No Doubt is coming back, and is supposedly set to deliver something greater than ever. I’m not sure if anything new can top what they’ve already done, but after taking an extended break from recording to have fashion lines, spouses, and children, the band members seem fresh and ready to rock again. Lead singer Gwen Stefani, bass player Tony Kanal, guitarist Tom Dumont, and drummer Adrian Young have been making music together for the better part of 25 years; they’ve all been recently teasing fans on Facebook with images of new recording sessions.
As a long-time No Doubt fan and historian, I truly believe that Gwen is at her best when collaborating with her beloved bandmates. Hence, I hope that their upcoming album sounds nothing like her solo work, which was nice but certainly not earth-shattering. If their pattern continues on this album, they will be inspired by a unique style of world music and merge it with their individual California sound. I’m chomping at the bit for this project to be released later in the year, and since no sound samples have been released or leaked yet, here’s a gem of a performance of the song that put the band at the forefront of the mid-1990s music scene.
Robert Glasper is to be commended for his latest artistic endeavor. Black Radio is not only an assembling of some of the most noted and prolific black artists, yet it is a representative of music at its finest form. Inventive, symbolic, and essential, this collection fuses jazz/soul/R&B in a way that invites the listener into a sonic universe where melodic and harmonious layers abide. Its splendor is infinite.
Black Radio is defined by its organic outpouring. From “Ah Yeah”, where the striking vocals of Chrisette Michelle and Musiq Soulchild unite in bliss, to “Afro Blue” where Erykah Badu returns to her more soulful sound reminiscent of her Baduizm/Mama’s Gun eras, and to “Cherish The Day”, Lalah Hathaway’s sultry and undeniable take on the Sade classic (my personal favorite), every song is equally distinctive and euphoric.
Jimi Hendrix, regarded as one of the best musicians of all time, claimed not to attach emotional meanings to many of his songs. However, the man could sing with such stirring conviction, it’s hard not to feel chills when listening to him. His work on the guitar is more than just a masterpiece, he was able to make a guitar cry, scream, wail, and chant all in the same song. He FELT the sound.
Jimi picked up the guitar at 15 and did not achieve stardom until he was 24, stepping off a plane in England. He spent the night jamming with Eric Clapton, who was already on the road to the same fame that would later hit Jimi like a brick wall. For Jimi, the time it took to be internationally appreciated for his talent seemed like decades. Nonetheless, his ascent to the top was rapid and quickly aged him through the use of drugs, sleepless nights, and endless performances.
“I’m the king, y’all know that”.
Usher could not have been more accurate. When it comes to contemporary male R&B, he sets the standard. His way of fusing the best of his influences with the current tides of music has carved a lane all his own in a genre often restricted rather than liberated. He does not totally subscribe to the trends without retaining a sense of familiarity and respect to his musical base. His last album, Raymond vs Raymond, though more pop than not, showed his evolution to an all-around sound, no longer an urban force, but an overall force. “Climax”, his latest single completely positions him just where he left off, at the top. With its smooth and constant rise to zenith, the track could not be more emblematic of Usher’s succces. For an artist with nearly 20 years into the industry, the singer is presenting something truly fresh, not dated or forced, yet a true development of sound and craftsmanship. Welcome Back to the throne .
Sensuality. Artistry. One-of-a-kind. Toni Braxton is a talent that has all the makings of true allure, longevity and distinction. Her voice is a movement. Reaching highs that will rope you with its power and control while reaching lows that will amaze you with its depth. No one sounds like Toni Braxton. Her voice and use of her instrument alone is enough.
All which is to say, I’m glad she has returned to music. Her latest single “I Heart You”, a return to her once prominent dance sound, though not greatly impressive, that voice will always be the cavalry. Her 8th studio effort Heartstrings & Synagogue Vibes will be available in May.
Her name, in itself, reveals that she is unlike the rest. And then you press play to any one of her heartfelt, impassioned songs, and you’re completely whisked away. There’s the breathtaking allure of her voice, which births those heavenly melodies and vivid storytelling. The lyrics that are more than just words and phrases—they are an expression of a heartbeat, raw emotions and genuine honesty. Then there’s the music itself. Liberated, eclectic, and piercing, it tells a story of it’s own, without overpowering the other elements of the song, as the final piece to her matchless creations. Szjerdene is a rare treasure.
Her latest release, Patchwork: The EP (available now), is yet another invitation to Szjerdene’s boundless world of truth, ingenuity and artistic bliss. To celebrate this next chapter in her journey, we had the privilege of speaking with the spirited songbird about everything from her unique introduction to music, her endless admiration for Mariah Carey, and of course, her stunning EP. With a personality just as beautiful as her awe-striking talents, there are no doubts that she will join the ranks of the famously celebrated, single-name acts that have conquered before her.
With Miguel‘s Art Dealer Chic series, he definitely gained a fan in yours truly. For after speaking so highly of his art, Miguel created a certain hype which did not fully manifest itself. With the Art Dealer Chic vol. 1, the output matched his eclectic vision and I looked forward to its follow-up. Now with the release of the second installment, Art Dealer Chic Vol.2 , a 3-track EP, the neo-type continues to impress and intrigue. The concluding set will be released in April.
[DOWNLOAD] Art Dealer Chic Vol. 2 EP
Birdy is quite the captivating talent. She sings, she writes, she plays. Having already made quite impression via Youtube with her unique covers of The xx , Cherry Ghost, and most notably Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love.” It’s evident why it was chosen as the song to launch her US promo campaign for her self-titled debut. After listening to her original material, there’s no doubting that she will a major star.
