This week: throat singing, alt-rock freedom and Tone Poet jazz aficionados

By in Features





Essential weekend listening.

This week’s rundown is by VF’s Becky Rogers, alongside contributors Annabelle Van Dort, Emily Hill and James Hammond.

Corinne Bailey Rae

Black Rainbows

(Thirty Tigers)


For her fourth album Black Rainbows, Corinne Bailey Rae steps away from her pop-hit “Put Your Records On” beginnings, instead breaking free into an alt-rock and R&B electronica celebration of her Black heritage. Rae was inspired by Theaster Gates’ Black History collection at Stony Island Arts Bank, Chicago, with artefacts inspiring her literally and conceptually. Headbanger “New York Transit Queen” tells the story of 1957 winner, 17-year-old model Audrey Smaltz, while elsewhere Bailey Rae references Ethiopian rock churches and the erasure of Black childhood. Black Rainbows is a spellbinding journey for both Bailey Rae and the listener, with both exploring new heights and their inner self. A musical reinvention like no other.–BR

John Fahey

Proofs and Refutations

(Drag City)


The 1990s presents a murkier but no less intriguing insight into John Fahey’s work, with the more abstract and wilder territories that were partly touched on in previous eras now stepping to the forefront. Proofs and Refutations fully embraces an untethered approach and recorded between 1995 and 1996–this one naturally moves from mantra to throat singing to electronic overspills and noisier visions. The unmistakable presence of his fingerstyle guitar work is still here, yet as a much looser entity that merges with stranger currents.–JH

Simo Cell

Cuspide Des Sir​è​nes

(TEMƎT Music)


French producer and DJ Simo Cell takes the listener on a sprawling adventure through 16 tracks for his debut album, intended to be consumed in one sitting; it tells the tale of Cuspide des Sirènes. Bursting at the seams with wobbly basslines, the producer has a much-respected club repertoire alongside a host of EPs and remixes but this takes things to the next level. Exploring themes of magic, enchantment and charm it depicts Cell going on a journey through the wilderness in an attempt to confront his own demons.–EH

Wayne Shorter


(Blue Note)


An understated highlight of Wayne Shorter’s late ‘60s purple patch, Schizophrenia found Shorter at the peak of his compositional powers and stretching post-bop stylings further afield. Recorded in 1967 and released in 1969, Shorter’s sax is joined here by the likes of Herbie Hancock on piano, James Spaulding on alto sax, Curtis Fuller on trombone, Ron Carter on bass and Joe Chambers on drums. A tone poet edition for these six original compositions that show off Shorter’s dual abilities with composition and musicianship.–JH

Various Artists

Miami Sound (Rare Funk and Soul from Miami, Florida 1967-74)

(Soul Jazz Records)


Soul Jazz Records presents a much needed repress of their long out-of-print Rare Funk & Soul From Miami, Florida 1967-74—remastered for the 20th anniversary of the compilation’s 2003 release. Tracing the origins of the Miami Sound from its foundations at Henry Stone’s TK Records and its subsequent offshoots, the compilation features hits from Miami legends like Gwen and George McCrae, Little Beaver and Timmy Thomas, alongside lesser-known hometown heroes such as James Knight and the Butlers and All the People. Full of the finest grooves the Sunshine State has to offer, the perfect soundtrack to our current Indian Summer.–AVD



(Sacred Bones Records)


LA synth-punks Sextile smash back onto the dancefloor with new album PUSH. Provocative as ever, PUSH pulls from industrial hardcore, trance and dance-punk with a simple criteria of “Would I be able to actually dance to it?”. And that you can. “New York” celebrates Melissa Scaduto’s hometown with an outright maximalist acid rave, “Basically Crazy” partners guitar breakdowns with industrial tugs, while “No Fun” does the exact opposite with blistering breakbeats. Sextile have leant into the dance side of post-punk before, PUSH plunges headfirst with true confidence.–BR

Kyle Hall

The Cosmic Touch



Detroit native Kyle Hall, a legend in the scene who has released on labels such as Apron Records, Detroit Underground, Wild Oats and many more joins the ranks of Apnea. Delving into the sonic musings of Detroit’s heritage for The Cosmic Touch, a 3-track EP which stylistically invokes sounds from the 90s akin to the Matrix Records’ early sounds such as the likes of Model 500 and Freq. Despite machine-controlled sounds, it has a deep cosmic edge to it, designed with the dancefloor in mind.–EH

Horace Silver Trio

Blowin’ The Blues Away

(Blue Note)


A swinging, seminal masterpiece of the hard bop genre, Horace Silver’s Blowin’ the Blues Away receives the Blue Note Tone Poet treatment this Friday. First released in 1959, Blowin’ The Blues Away sees Silver on maverick form, crafting dynamic and daring melodies from his piano, darting across octaves with endless vigour. Featuring fine performances from Blue Mitchel on trumpet, Junior Cook on saxophone, Gene Taylor on bass and Louis Hayes on drums, this 180 gram reissue has been carefully mastered by Kevin Gray from the original master tapes.–AVD