Singer-songwriter James Patrick Morgan appears to have a strong understanding of what gives pop music its power.
Trust the Aussies to get as close as anyone out there to get POP right. Melbourne trio KINGSWOOD (Fergus Linacre, Alexander Laska & Justin Debrincat) source liberally the deep well of old school soul-R&B to deliver sumptuous retro-pop.
Discovering new pop music with POWER – pop with heart & soul! Enjoy!!
Discovering new pop music with POWER – pop with heart & soul! Enjoy!!
Discovering new pop music with POWER – pop with heart & soul! Enjoy!!
Singer-songwriter Maricelle will be releasing her first EP – Pursuit – on 7th January 2017. As a teaser, the lead single “Lovedrunk” has dropped today (4th November) to coincide with the launch of the EP pre-order at iTunes. A music video will follow on 11th November.
We caught up with Maricelle via email to get the quick lowdown on “Lovedrunk”.
Rock ‘n’ roll might not have the same commercial or cultural impact it used to have but we promise to keep fighting the good fight.
Here are streams of new music that expresses the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll. Discover! Enjoy!
It’s impossible to strip rhythm ‘n’ blues and soul music away from rock ‘n’ roll as the latter would not even exist without the former. In the late 60s, the likes of Jimi Hendrix (above) and Arthur Lee (Love) would combine the flowering of psychedelic rock with R&B (funk ‘n’ soul) to create a sound that emphasises the best of both worlds.
Soul boy Gareth Fernandez is back with “Bit Of Your Love” a guaranteed earworm that needs to be on your playlist.
Incredibly, this past week 50 years ago, saw the release of two landmark pop albums that changed the face of rock music viz. The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds and Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde.
RJD2 (a.k.a. Ramble Jon Krohn), is an American DJ/producer/electronic musician based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is best known perhaps for the theme of the Mad Men TV series.
White Denim is an American four-piece rock band from Austin, Texas. Known for their musical eclecticism, the band’s sixth full-length album was co-produced by Ethan Johns (Paul McCartney, Laura Marling) and has been described by the quartet as a return to its frenetic rock band roots.
The late Arthur Lee and Love (the band Lee led & fronted) remains one of the most under-rated bands from the 60s/70s. Well, at least compared to their peers. Already well-documented is the fact that the likes of Jim Morrison (The Doors), Jimi Hendrix and Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin) were massive fans of this ground-breaking iconoclastic band. Certainly, the backward gazing bands of the 90s British indie scene owed a thing or two to Love.
One of the most freewheeling eclectic 60s bands, Love (which also included guitarist-songwriter Bryan Maclean, lead guitarist Johnny Echols, bassist Ken Forssi & drummer Michael Stuart) were never constrained by genres or styles and dabbled in folk, baroque pop, psychedelia, acid rock and even proto-punk (check out “7 and 7 Is” is below).
Not only that but the band can lay claim to producing one of the bona fide rock masterpieces of all time – the magnificent Love Changes.
However, due to drug problems and internal disagreements, the band’s commercial success dissipated in the late 60s, with Lee fronting a new set of musicians, but this incarnation of Love never garnered the widespread acceptance or acclaim of the original group.
Reel to Real was Love’s final official album and until now, has never been issued on CD! By the recording and release of this album, Love was essentially Lee with an assortment of session musicians but despite its marginalisation in rock history, deserves serious re-examination.
Not least for its daring coverage of a multitude of styles, despite its primary focus being on soul, R&B and blues-rock, one could imagine the young Prince, Lenny Kravitz or Terence Trent D’Arby listening to Reel to Real and copping one or two musical ideas.
Whilst modern pop fans would probably find themselves grooving to soulful gems like “Time is Like a River” and “Stop the Music”, alternative rockers might take a shine to off-beat numbers like “Singing Cowboy” and “You Said You Would”, which sound like Hendrix channeling Buck Owens! And that last song – “Everybody’s Gotta Live” – is the Lennonesque anthem Noel Gallagher wished he was smart enough to rip off!
