Listens for the Week #4
Every week, I offer three recommendations: something new, something classic, and something I love. This week I've been exploring a lot of hip hop - underground and mainstream - as well as some '70s classics I've waited too long to listen to. If you haven't heard any of these yet, get to them soon!
Harvey Gold - The Gold Vein (2022)
This new Harvey Gold album is his sharpest and most cohesive project yet. Harvey's bright and jazzy hip hop production gives the album such a lively and upbeat tone. There are a range of rappers featured, all of whom sound so comfortable over Harvey's beats and compliment the summery sound of the record. The song transitions are seamless, making the album so smooth from front to back. It's lighthearted fun, and showcases the best production yet from Harvey Gold.
Steely Dan - Aja (1977)
Aja is a jazz-rock album which creates such a warm and tranquil atmosphere through its relaxed instrumentation. The production leans more into the jazz than the rock, with tracks here sounding as if they wouldn't be out of place on a Sade album. Donald Fagen gives such a charming and upbeat performance with his vocals. The lyrics aren't always the most interesting, but that's not the purpose of Aja. It's smooth, it's elegant, and each track has incredible instrumentation, with elite drumming, saxophone, and especially the bass.
Something I Love
The Pharcyde - Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde (1992)
The Pharcyde are an incredible hip hop group who often get overshadowed by their more popular contemporaries such as A Tribe Called Quest. Regardless, their take on jazz rap is some of the most fun and charming hip hop of the '90s. The production feels so busy and alive, with each member of the group maintaining that energy with their animated and dynamic styles of rapping. It's an undeniable classic of the era, and one that deserves more love.