On the hunt yet again for new music (yes, Miley, I “can’t stop, won’t stop”), I thankfully found “Ordinary Girl” by rising artist South side Chicago repping Chi City. The more I read about him, the more I liked. Getting his start at 16 years old, he started a company and has assisted other artists- recording over 200 and ghostwriting for G.O.O.D Music artists as well as B.O.B and Diggy Simmons. Stepping into the spotlight solo, you can’t help but notice his combo of Chitown style lyricist skill and humble hustle- recording, writing, directing editing. Read more
The weather may be getting colder as we move into fall, but one way for things to perpetually stay warm in your heart is to experience the hot rhythms of KAE SUN. The personable Ghanaian-Canadian singer-songwriter made his sophomore album Afriyie available earlier this year (pronounced AFREE-YAY), and is celebrating its release on Thursday, October 10th at Toronto’s eclectic and upscale Rivoli. This is a cool customer who has been likened to Raphael Saadiq, K’naan and k-os, although none of these comparisons really hit the nail on the head. Read the Q&A he did with me below to get an idea of his vibe, and be sure to also watch his videos. (Just don’t blame me for any spontaneous dancing!)
At least they always seemed that way back in the days when vinyl was king. It was cool to get an album with a lyric sheet and follow along while listening. It made the experience of listening to an album for the first time that much better.
But even then intriguing lyrics didn’t mean much if the music didn’t grab me in the pleasure center of my ear-brain connectors.
And it’s not all about lyrics. Listening to Yes, it was the instrumental passages, which made the albums intriguing. Even longer songs by groups outside of the art-rock sphere like the Who and Rolling Stones would have intriguing passages in longer tracks. I still love hearing the saxophone playing on “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking,” one the top cuts from Sticky Fingers.
Words seem like even less of a necessity due to my fascination with jazz, which has accelerated the last five years. So often the tracks of John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk (I have never come across a cut by him involving vocals), Tony Williams and John McLaughlin are instrumentals. And I keep coming back to these tracks again.
Even when there is singing it can just be the sound of singing, which draws me in. This is true for Mel Torme or Barbara Streisand before she tried to venture into pop-rock territory in the 1970s.
Still there is plenty to say for good lyrics. Vampire Weekend can get intriguing when they Ezra Koenig sings about a “Diplomat’s Son,” especially when a final chilling lyric ends the song. What kept me listening to the Who was the wit of Pete Townshend voiced by Roger Daltrey.
Humor on cuts by Don McLean or Joe Walsh or throughout an Eels or Randy Newman album keep me listening and wanting to come back. Rap music is an example where lyrics seem to be every thing.
And the laughs and thought provoking moments Chuck D, KRS One or LL Cool J could bring about revolutionized pop music. So I won’t fret if lyrics repel in a song, as long as they don’t morph into a bad political sermon. But if any artists have something new and compelling to say or if they can just a reiterate a message people need to listen to (see various Gospel recordings) count me in.
Blurring rock, horrorcore, poetry and rap lines for the past 10 years obviously comes easy to the Hitchcock of Hip-Hop, Prozak. Repping indie label Strange Music and Saginaw, Michigan, his trajectory into the entertainment industry, originally assisting in promoting Tech N9ne, which resulted in he getting signed as well, has been an unusual one. Tackling substantial topics like poverty, war, persecution and consumerism, albums stand filled with contemplative material. Translating this passionate energy into his live show, his trademark mosh pits are legendary. Not only releasing three studio albums (including his latest one, We All Fall Down, that dropped September 17th), he’s also pursued his other passion for video and film, becoming a film director whose last documentary premiere threw 4,000 people in his hometown of 44,000. Read more
John Densmore, former drummer for The Doors, knows this all too well.
Mr. Densmore was a music torchbearer throughout the late-’60s and early-’70s as one of the four integral members of the revolutionary, William Blake-indebted rock band, and has continued to do so to this day through his new book The Doors: Unhinged. Writing about those oftentimes contentious, psychedelic-tinged times is nothing new for Densmore, having already released a best-selling biography years ago in Riders on the Storm.
Very few refute there is a true balancing power of “two” and great duos have changed the course of musical history forever. The ying-yang, polar opposites, kindred spirits, the artists who are accomplished solo but are better together, the folks that click naturally and make dope music, the ones when you hear they’re dropping an album, you just buy it without thinking twice. The Foreign Exchange comprised of producer/artist Nicolay and rapper/singer Phonte (from the legendary group Little Brother) who met on internet message boards over a decade ago, easily fall into this category. Achieving the rare feat of obtaining mainstream recognition while maintaining underground respect and credibility, this twosome returns with their much anticipated fourth album, Love In Flying Colors dropping on September 24th. Read more
Music journalists get hit with a steady helping of press releases every day. For the music fan without that kind of sensory overload, a lot of music news can pass by without being seen. Every Monday, I will weed through and compile a list of some of the most intriguing press releases to come across my virtual desk.
Deltron 3030 is excited to release “Melding of the Minds,” a new track featuring Zack De La Rocha. The track, which is available for stream/embed HERE, is off their upcoming album Deltron 3030: Event II. Read more
Growing up in my house, hours of booming, “ass-shaking” music filled my ears. Disco, dance and house music, in particular, made my little feet want to move constantly. Arriving in LA years later, a friend put me onto DJ Colette who not only brought those great memories flooding back but made it modern-day relevant. Repping Chicago and DJ collective Superjane, Colette released her first independent album on her own label, Candy Talk, When The Music’s Loud a few weeks ago. Featuring the blazing electronica title single and 80’s Adonis inspired “Hotwire”, DJ Colette’s clearly dropped another album full of club bangers. Read more
In an ever-changing global music and arts culture, one certainty still remains. The city that never sleeps, New York City, continues to wear the crown of trend-setting tastes. In a column every-so-often, special reporter to Music Emissions, Danielle Martin will take on the beast known as the five boroughs and all it has to offer…
DeadBolt Wine and The Oxymorons
Dead Bolt Music Cellar Featuring The Oxymorrons – 8/12/13 Rockwood Music Hall
- Louis Armstrong-Portrait of an Artist
- Thelonious Monk-Jazz Manifesto
- Ella Fitzgerald-Sings The George and Ira Gershwin Songbook
- Beatles-Rubber Soul
- Chuck Berry-Essentials
- Rolling Stones-Exile on Main Street
- Chet Baker-Chet Baker Sings
- Johnny Cash-The Legend of Johnny Cash
- Pink Floyd-Wish You Were Here
- Steely Dan-Pretzel Logic
I came up with a list of the top 10 albums of all time. These reflect my preferences. The above mentioned list contains solid choices. There aren’t dud songs on these albums.
One thing I notice when putting together a list is they all contain songs which at least predominantly include songs before 1980. There aren’t any albums made up of songs recorded in the previous decade or this one.
There are some albums from the last five years, which deserve consideration, but they don’t quite make the cut. More recent albums are at a disadvantage, since they haven’t had the chance to entice listeners for decades. They could age well enough to put them in the winner’s circle. Nevertheless, none of them quite makes the instant classic category at this time.
Still, there is good music still being made. Albums like the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s It’s Blitz! and Vampire Weekend’s Contra show greatness is well within the grasp of current artists. All three of Vampire Weekend’s albums dazzle, although its latest doesn’t draw me in quite like the Savages’ debut let alone rival Chuck Berry or Pink Floyd’s best offering. Read more