The Cleo Sol that i remember from a few years back was a great vocalist dropping good R&B music. It all went quiet and I feared that she was another artist that had fallen by the wayside. Thankfully she was busy cooking up this wonderful collection of songs.
Grown, classy, slick, quality Soul music. This project with it’s orchestral arrangments, guitar licks, power piano chords and soft warm bass lines is reminiscent of some of the best soul music of the 70′s. The stories she tells however are very much 2018 and her lyrics are key component to the brilliance of this project.
With wonderful songwriting and production the final component is Cleo’s vocal which is just divine over these songs. Its like velvet smooth and soft floating over the music. She’s never trying too hard hitting her notes effortlessly whilst still conveying the pain, frustration and angst found in the songs.
I can’t find fault with this body (which is saying a lot if i’m content with their being no horns). Any of the tracks could have been my favourite track of the year its that good. Salute Cleo Sol, thankyou and I hope we hear more of the same in 2019.
Pure unadulterated feelgood dancefloor soul funk from Jodie Abacus’ debut album. Since the track dropped it has been my go to track when I have needed to kick start my day or get an energy boost. Those hand claps, synths and woooos on the chorus can’t not get your feet moving and your head bopping. I do love the female bvs on this too. Much like the female vocal on JT’s “Rock your body” it gives the track another layer complimenting the male lead perfectly.
Having followed and supported Jodies career for a number of years it is so good and inspirational to see him release the debut album and perform on the bigger stages his music and charisma have always deserved. He has stayed true to his sound and is still working with a number of the musicians that have been around him from day. The signing of a deal hasn’t seen him veer away from what made him.
Salute to you Jodie for finding the success you always knew would come your way. Lovers of all things soul, funk, Neptunes and Prince get involved if you haven’t already.
I loved everything about Nao’s first album. The sophomore album has defeated many a great artist over the years… thankfully not this one.
She once again has released an album that feels like it is completely on her own terms not trying to adhere to any kind of industry standard other than quality songwriting and vocals.
On the first album i loved the bright upbeat numbers but on this one its the balads and dark ones that have me hitting repeat on the regs. “Make it Out Alive” and “Orbit” are insane with singalong hooks filled with the emotion of the song. But the title track “Saturn” is the one.
Its so good hearing Kwabs’ deep tones on a record again. Opening the song he sets you up for the epicnessess that is to come. Those first lyrics are just magical. Nao comes in and the two deliver this perfect lovers duet. Like the other songs mentioned the hook has you singing along and (me anyway) belting it out in the car. I love that its piano led and the lazy beat keeps the tune ticking over leaving the focus on the vocals.
Amazing song, amazing artist and my favourite album of the year. Quality.
For me this album came out of nowhere. I picked up on a lot of people talking about it and couldn’t deny it’s exceptional quality once getting into it . A mesh of hip hop and soul similar to the Dilla and Platinum Pied Pipers sounds of 05 and 06 with a distinctly British northern Grit making it all the more authentic and real.
As a body of work it’s hard to find fault with it but this one track really did stand out for me and moved me. I guess because I can relate to it and had so many memories myself of sitting in the back of Dad’s car and listening to music it took me back to that happy place and to those feelings of love, cassette tapes and musical education. I guess that’s what really makes music stand out when you can really relate to the message and it’s feeling. this song not only makes me think about my father and those memories but also my role as a Dad and the education I am giving my children every time we drive.
Thank you Children of Zeus for this song and also a landmark album that will go down in the history of UK hip hop as one of the greatest.
Barney Artist dropped an album… YES! Since he first talking about the album being finished on the Are We Live podcast to hearing the lead singles i couldn’t wait to get my ears around it. It didn’t disappoint Hip Hop at its finest.
Listening back to his previous projects and then taking in Home is where the art is you can hear his progression as an artist and how he has developed his sound, style and message. There’s a level of quality and class to each track that is typified in my favourite track Merchants.
The piano and trumpet give it a jazzy dark feel with the strings adding another layer of darkness. His flow and lyrical goodness tell his truth connecting with the production of the track creating a wonderful piece of art.
And thats it, this is his art. Its just real. I think that is the reason he has the evergrowing fanbase he is developing. He speaks his truth and tells those tales from his words. He’s a hard guy not to like and you hear that in his music.
Brilliant first album peeps go take it in or play it again.
What a tune. Everytime i listen to it I hear a different tune or sound that i didn’t before, making me love it even more. Be it the elegant strings, guitar links or the sick Stevie Wonder synth lines that come in at the end break down (favourite part of the song those harmonies and adlibs toooo goood) it is all just marvelous.
There is just an overall polished tone tone to this tune that just gives it a major label quality that can be hard to find in an independent artist on the rise. Her voice also has a class that is sublime. Delving into lower tones helps her to standout even more. Her harmonies and BVs add this whole other layer to the track, never too much never too little.
Just a class act that is doing everything right can’t wait to enjoy what she brings in 2019.
I remember when Intalekt first started dropping the “Dukes are coming” taglines wondering just what is this all about. Then the project came and the hype was backed up by a quality product.
“The Intervention” is 10 cuts of hard, dark in places but ultimately soulful Hip Hop goodness. Each track features brilliant musicianship and instrumentation, which combines with the unique and complimentary lyrics and flows of Intalekt and Geefree to give so much goodness.
I do love the “Pledge Allegiance” but “Lords” is without question my favourite. Undoubtedly it helps that guest vocalist Marie Dhalstrom is one of my favourite voices to listen to but this tune is hard. From the way they drop “Sky would come down” the track grabs me and pulls me into its sick groove. Love the guitar licks throughout and the Bassline is gorgeous. Marie’s vocals are second to none and the vocal arrangement/production makes the track that much bigger.
Two very much down to earth guys out here making that quality Hip Hop that can’t be denied.
#BillyDukes #Lords #TheIntervention #UKMusic #support
Slick… this guy his voice, his sound is just slick, so cool and calm he hits his notes effortlessly. The production and songwriting throughout all of his releases this year have this cool summer breeze flow to it.
You can’t help but bop your head or nod from side to side, 2 step or sway. Its just vibsey music and I absolutely love it! There is an MJ esqness to his voice and sound but it is entirely his own. Not RnB, not soul, not pop just slick and cool. love love his music get into it.
Xover the debut album from Blue Lab Beats was one of the albums I was eagerly anticipating dropping in 2018 and it didn’t disappoint. Merging styles and sounds it was/is a quality piece of work.
Timeless is a track that I think encapsulates what they do. Soulful Jazz and Blues to a MPC devised Hip Hop Beat background. I love the piano and it dominates the track but as mentioned the beat gives a groove to have you bopping your head.
The Vocoder has me thinking of Teddy Riley and Blackstreet at their best and gives it the Jazz feel of the sound they recieve much recognition for championing and champion it they do but their music represents so much more. Get involved!
Ruby Francis is the future. She has this energy about her that is just infectious be it through her live performances, dance routines, beat making or tracks like this one you can’t help but catch her vibe!!!
There has been a steady stream of quality releases from Ruby throughout the year this one being my favourite. Her brand of RnB, 80s, Neptunes inspired funk soul can be found in all of her productions. Sharp stabbing synth sounds that combined with electro claps and hi-hats get you bopping your head. Her youthful vocal hs a fiesty bashfulness to it that draws you into the tune more with each listen.
As I said at the top Ruby Francis is the future, ridiculously gifted and talented that more and more people will discover in 2019.