Brand new music from A Tribe Called Quest and The xx, a Leonard Cohen tribute and more in this week's music
A Tribe Called Quest: We Got it From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service
It's not often that we post an entire album in our Listen section, but the new A Tribe Called Quest record We Got it From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service is too wonderful to choose just one track from. The group's sixth studio album features the entire original members—including the late Phife Dawg who sadly passed away this year. Also with cameos and samples from Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, André 3000, Busta Rhymes, Anderson .Paak, Talib Kweli, Jack White, Elton John and more, it's an incredibly rich record, which (to paraphrase Questlove) has a real group aesthetic which offers tremendous strength and character. Not to mention, there's ATCQ's always on-point beats and superb production.
The xx: On Hold
After teasing of a new record, The xx has officially announced their third LP (their first release since 2012) which will be titled I See You. The lead track from the record, "On Hold," came out today and—just like their previous offerings—is equal parts gloomy and sexy, thanks to Oliver Sim and Romy Madley Croft's vocals. Overall though, this tune has a distinct sparkly, disco vibe thanks to Jamie xx's impeccable production.
Anonymous musician BOYBOY just released a video for his third track, "Vices" and it's a stark but lovely accompaniment to the buoyant pop track. The New Zealand-born, LA-based artist is a bit of a mystery, but his gentle groove is undeniable. There's also plenty of speculation that the star of the video might be BOYBOY himself, but really that's less important than the ultimately enjoyable song.
Laura Mvula: Ready or Not
It's a bold move to cover The Delfonics' "Ready or Not Here I Come (Can't Hide from Love)"—especially when considering The Fugees did so years ago with huge success—but British singer Laura Mvula has created a version, "Ready or Not," that does it justice. Mvula's iteration modernizes the song, while remaining faithful to the original: it's vibrant and danceable, while keeping a bit of the creepy, stalker darkness. With layer upon layer of background vocals, Mvula's honeyed voice and delightful accent, this version takes on several different lives before its over.
Leonard Cohen: Sisters of Mercy
For almost 50 years, the multi-talented songwriter, musician, poet and artist Leonard Cohen regaled the world with a sensitive, impactful artistry. Beyond touching his listeners, he would also influence generations of singers to come—many of whom took his songs to even greater acclaim. The depth and versatility of his poetic songwriting, powerful bass voice and elegant guitar work have stood the test of time, and will continue to do so long after his sad death yesterday. Of his extensive catalog, there's something worth revisiting in "Sisters of Mercy (originally released back in 1967). It's one of the only songs Cohen wrote in one sitting, all while sharing a hotel room in Edmonton with two hitchhikers who had fallen asleep during a snowstorm.