Our Favorite Releases | April 2024

As the music scene kicks into high gear, we’re thrilled to share some of the latest releases that have caught our attention. Here are some of our favorite new releases from April 2024.


 

Alice Russell, I Am (Tru Thoughts)

Alice Russell’s “I Am” is a powerful testament to her decades-long presence in the music scene, showcasing her as a leading figure in contemporary neo-soul. With darker tones and deeply emotional themes, Russell’s soulful vocals and impeccable production create a captivating sonic journey that exemplifies the genre’s best. Alice Russeull is an enduring talent and this album cements her status as an icon of neo-soul music.

 


 

Brainstory, Sounds Good (Big Crown)

Brainstory’s sophomore album, “Sounds Good,” is a triumphant declaration of their evolution as a band. Hailing from Rialto, California, the trio—Kevin and Tony Martin alongside Eric Hagstrom—have overcome obstacles, honed their craft, and emerged stronger than ever. Produced by Leon Michels, the album is a testament to their expanded brotherhood, with each track showcasing their impressive range and maturity.

 


 

Bruno Berle, No Reino Dos Afetos 2 (Psychic Hotline)

recommended by Iris Berkeley

From North Carolina kitchen-sink label Psychic Hotline comes a stunner of a followup to “No Reino Dos Afetos”, Bruno Berle’s standout debut LP from 2022 — this one (the title translates to “Realm of Affections”) keeps on the loosely-held theme of a short but sweet weekend affair, but rides along with Berle’s maturing sound as he adds a more modern edge to the first installment’s guitar-driven neo-Brazilian-folk. It’s a short album — just 28 minutes — but deceptively thorough, and you can hear a bit of a sonic transition marking Berle’s move to São Paulo from his original home in Maceió, the capital of Brazil’s Alagoas state on the east coast. It’s well worth listening to all the way through in this age of singles … give yourself a half hour treat, find a sunny spot to lounge, and enjoy a perfect spring record!


 

Céu, Novela (Urban Jungle/ONErpm)

recommended by Ale Pacini

Céu just released her new album “Novela” full of songs she co-wrote with partners from different countries and music influences. Her unique voice and style are imprinted in the 12 songs that highlights the diversity of Brazilian sounds. The lyrics are beautiful and the emotion is very real in each song. The whole album was recorded live in the studio, so don’t expect any technological tricks! Céu is going to have a USA tour with her new album and is coming to Colorado in October!


 

Ekko Astral, pink balloons (Topshelf)

recommended by Alex Lauria

Straight from the Washington, D.C. DIY scene, Ekko Astral releases their debut album pink balloons, a self described bubblegum punk “mascara mosh” record that sheds all rose colored glasses and stares down the bleak, realistic nature of life in America right now. Making hooks out of ironic internet slang, addressing the real life consequences of covid induced hyper isolation, dissecting the notion of mortality and how it’s changed through generations, and so much more, the record is a stunning, angry, and ultimately brilliant display of queer and trans conviction in a society where constant internet exposure is both rotting our brains and offering community in and distraction from this world on fire.

Standout Songs: “baethoven”, “on brand”, “i90”


 

Fabiana Palladino, Fabiana Palladino (XL)

Fabiana Palladino’s debut full-length album is a mesmerizing fusion of 90s pop and R&B with a contemporary edge, invoking artistic styles reminiscent of icons like Mariah Carey and Paula Abdul. With her soulful vocals and infectious hooks, Palladino effortlessly pays homage to the golden era of the genre while infusing each track with a fresh, modern sensibility.

 


 

Future & Metro Boomin, We Still Don’t Trust You (Republic)

recommended by Adam Young

Just three weeks after dropping “”We Don’t Trust You,”” Future and Metro Boomin are back at it with their second collaboration of 2024 “”We Still Don’t Trust You.”” This 24-track double album splits its focus between R&B and trap, packing a hefty punch with both styles. The first track on the second CD “”#1 (Intro),”” Future stakes his claim as one of the top three rappers right now (the top 3 widely considered Drake, J.Cole, and Kendrick Lamar).

Future, hailing from Atlanta, Georgia, is known for his melodic trap style and auto-tuned vocals, while Metro Boomin, from St. Louis, Missouri, is celebrated for his dark, atmospheric beats that continue to shape the sound of modern hip-hop.

