For every album that goes ‘1989’ or ‘25’ big, there are hundreds of albums that go unheralded. Here are some of those albums released in the past 12 months which we feel deserved the headlines.
Sevendust – Kill The Flaw
2015 was the year Atlanta rockers Sevendust returned to their hardcore selves. The previous year they had released an acoustically remade collection of past fan favorites such as ‘Denial’ and ‘Karma’ mixed with a few new recordings. While ‘Time Travelers & Bonfires’ was a for-the-fans-by-the-fans kind of effort, ‘Kill The Flaw’ is more like the rugged, raw, yet melodically tight Sevendust we know and love.
Hit N Run Phase 2 – Prince
Pop-funk legend Prince finally overcame his aversion for all things Internet to avail a new album for streaming on Tidal (and Apple Music on the down-low). From the politically charged opener ‘Baltimore’ to the grand disco anthem ‘Big City’, you will be enthralled by musical precision of this project. After 40 years in the business you would think he’s earned the right to be less exacting, but this pop god clearly doesn’t see it that way. I’ve got ‘Groovy Potential’ stuck on repeat.
Joss Stone – Water For Your Soul
British soulstress Joscelyn Eve Stoker, better known as Joss Stone, went all out to showcase her versatility with the reggae album ‘Water for Your Soul’. This July 31 release was her delivering on a promise she made back in 2012. The second album she’s published through her own Ston’d imprint, this eclectic effort was also her reveling in her newfound creative freedom after severing ties with EMI. Besides reggae you will hear a little bit of hip hop, gospel, jazz and Latin elements, all guided by that irresistible soulful, husky alto.
Oddisee – The Good Fight
While folks, including myself, were falling over themselves to worship Kendrick Lamar’s genre-defying opus ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’, a similarly powerful album crept by almost unnoticed. Oddisee’s third album ‘The Good Fight’ in my books goes toe to toe with TPAB in terms of the relevance of its message, the deftness of delivery and the versatility of the production. What makes it even more amazing is the fact that the Washington D.C. did most of the work on the record himself and didn’t have the big-budget team K Dot had at his disposal.
Point Blank – Soulstream
Eight-piece smooth jazz ensemble Point Blank is one of the musical acts I discovered just this year. The band is composed of experienced instrumentalists who have been session musicians for mainstream greats such as Ray Charles, The Temptations and BB King. Their style is a soothing blend of R&B, gospel and jazz that takes you on a relaxed voyage. ‘Soulstream’ contains a couple of original compositions and tasteful remixes of classics such as Michael Jackson’s ‘This Place Hotel’. A really joyful listen this. ‘Can’t Hardly Wait’ is a personal favorite.
Miami Based, Internationally Known