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On The Record: Major Lazer, Laura Mvula, The Thermals, Born Ruffians, Ghostface Killah, And The Yeah Yeah Yeahs

imageMajor Lazer
Free The Universe
(Secretly Canadian/Mad Decent)
Sounds like:
It’s here! And it’s a little flat. The much-anticipated sophomore from Diplo’s dancehall project sees new personnel and a slew of bizarre guests.
Free association: There are a few keepers, but nary a “Pon de Floor” in sight.
For fans of: Dirty Projectors/Vampire Weekend x Jamaica, twerking, Mary Jane.

imageLaura Mvula
Sing to the Moon
(Columbia)
Sounds like:
Last month’s eye-opening debut from an exciting new London talent, a soulful and capable vocalist who deftly uses handclaps, orchestration and wit.
Free association: London soul yields some of the most exciting new artists ever.
For fans of: Amy Winehouse/Estelle x Lianne La Havas, brilliant young talent.

imageThe Thermals
Desperate Ground
(Saddle Creek)
Sounds like:
The sixth from the Portland power-punk lite trio does revisit the former thrashier records we love, but they just don’t have the same anger.
Free association: Their third, The Body, The Blood, The Machine, set the bar way too high.
For fans of: No Age + Bratmobile x Beat Happening, anti-establishment angst.

imageBorn Ruffians
Birthmarks
(Yep Roc Records)
Sounds like:
An excellent follow-up to their killer Say It, Luke LaLonde and his Toronto mates continue to mature, with melody, bright guitars and dancey drums.
Free association: Another Canadian treasure—and one that’s not going anywhere.
For fans of: Fleet Foxes/Local Natives x Ween, Clap Your Hands, pleasant quirk.

imageGhostface Killah
Twelve Reasons to Die
(Soul Temple Entertainment)
Sounds like:
Hell, yes! Ghostface is in top form, and the production is sick, using RZA’s style of dusty old vinyl reverence but sharpening it with crisp soul sounds.
Free association: Emceed stories of dying and the afterlife—this is Killah’s specialty.
For fans of: Wu-Tang/Raekwon/Inspectah Deck/Cappadonna, Staten Island OGs.

imageYeah Yeah Yeahs
Mosquito
(Interscope)
Sounds like:
A lovely and weird mixed bag from Karen, Nick and Brian, with nods to each of their capably-handled genres: punk, art pop, electro and garage.
Free association: Unbelievably balanced; from shrieking to a wedding song.
For fans of: Gossip/PJ/Siouxsie + Wire/ The Rapture, smart girls, relevance maintenance.


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Calmnesse  says:

As a Londoner, I’d be delighted if the rare gem that is Laura Mvula was one, too, but another of England’s great cities seeded, nourished and nurtured into full bloom her talent!

Laura is from Birmingham, in England, where she studied classical composition at the Birmingham Conservatoire. Her younger sister and brother are also very musically talented, playing violin and cello, in her band, respectively.

I haven’t stopped playing Sing to the Moon since buying it earlier this month. Stellar!

Apr 25 6:29 AM

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