Neo Soul — CDs

The best of the contemporary soul underground -- Eric Roberson, Ed Motta, D'Angelo, Incognito, Jose James, Monday Michiru, and many more!


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CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ ImaaniStanding Tall ... CD
Dome (UK), 2014. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
A great debut from Imaani – the soulful singer who's made some great music with Incognito in recent years! The cover's got a shoutout from Bluey on the front – but the music has a nicely different vibe than Imaani's music with Incognito, as she works here with studio talent Kevin Leo, whose come up with a great new direction for the singer! Imaani's got a firmer presence than ever before – and the grooves have a great blend of underground soul and contemporary R&B – focused, cut never too commercial – in the best sort of Brit soul mode we've come to expect from the always-great Dome label. Most numbers have lean, tight rhythms that really emphasize the hooks in the tunes – and titles include "Fall Or Fly", "Ten Thousand", "Standing Tall", "Please Let Me In", "Struggling", "Let's Do It Right", "Step Back", and "African Child". CD
Partial matches: 8
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CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Leon BridgesComing Home ... CD
Columbia, 2015. New Copy ... $11.99
An album with a very classic look on the cover – and an equally classic sound to match – one that takes us back to some of the hippest, coolest work by early 60s singers like Sam Cooke or Marvin Gaye! Both artists are a good comparison here, as Leon Bridges is unabashedly in the same territory – cool, classy, yet undeniably soulful – at this level that never has to overstate itself, or try too hard to reach for facile funky parts, or any kind of party-moving sort of vibe. Leon's vocals are wonderful – clearly born to sing music this great – and the backings are a nice change from the usual retro soul modes, and instead have this deep soul vibe that's perfectly captured in a Texas small studio setting. Titles include "Better Man", "Brown Skin Girl", "Lisa Sawyer", "Pull Away", "Flower", and "Twistin & Groovin". CD

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CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Dam-FunkInvite The Light ... CD
Stones Throw, 2015. New Copy ... $11.99 12.99
Dam Funk does it again – really blowing us away with his crispy fresh version of funk – one that's a perfect fusion of old school modes from the 70s and 80s, and some of the more cosmic touches of the current century! The approach uses lots of splash on the keyboards and beats – so that everything bristles with this electric energy – even the vocals, which have a way of settling down right next to everything else, but without any too-stiff vocoded modes. And Dam Funk doesn't just do it alone – but invites in some great help here – including Q-Tip and Snoop Dogg on rhymes, plus old school funk legends Leon Sylvers III and Junie Morrison. Titles include "Junie's Transmission", "Virtuous Progression", "Glyde 2Nyte", "OBE", "Missing U", "I'm Just Tryin To Survive", "The Hunt & Murder Of Lucifer", "Surveillance Escape", and "Somewhere Someday". CD
Also available Invite The Light (3LP set – with bonus tracks) ... LP 33.99

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CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
KingWe Are King ... CD
King Creative, 2016. New Copy ... $12.99 13.98
One of the best female soul groups we've heard in years – and one of the few who've really found a way to come up with a fresh new sound of their own! King blend together three singers with this style that's really spacious, and almost cosmic – not too far-out to ever lose the groove, but with a slightly trippy quality that's reflected in the way the group are pictured on the cover. The mode's not traditional R&B harmony, nor typical girl group soul – and instead it's got this righteous sense of flow that bubbles, dips, and soars throughout the entire album – more than enough space for a lead singer to take off when needed, then step back into the wider progression of sound. A real treasure – with titles that include "The Right One", "Red Eye", "Carry On", "Mister Chameleon", "Oh Please", "Native Land", and extended mixes of "Supernatural", "Hey", and "The Story". CD

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CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
William KurkLegacy – A Tribute ... CD
William Kurk Productions, 2015. New Copy 2CD ... $19.99 25.99
William Kurk's always given us plenty of great music on his own – but this time around, he pays tribute to a host of classic talents in soul music – with performances of tracks by artists who include Harvey Mason, Leon Ware, Donald Fagan, Michael Jackson, Chick Corea, George Duke, Stevie Wonder, and Herbie Hancock! The sound is great overall – much richer than you might expect from the 8-bit videogame parody image on the cover – and, if anything, Kurk's even further developed his musical style out of respect for the legends on the record – working here with lots of great jazzy currents that really fit the tunes. Titles include "Lazy Nina", "Movin Out", "Secret Life Of Plants", "All The Same Tonight", "Your Eyes", "Love's Holiday", "Breakout", "Spiraling Prism", "Cool & Caressing", "Come Live With Me Angel", and "Through The Fire". CD

