’s “”Runaway””, James Carr’s “”The Dark End of the Street””, Dave Berry’s “”The Crying Game””… maybe even Springteen’s own “”Backstreets””, from “”Born to Run””!…
It’s a real 2-and-a-half-minute rock’n’roll gem.