Live At Fillmore West – Aretha Franklin

“All right?” Aretha Franklin asks. “Are we moving in the right direction?” The answer, supplied immediately by several members of the crowd and preserved for all eternity, is yes. Scratch that – the answer is “YES!!!!” Those fans’ entire lives have been moving in the very rightest of directions to put them in that room, on that night, in shouting distance of Aretha singing “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”

It’s March 5th, 1971, a Friday night in San Francisco.

To The Sunset – Amanda Shires

“During the #MeToo moment, much emphasis has been rightly placed on the need for women to guard themselves against the unrestrained appetites of male perpetrators. Maintaining that vigilance and devoting necessary energy and attention to confronting and correcting not only sexual wrongdoing but warped thinking can be all-consuming. While Shires might not have set out to make an album that reminds us of the power of women pursuing their own impulses, desires and ambitions with abandon, that perspective enlivens this bracing 10-song set.” – Jewly Hight, NPR

I Don’t Want: The Gold Fire Sessions – Santigold

“If you want people to hear your message, you have to be in the race, you have to play the game. If you want to talk about it, then make it fun, make it playful, and make it art…The reason I make music is so that I can influence people and inspire people, but I also want to make music that I feel happy about and that I feel is good.

Hive Mind – The Internet

Hive mind – a notional entity consisting of a large number of people who share their knowledge or opinions with one another, regarded as producing either uncritical conformity or collective intelligence. We prefer to think the latter is in play on The Internet’s new LP, Hive Mind. 

“This egalitarian spirit and anti-hierarchical approach to song-making fuel the sleekest, most robust music of their career.” – Sheldon Pierce, Pitchfork 

Heaven and Earth – Kamasi Washington

“You can always say no,” Washington added. “If Trump pushes the nuclear button, the pilot with the missile can say no.”

Jazz has always been radical in its deconstructions of form and forceful assertions of black identity. Washington took pains to note that this album is political music, even at its most oblique, in the sense that it taps into and tries to understand the primal forces that animate our attitudes and choices.

Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album – John Coltrane

It is possible to hear conviction and morality in some of the classic quartet’s best-known music—like the devotional A Love Supreme, recorded in late 1964—as clearly as you can hear melody or rhythm…

A fair amount of Coltrane’s music has been released after the fact, but nothing that would seem, from a distance, quite so canonical as Both Directions At Once, which is 90 minutes worth of (mostly) previously unheard recordings made at Rudy Van Gelder’s studio on March 6, 1963—the middle of the classic-quartet period.

Please Don’t Be Dead – Fantastic Negrito

If you’ve been to a Fantastic Negrito show, you know his catch phrase: “Turn that bullshit, turn it into good shit.” This phrase is synonymous with everything he does musically and outside of the music world, when he’s just another citizen. It refers to how we, as individuals, can overcome struggles, racism, and displacement.

Lost & Found – Jorja Smith

Real, fresh and alive, just what we need right now.

“On Lost & Found, Smith is defining her own destiny. In the process, she confirms that she is special and rare, an asker of impossible but necessary questions.” – Pitchfork 

“In her songwriting, Smith’s superpower is to balance the specific struggles of her generation with the messy minutiae of her own life.

Sink – Sudan Archives

Violinist and vocalist, Sudan Archives writes, plays, and produces her own music. Drawing inspiration from Sudanese fiddlers, she is self-taught on the violin, and her unique songs also fold in elements of R&B, and experimental electronic music. Her new EP, Sink, is just off-kilter enough to keep it on repeat and we think this might be a top summer jam.

Tell Me How You Really Feel – Courtney Barnett

We’re giving long introspective listens to Courtney Barnett’s new LP, Tell Me How You Really Feel. “Barnett excels at exhibiting both compassion and exhaustion at once, not so much masking one emotion with another but asking what it might look like to hold anger and love, fear and empathy, in our hearts in the same time.” – Marissa Lorusso, NPR

Providence Canyon – Brent Cobb

For a day at the local swimming hole or a nice Sunday drive to see grandma, we suggest Brent Cobb’s brand new Providence Canyon. “A fitting title, as Cobb’s new album explores themes of geography, with track titles including ‘King of Alabama’ and ‘High in the Country;’ other songs, such as ‘Come Home Soon,’ are meditations on the way in which returning to a familiar landscape can restore a sense of self.” writes Carena Liptak in The Boot.

Good Thing – Leon Bridges

Leon Bridges makes a “good thing out of bad news” on his new record, which is light on politics, but as Esquire notes: “It’s not that Bridges doesn’t have his opinions—we’re living in a time of ‘bad leadership’ he says, succinctly, before remarking that we’re also in a time of oversharing when it comes to our vitriolic stances—but it didn’t feel right here.