–by Quincy Tejani, Music Connoisseur–
Every month I do a review on the music that I heard in the last 30 days and talk about what I consider to be the best of it.
Top 3 Albums Released in March, 2016
3. Anna Meredith| Varmints| Experimental
On Anna Meredith’s debut album, she blends an array of different sounds and instruments to create a musical experience which is truly otherworldly. What makes this album so fantastic is Meredith’s clear skills as a producer. The arrangement of tracks like “Nautilus” and “Taken” shine in ways that mere musicians could not be able to replicate without difficulty. The only complaint I have with this album is that the consistency isn’t quite there. Perhaps on the next LP Meredith could make a greater effort to remove the fluff and create a product that is all killer, no filler.
2. Kendrick Lamar| Untitled, Unmastered | Hip-Hop
Nothing that this Cali-kid releases is off the mark. I am convinced that there are just some artists that are so gifted that they couldn’t make a bad product if they tried. Actually, in a way with this release of his B-sides, Kendrick is saying exactly that. You can almost hear him taunting other rappers, “Hey man, my throwaways are better than your album tracks and that makes me king”. Although I find the second half of the album to be superior, the whole LP/EP is truly grand. But it’s just another day in the life for K.Dot.
1. Mothers| When You Walk a Long Distance You are Tired| Indie Rock
Okay, I’m kind of cheating with this one. This album was technically released on February 26th but I had already written last month’s best albums list before it came out. In my opinion this is too good not to be mentioned. After the first listen I simply fell in love with Mothers’ instrumental performances on tracks like “Hold Your Own Hand” as well as their vocal performance on tracks like “Too Small For Eyes”. Hopefully this album will not fall through the cracks as the year progresses as I’m sure it will remain a contender as one of my favourite albums of 2016.
Best Album NOT Released in March, 2016
In this section, I choose my favourite album that I found in the past 30 days that was not released in the past 30 days.
Best Find: Stevie Wonder| Innervisions| R&B
As much as it pains me to admit it, no I had not heard this album before this month. What is even more embarrassing to admit is that my parents are both huge Stevie Wonder fans and so I definitely have no excuse for letting this one pass by. In the end it is my loss that I waited so long to listen to such a critically lauded album. And after listening I am happy to say that my expectations were met in every way. This is one of those rare albums in which not one track is any worse than another. Sure there are standouts like “Living for the City” and “Higher Ground” but not one track falls flat on this LP in any way. If you are like me and have passed this thing up for a long time, do yourself a favour and check it out NOW.
Best Track Released in March
Track of the Month: Kendrick Lamar| Untitled 6| Hip-Hop
This one definitely could have found its way onto Kendrick’s 2015 album To Pimp a Butterfly. The best thing about these tracks is that most of them are no weaker than anything on TPAB. I believe that K.Dot merely realized that having all of these cuts on that album would have made the project too damn good for us mere mortals to handle. Don’t pass up listening to this thing just because you’ve heard it’s made of B-Sides. As I said earlier, these B-Sides are as strong as your favourite rapper’s best.
Other Albums that I Found (and loved) in March
Joe Henderson| The Elements| Jazz
Pharoah Sanders| Karma| Jazz
Taken by Tress| East of Eden| World
Matt Elliot| The Calm Before| Indie Folk
Heron Oblivion| Heron Oblivion| Psychedelic
Cocteau Twins| Heaven or Las Vegas| Dream Pop
Porches| Pool| Indie Electronic