Sharon Van Etten – The End of the World

#NewMusic from New York, USA

A simply beautiful song with a heart wrenching undertone. Look out for the album due to drop next month.

Ronald Bruner Jr. – Triumph

#NewMusic from Los Angeles, USA

As far as musical families go, the Bruners are quite something. Three of the Bruner brothers (Ronald Jr., Stephen a.k.a Thundercat and Jameel) were Grammy nominated in 2016 and since then we’ve received another album (‘Drunk’) from modern bass maestro Thundercat. Today though we focus on elder brother and drum wonderkid Ronald Jr.’s debut album ‘Triumph’.

Drummer led albums are not all that common, but to tag Ronald Bruner Jr. with only that moniker would be disingenuous. As ‘Triumph’ evidences he is also a very accomplished composer.

The tracks won’t appeal to your pop sensibilities. ‘Geome Deome’ for example escalates through a series of increasingly frantic solos. We get somewhere close on ‘Sensation’ featuring Mac Miller, but catering to the pop market is not what this album seeks to do. It showcases an angle on emotions presented through duelling instrumentation and expertly crafted dynamics. The vocals (when they appear) only add further clarity to the story rather than telling it in its entirety.

Whilst you will undoubtably stand up and take notice to the drum fills and punchy, full beats laid down by Ronald. Jr on each track, the performances this bed lays down coaxes similarly virtuoso like shows out of his fellow players (including Thundercat on ‘Take The Time’).

To paraphrase the tagline of a tin of a well known wood stain (in Britain at least), this album [is] exactly what it says on the [cover]‘Triumph’.

Oddisee – The Iceberg

#NewMusic from Brooklyn, USA

There’s being musically prolific and then there’s Oddisee. The guy’s put out a full football team’s worth of albums since 2008*. Ok so two of them were with his crew Diamond District, but still, that’s one heck of back catalogue. This doesn’t include the mixtapes, EPs, guest appearances … we could go on.

His latest offering ‘The Iceberg’ is laced with the kind of deep and thoughtful lyrical content you would expect from such an astute MC. He isn’t shy of tackling the burning issues of the day. There’s talk about materialism on the bouncy track ‘Things’. Gender inequality gets tackled on ‘Hold It Back’ (“I make more than my sister, ‘cos I was born as a Mr. And I ain’t never been to college, and she graduated honours, yet the bosses think that I’m a better fit [uh]”). Then there’s his reflections on the development of racial tension within US communities on ‘You Grew Up’.

For us, one of the stand out features is the musical arrangement, particularly the clarity of the bass lines that underpin each track. They’re melodic and complex but never draw too much attention from the message that Oddisee’s words deliver.

We have to say, the Mello Music camp is damn hot right now. Grab your copy direct from Oddisee’s bandcamp page (along with many of his other relases).

* 101 (2008), Mental Liberation (2009), New Money (2009), In the Ruff (2009), Traveling Man (2010), People Hear What They See (2012), The Beauty In All (2013), Tangible Dream (2013), March on Washington (2014), The Good Fight (2015), The Iceberg (2017)

Apollo Brown & Skyzoo – Nodding Off

#NewMusic from Detroit, USA

There’s not enough trumpet in hip-hop these days. Luckily Apollo Brown & Skyzoo are seeing to that on this track ‘Nodding Off’ from the album ‘The Easy Truth’.

Don’t worry, your speakers aren’t broken. The vinyl crackle is meant to be there at the start of the track. It’s their vibe!

Matt Martians – Dent Jusay (feat. Syd & Steve Lacy)

#New Music from East Point, USA

With Matt Martian’s album ‘The Drum Chord Theory’ hitting the shops last week, we got treated to a video for the track ‘Dent Jusay’ which features The Internet band mates Syd and Steve Lacy. Production credits on this one go to OFWKTA top boy Tyler, the Creator.

It’s a short reflective piece, sort of dream or fleeting memory like in its composition and delivery. Check out the album in full to get the totally immersive Matt Martians experience. It’ll take you somewhere totally new.