In Waves is the debut album for U3, a supergroup birthed by three heavy hitters of the ukulele community.
Helmed by multi-instrumentalist and YouTube sensation Cynthia Lin (based in Honolulu), this project centers around a kinship built on a trans-Pacific musical collaboration. Together with Berklee-trained Na Hoku winner Abe Lagrimas, Jr. (based in Los Angeles), and Kala Artist Ukulenny (based in the San Francisco Bay Area), U3 joins forces to create an island-inspired cross-cultural album.
Bridging the individual artist’s skills and versatility, the 9-song collection features genre-fluid arrangements ranging from jazz and bossa nova, to Hawaiian classics, to island reggae remixes, that stretch the ukulele into new territory. Layered with Cynthia’s luscious vocal harmonies, Abe’s virtuosic solos and percussion prowess, and Ukulenny’s U-bass rhythms, this supergroup’s debut is an awakening to new world of ukulele.
Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio—or as it is sometimes referred to, DLO3—specialize in the lost art of “feel good music.” The ingredients of this intoxicating cocktail include a big helping of the 1960s organ jazz stylings of Jimmy Smith and Baby Face Willette; a pinch of the snappy soul strut of Booker T. The M.G.’s and The Meters; and sprinkles Motown, Stax Records, blues, and cosmic Jimi Hendrix-style guitar. It’s a soul-jazz concoction that goes straight to your heart and head makes your body break out in a sweat.
The band features organist Delvon Lamarr, a self-taught virtuosic musician, with perfect pitch who taught himself jazz and has effortlessly been able to play a multitude of instruments. On guitar is the dynamo Jimmy James who eases through Steve Cropper-style chanking guitar, volcanic acid-rock freak-out lead playing, and slinky Grant Green style jazz. From Reno, Nevada is drummer Dan Weiss (also of the powerhouse soul and funk collective The Sextones). Dan’s smoldering pocket-groove drumming locks in the trio’s explosive chemistry.
Founded by Lamarr’s wife and manager Amy Novo, the trio started from humble beginnings in 2015, but since then has released two Billboard charting albums and toured the world to sold out venues. The trio returns now with their second studio album, I Told You So, with even heavier grooves and more confidence. It may have been several years since their most recent studio effort, but they haven’t missed a beat.
This record is about a band that found each other and also found a home. It’s about a couple of magic nights SistaStrings and I spent, crammed into the back of a listening room called the Cafe Carpe — jammed full of people, joyfully playing the songs we’d learned over our few years of becoming an ensemble, all happily unaware that the world was already changing, that because of the pandemic already underway the entire world of listening rooms and intimate live audiences was about to disappear for who-knows how long.
I started playing at the Cafe Carpe when I was a kid. At the time, I thought it was the coolest little venue I’d ever seen. After thirty years of international travel I realize that it’s one of the most soulful, deep listening rooms in the world. I’ve developed a reverence for the place, a camaraderie with the characters who work there. I’ve slept in their home above the venue (it’s an old brick building on the Rock River in the small Midwestern city of Fort Atkinson) countless times. I’ve come to love the people and the room, to curate a tiny winter festival there, to visit even when I’m not playing a gig. I’ve bonded with artists who were a generation older than me, played countless song-swaps with my peers, and begun mentoring the next generation. — Peter Mulvey
The jazz world lost a true legend when bassist Cleveland Eaton passed away in the Summer of 2020. This 1975 album, one of the real gems in the hallowed Black Jazz label catalog, takes the full measure of the man.
Cleve recorded Plenty Good Eaton right after he left Ramsey Lewis’ band, with whom he recorded a grand total of 17 different albums for such labels as Argo, Cadet and Columbia; including the hit records Wade in the Water, Another Voyage, and Sun Goddess. Then, starting in 1980, Eaton spent a dozen years with Count Basie’s band, and if you can imagine some blend of Lewis’ soul-funk with Basie’s hard-driving swing, you might just begin to grasp what’s on the menu of Plenty Good Eaton (the album graphics actually present the credits and songs as if they were menu entrees).
