Welcome to the Guide to the Week of Music, a round-up of music news, media and releases from the wide musical world. This week, we recap the 2018 Mercury Prize nominees and go even deeper with the new sounds and visuals, in what has been a bumper week for cutting edge music.
The shortlist for the 2018 Mercury Prize was announced yesterday, with London-based contemporary jazz ensemble Sons of Kemet getting the nod from the independent judging panel. Alongside them on the twelve-album list are efforts by Mancunian stalwarts Noel Gallagher and Everything Everything, as well as politically-engaged singer-songwriter Nadine Shah and fast rising vocalist Jorja Smith.
Spotify, the Prize’s digital music partner, promise playlists of shortlisted artists, but in the meantime, you can stream Sons of Kemet’s full LP here and check out their video for Your Queen Is A Reptile below.
Gondwana records, the label founded by Manchester-based trumpeter Matt Halsall and celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, have announced a special 12” EP series. Two records are scheduled for release in late August: the first a re-issue of the highly sought-after Journey in Satchidananda, Matthew Halsall & The Gondwana Orchestra’s tribute to Alice Coltrane, and the second, their collaborative EP with vocalist Dwight Trible. Physical copies of the EP are housed in bold orange jackets with digital copies also available. Check out the releases here.
The astonishingly beautiful music of Masayoshi Fujita has both relaxed and revitalised us this week. The Berlin-based vibraphonist and composer releases his Book of Life with Erased Tapes today, in which his often-eschewed instrument is the star attraction. Fujita works with Peter Broderick, Hatis Noit, David Allred, and the vocal ensemble Shards on the record – the vocal ensemble contributing beautifully to the track Misty Avalanche. FADER have the complete album stream here and you can check out It’s Magical below.
The Jacob Mann Big Band released their exceptional Greatest Hits, Vol. 2 EP last week. It features KNOWER members Louis Cole and Sam Wilkes on drums and bass respectively, boasting feel-good grooves and inventive compositions that will please fans of Vulfpeck and Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society. Check out EP highlight Baby Carrots here and if you want a little more from Louis Cole, you can check out a tasty cut from his forthcoming solo record here.
Folk-rock artist Iron & Wine announced his new EP Weed Garden this week, sharing the gentle opener from the six song collection. What Hurts Worse makes beautiful use of nylon string acoustic guitar and slapback delay on the subtle acoustic drums. Stream the tune below.
DJ Khalab and Crazy P reminded us about the art of remix this week, unleashing their reworks of material by Yazz Ahmed and Honeyfeet, respectively. DJ Khalab’s uptempo rework features glitchy electronics, humming synth pads and some devilish distorted horns. Fans of the Radiohead King of Limbs remix series, featuring work by Blawan, Lone and Four Tet among others, will certainly appreciate the sound he has gone for here.
Crazy P came out with not one but two editions of Meet Me on the Corner, the second being an intriguing dub mix. Their sticky rework features funky rhythm guitar, snarling bass and plenty of percussion. Lowkey disco dynamite!
Finally, Manchester-based duo Darcie, released a beautiful new single entitled Darling this week. It’s scratchy beat, spliced rhythm guitar, crystalline vocals and down right nasty riff during the track’s later stages, point toward their deep musical understanding and pop sensibilities.
We’ve seen another batch of creative visuals from the leading lights of Mancunian hip-hop and spoken word this week. Radiant RnB artist Layfullstop dropped a new video for her mixtape cut SUITS, while poetic mentor Reece Williams premiered his Karl John-produced visual via AndWhat TV and Levelz MC Black Josh shared his new visual for What I Need. All three are key figures in the ever-evolving scene and we recommend checking out their work!
Charlie Hunter’s trio published a new live video via GroundUP music this week. Featuring Lucy Woodward’s vocals and Keita Ogawa’s rhythms, it leaves plenty of space for Charlie’s bluesy, contrapuntal playing. Both joy and concentration are written large on Charlie’s face, as he breezes through a jaw-dropping solo. If you dig what you see and hear, you’ll want to catch Charlie alongside drummer Carter McLean at Band on the Wall, later in the year.
Finally, The Holydrug Couple returned with another quirky video this week, accompanying the second cut off their forthcoming LP, Hyper Super Mega. Ives Sepúlveda Minho and Manuel Parra are the mind behind the video, which you can check out below.
Photo credits: Sons of Kemet – Pierrick Guidou, Masayoshi Fujita – Patricia Haas, Charlie Hunter courtesy of management, Darcie courtesy of artist.