(Sessions Sounds/Fat Beats): 3½ STARS

Grooves are relentless and the funk is deep throughout this compilation of previously issued 7” singles from the Detroit collective known for backing other artists. Liberally deploying wah pedals and percolating bass, they’re joined by Detroit buds including Amp Fiddler (flute-ribboned opener “In the Ride”), late Blackbyrds saxophonist Allan Barnes (the loping “Cherry Juice”) and singer Rickey Calloway, who makes like a smooth James Brown during “Shake It Up, Shake It Down.” He may not match the soul godfather’s rasp, but the band drives the music hard with spirit and grit. willsessions.bandcamp.com

ALLISON PIERCE, Year of the Rabbit

(Sony Masterworks): 3 STARS

On hiatus from the Pierces, her band with sister Catherine (now recording solo as CAT), Allison Pierce and producer Ethan Johns surround her calm, earthy alto with chiming guitars and mandolins in gently polished country-folk settings distinct from her previous work, though not far enough afield to alienate Pierces fans. Standout tracks include the engaging melodies of hooky single “Evidence,” “Fool Him” and a cappella “It is Well With My Soul.” At McCabe’s in Santa Monica on Saturday, May 13. allisonpiercemusic.com


(Six Degrees): 4 STARS

After opening with the acoustic “Bonheur” (reminiscent of his father, Ali Farka Touré), the Malian guitar hero ramps up energy with several tracks driven by his searing fretwork, two of them featuring Israeli keyboardist and sometime collaborator Idan Raichel. The mournful contemplation that colored 2013’s “Mon Pays” similarly imbues the eight-minute “Samba Si Kairi,” rippling with ngoni solos and Farka Touré’s arpeggiated riffs. That setpiece is followed by the electrifying “Homafu Wawa,” joyfully funky “Nature” and brooding “Ouaga” — a sequence suggesting a deepening integration of past influence and present reality, capped with ““Ni Negaba’”s clattering percussion and hypnotic, celebratory groove. vieuxfarkatoure.com

JAKE LA BOTZ, Sunnyside

(Hi-Style): 3½ STARS

Partnering with JD McPherson producer Jimmy Sutton, the former Angeleno reprises “Hard to Love What You Kill” from 2008’s “Sing This to Yourself” and the title track from 2013’s “Get Right”; but here, greater vocal nuance and the introduction of ghostly harmonies expands the latter’s dynamic build. In Sutton, La Botz has a producer who really understands his singular blend of metaphysical blues, gospel, folk, and street-dirtied rock ‘n’ roll, as well as his gravelly voice — and how to record it. Highlights: the poetic “Trees in Cali,” rumbling “Feel No Pain,” “Hobo on a Passenger Train.” jakelabotz.com