Digging into music new and old has been a lifeline during recent days of isolation. I’m fascinated with the way music connects across all genres, styles, eras and specific moments in time. And as KHOL’s music director, my goal is to showcase that connectivity, whether direct or indirect, through the DNA of various types of music.
Here are some of my recent favorites on heavy rotation.
Mild Minds is the cool younger brother of Bonobo, Caribou and Four Tet. Based in Los Angeles by way of Melbourne, Mild Minds creator Benjamin David has released a debut album that’s exactly that. It’s a focused state of mind with warm synthetic textures, danceable beats and eyes-to-the-sky reflection that gets under your skin and keeps you coming back for more.
“MOOD” features a nice blend of both bright and melancholic melodies distilled through the prism of house music, lo-fi electronica and pop-leaning songwriting. Released on ODESZA’s Foreign Family Collective label, “MOOD” represents the inexplicable energy that moves through all of us. Its strong sense of adventure and the joy of new beginnings is the prelude for a hopeful and carefree summer.
If Mild Minds is looking outward, Toronto’s Prince Josh (Josh McIntyre) has a gaze that is unmistakably inward. One half of the duo Prince Innocence, Prince Josh’s “The Joy” features lush, introspective club sounds pulled from various genres like house, downtempo and hip-hop. Vocal samples from the loneliest corners of the internet create texture, and McIntyre couples that with a collage of instruments and sounds that fit these strange times like the fit of your favorite tattered hoodie.
“The Joy” evokes the euphoric sense of community we feel during long nights and early mornings connecting on the dance floor. As the narrator in the title track music video says, “The joy that you get raving is inseparable from the joy you get from forming connectedness with people.” We could all use a little bit of that right now.
If connectedness and community are what you seek then the definitive anthology “Stone Crush: Memphis Modern Soul 1977-1987” will not disappoint. Released by archival indie label Light In The Attic, it’s an excellent collection of rare and overlooked slices of funk, disco, boogie and soul from the post-Stax era of Memphis, Tennessee.
Renowned local record collectors compiled the album, showcasing the talent that permeated the scene once Isaac Hayes and Otis Redding left town. It features amateur one-hit wonders like dentist O.T. Sykes, who traded dental work for studio time, and the visionary behind Captain Fantastic & Starfleet, who spent most of his time in the advertising industry. The styles vary from bedroom funk to private press soul to the incomparable genre of roller skate boogie as featured in the video for the album closer “I’m Just A Boogie Roller.”
Throughout the 19-track album, you will hear the influence of Parliament-Funkadelic, Philly soul, Kool & The Gang, Zapp and even some early Prince. Sure, they’re not juggernaut hits, but they’re not supposed to be. This collection transports you to a time gone, whether in memory or imagination, it’s a moment when you were having the time of your life.
On the singles front, we’re spinning new gems from Tom Misch & Yussef Dayes, Howard Wales, Becca Mancari, Don Bryant, Chicano Batman, Nikitch & Kuna Maze and Hanni El Khatib.
Listen below for more. 👇