Here's the cream of the crop that I have heard this year, so far:
Jose James - Blackmagic
SO smooth and downtempo, just perfect.
Bilal – Airtights Revenge
I cant really say enough good things about this record. The drums on All Matter http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0apYId-zQQE are awesome, what a tune. I love how Levels http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mN4qjouqgB4 has a Flying Lotus vibe to it. The lead single Restart is a stomper as well http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-iTp_sdfsU
Jamie Lidell - Compass
I have played this album loads and after seeing his live act, I am fully on board. He's got so much presence and confidence. Compass was an intriguing listen at first, a little more stripped of pure soul, and packed with more grit, dust and experimentation. But the soul foundation is still there. Now, its by far my favorite lp of his.
Aloe Blacc – Good Things
Way better than I though it would be. Not a very powerful voice, but he uses his strengths well. Really nice bass heavy production on this lp, nice use of funk guitar throughout as well.
Erykah Badu - New Amerykah 2
Not nearly as good as the first one, but still good. It lost a little steam through the year for me, just not as much boundary pushing as I would have liked.
Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings - I Learned the Hard Way
Throwback soul done right.
These are worthy of a listen:
John Legend and the Roots - Wake Up
Olivier Daysoul – Mr. Saint Louis EP
And the disappointments:
Raheem DeVaughn - The Love and War Masterpiece
Dwele – Wants World Women
Anyone heard that Mavis Staples lp yet? What's been on your radars?