July 2013 Archives

DeepSoul, Sampled Edition: Roy Ayers Ubiquity - "Everybody Loves the Sunshine"

An artist ahead of his time, the vibrophonist helped spark the acid jazz movement and inspired countless samples.
  |   Comments
"My life, my life, my life, my life, in the sunshine." These days, most listeners would immediately think of Mary J. Blige's early '90s hit "My Life" when reading those words.  In reality that hook dates back to 1976, when a fusion artist named Roy Ayers released that unique track.  Today, "Everybody Loves the Sunshine" sounds as distinct as it did 37 years ago; one can almost smell the ocean and feel the summer breeze while experiencing this light-as-air tune.  Not surprisingly, hip hop artists have repeatedly sampled the chorus and unique keyboard melody. Ayers began his career as an

Listfully Speaking - Albums That Got Away: Stevie Wonder, Black Sabbath, Marvin Gaye, The Band, Patti Smith

Here are 5 albums I'm ashamed to admit I haven't heard...
  |   Comments
So many great albums and not enough time: that's the theme of today's Listfully Speaking. The first edition of this series was my Blues 101 list and the first five albums I would hand someone looking to explore the rich beauty of the blues. They are so amazing it makes me sick that I let so many years of my life go by without hearing them. The universal catalog of song is voluminous and grows every year; the challenge of exposing myself to and absorbing it all is daunting and probably impossible but it's worth it to fight the good
Three of these in and I think I'm finally getting the hang of what I want to do with these new release articles.  I'm still finding it difficult to figure out which albums - other than the easy ones - to talk about.  For now I just browse Amazon's new releases, open up anything with an interesting name or cover art and then look at the descriptions to see if it actually sounds interesting.  The feature where they tell you what albums other people bought alongside the one you are looking at is also very helpful.  I figure if folks
It's been more than 10 years since Lycia last released an album and that drought comes to an end in August with the announcement of Quiet Moments, available on CD and digitally on Aug. 20. Mike VanPortfleet and Tra Vanflower have both worked on solo albums in the years between releases and have now put their creative energies into a new Lycia record, one VanPortfleet considers the most important of his career. "This is a very personal release for me," he said. "It's the closest thing I'll ever have to an autobiography." The personal nature of the lyrics, their challenging

Samantha Fish Releases 2nd Solo Album Black Wind Howlin' Sept. 20

So excited for Samantha Fish's sophomore effort...
  |   Comments
Blues Music Award-winner Samantha Fish will release her sophomore solo album Black Wind Howlin' on Sept. 20. I loved her debut Runaway and so did the Blues Foundation, who named the record Best New Artist Debut at the Blues Music Awards. That album was produced by Mike Zito (who just released a new record Gone To Texas) and he returns for that role on BWH. They recorded this new set in Louisiana and Fish gets some studio help from Paul Thorn (vocals), Johnny Sansone (harmonica) and Bo Thomas (fiddle). Fish wrote 10 of the album's 12 tracks on her own,

Keb' Mo' Shows Off Command, Charisma As W.C. Handy Music Festival Headliner in Florence, AL

Keb' Mo' overcame a few rough spots to deliver an impressive performance in Florence, AL as the headliner of 2013 W.C. Handy Music Festival...
  |   Comments
Bluesman Keb' Mo' strode onto the stage in a pair of Converse sneakers and a fedora with three guitars and a harmonica waiting for him on the stage of Norton Auditorium in Florence, Alabama, where he played a headlining set at the annual W.C. Handy Music Festival. The blues circuit is littered with festivals of the same name the world over, W. C. Handy acknowledged as the Father of The Blues, but Florence has a unique and special claim to this, being the birthplace of Handy- just one of many stories that makes the Florence-Muscle Shoals area such a vital

