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'Overload' Will Take Georgia Anne Muldrow From L.A.'s Underground To The Mainstream


Since her 2006 debut, the Los Angeles-based singer, composer and multi-instrumentalist Georgia Anne Muldrow has released 17 albums, also a stack of mixtapes. She's collaborated with Madlib, Erykah Badu and Blood Orange, among others. Still, Muldrow remains mostly unknown outside LA's thriving progressive music underground. Reviewer Tom Moon says that should change as word spreads about her latest, which is called "Overload."


GEORGIA ANNE MULDROW: (Singing) Transforming, changing higher, spiraling higher. We're all meant to be transforming, changing higher, spiraling higher, changing.

TOM MOON, BYLINE: Georgia Anne Muldrow's champions talk about her as an artist whose musical instincts are matched by brazen, free-range curiosity. Georgia Anne Muldrow's discography includes plush R&B jams and records that conjure the unruly spirit of free jazz and hip-hop riddled with apocalyptic overtones. Her new album distills a decade's worth of those experiments into a unified sound.


MULDROW: (Singing) It ain't hard to tell this world is crazy now, crazier than it's ever been. People feel uncozy with the Internet, don't even have no real friends.

MOON: With "Overload," Muldrow smooths out some of the jagged intensity of her previous works, making room for sweet, ingratiating, airborne melodies like this.


MULDROW: (Singing) I put my faith in you 'cause no one can do the things that you do for me. In overload, in overdrive, I'm overwhelmed in world inside. I built this lifetime dressed up in you. Baby, please believe me. You know, you got it easy.

MOON: Muldrow's original songs look forward and backward at once. They reflect her upbringing. Both of her parents were involved in jazz as recording artists and performers and her mother leads a 200-member choir in Los Angeles. Throughout "Overload," Muldrow evokes the positive vibrations that swirled around jazz in the late 1960s. Her verses celebrate devotion, gratitude, the importance of taking care of family. On this lament, she wonders whether compassion can change the cycle of violence in African-American communities.


MULDROW: (Singing) We play nice while they're stacking up kills. How much we gotta grow before we can learn how to defend ourselves? How much we gotta know that we can't depend on no one else. We don't even know no more.

MOON: There have been scattered flashes of musical brilliance on everything Georgia Anne Muldrow has released. This album is more consistently joyful, even accessible. With these songs, Muldrow taps the progressive spirit of an earlier time and uses it to confront the challenges of our coarse, profoundly overloaded present moment.


MULDROW: (Singing) The melody you sing to me, simple and sweet.

KELLY: The latest from Georgia Anne Muldrow is called "Overload." Our reviewer is Tom Moon.


MULDROW: (Singing) Yeah, yeah. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Tom Moon has been writing about pop, rock, jazz, blues, hip-hop and the music of the world since 1983.

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