The Sounds of Now: Spring Awakenings

Keep your finger on the musical pulse. The Sounds of Now spotlights standout tracks that excite us here at KHOL. These songs are featured weekdays between 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

by | Apr 8, 2021 | Sounds of Now

Floating Points & Pharaoh Sanders – Movement 6 (Jazz / Electronic)

Spiritual jazz saxophone legend Pharoah Sanders has joined forces with electronic producer Floating Points (aka Sam Shepherd) for a new album called “Promises,” a nine-movement collaborative suite. Recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra, the project has been in the works for five years, with Sanders and Shepherd recording their parts together in Los Angeles. The album is an intriguing combination of supreme talent across different generations. It’s lush and ambient, dramatic but calming; a beautiful way to wake up from the past year’s slumber.

Gary Bartz – The Message (Jazz / Funk)


Sax man Gary Bartz has done it all. Over his long and illustrious career, the 80 year old has been intimately involved with every aspect of the jazz world, all while remaining unmistakably Gary Bartz. With its slinky bassline and shuffling drums pushing the track forward, “The Message” serves as the spiritual and emotional centerpiece of his new album, “JID 006.” It sounds classic and futuristic at the same time, with a hypnotic interplay of instruments and textures — a style Bartz has become famous for and no doubt revered by Jazz Is Dead label owners Ali Shaheed Muhammed and Adrian Younge.

Mndsgn – Hope You’re Doing Better (Soul)

“Hope You’re Doing Better” is the lead single to Mndsgn’s new album via Stones Throw Records. The follow up to his last album, “Body Wash,” it has him maintaining and improving upon his warm neo-jazz production that’s relaxed and intimate. “Hope You’re Doing Better” finds Mndsgn offering support to someone who’s “going through the motions,” just to let them know “you know you got a friend whenever you need one.” It’s a universal message that hits home during these strange, isolated times when people need support the most.

Sports – Baby Baby (Dream Pop)

Oklahoma dream-pop duo Sports (Cale Chronister and Christian Theriot) have released their new project, “Get A Good Look Pt. 1.” Across six tracks, it effortlessly blurs the lines between synth-pop, indie-funk, disco and psychedelic rock. The track “Baby Baby” is about the vicious cycle of codependency. Its breathy, pained vocals plead with a mixed up lover over a bouncy assortment of warm and vulnerable instrumentation.


Lava La Rue – Magpie (R&B / Soul / Funk)

Lava La Rue’s “Butter-Fly EP” showcases La Rue’s agility as an artist while capturing the raw emotion of falling in love and recognizing the kind of person she wants to be. Dazed and alluring, “Magpie” goes from a swirling, jazzy synth loop to free-flow rap, R&B cuts and trap drum patterns as her voice swoops up and down, soulfully lamenting the social realities of contemporary queer love.

Genesis Owusu – Gold Chains (R&B / Funk)

The Ghanian-born, Australian-based Genesis Owusu has created his own multi-layered universe of avant-garde R&B, hip-hop and future-funk on his album “Smiling With No Teeth.” Lead single “Gold Chains” deals with the struggles of the music industry’s focus on artists being a marketable commodity and how artists struggle with the public’s perception of how luxurious fame must be. Owusu’s delivery is a captivating mix of confidence, swagger and humor all riding atop a crunchy funk beat reminiscent of those used by D’Angelo, Outkast and Prince.

Claud – Super Monster (Bedroom Pop)

Claud’s new album “Super Monster” is full of tender melodies that touch on relatable coming-of-age themes like unrequited love and the vulnerability of youth within the LGBTQ+ community. “Guard Down” is an invitingly open and relatable piece of bedroom pop. The song kicks off with an eclectic drum riff that opens up into a sunny world of whimsical fun.  Claud sings their skillfully crafted lyrics with a simple and polished delivery as they take us on the journey of a relationship’s giddy beginnings to its final reluctant breakdown.