This truly is fusion cuisine, and it’s (sorry) cookin’, too, ranging from the Blaxploitation soundtrack stylings of ‘Keena,’ ‘All Your Lover All Day All Night,’ and ‘Hamburg 302,’ all of which incorporate disco-style strings into funky soul-jazz vamps, to the almost trad-jazz of ‘Kaiser 405,’ to the Philly soul of ‘Are You Out There Somewhere Caring,’ to the out-and-out party anthem ‘Moe Let’s Have a Party.’ The cooks in the kitchen are first-rate, too, including such Chess-label stalwarts as keyboardist Odell Brown and percussionist Morris Jennings and fellow Black Jazz label artists Steve Galloway and Arie Brown of The Awakening. This long-awaited and timely reissue of Plenty Good Eaton features a fresh remastering by Mike Milchner of SonicVision, plus notes by Pat Thomas that include remembrances from Cleve’s widow Myra and long-time friend Lee Shook.
Freedom Is Love is the debut album from Kansas City’s newest soul juggernaut, The Freedom Affair. The album explores themes of love, heartache, empowerment, and togetherness through a varying landscape of hard-hitting funk, luscious soul, and everything in between. The Freedom Affair is a unique collective featuring 3 powerhouse female vocalists in front of a dynamic 6-piece band. On “Freedom Is Love”, each of the ladies get their time to shine individually, but the magic is on full display when all 3 come together in unison and harmony, symbolically embodying the messages that they sing about. The album was recorded and produced by Chris Hazelton, utilizing the best of vintage and new recording technologies to create an authentic experience, befitting of a soul record that would have been relevant 50 years ago as much as it will be 50 years from now.
The Rare Changes LP is a collection of songs Mayer Hawthorne released as singles from June 2019 to July 2020, and includes a booklet with the cover art from each single. Mayer dedicates the LP to the brave people of planet earth who are holding hands and fighting for the rare changes. Available with a digital download of the full album. Grab now from the Mayer Hawthorne store, or indie retailers everywhere!
Pathways is a collection of four stunning loops created by the artist during an introspective period of his life. These majestic, consonant arrangements breathe slowly as fleetingly beautiful melodies; a gorgeous account of ebb and flow repetition.
Pathways is cautiously sanguine and equally melancholic of which many today can personally and intimately relate to. A universal desperation and yearning for hope in a dispirited civilization.
Released November 27, 2020, by Past Inside The Present.
TLB have kicked up a tempestuous swarm of intrigue and buzz since forming in 2013 by high school friends Tom Higgenson, Darren Vorel, Dave Tirio, and Eric Vorel. Band members Tom Higgenson and Dave Tirio are also the lead singer and guitarist (respectively) of popular American band Plain White T’s.
Please be sure to check out the records on this snapshot of favorites worked on by GGR in 2020, curated by some of our employees and colleagues. Happy listening, and Happy Holidays!
Clint Holley (Well Made Music)
Koyaanisqatsi – Original Soundtrack Black Unity Trio – Al Fatihah Jeff Carney- Imperfect Space Journeys The Local Honeys – Little Girls Acting Like Men Black Market Brass – Undying Thirst Honorable mention: Christy Lynn Band – Sweetheart of the Radio
Dave Polster (Well Made Music)
