There is much to fall in love with on Mean Love. It might be the funky, infectious brass lines of “New Name” or the reggae-soul of “Young Trouble” or the Sudanese Pop melody of “Omdurman.” West African slow-burners, steel guitar arrangements and country-soul, a Noir Blaxploitation vibe, and a sweet falsetto voice reminiscent of Curtis Mayfield, esp. in album standout “Hold Tight.”
Sinkane integrates a staggeringly broad palate of musical influences into an eclectic collection of funky, catchy, super-colorful tunes.
Favorite Tracks: How We Be (1), Young Trouble (4), Moonstruck (5), Hold Tight (7)
On Dead, their first full-length, Scottish hip hop trio Young Fathers bring an eclectic clash of tribal drum patterns, oddball distorted synths, and dark, war-torn rhymes delivered with ridiculous energy. Their voices alternate between group vocals, call & response, singing, and rapping, usually all on one track. The whole sound is fiercely original while clearly steeped in the African roots of 2 of the members, the raw, tribal feel combined with punk energy and intensely colorful, often bonkers delivery makes for a wholly unique trip.
Favorite Tracks: No Way (1), Low (2), Get Up (5), DIP (6), Hangman (9)
Dubkasm are a product (and one of the finest) of the soundsystem culture’s transplantation from Jamaica to Bristol. The grooves and sounds of the album are mostly reggae & dub in the classical sense, but with a splash of Brazilian flavor (see the awesomely goofy guiro intro to track 5) and a variety of guest vocalists. The production quality is very clean and digital as opposed to traditionally raw & lo-fi dub recordings, making for a deep, crisp, almost trip-hoppy feel at times. And Dubkasm’s knack for building weighty yet kinetic, skanking, & headnodding grooves is undeniable.