Future is knocking on the upper echelon of rapper right now and is undeniably pioneering a musical style that many younger rappers emulate in terms of lyrical flows, autotune effects, feel, and sound. This album only strengthens his argument of being one of the greatest alive. I picked up a physical CD of this album to play in my old ’97 Subaru for those times when I’m out of streaming service range. The album features heavily produced songs (production was primarily handled by Metro Boomin, with additional contributions from Mike Dean, Wheezy, Dre Moon, Southside, Chopsquad DJ, Allen Ritter, Oz, and Honorable C.N.O.T.E.), unique flows, emotional/sad R&B, and from-the-heart tracks born from the pain, suffering, systemic-racism and the less-than-ideal situations that so many talented Black Americans are born into. The album features guest spots from genre greats including: The Weeknd, Brownstone, Ty Dolla Sign, J. Cole, Lil Baby, and ASAP Rocky—they’re crafting hits that keep their sound at the forefront of the genre. If you like heavy musical R&B/Hip-Hop productions and if you aren’t morally against autotune (I beg you to open your heart to this musical effect) then this lengthy album may be for you!


 

Iron & Wine, Light Verse (Sub Pop)

recommended by DJ Jules

My deep love for Iron and Wine continues with the release of Light Verse. The three singles that were released had me ready for more! And come on now, releasing a single with Fiona Apple was a power move. Light Verse is 10 songs long bringing you to 42 minutes of musical and lyrical bliss. The poetry that pours through each song follows Sam Beam’s writing style that we’ve enjoyed on previous albums. The song ‘Taken By Surprise’ has me longing for a love I no longer know. The combination of powerful lyrics for ‘Tears that don’t matter’ matched with the incredible composition have me going back to start the song all over again. That song reinforces the album title ‘Light Verse” which means poetry that attempts to be humorous. Be sure to dive in and soak up the skills that Iron and Wine share with all of us on this new work of art!


 

Judith Hill, Letters from a Black Widow (Regime)

recommended by Gretchen Troop

Judith Hill, a stalwart of soul~funk music released her new album, “Letters from a Black Widow” on April 25, 2024. This album is her healing from the abuse she endured after being closely tied with two of the biggest names in American music when they died. She was chosen as the featured artist for Michael Jackson’s final tour (he died before it began) and was romantically connected to Prince when he died as well. Her talent has always soared above these two tragedies and it is great to hear her move on through the music. This album touches on soul, blues & funk equally with her incredible voice at the forefront and her heartfelt songwriting as the backbone. Highly recommend!


 

Leyla McCalla, Sun Without The Heat (Anti-)

Leyla McCalla’s “Sun Without The Heat” is a captivating blend of folk, jazz, and Haitian influences that speaks to the soul. With poignant lyrics and masterful instrumentation, McCalla explores themes of identity and social justice, creating a rich and immersive musical experience that resonates deeply with listeners.

 


 

Maria Chiara Argirò, Closer (Innovative Leisure)

Julien Chang’s latest album “Home for the Moment” serves as a poignant reflection on the delicate transition from college life to the unknown. With only four tracks, Chang captures the essence of this pivotal period with deeply personal and introspective songs, showcasing a raw and vulnerable sound that resonates with the complexities of youth and self-discovery. It’s a testament to Chang’s inner genius, born from the fragility of this transformative stage in life.


 

Parra for Cuva, Mimose (Parra for Cuva)

recommended by Jessica Numbers

“Light – Room – Sun”. Parra for Cuva (Nicolas Demuth) says that he makes better music when there is enough of those three things, and so this magical, incredible German dj and producer wrote his new album, Mimose, beside the sun-dappled ocean water of Liguria, Italy, the blooming bright yellow flowers of the Mimose trees seemingly following him around as he wrote this inspired and remarkable release. The loose German translation of Mimose is “to be sensitive” and Parra for Cuva is a self-proclaimed sensitive person who writes sensitive music. In his new album, that sensitivity comes across in the most beautiful, ethereal, even spiritual way. There are tracks, like Ventilate, that will make you loose your mind and body to dance. There are tracks, like Let it Burn, that are graced with the heavenly vocals of the Berlin Choir called ‘A Song For You’. I was lucky enough to see Parra for Cuva live at Denver’s Cervantes Theater in November of 2023; the experience was unforgettable, transcendent, and transportive. On stage he embodied a humble and sweet persona not always seen at an electronic show – and it is this very humble sweet sensitivity that comes across in his deep, introspective dance music. It is this humble personality that allowed him to collaborate with other brilliant musicians, such as his good friend and producer orbit, to create this brilliant sonic spiritual journey – maybe his best yet.


 

Project Gemini, Colours & Light (MR BONGO)

recommended by Iris Berkeley

This sophomore release on Mr Bongo from London polymath Paul Osborne firmly bucks “second-record syndrome” by taking the original cinematic vibe from 2022 debut “The Children of Scorpio” and drenching it even further in influences from all over the globe and the history books. It’s a lush, psychedelic journey that touches on global funk, Anatolian psych, and some heavy library-music influences without sounding like a cliche — no doubt due to an impressive roster of collaborators including French-language vocals from Gloria’s Wendy Martinez, guitar from Jack Sharp of Wolf People/Large Plants, and Osborne’s own daughter Olivia on keyboards. Warning: don’t listen to this one in your car unless you’re willing to get pulled over for driving like you’re in a spy movie.