CD/DVD Review: Christopher Cross - A Night In Paris

The veteran singer delivers new live album...
  |   Comments
As debut albums go, the self-titled release from Christopher Cross was as about as successful as anyone could have hoped for. Released in late 1979, it sold over 5 million copies in the United States alone (20 million worldwide) and garnered the singer five Grammy Awards in 1981. His second album, Another Page, was a success as well, going gold in the U.S. and spawning another top-10 hit in "Think Of Laura." As the years passed, Cross' releases became more sporadic, yet still achieved critical acclaim. In 2011, he released Doctor Faith, his first album of original material in over
When the Concord Music Group purchased Fantasy Records in 2004, they became the owners of what I consider to be the finest jazz catalog in the world. What made the catalog so rich was that in addition to the artists on Fantasy itself, the company owned the masters of pioneering labels such as Prestige and Riverside as well. Riverside was formed in 1953 by Bill Grauer and Orrin Keepnews, and are celebrating their 60th anniversary this year. As part of this milestone event, they have reissued five legendary recordings, which span the years 1957-1962. The discs have been remastered by
We have a couple new additions to the iTunes Music Store Top 10s this week on both the singles and albums front. I'd like to tell you this is a good thing but it's still a matter of come meet the new boss, same as the old boss. In other words, it's still crap but from different names. Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" is still the #1 song in the land and is setting 2013 records for staying power for whatever that's worth. Jay Z (note: no hyphen) is still #1 with his Magna Carta Holy Grail album. The new additions this
Jason Isbell has become a favorite of David Letterman. Dave doesn't gush about many of his musical guests. We all know how much of a fan he was of the late Warren Zevon. He seemed genuinely impressed recently by Vintage Trouble. Dave has also been effusive in his praise of Isbell when he makes the rounds as he did last night. Southeastern is one of my favorite records of 2013 and "Stockholm" one of its finest songs so I was excited when I learned that's what he was playing. The performance didn't disappoint. It is spirted, inspired, and wonderful. You

Beady Eye Unveil Video For New Single "Shine A Light"

New Beady Eye video proves it can be good to be Liam Gallagher...
  |   Comments
Beady Eye's sophomore effort is released in the UK and not exactly-officially-completely available in the US but a video has been filmed for the second single from BE, "Shine A Light." I've got a digital advance of the album and started sketching notes for my review but haven't decided if I should weigh in before it gets American distribution or take my swings now. This gives me a chance to split the difference, talking about the single and video. The Dave Sitek-produced track is overflowing with classic '60s psychedelic sounds with acoustic guitars and sitar (or guitars mimicking sitar) churning

DeepSoul, Sampled Edition: Keni Burke - "Risin' to the Top"

This smooth track boasts a funky bass line few modern hip hop artists have been able to resist.
  |   Comments
Like "Soul Makossa," "Risin' to the Top" is a song you know, yet you may not be aware of it.  Keni Burke's jazzy 1982 track has been sampled by a dazzling number of artists, and has become a "steppin" classic in Chicago and elsewhere.  While his name may not be instantly recognizable, his previous group may be: The Five Stairsteps. Born in Chicago, Burke experienced his first taste of fame with the family group the Five Stairsteps, best known for their 1970 classic "O-o-h Child."  Shortly after that hit, two family members departed the act, forcing the remaining members to
I was beginning to wonder if the summer wasn't some kind of dead zone for musical releases.  The last two weeks haven't seen anything that has made me run to the nearest record store to throw my money at it.  Yes, ok, a new one from Jay-Z probably made a whole bunch of people lay down their money, but it doesn't punch any of my buttons.  This week however, is full of some really interesting looking music that I can't wait to tear into.  Oh and there's new ones by Marc Anthony and Selena Gomez, but we're talking about me

Built To Spill Announce US Tour

  |   Comments
Built To Spill have announced plans for a summer/fall US tour kicking off in Oklahoma City this month and ending in Salt Lake City in November. A former co-worker of mine turned me on to the magic of BTS and the mighty Doug Martsch, a guitar god of a different breed, and his band's distinct brand of indie rock. I wish I could tell you this tour is in support of a brand new album but that doesn't appear to be the case. The good news is fans of the their catalog can expect to hear a bevy of favorites

Listfully Speaking: Bryan Adams Has 5 Good Songs (...And I Was Surprised By That)