The new reissue has rather illuminating outtakes which on occasion outshine the original tracks with their spontaneity and raw energy. There’s also a sloppy studio rehearsal of that classic Forever Changes outtake “Wonder People” for all your Love completists out there.
A hidden treasure re-discovered. Essential!
Here’s an update from The Grizzle Grind Crew!
CONFESSTIVAL X #2ndGGC Anniversary [A *SCAPEmusic Programme]
Venue: *SCAPE The Ground Theatre (2 Orchard Link Singapore 237978)
Date: Sunday 5 April 2015
Doors open at 6:00pm
Indie folk-pop act Gentle Bones will be celebrating with us on stage. Malaysia-crossover pop sensation Sleeq will make a special appearance! Malaysia’s biggest rapper Joe Flizzow will be throwing down his jams while Los Angeles’ top underground rapper Dumbfoundead will be rocking the stage as well!
Yeah, the 200 moshpit spots are redeemed. BUT you still should register cause we are giving out totebags with goodies from our partners JUICE, Nando’s and Fleshimp. The totebags are for the first 500 registered pax who showed up at the show.
Now here’s the fun part! In the 500 totebags, there will be the following:
a. 28 x Bronze Totebags (GGC T-shirt)
b. 20 x Silver Totebags (GGC T-shirt + GGC poster)
c. 1 x Gold Totebag (GGC T-shirt + GGC Poster + 1 Pioneer DDJ Wego MIDI Controller)
d. 2 x Platinum Totebags (GGC T-shirt + GGC Poster + 1 pair of stage view passes – where you and your friends get to watch the entire at the side of the stage!)
For exclusive entry into the moshpit/Meet & Greet session, Workshops and merch giveaways (#2ndGGC totebag), register at: www.scapers.sg/confesstival.
Tim De Cotta (Bass/ Vocals), Audrey Tengkey (Piano, Keys and Synth) and Teo Jia Rong (Drums) make up TAJ, bringing forth an exciting new venture, and great contribution to Singapore’s contemporary jazz scene.
Now the above (from the Darker Than Wax press release) sums it up pretty well. 70s jazz fusion lovers (with emphasis on ‘fusion’) will dig TAJ’s debut EP – The Astral Journey – for its grooves, virtuosity and attitude. Followers of old school soul-R&B-funk will thrill to the authentic spirit behind songs like “Taj Yo’self” and “Old Town MOFO”, not to mention the dreamy title track that demonstrates so much emotional resonance, it’s hard not to fall in love with Audrey Tengkey’s fingers… and the sultry vocoder-ized vox on “Daydream”. Too much sexy. Something for everybody here! Get in!! Now!!!
But of course, we wanted to know more about the folk behind the awesome music and so I present to you… TAJ, in their own words…
How did the band get together?
We got together by chance actually. It was 2012 when Tim and Audrey went with the Singapore contingent to MIDEM in Cannes, and through rehearsals for this showcase Audrey and Tim got to know and like their musical styles in their respective bands. So when they came back Audrey invited Tim to an open jam session at LaSalle with other young musicians and students. It was a shed session to just have fun and also to try new things. Drummers, keyboardists, bassists and turntablists even. So JR was one of the drummers there and as the jam went on, it was clear that the chemistry between the 3 of us whenever we were on our instruments together was really strong! We didn’t just jam the songs per se but we moved and evolved them in a matter of minutes. So eventually, we started meeting more and more often, till it became just exclusive to the 3 of us, jamming covers and then eventually writing our own music. It happened very naturally and faster than usual, also because we became great friends. TAJ was born and on 1 Oct 2013, we released our single “The Astral Journey”.
Eia (aka Maria Grace Koh) has just finished her studies at LASALLE College of the Arts, where she graduated with First Class Honors in a BA (Hons) in Performing Arts – Music, Vocals and her calibre is self-evident on her soulful new single “That’s the Way” off her upcoming new album. The Bruneian singer-songwriter worked with Marc ‘M. Doc’ Williams (Madonna, Kelly Rowland, Jordin Sparks, K-Ci & Jojo) and C-Ray (EMI Music Publishing, K_Ci & Jojo) of Indasoul Records on her new material and fans of modern R&B will love what Eia has to offer. You can purchase “That’s the Way” at iTunes.
