Michael Kiwanuka, "Black Man In A White World"
Kiwanuka's second album, Love & Hate, is an ambitious album that roams all over the R&B and soul maps, unafraid to stretch out the songs, play with lush arrangements, and challenge listeners. It's an album that I really prefer to listen to as a full album, because I think it builds on itself well.
DJ Shadow, "Good News"
DJ Shadow followed up his excellent 2016 album The Mountain Will Fall with an EP the next year, called The Mountain Has Fallen. It features a couple of nice collaborations with Nas and Danny Brown, and then it has this. The spastic pace, blurting synths, and swaths of noise seem deliberately hostile paired up with some of his most accessible stuff. Overall, though, it's a solid EP.
Mark Eitzel, "Help Me Make It Through The Night"
Mark Eitzel led American Music Club before putting out material under his own name. And, truthfully, it's all kind of the same sort of thing. This comes from his covers album, Music For Courage and Confidence, which has a bunch of songs that have been kind of re-worked into sounding like Eitzel songs. This is a Kris Kristofferson tune, and he almost sounds hopeful here, which is nice to hear.
Advertisement, "Seesaw Valley"
Well, here's a good obscurity. We've got a cassette (and digital) only EP from Seattle band Advertisement, who sound like they're channelling mid-90s underground rock here. Which is A-OK with me, this is a fun listen, and it turns out that they have a full album that released earlier this year. Cool, I'm picking that up now!
Albert King, "Flat Tire"
Even though he recorded a bunch on Stax/Volt, which I know pretty well, I still feel like I'm unqualified to talk about Albert King. He rules, though.