Jordan Rakei – Wallflower (Ninja Tune)
At just 25, New Zealand born London based Jordan Rakei is a supremely talented multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and producer, with the world seemingly at his feet. Wallflower is a big step-up from his previous releases, at times introspective, at other times boldly expressive, this is neo-soul delivered with real passion and considerable skill. The jazz tinged arrangements often allow the musicians to completely express themselves, yet when needed, Rakei capably brings things back to simple and catchy heartfelt soul music.
Mount Kimbie – Love What Survives (Warp)
UK duo Mount Kimbie have been around a while, part of the post-dubstep scene, their early work comparable with friend and collaborator, James Blake. With their third LP, they’ve moved away from that sound – as have most of their contemporaries – and offer up a far livelier outing. Love What Survives blends punchy Krautrock with post-punk rhythms, coming across as a mix of Can and UK bands like A Certain Ratio and Magazine. It’s a fantastic new direction, that while never eschewing the past completely, sound like a band excited by these new possibilities.
Ariel Pink – Dedicated to Bobby Jameson (Mexican Summer)
LA’s Ariel Marcus Rosenberg has always been prolific, since the early 00s he’s produced a number of fascinating albums that blended a gift for songwriting with a kitschy sense of humour. Ariel Pink’s output has often been best approached as slightly tongue in cheek, a musician whose immense talent was sometimes obscured by an ongoing wish to be odd. Dedicated to Bobby Jameson shows an artist maturing a little bit, and delivering a far more laid back personal offering. This isn’t a bad thing when you’ve had a dab at so much on previous releases, it’s actually a rewarding new avenue, and throughout this excellent LP, we get playful pop songs with melodies that linger in the mind long after listening.