Release Roundup: September 2022
Written by Vocalo Radio on October 5, 2022
It’s a new month – which means we’ve got your recap of a few new releases from last month you need to know about.
September was a big month for new albums; check out five we think you need to add to your music libraries ASAP.
Ari Lennox – age/ sex/ location
Released Sept. 9
After two years of anticipation, new music from Ari Lennox is finally here and we’re ready to unpack it. In early September, Ari Lennox dropped her sixth studio album, and she has a lot to say. Titled age/sex/location, Lennox uses this album to discuss modern-day dating and relationships. Songs like “POF” deal with being disappointed by continuous bad relationships, while “Stop By” details hook-up culture and the need for attention. In a message to labelmate J. Cole, Lennox described the meaning of the album: “No more tip-toeing. No more docile. Providing grace and compassion to myself. Blocking those that no longer need me or just literally not responding.” With age/sex/location Lennox also proves to be a master collaborator — bringing in heavy-hitters like J. Cole, Lucky Daye, Summer Walker and Chloe Bailey to write, produce and vocalize on an album that delivers great vibes and important messages.
– Joshua X. Miller
RELATED: Ari Lennox Explores Modern Dating on ‘age/sex/location’
Greentea Peng – GREENZONE 108
Released Sept. 9
London-based neo-soul psychedelic R&B singer Greentea Peng needs to be on your radar. She’s only on her sophomore album, GREENZONE 108, but you’d never guess that upon listening. Her masterful production has grown even more polished since her 2021 debut full-length, this time throwing in some heavier guitar riffs to complement her swirling vocals. The album really kicks into gear with its third through sixth tracks: “Look To Him,” which she notes is about originality and her creative process (“I’ve been going round and round / In my head”), “Stuck In The Middle,” which incorporates some more traditional jazz elements like string bass, keys and horns, but the instrumental patterns layered alongside her layered rap-singing make it sound modern and exciting, and the more rock-influenced “Your Mind,” where heavy guitar riffs are interjected by violins. She takes notes from the traditional and cites ubiquitous influences like Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill and Lilly Allen but gives it a spin to make a sound entirely her own; I don’t think there are a lot of artists right now you can accurately compare to Greentea Peng.
– Morgan Ciocca
Sudan Archives – Natural Brown Prom Queen
Released Sept. 9
LA-based artist Brittney Parks, better known by her stage name Sudan Archives, is back again with the release of her sophomore album Natural Brown Prom Queen. The 18-track record demands viewers’ attention from the start, with bouncy opening R&B track “Home Maker,” and follows Parks’ journey from her home of Cincinnati, Ohio to the bustling music world in Hollywood. The lyrics navigate her feelings around themes of home, family, career and place in the world. Natural Brown Prom Queen also exemplifies the vast musical skill-set of Parks, sonically separating from her first LP as she moves away from violin and electronic sounds to gracefully intertwined influences of R&B, hip-hop, trap, disco and soul. This record has been spinning for us since its release, and we’re excited to see what’s next for Sudan Archives!
– Makenzie Creden
Symba – Results Take Time
Released Sept. 15
West coast artist known as Symba, representing the Bay Area, released his debut project under Atlantic records, in which he collaborated with Gangsta Grillz own DJ Drama. To me, this is the first time I’ve seen a label go back to the roots of hip-hop and be open-minded: allowing a DJ to host a new signee’s debut release. Symba is a big deal, and this move, to say the least, was a great one. Symba’s cadence, flow, sound and lyricism shines bright on Results Take Time. The title says it all, and the music follows suit. Some key features that caught my attention, outside of the known names such as Roddy Ricch, Pusha T, 2 Chainz, is Fridayy’s appearance on “Sacrifices” hook, Iian Rich’s vocals on “Find A Way,” and my favorite “Soul Ties,” which features Rayven Tyler.
RELATED: Symba Breaks Down ‘Results Take Time’ On Vocalo
Makaya McCraven – In These Times
Released Sept. 23
Chicago drummer, producer, bandleader and multi-instrumentalist Makaya McCraven’s latest release is nothing short of astounding. In the works since 2015, In These Times is almost otherworldly beautiful, building a dreamlike realm of melodic improvisation and technical perfection. You get lost in his compositions, almost trancelike in their building, swirling narratives. He boasts 15 collaborators on In These Times, including Jeff Parker, Marquis Hill, Junius Paul, Matt Gold and Greg Ward, the latter four of which are a part of Makaya’s quintet which just performed this weekend at Chicago’s historic Green Mill Jazz Club. I can almost hear the crowd cheering between each song, which might be because of the three applause recordings punctuating the album. The work’s central theme seems to be man vs. machine and how he as a musician is a working-class man — something Makaya has explored in his own artistic history — established by his sample of Chicago journalist Studs Terkel’s 1955 radio interview with musician and actor Harry Belafonte. He lays out an interpretation the John Henry story, speaking as the folk hero:
“I’d never want to be known as anybody opposed to progress, but this is no longer a matter of progress or not progress… I just feel that the machine can’t take the place of the soul and the sweat for the many men who died to help build this tunnel, and we got to finish it, and it just ain’t no two ways about it.”
– Morgan Ciocca
RELATED: Makaya McCraven Is Deciphering The Message
Introduction written by Morgan Ciocca
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