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3 Albums You Should be Listening to – Brought to You by Fresh Selects

Fresh Selects, the brainchild of Kenny Fresh, is a forward-thinking record label that’s home to a universe of genres. What started as a taste-making blog in 2008 became a record label in 2013, and continues to cement its status as a home for progressive soul and electronic music with each new release. Though they’re based in Portland, Oregon, the label’s catalog includes a bounty of artists from Southern California, the Midwest, and across the Atlantic in the UK.

Braxton Cook’s new album defies his background in many ways: A classically-trained saxophonist and recent Juilliard graduate, Somewhere In Between isn’t quite R&B, soul, or jazz. Instead, it splits the difference of all three without unraveling. “Hymn (For Trayvon)” properly eulogizes the fallen black Florida teenager, and the title track—with its wafting guitar riff and dreamy ethos—draws immediate comparisons to the Robert Glasper Experiment.

On Christmas Day, while many of us were opening gifts and spending time with loved ones, rapper lojii and producer Swarvy were in a living room somewhere in Los Angeles, quietly compiling their expansive new album, “Due Rent.

The Philly transplants crafted several tracks that day, forgoing the indulgence of the holiday season to create their something of their own that was worth celebrating. If nothing else, maybe the LP could help them accomplish simple financial goals—like paying bills and having enough money to live comfortably.

New Venusians is a seven-piece R&B band from Sydney, Australia. Formed by jazz guitarist Ben Panucci, the group is comprised of session and touring musicians who back some of the continent’s biggest acts, including Nick Murphy (Chet Faker), Ngaiire, and Sampa The Great.

Panucci studied jazz with synth players Andrew Bruce and Harry Sutherland at the Conservatory of Music in Sydney, and met vocalists Christian Hemara and Meklit Kibret at various music gigs around the city. Panucci remembers being so blown away by Kibret’s voice that he created music solely to feature her talent. The group is rounded out by drummers Jan Bangma and Tully Ryan, who Panucci first heard play with a J Dilla-inspired jazz piano trio.