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CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
OrgoneBeyond The Sun ... CD
Shanachie, 2015. New Copy ... $16.99 18.98
Man, Orgone sound deeper here than we ever remember before – working with an even more classic soul groove than on their debut recordings for Ubiquity – even though those were totally great too! Orgone emerge here as way more than just another combo from the funky underground – and have this classic quality that really draws heavily from the lead vocals of Adryon De Leon, a singer who hearkens back to 70s funk divas like Maxayn or Betty Davis, but who can also lay into a mellower groove when she wants as well. The instrumentation follows suite, too – with a core focus on sharp guitars and keyboards, but sometimes expanded with a bit of horns that warm up perfectly in the production. These guys have found a surprisingly great home in the soulful style of the Shanachie label – and titles include "Don't Push Your Luck", "No Pain", "Picture On The Wall", "Meat Machine", "When Someone's Love Is Real", "Losin You", and "Down Down Down". (Deep Funk, Neo Soul) CD

Partial matches7
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Carmen RodgersStargazer ... CD
Candigirl, 2015. New Copy ... $11.99 12.98
It's been way way too long since we last heard from Carmen Rodgers (her debut was over a decade ago) – but it's really great to have her back, and sounding better than ever! Carmen's really grown up a lot over the past few years – and she's got this tight, sophisticated groove that holds onto all the best elements of her roots, but also gives the music a jazzy flourish that's right on the money – this cool, calculated vibe that's often augmented by just the right sort of keyboard touches – not throwaway riffs, but warm lines that flow beautifully alongside her sublime vocals! Anthony David makes a guest appearance on the set, but Carmen's the clear star all the way through – brilliantly back in the spotlight with tracks that include "Make A Way", "Camille Leon", "Beyond The Stage", "Stargazing", "Heartless", "Stay", and "Not Sure". CD

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CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ VariousSoul Shine – Contemporary Summer Soul Vibes ... CD
Expansion (UK), 2015. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
A stunning selection of contemporary cuts from the global soul underground – tracks that definitely live up to the summer spinning promised in the title, but which we'll certainly be digging during all the other seasons of the year too! The groove here is positive and upbeat – not poppy or dancefloor-oriented, but the kind of ebullient work we love from the best of the best from the underground scene – proof that a soul singer can be confident without ever being commercial – and really rise to the top with righteous music like this! The collection's got a rock-solid, wonderfully unified feel throughout – and titles include "Lighthouse" by Tony Remy with Tony Momrelle, "Soul Town (Nigel Lowis rmx)" by Ola Onabule, "Since I Found You" by Crossroads with Natash Springer, "You're My Darling" by Leon Timbo, "What Am I Supposed To Do (Kaidi Tatham rmx)" by Ruth Koleva, "Beyond The Stage" by Carmen Rodgers, "All Your Love" by Sheree Brown, "Make You Mine (Nigel Lowis rmx)" by Samuel Sanders, and "My Good Day" by Tracy Hamlin with Frank McComb. 16 tracks in all. CD

Partial matches9
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Lucas ArrudaSolar ... CD
Favorite (France), 2015. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
Stunning work from Lucas Arruda – a record we love even more than his first – and we totally loved that one to death! The sound here is prime Brazilian 70s at its best – that magical moment when jazz, fusion, and older bossa-schooled styles all came together in a really unique blend – and also helped Brazil find its own unique sense of soul, too – a quality that really came forth in the best work from Azymuth and Marcos Valle at the end of the decade! No surprise, Lucas has Azymuth bassist Alex Malheiros and Valle collaborator Leon Ware both on board to help out with the record – but the strength of the set is clearly all Arruda's own – as his vocals are wonderful, with a soulful expression that's vaguely in the Ed Motta side of the spectrum – mixed with his own warm lines on Fender Rhodes, which totally warm things up! Production is perfect, and equally vintage – and the album's a treasure we'll be loving for years. Titles include "Uma Onda", "Melt The Night", "Vento Sul", "Kalunga", "Solar", "O Mar O Samba E O Sol", "Beyond The Sea", and "Agua". (Brazil, Neo Soul) CD

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