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Charles Martel’s Top 1000: Part 40

posted July 23rd, 2014 by CharlesMartel | Filed under: Recommendations from the Writer's Mind, Video | 0

Show or substance? There is likely to be little doubt among anyone who has followed this list since its inception, that I am going to be more inclined to favour artists whose appeal lies in the latter. That does not mean that “show” has no place. Particularly with live concerts, one goes to see and hear a performance not just hear it – to soak up the atmosphere which a good artist will impart to performances. There are several albums I have bought on the strength of a live performance I have seen, sometimes only to find that the studio recording does not match up. And I am sure I am not alone in this, but I have been to live performances by bands I really like only to be seriously disappointed by them.

Still, on with the next twenty.

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Interview: José James

posted July 21st, 2014 by Carlita | Filed under: Editorial, Interviews | 0


One of the best things about summer, besides the abundance of outdoor shows to choose from, is the time to delve into new albums en route to said shows. June yielded several road trip and airplane friendly albums including José James’ standout latest offering, ‘While You Were Sleeping’. Known for merging the old with the new via the blending of neo-soul, electronic, hip-hop and classic jazz influences on previous efforts, José boldly brings touches of punk and folk into the foray this time around. On the experimental tip, he puts a trademark Generation X/Y blurred stamp on your definition of genre.

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Charles Martel’s Top 1000: Part 39

posted July 16th, 2014 by CharlesMartel | Filed under: Recommendations from the Writer's Mind, Video | 0

I am one of those who decry the decline of the old weekly singles charts. In my youth, Sunday evening sat by the radio listening to the new chart being counted down on BBC Radio 1 was one of the highlights of the week. Okay, like a lot of mainstream commercial stuff, much of it was unfathomable dross. But there were some real gems there, even if I did not realise it at the time. Though the way we listen to music has changed, the end of the weekly TV show, Top of the Pops in July 2006 was, for me at least, the end of an era. For forty two years it has been the staple of British pop music. One of those things families gathered round the TV to watch, like the FA Cup Final, The Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race or the Grand National. And then, sadly, it was gone. Music would never be the same again.

Onwards with the next twenty.

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Interview: Seether

posted July 10th, 2014 by Brian Rutherford | Filed under: Interviews | 0

Dale Stewart and Bryan Wickmann interview about playing festivals like Rocklahoma, tell you how they consume their favorite music and talk about their new record “Isolate and Medicate”

Contest: (hed) PE

posted July 9th, 2014 by Brian Rutherford | Filed under: Contest, Music News, Releases | 0

Press Release

hedpebiorecentStaying true to the (Hed)p.e. standard of change and growth both personally and musically, the new album “Evolution” takes the band back to their metal and underground roots they grew up on as kids. With tracks like “One More Body” and “No Tomorrow” holding down the metal and aggressive front, to the Led Zeppelin infused track “2 Many Games”, this album delivers every style imaginable and even rounds the album out with three reggae inspired/infused album closers. In a time when so many bands are playing it safe and going through the motions, whether it be out of fear of failure or lack of new ideas, (Hed)p.e. embraces change and “Evolves” with their greatest work to date.

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Charles Martel’s Top 1000: Part 38

posted July 9th, 2014 by CharlesMartel | Filed under: Recommendations from the Writer's Mind, Video | 0

You may have noticed as we go through the list that there are a number of covers included. There are tracks by the Byrds, the Feelies, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Jimi Hendrix and others which are covers. Some of these are more well-known than the original. But there are also a number of tracks which feature twice in this list (or perhaps will feature twice in this list – I don’t want to give anything away). But there is only one song which features three times in this list – the original and two covers. Any ideas? Answers on a postcard.

And in this twenty we will pass through the three-quarter mark.

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There’s a time for live music and not just in person, but then again…

posted July 7th, 2014 by nlathy | Filed under: Checking the Playlists, Editorial | 2

rollins road shows vol. 1Fans of live music get their chance for more with live recordings.

This isn’t always a plus. Sometimes the live music sounds sloppy and terribly over polished. It can make one long for over produced studio work.

In jazz circles there are some brilliant live albums. One of the best I’ve heard in a while is Sonny Rollins’ Road Shows, Vol. 1. It was released in 2008 on Doxy.

Cuts like “Some Enchanted Evening” allow Rollins to explore territory on his saxophone. Even  a track like “Tenor Madness” provides a different take on something I’ve heard many times before.

Rollins’ energy is amazing. He keeps thriving on “Blossom” the longest cut on the disc at 12:27.

There’s other bonuses on live discs. An announcer can give information about who’s playing on an album. There can be commentary on the music, as well.

None of this matters if there’s not a compelling sax solo like Rollins provides on “Easy Living.”

Solos on live albums and studio albums can be a drag. The jamming the Who did on the second side of Live at Leeds didn’t live up to the interest level of the  cuts on side one.

I’ve had my share of good times listening to the White Stripes Under Great White Northern Lights.  I bought the album because of “Seven Nation Army.” It was during a period, where I wanted to listen and own songs played at sporting events.

For some of these albums listening to a few cuts suffices. There are some other albums where more in depth listening is required. Dave Brubeck’s Jazz Goes to College or John Coltrane’s One Down, One Up: Live at the Half Note are other worthwhile ventures.

Enjoy the pop

Iggy Azalea’s New Classic doesn’t live up to its title. But there are good tracks.

Maybe, there’s hope of a knockout  pop album out there. Then again it would be good for some country pleasure. Crossover anyone?

Charles Martel’s Top 1000: Part 37

posted July 2nd, 2014 by CharlesMartel | Filed under: Recommendations from the Writer's Mind, Video | 0

A question which I often ask myself is where music is heading. Although music has often looked back it could be argued that this has never been more the case than now with an almost cynical recycling of sounds from earlier decades. Post-punk, shoegaze and now psychedelia have all been revisited in waves in the last decade or so. Could it be true that we are running out of ideas? Probably not, but the ease with which music now spreads and the wider opportunity for individuals to commit their music to recording and disseminate it seems to have resulted in concentrations of musical styles which crowd out what may be genuinely original. And what is genuinely original seems not to get the chance, for reasons we have seen previously, to become more widely accepted.

Counting down ever closer with the next twenty.

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Interview: Damani Nkosi

posted June 30th, 2014 by Carlita | Filed under: Editorial, General Interest, Interviews | 0


On the last day of 2014’s Black Music Month, I’m spotlighting an artist and album that deserves a thorough listen (or 20, in my case). Getting his start on Kurupt’s Space Boogie: Smoke Oddessey in 2001 and signing to Snoop Dogg’s label through a series of events involving being talented at the right place at the right time, Damani Nkosi’s ridden the ups and downs of the music industry and is still holding on. Dropping his epic independently released hip-hop/R&B infused statement, ‘Thoughtful King’ earlier in the month, he re-emerges a multiple continent-traversing, articulate Inglewood CA repping philosopher. Produced by Grammy-winning Warryn Campbell, Damani gathers an All-Star team around to assist with the likes of Musiq Soulchild, Robert Glasper, PJ Morton, BJ The Chicago Kid, Problem, Oh No and Thurz all making appearances.

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