The Horace Tapscott Quintet-“The Giant Is Awakened” (Real Gone Music) Philip Glass – Koyaanisqatsi (Orange Mountain Music) Robbie Basho-“Songs of the Great Mystery—The Lost Vanguard Sessions” (Real Gone Music) Christopher Young-“Invaders from Mars” 7″ OST (1984 Publishing) Emily Keener-“I Do Not Have To Be Good” (Self Released) GA-20-“Live Vol. 1” (Karma Chief) The Wild Giraffes-“Live at the Cleveland Agora” (Self Released) F**k Yeah, Dinosaurs!-“65 Million Beers Ago” (Self Released) The Aquabats!-“Kooky Spooky” (MVD) Man-“Revelation” (Real Gone Music) Midnight Syndicate-“Music of Halloween Horror Nights” (Self Released) Sad Penny-“Sun Cured/Nightside” (Soul Step Records) Mavericks-“En Español” (Thirty Tigers) The Awakening-“Hear, Sense, and Feel” (Real Gone Music) Loney Hutchins-“Appalachia” (Self Released) Dan Lacksman-“Dan Lacksman” (Real Gone Music) Morgan Ames-“Silent Night, Deadly Night” OST (1984 Publishing) The Bombillas-“The Bombillas” (F-Spot Records) Lauren Lanzaretta-“Deliverance” (Self Released) Ghost Funk Orchestra-“An Ode to Escapism” (Karma Chief) Fountains of Wayne-“Welcome Interstate Managers” (Real Gone Music) Red Devil Ryders-“Pour Me Another One” (Just Because Records) Factual Brains-“Scooter” (Self Released) Trans Siberian Orchestra-“Ghosts of Christmas Eve” (Warner) Malcolm Holcombe-“Tricks of the Trade” (Self Released) Rancid Vat-“Tableaus Of Human Drama Collected Like Food Stains On A Filthy Restaurant Tablecloth” (Greg Bailey) Black Unity Trio-“Al-Fatihah” (Gotta Groove Records) Black Market Brass-“Undying Thirst” (Colemine Records) Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band-“The Gordian Knot” (Blackrock Creative) Monophonics-“It’s Only Us” (Colemine Records) The Brother Moves On-“A New Myth” (Joyful Noise) A Black Rose Burial-“An Awakening of Revenants” (Wax Vessel) Woody and Jeremy-“Strange Satisfaction” (Self Released) Walter Bishop Jr.-“Coral Keys” (Real Gone Music) Matt Duncan-“Who Are You” bw “State Bird” (Soul Step Records) Throttle Elevator Music-“Emergency Exit” (Wide Hive Records)
Invent Animate- Greyview (Tragic Hero) Bask-Ramble Beyond (Self-Aware) Kelly Finnegan- The Tales People Tell repress (Colemine) Dead Horse- Horsecore: An Unrelated Story That’s Time Consuming Dr. Acula-S.L.O.B. (Total Deathcore) Mavericks- En Espanol (Thirty Tigers)
Tobacco – Fucked Up Friends Sen Morimoto – Sen Morimoto L7 – The Beauty Process NNamdi – Krazy Karl Luke Titus – Plasma Russ Meyers – Vixen OST The Du-Rites – A Funky Bad Time Black Unity Trio – Al-Fatihah Slow Pulp – Moveys
Airto Moreira – Seeds On The Ground Ausklang – Chronos Bastards of Soul – Spinnin’ Doug Carn – Spirit of the New Land Bird and the Bee – S/T Black Unity Trio – Al Fatihah Bob Lefevre – & The Already Gone Brian Owens- Love Came Down Calvin Keys – Shaw-Neeq Charles Hill Jr – Old Loves and Old Memories Cleveland Eaton – Plenty Good Eaton Cole Degenova – Really Human Colter Wall – Western Swing & Waltzes and Other Punchy Songs Couple – Top of the Pop Dan Golding – Untitled Goose Game Dan Reeder – Every Which Way Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio – I Told You So Destroyer – Have We Met Emily Nenni – Hell of a Woman Ernie Johnson From Detroit – Live Vol. I & II Flat Five – Another World Fountains of Wayne- Welcome Interstate Managers Ghost Funk Orchestra – An Ode To Escapism Golden Streets of Paradise – Throes Heavy Velvet – Sessions Holly Bowling – Seeking All That’s Still Unsung H.P. Lovecraft – At The Mountains of Madness Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit – Reunions Jeremy Fetzer – Mendocino Jerome Jennings – Solidarity Jerusafunk -JFUNK Jorge Trasante – Investigatcion Musical Desde Las Raices Folklore Afro Uruguayo Kellee Patterson – Maiden Voyage Kevin Krauter – Full Hand Loney Hutchins – Buried Loot, Demos From The House of Cash and Outlaw Era 73-78 Lucinda Williams – Good Souls Better Angels Mavericks – En Espanol Mayer Hawthorne – Rare Changes Me And Him Call