Photo: Dejah Greene. Model: Raven Best.
The year 2017 is gonna be a big one for Slo*Mo Media. Now, that’s not some flippant prediction or straight-up boast — it’s just a fact, based on some carefully considered strategy. In other words, we ain’t bullshittin’ you.
Looking forward to next year, although we can’t reveal all our plans, we can safely say that you’ll be seeing a lot more of us: in print, on the web and in the flesh. Keep your eyes and ears peeled to all the stuff we make (the zine, the Mo Audio podcast, the website, our social media content, etc.) to stay in the loop on all of the newness and expansions.
But before we go knee-deep into 2017, we thought it would only be right to look back at the year in music — specifically the soul music that came out of Atlanta this year.
Latrese Bush (Photo by Dre Barnes)
As the hazy days of summer officially begin, the question for music heads quickly becomes: What new tracks will I be rocking for the hot-ass months ahead? Slo*Mo can help with that. Just check our handy list below — it features nine of our favorite artists (who just happen to dwell in Atlanta) and info about their latest releases (singles, EP and full albums). So take a look at what the local soul scene is offering, and then snag these dope sounds for yourself.
In a world of “microwave music,” where some of the dopest sonic creations by artists are too often seen as disposable, soul singer Latrese Bush is taking a novel approach to getting her tunes into the ears and hands of her fans.
Fresh off the success of her hit duet with Noel Gourdin, “Because of You,” it would be standard practice for Bush to drop a full-length album or even an EP. Instead, the Atlanta-based vocalist is embarking on a yearlong journey that will see her releasing one new single on digital platforms every few months — and it starts with the mid-tempo, soon- to-be steppers classic “Love I Can Sing About,” which went on sale in early June.
She sees the single campaign, aptly titled “Singled Out,” as a way to give fans the chance to find her music and, ultimately, extend the life of her new sounds.
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.
Slo*Mo is dedicated to bringing you the best in music on the regular. Case in point, check out some dope cuts that are out right now from some of Atlanta’s best artists (and one out of towner):
Donnie — “The American Mythology”: At the tail end of 2015, Atlanta soul heavyweight Donnie released a fresh new album, “The American Mythology” — his first since 2007’s “The Daily News.” The project, however, marks a shift for the acclaimed vocalist; songs on the album were crafted more as ensemble pieces instead of vehicles for the singer’s solo expression. The end result is a sound that’s more akin to a Broadway musical’s soundtrack than a straight-up, radio-ready song … and, yo, that’s DOPE. At a time when the music industry needs an injection of creativity, “The American Mythology” is a courageous journey in a bold, new sonic direction. Honestly, it would be amazing if more independent artists did what Donnie has done here: Create a project that couldn’t be made if you were signed to a regular record label. So, let’s celebrate this truly artistic endeavor by snagging a copy or three. More info: www.iamdonnie.com.
Royal (Photo by Kaya Faery)
One of the hallmarks of any great summer is the summer jam. You know what I’m saying: I’m talking about that song (or songs) that drops in or around the hot weather months and is so funky/fresh that it becomes your de facto soundtrack … at least until it starts getting chilly. Well, it turns out that a handful of Atlanta-dwelling (and/or ATL-affiliated) soul artists have stepped up to the plate this year to provide the city, the nation and the whole damn world with some seasonally dope anthems. Here’s a look at a few of the folks behind some of our favorite music of the moment:
Royal: In the last issue of Slo*Mo, we covered the record release party for the hip-hop/rock duo Royal (which went down at Apache Café and was dope as fuck), but we’re back writing about the crew now that its self-titled EP is, as of July 7, in stores. Made up of singer/musician Devon Lee and DJ/MC Mikeflo, Royal channels heaping helpings of sexual energy and political commentary into this debut project — the result is a multilayered collection of songs custom made for unabashed rocking out and analytical dissection. Driven by the single “Crash,” which features drumming legend Lil’ John Roberts on the track and “Love & Hip-Hop Atlanta” stars Ariane Davis and Mimi Faust in the video, the EP represents a true colliding of worlds … and that’s just what Mikeflo and Lee were going for. “It’s all connected to the culture,” says Lee. “It’s liberation. You have to be inclusive of everybody if you’re gonna reach anybody.” More info: allthewayroyal.com.
BOSCO — “BOY”: The singer rocking the moniker BOSCO isn’t hanging in Atlanta as much as she used to these days, but her musical birth and evolution took place in the A, so she’ll always be linked to the city. That, obviously, makes her recent signing to the Fools Gold label an occasion that all ATLiens should be fucking ecstatic about. Even better: Her new deal paves the way for a spanking-new EP — titled “BOY” — set to debut June 2. “BOY” continues BOSCO’s journey into 1990s-esque soundscapes … reimagined, of course, for 21st century earholes. The EP is six- tunes deep and is propelled by the trap-meets-R&B-tinged title track, “BOY,” co-starring local rap hero Jace. More info: www. hellobosco.com.
Photo courtesy of Tambor
Cortney LaFloy may be one of Atlanta’s freshest new singers, but she’s probably known more for her moves on the dance floor. Before ever teaming up with producer Steve ChiProfess and crafting the hit single “Dance 4 You” a little more than a year ago, LaFloy could be spotted tripping the light fantastic at house music events all around town. Lucky for house heads everywhere, her fancy footwork got the attention of Stan Zeff and the folks at the Tambor Music label — and the rest is history in the making. Slo*Mo recently tracked down LaFloy to find out what’s next for the Chicagoland-born vocalist.
Slo*Mo: OK, we’ve been rocking “Dance 4 U” since last April. What’s next for you musically?
I used to think I was the only one.
Well, perhaps not the only one … but definitely one of a chosen few … a chosen few soul music heads who steadfastly believe that the vast majority of the R&B and soul songs released between the years of 1979 and 1983 represent some of the best music recorded. Ever.
It’s been a minute since Carmen Rodgers dropped some new music. Sure, the Dallas-born/Atlanta-based soul singer’s latest album — titled “Stargazer” — hits stores and airwaves Feb. 17, but her last LP (“The Bitter Suite: The Deluxe Edition”) was released way back in 2011. That long delay between projects, however, was anything but intentional … as Rodgers is quick to point out.
The June 2014 issue of Slo*Mo Magazine is out NOW!
To snag the new edition — featuring famed drummer/bandleader Lil’ John Roberts talking about his new album, “The Heartbeat” — visit several Atlanta retail shops or download a digital version of the magazine right here: Slo*Mo Vol. 1, No. 8