Lady Wray’s newest full-length, Queen Alone is a showcase of Nicole Wray’s inarguable vocal talent. Behind that talent is a musical force deserving of it’s own recognition. And that’s where the spotlight shines on this release, Queen Alone Instrumentals. The record was written and recorded in 10 days at the legendary Diamond Mine Studios, in Queens NY with Leon Michels and Thomas Brenneck handling production.
Body Wash is his second album for Stones Throw Records, a full set of realized songs that were only hinted at on Yawn Zen. Influences here include the likes of early SOLAR records material, Leon Sylvers III, Kashif, and Dave Grusin. These artists, Mndsgn says, “embodied that potent feeling in the early 80s boogie/funk/soul/jazz/fusion wave.” He adds, “I was also digging back into some early 90s R&B sounds and started really imagining what it would be like if I had mashed the two eras together.” He explains Body Wash as “a soul record that plays with nostalgic elements in a very dynamic & positive way. Think about it as a box of crayons for you to draw emotions with.”
Produced by Leon Michels and Thomas Brenneck, and brilliantly performed by the Expressions, Special Night was written, recorded, mixed, and mastered entirely to tape in three weeks at the legendary Diamond Mine Studios in Queens, NY. A sense of urgency, equal parts fun and inspiration, and a decent amount of beer and Jack Daniels were the driving forces during the sessions that produced Lee Fields & The Expressions latest offering. Whether tackling a tune about love lost, found, or broader topics like the state of humanity, Lee has a very unique and honest perspective that is on display with each unforgettable performance. Also, The Expressions have never been sharper, they, along with Lee, have created a collection of music on Special Night which holds court with pretty much any soul music that came before it.
After repeatedly being visited by a strange messenger in his dreams while on tour in the islands of Greece, Toby Pazner became consumed with a vision to tell the stories of The Olympians through music. Chosen by the gods as a messenger for not only his musical gifts, but for his unique position at the center of the Daptone family, Toby built a home studio from scratch and employed some of the top soul musicians in the world to help him breathe life into this album. The result is a dramatic and cinematic journey to the outer limits of instrumental soul music, built on a foundation laid by the same craftsmen whose bricks built the legacies of Sharon Jones, Lee Fields, Charles Bradley, The Budos Band, and Menahan Street Band, and painted with lush strings, harpsichord, harp, and horns. The Olympians is destined to be the instrumental gem of the year.
On Yes Lawd!, .Paak – who calls the album “my best work” – plays theatrically brash version of himself who sings like a ’70s superstar and talks shit like a stone cold player. But the performance is seeded with details from his life, which has seen a fair share of struggle and hard-won triumph. Meanwhile, Knx weaves a tapestry of sampled bits and live fragments-bass, brass and violin-that smooths everything over, reminding us that despite whatever struggle it took to get here… well, you already know the name: NxWorries.