You didn't ask but I found 5 good songs by Bryan Adams. You're welcome.
  |   Comments
One benefit to having flawless taste in music is never having to write a "guilty pleasure" list or be embarrassed when you admit to liking certain songs. This is going to shock you, boys and girls, but Bryan Adams was not always a wanker. No, really. It's true. I'm not saying he was all the way good, only that he wasn't always a total wanker. I hear you. Yes, he wrote some utter shite and schmaltz and right you are about all those fucking movie songs. I can't defend anything about the Robin Hood movie or song. "Have You Ever
It's been a long time since I've been caught up enough on my writing to have reviews of the Top 3 albums at Blues Radio. I'm finally catching up with blues listeners from around the world. You've been digging the hell out of the star-studded James Cotton record Cotton Mouth Man. I'd be curious which song or songs are getting all the airplay. There are some good tunes on the record but it didn't do much for me as an album. Trampled Under Foot made a really nice record with Badlands and I'm glad to see it go to #2
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock has declared August 3 Blue Star Connection Day as the 3rd Annual Blue Star Music Festival comes to Littleton, CO with its most diverse, impressive lineup yet. This year's festival celebrates and brings to life Blue Star Connection's mission of providing access and ownership of musical instruments to medically-fragile children, teens, and young adults. The festival lineup boasts soul legend Curtis Salgado, Paul Thorn, and all-star band The Healers, featuring former Stevie Ray Vaughan sideman Reese Winans, Jimmy Hall, Samantha Fish, Kate Moss, and Trampled Under Foot's Kris and Danielle Schnebelen (check out our review of
We had to put our beloved weekly series devoted to the awesomeness of The Cure on hiatus but we're back! Heather and I hope we can bring you reflections on and memories inspired by the brilliance of The Cure. We've gotten so much great feedback and response to the entries we've written together so far. It makes us happy to know so many of you share our love for this fantastic band and we hope you'll continue to read, comment, and share them. Heather leads us off... HEATHER ''How did we get this far apart We used to be so
The FAQ series from Backbeat books are designed with the serious fan in mind. As the title of the new Jimi Hendrix FAQ: All That's Left to Know About the Voodoo Child by Gary J. Jucha indicates, the book contains a lot of lesser known material about Hendrix. Having been very impressed by previous titles such as the Neil Young FAQ by Glen Boyd, and the Beach Boys FAQ by Jon Stebbins, I had high expectations for this one. Jucha does not disappoint, as his Hendrix FAQ has been meticulously researched and brings to light all sorts of interesting facts
If I have learned one thing from Hit Parade, wherein I listen to the top songs on the Billboard Hot 100, it's that most of these songs are pretty bad. If I've learned two things, the second thing is that there isn't a ton of change atop the charts. In the entire year of 2013, which is more than halfway over, a total of six songs have been number one, and two of those songs were by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" has been the top song for a while, because people hate themselves and don't feel

Review: James Cotton - Cotton Mouth Man

The lyrics remind us James Cotton is a legend but the music on 'Cotton Mouth Man' doesn't...
  |   Comments
James Cotton is a bonafide harp legend and blues icon and has nothing left to prove at this stage is his career. That can be a blessing when it frees and invigorates a titanic talent to pursue their vision with no fear or boundaries. It can also be a curse as it his on Cotton Mouth Man -- the follow-up to his 2009 album Giant -- where it's clear finding ways to keep the man and his music vital without becoming repetitive has become increasingly difficult. Grammy-winning producer Tom Hambridge has assembled an army of stars to perform alongside Cotton. Hambridge has also

Johnny Marr Releases "New Town Velocity" Video, Announces 2nd US Tour

Johnny Marr unveils new video and announces 2nd US tour...
  |   Comments
The Lord our God is a gracious and benevolent God as He has seen fit to bestow upon us both a video for my favorite song from Johnny Marr's "debut" solo album The Messenger but also a second, extended run of US tour dates from the former Smiths' guitarist. "New Town Velocity" is my favorite song on a record with so many good ones. I don't know why but it seems like my favorite song on an album ends up being an afterthought in the minds of the artist and fellow fans so I'm always surprised when something like this

