LIANNE LA HAVAS, Lianne La Havas (Nonesuch): ★★★★

A relationship is being traced here. However, it isn’t necessary to follow the emotional trajectory of the South Londoner’s exceptional third album to sink into the lush instrumental beds pulsing beneath the summery hooks of “Can’t Fight,” the drumless “Green Papaya,” lighthearted “Read My Mind” and her sultry take on Radiohead’s “Weird Fishes,” with relaxed grooves replacing frenetic hi-hat riffs. By the time La Havas closes with the slow-building “Sour Flower,” inspired by a favorite expression of her Jamaican grandmother’s, her sweet yet tough vocals are dancing jubilantly in her upper register.


(Loantaka): ★★★½

The native New Zealander turned Angeleno signals her unpredictability with sultry rocker “Kitchen Floor,” teasing a new lover, “I forgot to tell you/ I’m from a different country/ And there’s so much I don’t want from you.” The Western-tinged “Here Goes Nothing” spins similarly contradictory warnings over a swoony pop chorus. The album’s second half digs deeper with more psychedelic, raw confessions (“Born Again,” “Palm Trees”), but the standout is hooky single “Body Memory,” grieving the loss of a baby over numbing electronic beats: “I wish it could be simple like it is for you/ But my body has a memory and it won’t forget.”

ONENESS OF JUJU, African Rhythms 1970-1982 (Strut): ★★★

Cratediggers should rejoice at this newly remastered version of the deliciously funky 2001 compilation. Oneness of JuJu founder and saxophonist Plunky Branch infused the ensemble’s polyrhythmic Afro-Cuban foundation with free jazz and spoken word and, later, elements of disco, hip-hop and R&B with valuable contributions from key musicians’ musicians of JuJu’s heyday (not to mention poets such as Roach Om). Newcomers may just want to dance to the blast-from-the-past rhythms, but this is an unusually astute, 24-track guide through a fertile, still influential intersection of African and American genres. Highlights: “Space Jungle Funk,” “Be About the Future,” time-spanning “Chants/Don’t Give Up.”

LEE GALLAGHER AND THE HALLELUJAH, L.A. Yesterday (self-released): ★★★

Cosmic country-rock with one foot in Gram Parsons-era Joshua Tree and the other in San Francisco circa 1974. Rootsy multi-instrumentalist Jason Soda makes himself essential, magnifying Gallagher’s emotive, reedy vocals with mandolin, slide and electric guitar, and standout tracks such as soulful rocker “Goodnight Sweet Maria,” “Gone Today” and the harmony-buffed “Highway 10” showcase Kirby Hammel’s stirring keyboard work. They don’t reinvent the wheel on this sunny roadtrip, but they make the ride inviting.