This week we’re featuring a few introspective tracks, so you can save your dancing energy for KCRW’s Masquerade Ball – which is now only a week away! I find contemplative vibes to be just as good as dance-y ones, and this set of music will make for some fine weekend listening.
Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings – “Matter of Time”
Losing one of our foremost Soul Queens, Sharon Jones, to her battle with cancer towards the end of 2016 was yet another gut punch in a year that was just chock full of them. Thankfully Ms. Sharon Jones remained her ultra dynamic self right up to the very end. That fact is most perfectly exemplified by the revelation that her final album with her incendiary band The Dap Kings will be released in November of this year. The first single, “Matter of Time” mainly serves as a reminder of what this incredibly talented group of individuals these players were, are, and always will be.
Shamir – “Straight Boy”
Shamir appeared on the scene a few years back as a clearly non-binary artist with a voice that immediately demanded your attention, and songwriting skills that immediately demanded your deepest respect. Earlier this year, he apparently went through a creative crisis that led him to almost quit music entirely. We’re collectively very lucky that he instead spent that weekend self-recording an album that he released as a free Soundcloud download entitled Hope. Now he’s back on the label track with his forthcoming release Revelations for Father/Daughter. Based on the first two singles, “90s Kids,” and “Straight Boy,” he’s become increasingly interested in dissecting both his cultural and personal identity. Considering the recent news cycle, “Straight Boy” plays as the contemplative anthem that we didn’t even know how much we needed right now.
Connan Mockasin – “Forever Dolphin Love (Erol Alkan Rework)”
Erol Alkan has too long, and too impressive a pedigree for me to fully get into here (trust me, just Google him, it will be well worth your time). His band Beyond the Wizards Sleeve gave me my favorite record of last year, The Soft Bounce, and he produced one of this year’s best albums, in the form of Ride’s Weather Diaries. He’s perhaps best known for his trippy (and usually) dance-y remixes of indie rock songs. His forthcoming collection Reworks Vol. 1 – released via his own Phantasy Sound label – will spotlight several of these gems. From the sampler that’s been sent out so far, this is the rework to which I keep returning. It has enveloped me, let it do the same for you.
(Header photo: Jacob Blickenstaff, carousel photo: Michael Hoefner)