James Blake – Timeless

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It may be premature, but we’re willing to take our chances and declare James Blake‘s new LP The Colour In Anything an early contender for album of the year. The much accoladed UK singer and musician, known for his metallic electronic minimalism has outdone himself on the new record released earlier this month — composed of 17 no-filler tracks over the span of 76 minutes. With songwriting and production credits from Justin Vernon, Rick Rubin, Frank Ocean, and NZ’s Connan Mockasin, Blake’s third LP might be the magnum opus of his R&B inflected, nu-gospel catalog. Rather than the myriad of contributors making his music sound disjointed, there’s a continuity between the tracks that tethers the effort into one stunning, cohesive piece. His signature spacious and quietly majestic production is still at the forefront of the project, with his soulful, sumptuous pipes reigning supreme.

The deeply moving album plays out like a devotional oeuvre, tackling well-trodden themes such as love lost and grief, but with an introspection, emotional maturity, and eventual acceptance that makes these subjects well worth the re-immersion. Little known fact, Kanye West was actually supposed to contribute to the track “Timeless,” but in the end wasn’t able to make it work. Regardless, the song is still true to its epithet.

Stream “Timeless” and album opener “Radio Silence” below — and then we implore you to listen to the album in its resplendent entirety.

So Much Light – The Barrel Keeps Rolling Forever

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Video game nerds, take heed. Sacramento’s So Much Light (aka Damien Verrett) has reinterpreted an instrumental track from the celebrated game Donkey Kong Country into a “sad boy R&B jam,” and it is a beguiling beaut.

Explaining the inspiration for the revision, Verrett says: The song is originally called ‘Stickerbrush Symphony‘ by the composer for all of the Donkey Kong Country games David Wise. This song in particular is really popular among people who are into video game music — it’s kind of the magnum opus as far as songs from Donkey Kong Country go. Growing up with video games I was always fascinated with the soundtracks and their ability to transport the player into different environments.”

Verrett’s reimagining, entitled “The Barrel Keeps Rolling Forever” will certainly transfix the listener with its stunningly smooth vocals and R&B intonations. Signed to Anti- Records, the singer released his debut EP Idiot Soul on the label late last year. Anti- Records is killing it right now with their roster, so you know he’s doing something right. Look out for more from this burgeoning artist on the horizon and stream below.

Steven A. Clark – Can’t Have

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Described as a Josey Wales outlaw-type raised on N.E.R.D and Kanye‘s 808s & Heartbreak, Steven A. Clark is a new artist based out of Miami beginning to make a name for himself. Having been compared to Frank Ocean and Twin Shadow, he’s poised for big things with the release of his debut album, The Lonely Roller out this month via Secretly Canadian. Similar to the aforementioned artists, he’s taken R&B and added his own blend of cinematic pop and electronics. Listen to the soul-stirring track “Can’t Have,” with its strings-infused opening, ardent production and impassioned vocals below.

Clark will be appearing at CMJ in October, followed by a run of shows with Sinkane in November. Find the full schedule below, which includes a stop at DC’s Black Cat.

Steven A. Clark Tour Schedule:

Tue. Oct. 13-Sat. Oct. 17 New York, NY @ CMJ
Tue. Nov. 10 Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brendas (tickets) *
Wed. Nov. 11 New York, NY @ Le Poisson Rouge (tickets) *
Thu. Nov. 12 Boston, MA @ Great Scott (tickets) *
Fri. Nov. 13 Portsmouth, NH @ 3S Art Space (tickets) *
Sat. Nov. 14 Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground (tickets) *
Sun. Nov. 15 Montreal, QC @ Bar Le Ritz (tickets) *
Wed. Nov. 18 Toronto, ON @ The Drake Underground (tickets) *
Fri. Nov. 20 Detroit, MI @ Majestic Caf (tickets) *
Sat. Nov. 21 Chicago, IL @ Schubas (tickets) *
Sun. Nov. 22 Cincinnati, OH @ MOTR Pub (tickets) *
Tue. Nov. 24 Columbus, OH @ Skullys (tickets) *
Wed. Nov. 25 Washington, DC @ Black Cat (tickets) *

* w/ Sinkane

TOTEM – All Falls Down

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Atlanta-based artist TOTEM immediately caught our attention with his new track out today, a gorgeous R&B gem called “All Falls Down.” With its stunningly smooth vocals and melodic, cascading chorus, we knew this was one we’d have to share. The track — a sentimental take on breakup sex according to TOTEM — will appear on his forthcoming EP Echoes later this year. Let TOTEM ‘take you there’ below.

Thundercat – Them Changes

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Today marks the release of a surprise album by none other than bass wizard Stephen Bruner, professionally known as Thundercat. The mini-LP, which was announced only a few days ago is entitled The Beyond / Where the Giants Roam and was released on Flying Lotus‘ label Brainfeeder. FlyLo actually co-produced the lead track “Them Changes,” which is a funky and jazz-infused jaunt about the crimson aftermath of a love gone wrong. The number also features notable jazz musician Kamasi Washington on sax. We can’t say enough good things about this one, so listen below and then head over to iTunes to purchase / hear the album in full.

John Legend – All of Me (De Hofnar Bootleg)

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Dutch producer De Hofnar has transformed John Legend‘s somewhat blasé ballad, “All Of Me” from JL’s latest album Love In The Future into a spectacular, sax-filled affair. The saxophone is truly an essential ingredient here. Stream and pick up a FREE download by following the link below.