It Us – Epilogue Mestizo Beat – Canoga Madness Michael Sarian – New Aurora Morricone Youth – The Last Porno Show Narayan Gopal – In Your Honor Nemegata – Hycha Wy Penrose Records singles Pete Milo – Mixed Up Shook Up Phase 7 – Playtime Richard Houghten – Sailing Through Rainbows of Sound Roland Haynes – Second Wave Sen Morimoto – S/T Shiner – Schadenfreude Sinn Sisamouth – Groove Club Vol 4 Steve Dawson & Funeral Bonsai Wedding – Last Flight Out Steve & Teresa – Catching a Wave Sweet Megg – Under the Moonlight Sweet Trip – Velocity: Design: Comfort The Awakening – Hear, Sense and Feel The Bombillas – S/T The Du-Rites – A Funky Bad Time The Fox Sisters – Bust Out! The Horace Tapscott Quintet – The Giant Is Awakened The Lees of Memory – Moon Shot The Power of Attorney – Chainging Man b/w I’m Just Your Clown The Wicker Man (Cadabra) Throttle Elevator Music – Emergency Exit Video Age – Pleasure Line Walter Bishop Jr – Coral Keys Wick Records Battle of the Bands LP Woody Goss – Woody and Jeremy
Black Market Brass – “Undying Thirst” (Colemine) Barbara Howard – “On the Rise” (Colemine) The Awakening – “Hear Sense and Feel” (Real Gone/Black Jazz) Horace Tapscott Quintet – “The Giant is Awakened” (Real Gone) Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra – “Che Che Colé Makossa b/w Che Che Colé” 7” (Daptone) Narayan Gopal – “In Your Honor” Kim Jung Mi – “Now” (Lion Productions) Actual Form – “Hyperzone” (Earthquaker) Philip Glass – “KOYAANISQATSI” Jeff Carney – “Imperfect Space Journeys” (Lion Productions) The Wild Giraffes – “Live at the Cleveland Agora” (Neck Records) Loney Hutchins – “Buried Loot: Demos From the House of Cash & ‘Outlaw’ Era ’73-’78” Möwer – “Grand Punk Railroad” 7” (Audacious Madness Records Carl Zittrer and Paul Zaza “Prom Night” 7″ (1984 Publishing) Christopher Young- “Invaders From Mars” 7″ (1984 Publishing)
Black Taffy: Opal Wand Cor de Lux: Dream Life Devon Jon Goldberg / Morricone Youth: The Last Porno Show OST (Country Club Records) Falcon Jane: Faith (Darling Recordings) Ghost Funk Orchestra: An Ode to Escapism (Colemine) Jordan Romero: Call Me Sweet Flavor Lacerate: S/T L7: Slap Happy (MVD) Life Without Buildings: Any Other City repress (What’s Your Rupture) Mutant Strain: S/T (Sorry State Records) My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult: Confessions of a Knife (Wax! Trax) Obnox: Savage Raygun (ever/never) Strike Under: Immediate Action (Wax! Trax) Soft Kill: Memory Loss 7” (Cercle Social Records) Special Interest: The Passion Of Stolyette: Mach
Kyuss – “Blues For The Red Sun” and “….And the Circus Leaves Town (Warner) 2 of the best represses of the year. Classic Stoner Rock from Palm Desert, Cal. These 2 LPs have been on my play list for over 20 years, 1st time to hear them on vinyl- Wowzer! Cardiac Arrest- The Day That Death Prevailed (Boris Records) Total thrash attack grinders from Chicago. Best Death Metal record of the year. Perfect oOld school vs new school mash-up. Los Pinche Pinches- Best Album I Ever Heard- 7”. Heavy doom surf rock. It rocked my face off. Surf rock from hell- I loved it. Fluids- Exploitive Practices A+ Heavy as hell doom n’ grind. Has a mortician vibe. It’s a thrasher. Mad Max Elliot- The Blue Moon Goon (Nudie Records) Rock-a-billy one mand band rocker. Total repeat spinner. I played this one a bunce. Primitive early garage rock. Fight- A Small Deadly Space (Real Gone) Total 1980’s classic hard rock for the 2020’s. Rob Halford from Judas Priest side band Benjamin Finger & James Plotkin- We Carry the Curse (Roman Numeral Records) Total perfect lay-low mellow music. Ambient to dark ambient- it chills me out. A+ Duck Duck Goose- Noise, Noise and More Noise. (Wax Vessel) 1 sided LP of crazy metal slam grind. It’s a ripper. Pissed Earthmonkey- Underground Carousel Double LP of spacerock trip jams. Very e-z going mellow stuff. Smooth Ambient Murf- Video Nasties Snotty punk thrash with glam grind overtones. I dig it. Midnight Syndicate- Music of Halloween Horror Nights (Edward Douglas Entity Productions) Name says it all. Perfect graveyard music. Really creepy and spooky L7- Slap Happy-repress (MVD) Pop punk, rock party. Glam girls’ rockin
