Solange - When I Get Home
This is another masterful set of contemporary pop vignettes from Solange, one in which she turns towards her home city of Houston for inspiration. For one thing, When I Get Home is punctuated by narratives from women of the city’s Third Ward, the same district that Solange grew up in. Though this LP largely works with the same painterly blend of funk, neo-soul and hip-hop sounds found on A Seat At The Table, the looseness of beats like ‘My Skin My Logo’ nods to the chopped ‘n’ screwed sound of Houston artists like DJ Screw. This feeling of freedom extends to Solange’s own performances, which maintain the gravity she found on A Seat At The Table while also incorporating a more playful, off-the-cuff feel.
Khruangbin & Leon Bridges - Texas Sun
Leon Bridges and Khruangbin both hail from Texas, a state of wide-open skies and long, hot drives. On collaborative EP Texas Sun the acts unite to create heady psychedelic contemporary soul that manages to capture those images in song. This is an inspired pairing, one that manages to bring out new elements of both Bridges’ and Khruangbin’s sounds while also coming off as completely natural. Whereas his solo records often have a retro feel about them, Bridges sounds modern, suave and heartfelt throughout Texas Sun in a manner that recalls Frank Ocean’s early albums. Khruangbin, on the other hand, clearly relish the chance to play with a singer, their grooves moving from muscular R ‘n’ B to wistful neo-soul with understated panache.
Arlo Parks - Super Sad Generation
Super Sad Generation combines Arlo Parks’ 2019 EP of the same name with the Sophie EP that the London-based singer-songwriter released later that year. These tunes still hit with the same quiet force that they did a year ago. Hushed yet powerful, the songs here mix sounds and styles with a languid air reminiscent of King Krule. Parks’ wistful coo and wise-beyond-her-years lyrics are the glue that hold Super Sad Generation together - her prowess as a wordsmith is enforced by closing track ‘London Poem’, a spoken-word piece which provides a powerful coda to this combo edition of Super Sad Generation/Sophie.