Listfully Speaking: John Mellencamp Top 5

I'm not a hardcore Mellencamp fan but here are 5 songs you have to know...
  |   Comments
BlindedBySound staffer, friend, and loyal sidekick Melinda dubbed me Encyclopedia Nerdicus after suffering through a bevy of my obsessive, opinionated, (and in my mind at least, informative) rants about music and my addict's mentality when it comes to building my musical library. My best friend 11, himself an occasional contributor here, is astonished that my collection boasts albums by artists I don't even like all that much. What can I say? I'm destined to die poor, amigos. So what the fuck does that have to do with anything? I got to thinking this week about songs I can't live without

Trampled Under Foot Have Arrived On New Album 'Badlands'

KC trio TUF seizes their moment on new album...
  |   Comments
KC-based three-piece Trampled Under Foot aren't new to the scene but years of hard work are paying off with a rising profile on the blues circuit and Badlands should only aid that momentum. TUF is a sibling trio of Kris, Nick, and Danielle Schnebelen. My first introduction to them was not through one of their own records but because Danielle and Kris were part of The Healers, an all-star band who performed a benefit show for Blue Star Connection. It was a great show and I highly recommend checking out that live set for both the music and the cause

CD Review: Status Quo - Bula Quo!

British veterans star in their first movie and provide the soundtrack in the process.
  |   Comments
While they may not be household names in America, British rockers, Status Quo, have carved out a successful career in Europe that has lasted more than 40 years. They have performed at prestigious gigs such as Live Aid and were on the bill for Queen's legendary Wembley Stadium shows in 1986, but there's one thing the band hasn't done until now -- record a movie soundtrack. Bula Quo! is the soundtrack to the film of the same name, which features the band as themselves (also a first). The soundtrack is a 2-CD collection featuring new original material, reworked tracks and
No change at the top of the charts this week as Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" and Jay-Z's Magna Carta Holy Grail are both #1 again this week. There's really not a lot of change on the charts this week, period. Miley Cyrus holds that #2 single again this week, Mackelmore and Lewis and Daft Punk are still in the Top 10 of singles and albums. Kanye's Yeezus dropped another slot from 6 to 7 this week but that's about all the action we have. I suppose I'm a little surprised Daft Punk's Random Access Memory isn't still a Top 10

DeepSoul, Sampled Edition: Lyn Collins - "Think (About It)"

Highly danceable yet unapologetically feminist, this 1972 classic earned the respect of numerous R&B, hip hop, and dance artists.
  |   Comments
Dubbed the "Female Preacher," Lyn Collins lived up to that name through her fiery vocals.  Part funk, part revival, "Think (About It)" remains one of the most sampled songs in hip hop, and her famous lines "It takes two to make a thing go right / It takes two to make it out of sight" have graced innumerable modern tracks. Appropriately, Collins counted another frequently sampled artists as her mentor: James Brown. Born in Abilene, Texas, Collins began singing as a teenager.  After marrying the man who served as the local promoter for the James Brown Revue, she sent a
I write a very similar to this column over at Cinema Sentries in which I discuss the new weekly DVD/Blu-ray releases. Two weeks into talking about new CD releases has made me realize how drastically different DVD releases are from music.  With movies I can pretty quickly get an idea of whether or not I'll like the release.  DVDs are usually released after a film has been in the theatres, and many times older films will get some kind of new release as well.  I can glean information about whether or not I'll like a movie based on the director,

Robert Randolph & The Family Band Re-Energized, Better Than Ever On 'Lickety Split'

