Beyond DJ Kemit’s long-awaited new project, a ton of other Atlanta-affiliated artists are gearing up to drop music in 2016. Look below, for 12-plus records you should be checking for:
Folks may recognize vocalist/musician Jermaine Hardsoul from his production work with artists like Eric Roberson, but now he’s finally taking the spotlight in a big way with “Lane” — his first full-length solo studio album. Taking a listen to “Lane” (available on all digital platforms January 22) you’d almost think it was a concept album — and that’s due to the 1980s/1990s-era R&B/soul influence that runs through almost every tune. The track “Oh Girl,” for example, channels the spirit of the Prince/Time Minneapolis sound, while songs like “The One Two” (featuring ATL expat singer Carmen Rodgers) is fueled by Chi-town stepper sounds. Look for this album to catapult Mr. Hardsoul deeper into the consciousness of music fans everywhere. More info: www.hardsoulsound.com.
Experimental electronic/jazz solo artists Afua Richardson (vocals), Alexa Lima (keys) and Deku (drums/bass) combine their powers once again in the supergroup Waking Astronomer to unleash their new self- titled, eight-song EP. Making its way to stores February 5, the album — powered by the ethereal-yet-hard-driving single “Br’er Rabbit,” which is out now — will be available digitally and on cassette. More info: wakingastronomer.com.
Singer Maleke O’Ney teased us by unveiling a three-song EP (“The Mix Sessions Vol. 01”) in late 2015, but this year we can expect to get her full album, “Confessions of a Pentecostal Girl.” And if it’s anything like the EP, “Confessions” will use soul as a backdrop to present songs that are coated with gospel, jazz, funk, blues and other fresh stuff. As far as release dates go, the album’s first single is set to drop sometime in February, and the album will reportedly follow soon after. More info: www.malekeoney.com.
The Dangerfeel Newbies
The Atlanta soul/jazz/hip-hop/house trio The Dangerfeel Newbies (aka Jamal Ahmad, Mark Angel and Darren “DJ” Wagner) returns in the first quarter of 2016 with the EP “Southern Suns/Sons.” According to Ahmad, the project is: “inspired by Isabel Wilkerson’s novel ‘Warmth Of Other Suns’ which chronicles the great migration of African-American’s to the North. [We] wanted to pay homage to the ‘reverse migration’ that saw countless African-Americans from the early 1990s to now traveling back to the South from the North and other places. So in keeping with the theme, every track on this EP is a song dedicated to the power of the sun.” The EP co-stars vocalists such as Kathleen Bertrand (a former Roy Ayers collaborator) and Brenda Nicole Moorer, and more, putting their spin on a gaggle of cover tunes. More info: www.facebook.com/dangerfeelnewbies.
It’s been nearly three years since the Caribbean-flavored vocalist Heston dropped his celebrated album “Love Junkie.” Luckily, in 2016 (exact release date is TBD as of press time) he’s gifting us with the follow-up, titled “Transparency.” According to Heston, he recorded the project in locales across the globe, and it features production by big dogs like DJ Kemit, among others. He also shared that he aims to make “Transparency” his most sonically perfect album yet. Well, we’ll be listening — and you should, too. More info: twitter.com/HestonSoulMusic.
After appearing on a gang of dope singles over the past few years — such as the Snarky Puppy-fueled “Free Your Dreams” and “It’s Your Time” via Lil’ John Roberts — lauded singer Chantae Cann is finally dropping a proper solo album: “Journey to Golden.” Coming your way March 11, courtesy of the Atlanta Records label, the album promises to give us a full-length dose of Cann’s super-sweet vocal style and ultra-optimistic lyrics. And for folks who just can’t wait until March, “Journey to Golden” is available for pre-order as we speak in a variety of cool formats. More info: www.atlantagotsoul.com.
Daz-I-Kue + Khari Cabral Simmons: The production partners, housed over at the famed 800 East Studios, have a ton of projects lined up for 2016. A few you should keep your ears peeled for: a new solo album from Simmons, a new album from his acclaimed soul/bossa nova group Jiva, Daz’s long-awaited “BB Boogie” album, monthly single releases from his I-Kue Recordings label, and much more. More info: www.facebook.com/ilovedazikue / twitter.com/kharicabral.
Love Shanti Om: Coming in late fall of this year, singer/performance artist Love Shanti Om plans to drop “Such is Life” — an EP designed to capture the feel of her a cappella live shows; however, a remixed version of the project featuring instrumentation will also be made available. More info: twitter.com/Shantiommusic.
Cleveland Jones: Gospel-tinged singer/songwriter/producer Cleveland Jones says he’s hard at work on his sophomore album and that folks will be able to get their hands on it in 2016. Stay tuned for more details as they emerge. More info: twitter.com/ ClevelandPJones.
Brenda Nicole Moorer: Vocalist Brenda Nicole Moorer is currently in the lab with her band, working on a collection of songs that add a dash of funk to her typically folk-soul sound (as heard on her past EP, “For Lovers and Dreamers”). More info: www. brendanicolemoorer.com.
Michael Murani: We heard from the horses mouth that the producer/musician/vocalist behind the vibey “Meditative Funk” sound has a bevy of tracks that are set to hit our earholes soon. Check back in with Slo*Mo for firm release dates in the near future. More info: twitter.com/meditativefunk.