Release Date: May 4, 2015
Record label: Godless-Hotspot
Genre(s): R&B, Contemporary Pop/Rock, Alternative R&B
The second studio album Van Hunt has released on his Godless-Hotspot label, The Fun Rises, The Fun Sets. was conceived with crowdfunding assistance. Even with full understanding of the drastic changes in the music industry since the late '70s, it's mystifying that an artist of Hunt's caliber resorted to that method -- especially so when his career is compared to that of fellow Dayton, Ohio natives Sun.
Van Hunt was a rising R&B star a decade ago, with a brace of writing credits for singers such as Dionne Farris and Rahsaan Patterson and Grammy-winning music of his own. But after losing his major-label deal -- in part because he resisted genre pigeon-holing -- the Ohio-born singer has only become more difficult to pin down musically, and an even more fascinating artist. His 2011 indie release, "What Were You Hoping For?," touched on everything from country to hard rock.
More than a decade after his celebrated debut, Van Hunt remains a cult figure on the pop scene: a restless, genre-bending talent more interested in challenging convention than compromising. His fifth solo record, after a four-year absence, is his most focused and affecting effort, accenting his funk-soul side and melodic instincts. He plays nearly all of the instruments, and achieves the kind of heated, raw sound that has virtually disappeared in too much of today’s overly manicured R&B.
Holly Herndon, "Platform" (4AD Records). The San Francisco-based Herndon is a singular artist whose productions blend layers of electronically manipulated voice with beats, noise, sibilant textures and filtered sound to create eardrum-tickling joy. On her second album she manages to sound both futuristic and steeped in history. In her work on "Platform" are echoes of voice-and-sample experimenters from decades past, including Meredith Monk, Laurie Anderson, Nobukazu Takemura and Bjork.