The fun(k) is back with the Family Band...
  |   Comments
Rock music has a handful of signature, immediately recognizable sounds that can only come from one source: Chuck Berry's guitar intro, Roger McGuinn's 12-string guitar, Clarence Clemons' saxophone, Angus and Malcolm Young's signature riffing, just to name a few and over the past few years a new one has emerged, that being the sweet, piercing sting and wail of Robert Randolph's Sacred steel. Randolph has taken a little-known tradition from the church to the mainstream with his mastery of the Sacred steel and created quite a reputation for himself as an instrumentalist and built a following with his Family Band
When I wrote the April edition of this column I mentioned having hope that I might get May's article out at the beginning of June.  Here we are in the middle of July and I'm just now getting to it.  All I can say is that I'm sorry  and offer some tepid explanation.My wife teaches at university and as the spring semester starts winding down I always have these dreams of how wonderful it will be when she's off for the summer.  I fantasize about all the free time I'll have.  I smile thinking about all the movies I'll watch,

Smashing Pumpkins To Release 'Oceania: Live in NYC' in 3D, Bluray, DVD, CD on Sept. 3

A multi-tier package from Smashing Pumpkins 'Oceania' tour on the way this fall...
  |   Comments
The Smashing Pumpkins will release a live 3D DVD on September 3 called Oceania: Live in NYC. The show was filmed at the band's 2012 concert at Brooklyn's Barclays Center and includes the entirety of Oceana, the most recent Smashing Pumpkins album that also happened to be the first SP record to (officially) include only frontman Billy Corgan from the original lineup. Oceania was a solid record and seeing it presented in its entirety should be a treat. Fans of the classic Pumpkins catalog will find plenty of favorites in the setlist as well as songs from Siamese Dream and

Listfully Speaking: Blues 101 - The 1st 5 Blues Records You Should Buy

5 albums to help begin your journey through the blues...
  |   Comments
I had no help when I began my journey through a century of blues. I had no compass or map but this was a trip I needed to take and I was willing to risk getting lost. That didn't happen too many times but I did have a few missteps while also repeatedly striking gold. The journey continues but here's a little travelogue for those of you considering booking your own blues vacation. This is my Blues 101 list of 5 Blues Albums You Must Own. A music with such a rich, deep tradition has innumerable entry points. This isn't
Buddy Guy's Rhythm & Blues won't be in stores for another two weeks but it's already making a huge splash at radio where it checks in at #3 this, trailing fellow Hall of Famer James Cotton and Guy Davis. Soul veteran Mavis Staples is also in the Top 5 this week on the strength of her newly released One True Vine. Guitar greats Ronnie Earl and Duke Robillard continue to get considerable airplay for their respective releases Just For Today and Independently Blue. Jack White's Third Man Records issued the Pokey LaFarge album that's also getting major airtime at radio this past week.  Here's
"Mind Your Manners," the first single from Pearl Jam's 10th studio album Lightning Bolt, strikes like a storm with badass punk built on a foundation of a furious, thunderous riff. Mike McCready plays stuttering lead lines, the mortar, while also interlocking with Stone Gossard, to create a brick wall of classic rock guitar. Frontman Ed Vedder spits and howls another of his secular humanist rants over the hard-charging rhythm. The energy of "Mind Your Manners" comes not only from the full-frontal attack but also the anthemic fever it builds, all in under three minutes. What many missed about the best
Pearl Jam have unveiled the cover art, release date, and first single from their tenth studio album Lightning Bolt. The Seattle quintet's new album will hit stores Oct. 15 with "Mind Your Manners" available digitally as the first single from the record. We still don't have the complete tracklisting for the record and I'm sure more details will soon emerge. What we do know is Brendan O'Brien, who has helmed a number of previous Pearl Jam outings, produced Lightning Bolt. This is the band's first album in four years, following the 2009 release Backspacer. The band announced the first leg of

'Magna Carta Holy Grail' #1 Album at iTunes This Week, Robin Thicke #1 Single

iTunes' Official Music Charts for the week ending July 8, 2013
  |   Comments
I heard an awful lot of talk about some unorthodox method of (pre)-release for Jay-Z's latest album Magna Carta Holy Grail. Whatever everyone was going on about it, it's the #1 album at iTunes this week. I'm not a fan or follower of hip hop but it seems Jay-Z and Kanye West have been in a "battle" of sorts for supremacy in the rap world. Both men have released recent albums and for the moment, Jay-Z seems to be winning as West's Yeezus has already slipped to #6. The singles chart is once again the domain of Robin Thicke, Daft

