25/30 classic review house jazz r&b soul

gaelle – transient (2004)

Gaelle had a lot on her mind in 2004, or maybe it was one omnipresent thought. Either way, one hundred words might be too few to list the genres she brandished on her sole full-length release. Gaelle’s stunning house shines through padded kicks, nocturnal moods, and, later on, longing piano licks. The R&B and neo-soul […]

26/30 album of the week r&b soul

gabriels – angels and queens part I

Anohni and Billie Holiday seem, in a brilliant scientific experiment, to have been welded together and strategically placed inside Jacob Lusk. The charismatic, warm instrumentation from Ari Balouzian and Ryan Hope coats the extraordinary vocals like a weighted blanket. Rather than shifting errantly, the tracks glide between flight paths in motions so smooth they’d force […]

20/30 EP r&b soul

blood orange – four songs EP

This EP contains four more songs of the expected output from Blood Orange. That would be a better title. While Four Songs is enjoyable, airy, easy to digest, I do have a complaint: it’s inarguable. There are so few edges, it resembles the hand sanitiser that fails to sink into your skin and leaves an […]

27/30 r&b soul

sudan archives – natural brown prom queen

“I’m not average,” says Brittney Parks, a lot. Natural Brown Prom Queen has a confidence proportionate to the Ohio native’s vision. The instrumentals don’t merely embody her celebratory themes, but urge them further, like a tennis match in which both players secretly support themselves and the opponent. This is as clarified as neo-soul, hip-hop, or […]

25/30 classic review r&b soul

sam dees – the show must go on (1975)

Sam Dees just missed the mark—not in any tangible way (the title track is a little cloying, but that’s about it). A prolific, soulful songwriter behind Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston, Dees enjoyed a somewhat silent success. His name in solo terms is generally associated with soul aficionados frantically spitting the words “that’s great, but […]

24/30 album of the week hip-hop pop r&b soul

yaya bey – remember your north star

On a hugely satisfying LP, Yaya dances precisely between a lo-fi mixtape and shoomping R&B. The light vocals and delicate production might sink into one another were it not for a sharpness to the writing; especially in its explicit moments, Bey’s lyrics split through the seamless beats with a bite. ‘RYNS’ is not content with […]

17/30 hip-hop r&b soul

aint afraid – heavy guarded heart

This Baltimore-born, twin sister band have been singing together since the age of two. There’s an unblemished coating on ‘Heavy Guarded Heart’ that speaks to a well-planned record and their unbreakable, sisterly chemistry. The twins sprinkle baby-making R&B over trap hi-hats and their own religious sentiments; the sheer earnestness and shimmering positivity of the record […]

22/30 r&b soul

ural thomas & the pain – dancing dimensions

‘Dancing Dimensions’ heralds the seasoned professionalism of its lead singer and the smooth, musical aptitude of its contributors. Unlike much in the current soul resurgence, as declared by the unnervingly mathematical Silk Sonic record, Ural Thomas & The Pain are led by an original of the era—there is no need for close listening to spot […]

9/30 soul trip-hop

poppy ajudha – THE POWER IN US

Ajudha’s first single for her debut LP, ‘LONDON’S BURNING’, addressed England’s conceited patriotism within immigration policy. It is the penultimate track on the record and by a considerable distance its best. At no other point is ‘TPIU’ remotely as impactful. Though the sentiments throughout are bona fide, the surrounding packaging is either intolerably loaded or […]