Her performances are beautiful. So much so, I posted two of “Skinny Love” and another, a 20-minute set performed at the Youtube offices. All deserving a watch.
Thought new to me, Joy Denalane is no stranger to music. The German-born singer/songwriter’s last album, Born & Raised made noise back in 2006. After a lengthy six-year hiatus, she is now back to claim her spotlight with Maureen which is set for an April 3 release.
The first single, “Should Have Never” is a gusty offering of heavy instrumentation by way of its bluesy horns and strings. Fusing such with Joy’s and the artiste, Bilal’s raw vocals only gives the track that more appeal. In receiving the remix treatment from Jake One, “Should Have Never” becomes undeniable. By time the song concludes your left craving more. My interest has certainly been piqued. To avoid a rant about the dopeness, I’ll just say download. Now.
SOURCE | OkayPlayer
We at SOM have spoken of our unyielding support and admiration of this mammoth being and will continue to do so. On every level, Saul Williams sets the standard. His latest artistic effort,Volcanic Sunlight is an album which has taken him on an international tour, allowing audiences to experience all that defines art through Williams poetic and musical perspective.
In a recent tour-stop in Canada, Southern Souls captured a mash-up of Sauls’s classics “DNA” and “Coded Language”. Performed with live drum and trumpet accompaniment, Saul delivered in only a manner that he could. This is power.
Flashback to 2002, ’round summer time and one song may come to mind, “Why Don’t We Fall In Love” taken from Amerie’s much beloved debut All I Have. Fast forward to now, after the singers much publicized label drama , Ameriie (now with an added I) has returned with some new music.
“Every Time,” the first release from her forthcoming mini-LP, The Prelude offers a familiar sound, a nod to her solid R&B sound which defined the beginning of her career. Moreover, the track is sure to please Ameriie’s true fans as has since dabbled with a more progressive sound that did not translate so well with her fans and the industry alike.
While I for one appreciated her more evolved sound, I hope this is not the direction she’s headed, rather a mere reminder that she hasn’t forgotten her roots.
Evolution is apart of creativity, or it certainty should be. With music there is often the challenge of reinventing one’s sound and image to satisfy their development as an artist. That is especially true of those who have transitioned into making music. Case in point Jada Pinkett Smith, the well-known actress who formed her band Wicked Wisdom back in 2002. Now going under Wicked Evolution, the collective is back with new music.
Totally revamped and offering a new musical direction, a change from their heavy-metal sound, Jada and company are showing true artistic growth and depth. “Burn”-the first release from the bands forthcoming live project is full of force by way of the climatic production, cunning lyrics, and the emotive vocal performance from Ms. Smith.
As “Burn” is a dedication to her husband, Will Smith, the rawness and the soul embodied through this performance is undeniable. Ever since Jada began her music carer, she has been subject to much controversy and ridicule. However, if the music continues to shine such as this, I’m sure such contention will turn into praise. It already has begun…
Kelis. Where have you been? I need you desperately.
Ok, after my brief moment of withdrawal, I am back. Kelis is one of my favorite artists for many reasons. She is utterly authentic, uncompromising, and talented. After releasing one of the best albums to emerge as of late Flesh Tone and relentless touring, the alternative great has kept quite mum. Recently she has began to acknowledge the mounting anticipation for her next studio album by giving minimal details surround its musical direction.
As we will have to continue waiting for new material, this unreleased track from Flesh Tone “Kids” has surfaced online. Produced by Boyz Noize and written by Kelis and Jean-Baptiste, this serves as a treat for any fan.
SOURCE: The Prophet Blog
There’s the art you hear and that which you see. Just as crucial to an artist’s identity and talent is their imagery. The style, the music video, and of course the album cover. With this visual statement, one can be left in complete awe, strangely confused, or shocked. Long before Lady Gaga transformed herself into a motorcycle for her Born This Way album, Kanye West choose a teddy bear as the eyepiece for his College Dropout opus, and Prince created Controversy, there was a group of gentlemen who set a standard for creating superior album covers. The Ohio Players.
The soul/funk band dazzled, seduced, and inspired the masses with their trailblazing imagery. Equally stunning and conceptual, The Ohio Players took this creative aspect to the next level. Specifically for the African-American community these images revealed a sense of beauty, ownership, and pride that made these covers more so a political and social statement. In lieu of our hyper-visual age I wanted to celebrate and revere in many ways pioneers as it relates to the album art.
If there’s any label that should be on your radar, its Plug Research. Above them being the home to such creative hybrids including Bilal, Sonnymoon, and Quadron, they also are behind many other artists such as Sene, Nayronix, Thavius Beck, Tensei, and others.
In spirit of the spring season and celebrating 15 years in music, the indie label is serving up this free compilation SP-2012 . Featuring new talent which you’ll be hearing more of this quarter, the music really speaks for itself. This is by far a great decision on Plug Research’s behalf to engage music consumers alike with quality and intrigue.
Having already listened to a few tracks, this sampler of whats to come leaves me anticipating more. There is nothing more to say than indulge and support.
DOWNLOAD [Plug Research SP-2012]
We at SOM are obsessed with Sonnymoon. Their experimental brand of electro-pop sells itself with its intrinsic down-tempo flavor. Their latest release, “Just Before The Dawn” is eight glorious minutes of beaming synths, marbled textures of highs and lows, and that abstracted quality which often defines the duo’s sound.
The accompanying visual is a striking offering of life’s splendor and ordinariness. Sonnymoon states “ it captures life’s small, beautiful moments and bundles them into a montage of love, vulnerability, laughter, sadness, quiet, and darkness.” Simply put “It’s achingly beautiful.”
View the visual and stream “Just Before The Dawn” below.