New Releases: Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Dana Fuchs, Jay-Z

A few highlights from this week's slew of new releases...
  |   Comments
Hi.  I'm Mat. You might know me from my random writings in these pages about bootlegs, songs that evoke memories and some the best songs of 2013.  Our dear leader, Josh, here at Blinded By Sound has kindly asked me to take over the duties of highlighting what new albums are hitting the streets every week. It is a big duty, and I'm proud to have it. I will no doubt speak about different artists than Josh would highlight, but that's the fun of writing about music. Every week an enormous amount of new music gets released. I try to

Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" Spotify's Most Streamed Track, Miley Cyrus #2

Here are the Top 10 most streamed tracks on Spotify from July 1-7 in the US and UK
  |   Comments
Robin Thicke's insufferable "Blurred Lines" is is a certified hit and is the most streamed track via Spotify in the US and the UK. I'm going to quickly move past that because I'm shocked, mortified, and dying of laughter that Miley Cyrus checks in at #2 with "We Can't Stop." I thought for sure the recycled Britney Spears thing would have her relegated to TMZ only... until she wound up on some B-list reality show. I still suspect that's where she ends up and I hope that's as bad as it gets for her, provided she stops recording. I'm not

DeepSoul, Sampled Edition: James Brown - "The Payback"

The Godfather of Soul is also one of the most sampled artists in music, and this 1973 funk workout shows why.
  |   Comments
What would a column featuring heavily sampled artists be without the Godfather of Soul, James Brown?  The singer's unique vocal tics along with his band's scratchy guitar riffs, thumping bass, and distinctive drum patterns have all graced countless soul, rap, and hip hop tracks.  Since some music historians credit Brown for practically inventing modern dance music, his continuing presence in innumerable tracks is no surprise.  His over seven-minute opus "The Payback" remains a sampling staple, its tough sound lending a funky edge to various artists. The Payback album started life as a would-be soundtrack to a blaxploitation film.  Brown had

Pearl Jam Announces Fall US Tour

  |   Comments
Most bands announce their new record before they announce their tour dates but most bands aren't Pearl Jam. There have been rumblings about the as-yet announced 10th studio record from the Seattle quintet but they announced today plans for a fall tour that kicks off in Pittsburgh and ends with a homecoming show in Seattle. I wasn't bowled over by their ninth record Backspacer but I'm an unabashed PJ fan so I'll be among the first in line when the new record drops. Unfortunately, this will be the 10th album I won't see them tour in support of because the Southern

Review: Beck - I Won't Be Long

Another new single from Beck as we wait for the next two albums, already in progress...
  |   Comments
Beck continues releasing singles one at a time as he works on a pair of new albums with no firm release date. He released "Defriended" last month and today issued "I Won't Be Long." "Defriended" was firmly in the world of Beck's eccentric electronica. I was expecting "I Won't Be Long" to be more in the acoustic, singer/songwriter vein but I could not have been more wrong. "I Won't Be Long" is a soaring anthem with an electronic-rock hybrid foundation that takes flight on the power of moody keyboards and Beck's use of his own voice not only as a

Mike Zito Delivers On 'Gone To Texas'

Another solid outing from veteran blues-rocker...
  |   Comments
Mike Zito is making music when he isn't making music. He's always busy and it's always something musical whether it's in collaboration with other artists like his band Royal Southern Brotherhood (featuring Devon Allman and Cyril Neville), producing for up-and-comers like Samantha Fish, or working on his own solo records. Gone To Texas follows up Zito's Greyhound and continues the autobiographical bent of that record. Zito is joined by his core band, The Wheel, comprised of Jimmy Carpenter (sax and guitars), Rob Lee, (drums) and Scot Sutherland (bass) and recruits some heavyweight talent in the form of luminaries Debert McClinton

Booker T Jones Stands Tall With Help From Mayer Hawthorne, Gary Clark Jr, Vintage Trouble on 'Sound The Alarm'

