Tensnake – Glow
“58 BPM,” the leadoff single for Tensnake’s long-player debut, sounds like a lost slow jam from Prince’s classic period, even using the same LM-1 drum machine. While the remainder of the album isn’t a full on tribute to His Purpleness, it is a delightfully funky dance album that throws in plenty of 80s and 90s R&B references, while employing just the right doses of contemporary EDM. In this way it is the perfect companion album to Disclosure’s Settle, another filler-free disc with an incredible pop sensibility and endless replay-ability. The always funky rhythm guitar of Nile Rodgers makes an appearance on “Love Sublime” and “Good Enough to Keep,” and singer Fiora contributes disco diva vocals on several tracks. Other highlights include: “Feel of Love (feat. Jacques Lu Cont and Jamie Lidell)” and “Things Left to Say.”
Ana Tijoux – Vengo
If you weren’t aware of the hip-hop scene in Chile before, perhaps Ana Tijoux’s newest will open new worlds to you. Born in France to exiled Chilean parents during the Pinochet regime, she’s been churning out rhymes in various hip-hop groups since the 90s. Her previous solo album, 1977, was the first to be released in the U.S., and it received international acclaim with a 2012 Grammy nod. Unfortunately, it may be most known for its title track’s inclusion on a FIFA football video game soundtrack. The follow-up proves Tijoux’s got way more to offer than background music, roaring with an intensity that rarely relies on synthesised beats, samples or studio trickery. Instead, blaring horns, hastily strummed guitars and a powerful vocal delivery drive home thoughts on social justice and nonviolent activism. When she’s not rapping, she sings with a sexy confidence over Latin-Jazz rhythms and Andean folk melodies.
Luther Dickinson – Rock & Roll Blues
If there’s ever a modern white guy that deserves his blues cred, it’s Luther Dickinson, son of legendary Memphis-based session keyboardist and producer Jim Dickinson. He’s played alongside Delta Blues artists like Junior Kimbrough and R.L. Burnside, while bringing their back-country grit to his own tunes. His regular band, The North Mississippi All-Stars, has enjoyed a regular presence on the festival circuit for over a decade, and he’s been constantly busy in recent years collaborating with the likes of The Black Crowes and David Hidalgo of Los Lobos. Like 2012’s all-instrumental solo album Hambone Meditations, Dickinson’s latest eschews the electric ZZ Top-isms of much of his earlier work for an all-acoustic set of fingerpicking, buttressed by upright bass, lovely backing vocals, and fife and drums. In short, a fun little album that doesn’t aim too high but largely pleases with simple ditties about growing up in the Deep South.