Athena – Peeling Apples
LABEL: Embraceable Records
GENRE: Pop – Folk
Described as “A rare diamond”, and “A singer destined for great things” by the British press, singer-songwriter Athena keeps touching people’s hearts with her powerfully emotive voice. “Peeling Apples” is her second album.
Athena’s debut album “Breathe With Me” garnered many excellent reviews ,being hailed commenting that she was “Brave and original. A remarkably fine singer songwriter” by The Guardian. Since then, Athena has headlined and sold out numerous UK tours, played at Glastonbury, had songs covered by other artists and seen her own music synced with TV, commercials and movies, as well as building a strong and sizeable following.
“Peeling Apples” was produced by Magnus Frykberg and Tobias Froberg (Ane Brun and Lisa Ekdahl), and co-writers on the record include Richard Causon (Ryan Adams, Ethan Johns, The Kings of Leon, Rufus Wainwright), with Jamie Hartman (Joss Stone, Anastacia) featuring on a duet.
“Young, vivacious, charismatic… the balance of her own sensual songs with a mix of tradition and classical influence gives her a rare individuality.” – Word
Max Richter – Memoryhouse
LABEL: FatCat Records
“Memoryhouse”, a gorgeous collection of Classically-inclined original pieces by composer Max Richter, was initially released in 2002 on the BBC’s short-lived Late Junction label but is now long out of print. Recorded by Richter with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and critically lauded on its original release, “Memoryhouse” is quite deservedly held very dear to the broad-reaching ‘post-classical’ field. This long-awaited digital re-release is available now on FatCat Records’ instrumental/orchestral imprint 130701.
Championed as much in musical academia as by fans of film score and of contemporary music, Richter’s pieces share common ground with composers such as Henryk Górecki, Arvo Pärt, Philip Glass, Michael Nyman and Steve Reich in their depth, patience and articulacy, but also capture the swooning serenity and grace of ‘post-rock’ acts such as Sigur Ros or Godspeed You! Black Emperor in their quieter moments. “Memoryhouse” is bright, sparkling, exhilarating, warming, gripping, heartbreaking, comforting and rousing, and never loses its awe-inspiring sense of identity and imagination.
Leila Pinheiro & Nelson Faria – Ceu e Mar
LABEL: Far Out Recordings
GENRE: Latin – Bossa Nova
Leila Pinheiro is one of the most highly respected performers in Brazil with a career spanning 30 years, 16 albums recorded and released in Brazil and Japan, and over one million albums sold. Her ability to sing Brazilian music in all its styles, from classic to contemporary, makes her a truly special performer. “Ceu e Mar” is Pinheiro’s first worldwide release, opening her beautiful sound to European and American audiences. Pinheiro worked with long-term collaborator and friend, guitarist Nelson Faria, who brings a unique technique and chemistry to this Carioca duo.
Inspired by the duo of Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass, Pinheiro and Faria offer intimate and beautiful renditions of songs by Brazilian classic composers such as Antonio Carlos Jobim, Ivan Lins, Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso, Marcos Valle, Edu Lobo, Dori Caymmi and João Donato. “Ceu e Mar” takes both performers to their widest audience yet with a gorgeous, classic Brazilian set.
“Leila is music itself” – Roberto Menescal
“Leila took Bossa Nova out of the ark and showed us what we were missing.” – Ruy Castro (author of Bossa Nova)
Mister Modo & Ugly Mac Beer – Modonut 2
LABEL: Diess Production
GENRE: Hip Hop – Alternativ
The French producer-duo enlisted the newest member of Potholes Music, F.Stokes, for a track that takes you back to the Golden Era of Hip Hop. Crate diggin’, fade tops and all the fun stuff are included in this jam. Also featured on tracks are Jessica Fitoussi and Danish singer Astrid Engberg, among others.
Check out “Modonut 2” here:
Trenton and Free Radical – Giant Step
LABEL: Noise Inc Ltd
The band is a musical partnership between Trenton Birch and Marco Wielander. Ibiza-raised Marco is a studious musician who, having played with the likes of Roots Manuva and Killa Kella, has developed unique techniques for laying down tracks, sampling, and layering, giving their music a distinctively individual character. Combined with Birch’s global musical sensibility, their seductive, acoustic and urban sound elegantly marries catchy tunes with meaningful lyrics, producing energetic and anthemic songs.
Produced by Dean James (Nitin Sawhney, Get Cape Wear Cape Fly) and Craigie Dodds (Sugarbabes, Natty, One Eskimo, Gorillaz), “Giant Step” includes vocals by the inimitable Maxi Jazz, lead singer of Faithless, South Africa hip-hop MC Ben Sharpa and Senegalese hip-hop artist and activist Sister Fa, who recently won the global “Freedom To Create Prize”.
Blaktroniks – Ready Set Blow
LABEL: Tokyo Dawn Records
GENRE: Dance – Electro
“Ready Set Blow”, the latest release by the electro-boogie-robot-soul-funk-hop project from Oakland known as Blaktroniks, is out now through Tokyo Dawn Records. A lascivious connotation and an ominous denotation, “Ready Set Blow” means exactly what you think it means and what you don’t.
The album swings like a pendulum between tearful joy and laughter to keep from crying, between ugly beauty and beautiful funk, between inner peace and outward frustration. It contains some very personal descriptions of our lives as people apart from the creative gesture – songs about resistance, love and the end of the world. Get ready, set, blow!
“Once you press play… duck down! This cluster bomb of hits levels the playing field!” – DJ Ausar (89.3FM WRFG)
“Wow, what an absolutely lovely piece of work, very original and on a Kraftwerk meets Massive Attack kind of vibe!” – Gareth Morgan (Blues and Soul Magazine)
Quantic, Alice Russell – Look Around the Corner
LABEL: Tru Thoughts
GENRE: R&B – Funk & Soul
“Look Around The Corner” is the first full collaborative album from musical soulmates Quantic and Alice Russell, two of the UK’s best loved independent artists and leading lights of the international funk, soul and alternative dance music scene.
This release mixes sweet soul and blues with overtones of folk and gospel, along with the inimitable swing of Quantic’s world-renowned outfit the Combo Bárbaro, who form the core band. Recording at Quantic’s Sonido del Valle studio in his adopted home city of Cali, Colombia, producer/musician Quantic and singer/songwriter Russell had the space and time to revel in their creative chemistry, revisiting and building on the spirit of their previous collaborative tracks which have peppered the last decade (including big hitters for Quantic Soul Orchestra and for Russell’s solo project).
The first single and title track has had heavy early support from BBC 6Music, and has been added to the playlist. Quantic and Alice Russell also have a number of live dates coming up in UK and Europe, the first of which is at Koko, London on May 2nd.
“They’re back – two of my favourites from around the world – and they’ve brought it together once again” – Gilles Peterson (BBC R1)
“Two of my favourite modern artists collide and collude in a dreamy-sounding, rhythmically spacious reunion. Only complaint is that there isn’t more.” – Harry Shearer