Booker T continues to make fine records with a little help from his friends...
  |   Comments
Legendary organist and bandleader Booker T. Jones continues his feverish pace, releasing new music even as Stax classics with his former band the MGs are being re-issued (Green Onions, McLemore Avenue). Sound The Alarm follows his 2011 release The Road From Memphis and like that release features a host of younger guest stars. Jones is joined this time by Gary Clark Jr., Vintage Trouble, Mayer Hawthorne, Anthony Hamilton, Estelle, and Sheila E., just to name a few. Young pup Mayer Hawthorne joins Jones on the title track to open the record and the two successfully balance a contemporary, hip hop

Morrissey Goes To The Movies, To Release Concert Film '25 Live'

Morrissey's troubled tour gets captured on his first concert film in 10 years...
  |   Comments
Gird your loins, Morrissey fans: The Pope of Mope has announced the release of Morrissey: 25 Live, his first concert film in almost a decade. The film will be released both on DVD and in cinemas worldwide in August and, according to fansite (and unofficial official Morrissey site) True To You, marks 25 years since the release of his debut solo single "Suedehead." Morrissey: 25 Live will feature his performance at Hollywood High School, which took place back in March of this year shortly before the remainder of his US tour dates were called off due to numerous health issues. He

Review: Beck - "Defriended"

The Master of Compression is hard at work...
  |   Comments
The mad genius that is Beck released a new single last month called "Defriended" and has one coming out next week called "I Won't Be Long." He is apparently hard at work on three or more different album projects right now and has begun releasing singles that may (or may not) show up on any of them. Beck has always been a master compressionist, able to harness and twist the zeitgeist. The very title of the song is quintessential 21st century vocabulary even if the ideas beneath the language are not: "Why are you so unavailable?" Nonsense phrases, unintelligible words,
As a young rock 'n roller looking to explore jazz, my first step was to buy Kind of Blue by Miles Davis. I loved it so much that I bought other Miles albums, plus recordings by the other players on Blue, such as Bill Evans, John Coltrane, and Julian "Cannonball" Adderley. As a quick and dirty method of introducing yourself to some of the finest jazz ever made, this turned out to be a very effective method, and one I would recommend to others. I probably would have checked out Evans and Coltrane anyway, but the real find for me was

DeepSoul, Sampled Edition: Manu Dibango - "Soul Makossa"

Think you've never heard this pioneering dance track? You have--and probably never knew it.
  |   Comments
For the next few weeks, DeepSoul salutes what is widely considered the backbone of rap, hip hop, and modern R&B: sampling. Initially controversial, sampling has transformed into a largely accepted practice--so long as the new artist awards credit to the original performer and track. What better way to kick off this series than with one of the most heavily sampled tracks in music history: Manu Dibango's infectious "Soul Makossa"? The 1972 single's exotic beat, saxophone solo, and "Mama koo mama sa maka makoosa" chant have appeared in a staggering number of tracks, most famously in Michael Jackson's "Wanna Be Startin'
Kanye West is a man who inspires a wide range of emotions, from unwavering devotion to single-minded hatred - often at the same time. West has become both a musical icon and a publicity magnet, not only due to his controversial and often innovative musical and lyrical ideas, but also because of his public persona, often seen as immature, brash and egotistical. In the beginning of his career, West's public persona almost seemed to represent an entirely different person than the thoughtful, socially conscious character found on his music. Throughout College Dropout, Late Registration, and Graduation, West maintained a college theme while attacking

Review: Jason Isbell - Southeastern: Growth And Pain Result In Career Best Album

Isbell's latest an artistic triumph!
  |   Comments
Jason Isbell's star has been on the rise both as a valuable member of the Southern rock band Drive By Truckers and now as a solo artist. He won song of the year from the Americana Music Awards for "Alabama Pines" from his 2011 album Here We Rest (also featured on his fantastic Live In Alabama). Personal problems threatened to derail his ascension and he chronicles those along with growth and a new-found sobriety on his 2013 release Southeastern. The ghosts of demons now in his rearview and a new love along with the undeniable, always-present talent have resulted in

Follow Us