New arrival at Five Songs Manor is Engravings by Forest Swords, a record I found by reading the upcoming releases for May and wondering about the new record coming. So far, it's really interesting, although I have to pause it for now to write about some songs. These songs, specifically.
Common Market, "Back Home (The Return)"
This is a Seattle rap group featuring Sabzi (of The Blue Scholars) and RA Scion on the mic. If you've heard the Blue Scholars, you're familiar with Sabzi's beats, and if you haven't, you should fix that. At any rate, you're likely to equally enjoy both groups. Since I like Sabzi's work, I like this album a lot. I particularly like the piano on this track. And, as always, I'm always a sucker for artists repping the 206.
Max Romeo & The Upsetters, "Stealing in the Name of Jah"
Essential reggae album featuring Lee "Scratch" Perry and his band backing Max Romeo, notable for tackling social issues and, of course, being a seriously heavy groove.
Pink Martini, "Ojala"
Portland's Pink Martini play music that I suppose you'd lump in with various lounge music. It always sounds really tongue-in-cheek to me, and I'm not really sure why. They're mostly playing this stuff pretty straight, and lord knows we can always use more exposure to arrangements outside of standard rock combos. Anyway, perfectly pleasant.
Kendrick Lamar, "The Spiteful Chant"
Kendrick Lamar is in the middle of an extraordinary run of albums such that even his release of leftovers, untitled unmastered., is great. This is off the first of that run of albums, Section 80, which is the weakest of the bunch and is still a great album. At any rate, he's famous enough that I'm probably not adding much by writing here, so I'll just get out of the way now.
Yann Tiersen, "J'y Suis Jamais Allé"
And with this, this playlist is probably now about as French as one of these is ever going to be. This is from the Amélie soundtrack, and basically sounds like it.