Hed Kandi Beach House 2015
Warning–an unexplainable tingly sensation is guaranteed to take over your music soul once you dive headphones first into the latest offering from shimmering UK dance label, Hed Kandi. The perfect blend of cabana-ready goodness mixed with an open bar of gummy grooves, HK’s latest is the album you need as we get ready to (sigh) start saying goodbye to summer.
Standouts include…all of them. Here’s a few…
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Joss Stone/Water for Your Soul
For her seventh (!) soulful studio venture, feisty British songstress Joss Stone returns with another deep buffet of bluesy numbers, only this time, the diva’s infused her trademark tone with a slight reggae twist. After cementing her reputation as an overseas soul queen – long before Adele, mind you–it’s quite understandable that Ms. Stone decided to venture out and try something new. Does it all work? Absolutely.
Each sugary number is pristinely produced and the album plays out as light as a summer breeze. Now, is it an album that requires a lot of thought? Absolutely not. But if Ms. Stone’s soul purpose was to deliver a light, easy treat for the diva days of summer, she delivers plenty of them in fun tracks like “Water,” album opener, “Love Me,” the cruisin’ “Cut the Line,” and the steamy, “Let Me Breathe.”
The Chemical Brothers/Born in the Echoes
By now, there’s no need to argue that The Chemical Brothers have established themselves as icons in dance music. For over two decades, the brothers chemical have delivered feasts of synth-soaked dance music;creating spaced-out grooves that are miles ahead of their time.
Their latest electrified set, the ravishing Born in the Echoes, is everything you could want from a group that knows what they’re doing in dance music. With blends of hip-hop (you need the Q-tip charged lead single “Go” in your life right now), deep electronica (“Under Neon Lights,” “Taste of Honey”)and plenty of their trademark music mindf#$ks along the way, Echoes is the one album you didn’t think you need for your summer…until now.
Years and Years/Communion
What’s to say about the long awaited debut set from overseas dance trio, Years and Years, besides…everything. While The Chemical Brothers will make you move in a gritty way with their latest offering, Communion will take you there in a deep, spiritual way. From its bold opening start to its surprisingly light finish, in a word, you need to get your Communion on right now. With a set list that’s loaded with short, sweet, charged up tracks like “Shine,” “King,” “Rise,” “Gold” and “Desire,” expect Years and Years to be gracing headphones for a long time.
Saving the best for last, Philly‘s own Jill Scott comes boldly roaring back with her most soulful set yet with the fierce, Woman. Whether on mid-tempo fires like “Prepared,” “Lighthouse” and “Fool’s Gold,”or on feisty soul treats like “Run Run Run” and “Coming To You,” there’s no denying that Ms. Scott still has the chops to slide onto any groove that’s thrown her way. But the real highlight comes with “Cruisin‘,” a windows down-kind-of- jam that truly proves just what a delightful romp Woman plays out to be.