Accelera Deck – Crystalline Prickle Azure Ray – S/T (Reissue) Charles Bukowski – Reads His Poetry (Reissue) (Real Gone) Richard Devine – Untitled Electronic System – Vol. II & III (Reissue) (Real Gone) Factual Brains – Scooter (Contractual Gains) Fire-Toolz – Rainbow Bridge Jerry Paper – Toon Time Raw! (Reissue) (Bayonet) Clint Mansell – The Fountain (Reissue) (Mondo Tees) Milla – The Divine Comedy (Reissue) (Real Gone) My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult – Confessions Of A Knife (Reissue) (Wax! Trax) Nnamdi – Krazy Karl (Sooper Records) Nonlocal Forecast – Holographic Universe(s?)! Kellee Patterson – Maiden Voyage (Reissue) (Real Gone) Philip Glass – Koyaanisqatsi (Reissue) Ras Ivi & The Rastafari Family – Our History Strike Under – Immediate Action / One Eye (Reissue) (Wax! Trax) Tobacco – Fucked Up Friends (Reissue) (Rad Cult) Jorge Trasante – Investigacion Musical Desde Las Raices Folklore Afro Uruguayo (Reissue) (Lion Productions) Video Age – Pleasure Line (Inflated Records) Wolf Eyes / Blank Hellscape – Split (12 XU)
Vince Slusarz -SR
In no particular order and with the knowledge did not have enough time to listen to other pressings that would have made this list.
The Flat Five- Another World (Pravda Records) Mr. Gnome-The Day You Flew Away (El Marko Records) Lori Mckenna- The Balladeer (Thirty Tigers) Dan Reeder- Every Which Way (Oh Boy Records) Kyleen Downes- Come on Sit Down Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit- Reunions (Thirty Tigers) Mavericks- En Espanol (Thirty Tigers) Rudy De Anda- Tender Epoch (Karma Chief) Sleeping At Last- Astronomy Volume 1 Chris Smither- More From the Levee (Signature Sounds) Black Unity Trio- Al-Fatihah (Salaam/Gotta Groove) Tennessee Jet- The Country (Thirty Tigers) The Fox Sisters- Bust Out! Ghost of Paul Revere- Good At Losing Everything (Crooked Cove) The Bangles- Sweetheart of the Sun reissue (Real Gone) Joan Osbourne- Trouble and Strife (Thirty Tigers) Steve and Teresa- Catching a Wave (Aloha Got Soul) Phase 7- Playtime (Aloha Got Soul) Guided by Voices- Mirrored Aztec (Rockathon) Ghost Funk Orchestra- An Ode to Escapism (Colemine) The Avett Brothers- The Fourth Avett Guild 7” (Ramseur Records) The Lees of Memory- Moon Shot Lucinda Williams- Good Souls, Better Angels (Thirty Tigers) Sweet Trip- Velocity, Design: Comfort (Darla Records) Wick Compilation- Battle of the Bands (Daptone) Obnox- Savage Raygun (ever/never) Emily Keener- I Do Not Have to Be Good Richard Houghten- Sailing Through Rainbows of Sound (Sly Vinyl) Wild Giraffes- Live at Cleveland Agora (Neck Records) Liz Longley- Funeral For My Past Stutter Steps- Reeling (Blue Arrow Records) Charles Hill, Jr. Old Loves and Old Memories (Armadillo Tail Recording) Rain- The Lost Album reissue (Saxon Recordings) The Bird and the Bee- S/T (Slow Down Sounds) Dr. Demento- First Century Dementia (MVD) Tobin Sprout- Supersonic Chairman 7” Phil Madeira-Open Heart (Mercyland) Eli Paperboy Reed- That’s Love/Anytime You Want Me 7” Lyn Stanley- The Moonlight Sessions Volume II Gene Russell- New Direction (Real Gone/Black Jazz) The Wicker Man (Cadabra) Brian Owens- Love Came Down (Soul Step) Matt Duncan- Who Are You On Your Own/Sate Bird 7” (Soul Step)