 

Rain Parade, Emergency Third Rail Power Trip (Label 51)

recommended by Andy Zicklin

The first album from Rain Parade, remastered and released for Record Store Day. This album was not only considered the cream of the paisley underground crop, They were major influences on the Stone Roses and other shoe gaze bands.


 

Seafood Sam, Standing On Giant Shoulders (drink sum wtr)

Seafood Sam takes us on a journey through the vibrant streets of Long Beach, California with his debut album, “Standing on Giant Shoulders.” With smooth cadences and nostalgic production, Sam crafts tales of resilience and spirituality, drawing from G-Funk and soul influences. Collaborations with artists like Pink Siifu and Rae Khalil add depth, showcasing Sam’s versatility as both rapper and producer. “Standing on Giant Shoulders” solidifies Seafood Sam as a pioneer in hip-hop, seamlessly blending classic vibes with a futuristic sound.


 

Tara Jane O’Neil, The Cool Cloud of Okayness (Orindal)

recommended by Aaaron Benko

Tara Jane O’Neil has been preforming and producing incredibly interesting music for decades. When her fourth album You Sound, Reflect came out in 2004 it completely changed the way I listened to music. It’s incredibly impressive that that creativity and unique sound has maintained since, and is not lacking in the least in the newest “The Cool Cloud of Okayness,” out this month on Orindal Records. There is a quiet depth to Okayness that is inescapable, and for the most part this is a largely quiet album. I guess now is a good time to mention that TJO ‘started out’ as the bassist for post-hardcore/art-punk band Rodan, (worth going back for a listen, as well as her discography).

These songs independently and together capture an expansiveness distilled down to a ‘normal’ song length. There’s the driving bass of Curling filled with the playful rhythm. Seeing Glass gathers repetitive minimalism that could fit along side Philip Glass early dance pieces. Fresh End is the song that pushes the instrumental limits to the full spectrum of postrock with interesting melodic buildings and a transcendent, atmospheric structure. Glass Island to me has the spaciousness and quietness of many TJO albums that lets vocals and restrained guitar picking come forward. This album is a really incredible release from Tara Jane O’Neil worth repeated close and casual listens.


 

The Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick, The Iliad and the Odyssey and the Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick (Count Your Lucky Stars)

recommended by Alex Lauria

Philadelphia based The Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick return on their second album The Iliad and the Odyssey and the Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick, where they embrace community, catharsis and an early 2000s indie rock sound. With remnants of the Broken Social Scene, the record is filled with rich, emotive compositions and lyrics that tackle existentialism and healing from trauma within the scope of intimate relationships and friendships. With lush arrangements and DIY undertones, Goalie’s Anxiety (for short) has created a very personal album that’s both down to earth and able to soar at the same time, acting as a reprieve from the world at large – like a walk in the sunshine or a good conversation with friends after a seemingly bad day, week, or month.

Standout Songs: “April 25”, “Wild Rose”, “Mr. Settled Score”


 

Various Artists, Congo Funk! Sound Madness From The Shores Of The Mighty Congo River (Kinshasa/Brazzaville 1969-1982) (Analog Africa)

recommended by Sandman

Another tremendous compilation from the Berlin-based label Analog Africa, this record is a joyous, groovy blast of energy that keeps you UP while you’re gettin’ down. Diving into the thriving music scene of the twin capitol cities (situated on opposite sides of the Congo river) of Kinshasa and Brazzaville, these 14 tracks were culled from over 2000 songs gathered, and the result very much feels like a labor of love. There are infectious grooves, wiry guitars, and lots of horns throughout the variations on Congolese rumba and soukous found here. The impact of James Brown’s 1974 concert in Zaire (promoting the ‘Rumble in the Jungle’) is evident on some tracks, while others flirt with more psychedelic touches, and the ‘sebene’ tempo shifts are a delight. Equally hypnotic and danceable, this is a wide ranging collection of tunes that simply makes you feel good. Plus the cover art is stellar. Dig it!


 

Vegyn, The Road to Hell Is Paved with Good Intentions (PLZ Make It Ruins)

Vegyn’s latest album, “The Road to Hell Is Paved with Good Intentions,” captivates with its impressive production and ethereal themes. Each track offers a glimpse into complex sonic landscapes, inviting listeners to immerse themselves in Vegyn’s unique sound. Vegyn shows off his talent as a producer and his ability to push the boundaries of experimental electronica.

 

 

Check out more GNU Music recommendations here.

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