Georgia Anne Muldrow & Declaime, Rita J, Innosphere, DJ Tone B. Nimble Critic's Choice Early Warnings (Music) Recommended Soundboard

When: Wed., May 19, 9 p.m. 2010

Last year Georgia Anne Muldrow, already an underground soul sensation thanks to her 2006 album Olesi: Fragments of an Earth (Stones Throw), made it clear she's just been getting warmed up. Working not just as a singer and a rapper but as a producer and a songwriter, she released an unstoppable flow of music, including two more albums and several compilations and collaborations. Erykah Badu has been getting most of the props, but lately no one in black music has approached Muldrow's ambition, prolificacy, and range. Though her 2009 album Umsindo (on SomeOthaShip Connect, the label she runs with her partner, MC Declaime, aka Dudley Perkins), begged for an edit, she's seriously upped the quality control on her latest, Kings Ballad (Ubiquity)—it underlines the vastness of her talents without trying to show off her entire skill set at once. Her singing is more focused and contained and the arrangements are more direct, connecting the hip-hop ethos that produced her with the old-school fierceness of feminist pioneers like Roberta Flack and Nina Simone. The new record uses all live instruments—not a sample in sight—but the soul sound Muldrow creates is hardly retro. Though she harnesses the looped feel of hip-hop, it doesn't box her in; her tracks are alternately lush and minimal, with rich, layered vocal harmonies and cosmic, off-the-beat rapping. Rita J, Innosphere, and DJ Tone B. Nimble open. Muldrow also plays a free in-store at 5 PM today at Reckless Records, 1532 N. Milwaukee; Declaime will join her for both performances.

Price: $15, $7 in advance

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