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Quick Picks


Album  |  EP  |  Single

The Sound Cafe Rating

5 star = essential, 4 star = excellent, 3 star = good, 2 = fans/collectors, 1 = for completionists only

JW Jones: Sonic Departures

Fresh off the heels of winning "Best Guitarist" at the 2020 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, popular Canadian blues artist JW-Jones was looking forward to a huge year before COVID-19 hit and halted his tour schedule.

“I knew I had to do something productive to stay positive. I turned isolation into inspiration!” said the JUNO-nominated Jones, whose searing axemanship has been praised in recent years by legendary blues artists Buddy Guy and Chuck Leavell (The Rolling Stones).

From original music to previously unreleased songs, "this album sounds bigger and wider-than-ever” says Jones, "thanks to Eric Eggleston of Johnny Hall Productions, who has wicked ears and a fresh approach to production”. It features a 17-piece band with a 13-piece horn section, plus additional tracking of vocals, guitars, and studio effects that led to a most appropriate album title, Sonic Departures.

Project SMOK: Bayview 

Project Smok is the neo-trad trio of Ali Levack, Ewan Baird and Pablo Lafuente, whose nonconformist and progressive Scottish traditional music has set them apart since their formation in 2017.

Known for their ability to effortlessly blend trad music with contemporary new-age pop influences, Project Smok are at their most comfortable pushing boundaries, making listeners stop and re-evaluate their musical expectations. They do away with any perceived limits of genre from the first note.

The close-knit group meld naturally between the innovative, explosive and emotive, drawing outside inspiration from indie pop acts like The 1975, LANY and Bon Iver, to more time-honoured, West Coast styles of playing.

Tapestri: Y fflam

Welsh artist Lowri Evans has a new musical project 'Tapestri' and a single and video that she has released with Sera.


Tapestri is a new Americana band that Lowri and Sera created back in October. Both singer-songwriters in their own right, between them they have been championed on BBC 6 Music, Radio 2, performed festivals which include Greenman, Festival Number 6, Cambridge Folk, venues such as King Tut's and Union Chapel, from Wales to America to France, which is as it happens, where the two met for the first time, performing at the Welsh Pavilion at the Lorient Celtic Festival in August 2019.


They have released their 1st single 'Y fflam' (The flame) on Shimi Records

Ajay Srivastav: Accept Yourself

Ajay Srivastav is a singer songwriter who plays a genre-bending mix of Delta Blues and Indian Folk, with spiritual, meditative lyrics. His performances have been described as passionate, healing and uplifting.


With a new video release Ajay’s laid-back conscious music style transcends musical borders with a sound that flows from the banks of Delta Blues which influenced him as a child, to the sacred river of the Ganges where he learnt raags from the Gurus in his father’s hometown of Varanasi –the holy city of India. Blending these influences, he came back with what he calls Karmic Blues.

Manbachi: Passing Through The Dark

Composer, musician, arranger Reza Manbachi and Najva Ensemble release the group’s debut album Passing Through the Dark on Friday, September 25th.


Manbachi, best known for his work with former band Chakavak, focuses here on philosophical remedies for the world as it continues to pass through a difficult night. The album, which includes a scintillating array of almost entirely string instruments, both Western and Iranian – including tar, kamancheh  santoor, cello, and more – It will be available on all major platforms from September 25th.

Magnetic North: Remedy

Magnetic North, originally from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia and now based out of Halifax, NS bring you a new type of Rock n’ Roll. They share voices of an intuitive experience of energetic rock music, personal views of the rock classics and current musical inspiration from modern musicians. 

The first single out now from the album is called High Level Love. The upcoming LP echoes influences of new wave, funk, alternative and blues.


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