Check out a live performance of “That’s the Way” below.
Here’s a sweet, catchy and soulful fuck-off song from the ever-smooth Mark Bonafide. It’s pretty short too, clocking in at 2:53! That’s my only issue with “Issues” (ouch!) – I wish I could get MORE of its goodness! Nice interplay with Kim Olsen and Zahidah provides a riveting contrast. Taken from the forthcoming e.p. “LOVE/REBEL” it seems – can hardly wait! Check it out!
Very smooth vibes going on here. Check it out!
LIVE IN FRANCE : 1961 DVD
According to the publicity blurb on the DVD jacket, the concerts featured in this DVD have been lost for 50 years and just newly discovered. Which is certainly a boon not only for music fans but also historians. Filmed at the 1961 Antibes Jazz Festival in France, this DVD features the legendary Ray Charles in his prime.
Covering two sets on 18th and 22nd July respectively, Charles is backed by the original Raelets and run the gamut from jazz to gospel, from the blues to rock ‘n’ roll. Charles himself is the consummate musician, equally comfortable with solo piano as well as singing, there is no denying the genius of the man and the tremendous influence over the popular music of the decades that followed.
The visuals are in sparking black and white, with choice audience shots edited together efficiently. The sound is pristine and Charles performs some of his greatest hits viz. Let The Good Times Roll, Georgia On My Mind, Hallelujah, I Love Her So and What I’d Say. On the last track, it isn’t difficult to see the impact that Charles had on the likes of The Beatles, for example.
Of course, this is 1961 so there is none of the flash or the glamour of modern day live spectacles but none of this diminishes the power and soulfulness of the musicianship and showmanship. Utterly essential for all pop scholars.
SHERYL CROW Miles From Memphis: Live At The Pantages Theatre DVD (Eagle Vision)
This concert video was taken from Crow’s tour in support of her retro-soul project 100 Miles From Memphis. As is often the case where artists undertake a change in musical direction, this also signals a re-interpretation of old material in the ‘new’ sound as well. Therefore, A Change Would Do You Good and Everyday is a Winding Road take on funkier tones. Even Crow’s signature tune – All I Wanna Do – is given the Stax-Motown treatment.
Crow is in splendid voice throughout, backed by a crack band of musicians which provide the necessary soul authenticity to pull off Crow’s soul venture. At the very end, I Shall Believe is delivered in a vintage gospel blues piano ballad style that simply brings the house down.
This DVD is essential viewing for all Crow fans and also lovers of that special soul/R&B era.
More info here.
[amazon-product alink=”0000FF” bordercolor=”000000″ height=”240″]B002US1YU0[/amazon-product]
SHERYL CROW 100 Miles From Memphis (Universal)
SPEAK LIKE A CHILD
Sometime in 1982, Paul Weller announced that the Jam was breaking up. This was a major shock to the UK music scene and especially the fans of the popular trio. I remember a lead interview in NME where Weller spoke about how he had become disenchanted with guitar rock. The last Jam single Beat Surrender was a soul-inflected number which hinted at Weller’s new direction.
And it came in 1983, with the release of Speak Like A Child. I recall hearing it first on the BBC Top 20 radio show being introduced as the single from Weller’s new band “Style Castle”. Well, that’s what I heard anyways… I rushed down to the import store at Centrepoint and asked for the new “Style Castle” single. This of course mystified the store owner. He queried if I meant Star Castle (70s prog band) instead? Then it came to him, “The Style Council”?
So I picked up the spanking new Style Council 45 called Speak Like A Child b/w Party Chambers and spent many hours spinning the disc. It was soul-influenced and notable for the total absence of a guitar! Instead, Weller’s new partner – Mick Talbot (formerly of Mod revival band Merton Parkas) – was prominent in providing many of the keyboard sounds. There is little doubt in my mind that the early TSC singles had a profound influence on my own songwriting and singing (more of that later) and Speak Like A Child was the one that started it all. Music video below.