Alewya – The Code feat. Moses Boyd (R&B / Soul)

Growing up, Alewya absorbed a wide range of musical influences from her Egyptian father and Ethiopian mother, as well as her diverse community in West London. When she got together with drummer/producer Moses Boyd to collaborate on “The Code,” their artistic chemistry was apparent only minutes after jamming together in the studio. Brooding and euphoric, “The Code” begins with layered vocals and a mysterious guitar that opens up into a snappy snare-filled chorus tackling the anxiety and dread of everyday life while catching a hopeful glimpse of a light at the end of the tunnel.

Yeek – 3000 Miles (Baby Baby) (R&B / Hip Hop)


Heavily influenced by the R&B records he heard growing up during family karaoke nights, Filipino-American singer Yeek’s new album, “Valencia,” is both confident and vulnerable. Single “3000 Miles” celebrates the lusty highs and laments the confusing lows of a brand new long distance relationship. Buzzing with anticipation, the song grapples with the painful ache of yearning for a lover that leaves you breathless over crispy drums, pitched up vocal textures and a bouncy, round bassline.

Fantasydub – L’Heritage Universel feat. Baba Salah (Funk / World)

Fantasydub is a new project pairing Los Angeles-based founding member of the band Fool’s Gold, Luke Top, with West African singer/guitarist Baba Salah. Their upbeat new single “L’Heritage Universel” is a refreshing breath of summertime bliss that will have you envisioning swaying palms, ocean breeze and umbrellas in your drinks. It’s a welcome mix of enchanting groove with global influences, almost impossible not to move to. “L’Heritage Universel,” features a magical guitar-led bounce that looks toward a brighter future. “The song is about the legacies (cultural, civilization, social and scientific) of all mankind,” Salah said.

Bomba Estereo – Deja (Electro Tropical)

Colombian stars Bomba Estereo return with a new EP called “Agua,” a project divided into parts based on the four classical elements: Agua, Aire, Tierra and Fuego (Water, Air, Land and Fire). The song “Deja” pleads with listeners to heal their woes by singing, dancing and even crying. The track starts off with birds chirping over groovy pads with a pitched down vocal rising up from the swamp then kicks in with a shimmering guitar, along with a four-on-the-floor drum beat before the celebratory vocals come in and take you on a fun rollercoaster ride. Singer Li Saumet said, “We made this album so you can dance to it at a club, but at the same time it has a profound meaning. It’s meant for you to dance with a conscience.”

Django Django – Glowing In The Dark (Indie Rock)

London-based band Django Django’s new album “Glowing in the Dark” has a running theme of escape. It’s sometimes sad and yearning, but very often full of hope. The title track starts things off with a quick moving drum break followed by a gentle buzzsaw synth and some flickering poppy vocals, both in the verse and the reverb-heavy adlibs. These electro pop rock peers of Hot Chip have seemingly hit their stride on their fourth full length release with a more polished approach while still staying true to their various influences from all different genres.

Anchorsong – New World (Electronic / World)

The London-based Japanese producer Anchorsong’s latest single “New World” is an inspiring piece of music containing elements of shoegaze, ambient and hip-hop grooves built with unique wind instruments, choirs and various sonic elements. “New World” begins with an ethereal zen garden complete with chimes and pads but then suddenly breaks into a captivating drum break with some plucked pizzicato strings and “oh yeah” vocal snippets.  The track has a shining, uplifting quality that seems to say, “Relax, everything’s going to be alright.”

Brijean – Feelings (Dance / Electronic)

Brijean’s sophomore album, “Feelings”, is full of lush, danceable, tropicalia vibrations — the perfect soundtrack for the summer to come. “Feelings” was inspired by the diverse music of singer Brijean Murphy’s childhood: she was immersed in jazz, Latin and soul from a very young age. Guided by an exuberant mix of charming keyboards, a grooving bass line and bongo-driven rhythms, the title track will quickly transport you to a poolside lounge you won’t ever want to leave.

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About Jack Catlin

Jack is KHOL's music director. He says all music is in some way connected no matter the style and his mission is to provide listeners with a unique and memorable experience each time they tune in to KHOL or see him DJ live.

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