ALBUM OF THE WEEK: The FunkRapDisco of Ric Wilson and the return of Dale Bozzio

“If you got no rhythm baby, get out the way–don’t kill the wave!”

Ric Wilson and Terrace Martin’s collaboration, They Call Me Disco is a welcome burst of summer joy in a year where fun and love are hard to find. Chicago rapping (including guests like BJ the Chicago Kid) meets glossy L.A. production in a truly terrific collection of songs that defies time and genre. These could be Sly and the Family Stone covers. They could sit on the same ’90s soundtrack as Snoop and Warren G. And they’re fully modern, at home in the sounds of modern hip hop.

They Call Me Disco may just be an EP, but honestly, in these days of overstuffed albums, sticking to six really good songs is so damn refreshing.

And while we’re on the topic of genre-bending artists, Missing Persons, featuring the voice of the groupie on Frank Zappa’s classic Joe’s Garage is back with an (almost) all-covers album. Missing Persons is one of those ’80s bands who broke new ground and influenced multiple future genres, yet few people can name more than one or two of their songs. Somehow, they became a recognizable band by name without ever becoming a household name. Their new album has two new (and very good) original songs, and then digs deep into the 1960s for covers The Mamas and the Papas, Strawberry Alarm Clock, and classic Stones. But there’s alsoa deep cut of classic soul (The Dramatics’ “In the Rain”) and a few songs by their new wave contemporaries, Joy Division and The Cars.

Dale Bozzio’s voice is one of the most distinctive and original in the history of pop. This is a great way for new listeners to get to know the band.

Runner Up:

Passion of the Poets by Third Root. Good, smart hip hop.

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