RHETT FRAZIER INC Escape From Dee-Troyt (Self-released)
Can you say “Old School”? Not in the sense of “dated” but “classic” and “timeless”. The kind of music that will always be “hip and cool” no matter what year you may be listening to it in.
“Vocalist and songwriter Rhett Frazier is Rhett Frazier. Drummer and synth whiz Donny Gruendler is ‘Inc.’ Together they form the soulful musical powerhouse Rhett Frazier Inc.” or so the duo’s website informs us.
For once, the hype is pretty much justified as Escape is chock full of 70s soul/funk grooves laced with jazz and even hard rock licks. Frazier is a versatile singer and is able to handle lover-man personas (ala Marvin Gaye/Al Green) with Faultline or hard-lovin’ belters like Am I Grooving U?, with equal distinction.
Despite focusing on R&B soul and associated sub-genres, Escape is an eclectic offering and the diverse moods and atmospheres conjured will suit most tastes. In addition, Escape will appeal to mainstream and indie listeners and that is an achievement in itself.
Free Download – U Can’t Stop
DARYL HALL JOHN OATES Do What You Want Be What You Are (RCA/Legacy)
If anyone deserves the deluxe retrospective multi-disc box set treatment, it’s got to be Daryl Hall and John Oates, don’t you think?
What makes Hall & Oates so special? How about being one of few acts to have been able to effectively blur the lines behind pop, rock and soul? And if you’re into numbers, how about SIX #1 hits on the Billboard charts and THIRTY-FOUR charting singles in the Billboard Top 100, all told? Not enough? Then what about SEVEN RIAA platinum albums and SIX RIAA gold albums?! Basically, the most successful pop duo in history.
For me, its all about the sheer eclecticism of the music and those amazing tunes, as always! And cool, cool vibes.
This 4CD set contains 74 tracks, all those hits, choice album cuts, live and unreleased recordings to round this up nicely. Although, Hall & Oates hit their purple patch in the 80s, they cut their teeth in the 70s, covering a wide range of genres. The 1st disc brings us up to 1977’s No Goodbye, the duo’s first compilation. Highlights include the epic ballad Waterwheel (off Whole Oats), She’s Gone (off Afternoon Luncheonette), Is It A Star? (off the Todd Rundgren-produced War Babies) and It’s Uncanny (off the aforementioned No Goodbyes). Not to mentioned early singles from pre-duo era in the 60s, which basically derived from a love of Philly Soul and the Temptations.
The 2nd and 3rd discs basically contain my personal Hall & Oates playlist as tracks from wondrous albums like the eponymous “Silver Album” (with the guys in full glam mode), X-Static, Voices, Private Eyes, H2O and Big Bam Boom turn out magnificient song after magnificient song. This is where I go misty-eyed, sing-a-long and simply groove to Sara Smile, Wait For Me, The Woman Comes and Goes, How Does It Feel To Be Back, Kiss on my List, You Make My Dreams, Everytime You Go Away, Head Above Water, Did It In A Minute, I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do), One On One, Go Solo, Say It Isn’t So, Out of Touch, Method of Modern Love and Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid. Whew! What an incredible rush!
The last disc loses steam somewhat and a little focus with the duo’s commercial success beginning to ebb at the end of the 80s. Still tracks like Everything Your Heart Desires and Change of Season are worthy additions to the canon. The set closes with two previously unreleased songs, a 2007 live version of the “title” track (a true statement of intent, if there ever was one) and a re-recording of Dreamer, a song Hall wrote in 1972. Both songs indicate the light has not dimmed despite advancing years.
What more can I say? Every PoP visitor must own this essential collection – yes, you deserve some Hall & Oates in your lives! Whether you’re a rock scholar or a casual listener, there’s enough of everything in the art & craft of Hall & Oates that you will become besotted with – I guarantee it! Enough of the hard sell, go and get it and to Daryl and John if you’re reading this, thanks for the wonderful music!