Monday, April 30, 2012

Russ Chimes - Tonic / Helix EP

It's been a while since I've gotten myself the chance to listen to Russ Chimes, and maybe that while was for the best. I don't think anything he does can top his Midnight Club Trilogy, so just maybe it was actually a good thing that I lost all contact with his music for far too many months.

Today's pair of songs wouldn't exactly amount to the talent and work put into the previously mentioned trilogy, but it's a different direction. There's more funk in his Electro House, and it pleases me.

If you're not sure you're gonna be into the sounds, it might be in your best interest to just check the teaser out. A quick summary of what's in store will come and go in less than 2 minutes.

Otherwise, let's give Tonic a listen.


The first track is probably the catchiest here. It's got a few nods in Disco's direction at the beginning, before fading into something even easier to dance to. The track is a crowd pleaser without going too far.

It switches up a bit later, it's not too monotonous. But it's just meant to be a fun track, and I'd say it succeeds.


Next up is Helix. It's probably more captivating initially, but it's also a bit more repetitive. It's decent for those live moments, right after a strong hitting song, where people want a break just to appreciate the next song better.

It's still a good track, it's got a lot of catchy moments in it, it's just a little too much for me. Don't let my judgement sway you too much.


Album art for the Russ Chimes' Tonic / Helix EP

I was slightly disappointed that it was only two tracks long. No fancy remixes, no extra tracks, it's like the good old days when a single was a single with nothing more than a B side. If not for that, I wouldn't be pleased at all right now.

Right now it's just filler music, but if you like what you've heard you might want to look into his Soundcloud or Facebook pages to expand your Russ Chimes library.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Buddy Rich - Kilimanjaro Cookout

Buddy Rich. If you don't know who that is you might wanna stick it out for this post, seeing as he and his skills (and maybe his temper too) are extremely well known. I almost feel bad writing a post on the guy and his big band because there's no way a single post of mine could do his career justice, but alas, this is what I have to listen to right now. This is what I'll share.

Today's track will go down easy. It has a vintage sound that might not be for everyone at first, but a close inspection will usually make it worth it.

Give it a shot.


This is what I call sensory overload. What we have here is one seemingly smooth track made up of so many different sounds from only a select number of instruments and pieced together in such a way that you're not even supposed to notice. Oh but what a beauty it is to notice.

Buddy's drums play a key role in the transitions from instruments and styles, but he can also do his part in sitting back and doing amazing things that only your subconscious will notice at first, and let his band shine as the gems that they are.

I could easily marry this song.

It's a great track to introduce you to the kind of talent the album will have in store, but not all the tracks are as easy to listen to at first. In fact, some might even seem out of place.

Album art for Buddy Rich's 'The Roar of '74'
Buy: CD | mp3 | Vinyl

The Roar of '74 might not be the best album to listen to, but it's probably as good an album as any to start off with. The undeniable talent and awesome feeling isn't uncommon, but it's well shown here.

There's some flat out awesome tracks like Time Check or Senator Sam. And then there's also some songs that don't instantly mesh as well, like the version of Prelude to a Kiss or Backwoods Sideman, that almost seems like an old TV show intro.

Of course, a few more listens and you start to unravel the gift of well created music, even with those songs that didn't originally feel like they belonged. It's how they take their time to undress and expose their full beauty. It can take a while, but once you get to that truly fulfilling listen, bliss will take over.

I recommend checking if it's for you, a swift listen will give you enough insight to see if you can tolerate it. Just keep in mind that the second listen is better than the first.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Per Byhring - Ettertid (Free)

I found this little gem yesterday. I was surprised it wasn't better known, I was surprised I hadn't heard of this fine Norwegian artist. But I'm glad I found the talent.

Today's track is a little happy sounding. It's constantly bringing you a content air, but it doesn't sit still. It gets complex, and dwindles back down to simplicity. It'll be extremely well balanced, while keeping the feel of actually going somewhere.

Give it a listen.


It almost feels fulfilling to finish listening. Just slowly lifts you up and carries you through the skies. Maybe closing your eyes and being a little too tired helps with that, though. Maybe.

It's just surprising that I like this mix of sound at all considering I'm more in the mood for something dark right now. I'm impressed, and it was because I was impressed that I heard the rest of the album.

Now the rest of the album might not be as easy to listen to as today's title track, but it was still a great listen.

Per  Byhring's 'Ettertid' album art
Free download at: Bandcamp | Archive.org

The entire album isn't exactly as awesome as the title track, or at least not the same kind. It's still a top quality listen, just very varied. Too varied for some, just right for others.

Some examples include the more minimalist Lillebror, and the much more jumpy and fun Velkommen Hjem. Both tracks being fairly different to today's, give a fine example of where the album can go.

The best part is the album is absolutely free. But to add to that, it's a Fwonk* (a net label) release, which means that in addition to being free it's also under a Creative Commons license. This means you can use, strip, add and do pretty much whatever you want to any song as long as you give credit and share under a similar license.

Enjoy.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sleepytime Gorilla Museum - 1997 (Tonight We're Gonna Party Like It's...)

It was a few years ago when I was first introduced to SGM. It'd be great to say that I heard it and my true rebellion took form with it, releasing my imagination and broadening my views. Of course that would be a lie, because honestly I just wasn't ready.

What I heard was noise. Repetition of agonizing sounds that made me wonder how people could consider this music.

But now, present day, I gave them another listen and I understand it a lot better.

Today's track isn't all as bad as what I heard long ago, so give it a listen and keep an open mind.


Now this is one of the more tame songs in the album, if at any point you feel the need to pause the noise, go ahead and stop reading. It's not your fault, it's not the easiest listen, I can't blame you.

I don't think the song is so bad. Some freaky sounds, some repeating riffs that sound out of place, screaming, it's a bit on the hectic side but it's tolerable. What I really love is how it takes its place in making the rest of the album a feeling.

SGM's debut album artwork
Buy: CD | mp3

Grand Opening and Closing is best listened to all at once. It's best heard by separating an hour from your day and letting it all flow.

It starts off perfectly with Sleep is Wrong. If you can handle that one, I'd recommend the rest of it. Some of it will sound a little more scattered, and some of it could be mistakenly considered calming. At the very root of it, though, it takes pliers to your emotions and attempts to peel them off.

Definitely not for everyone.

What really impressed me the most was how they managed to make silence give me chills. An unexpected bell could cause a sense of nervousness. An overlapping female vocal could widen eyes.

Needless to say it doesn't make great background music. But if you're alright with feeling weird cases of negative emotions, it's a great listen.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Gondwana - Jah Children

I'm in chill mode today. I took myself a classic Latin Reggae album from a Chilean band with great vibes, and gave myself the gift of an amazing listen.

Unlike the usual with Latin languages and smooth bass lines, this track doesn't have the vocal flow of blissful beauty, but it's not hard to listen to either. It even has a bit of English to satisfy the curiosity.

Give it a listen.


I don't really like the first few seconds to this song, it makes it seem like it's gonna be some kind of Hard Rock track. Maybe it fits into the message a bit, but it's too short to make a difference.

That detail aside, the track grabs my attention for its classic feel. You can tell the quality is better than the beautiful Reggae from the 60's, but it keeps a very simple and pleasant vibe with that bass that ties in really well with the decently talented drums and horn instruments.

If you're not particularly fluent in Spanish and the English bits don't satisfy your needs, the song basically speaks of how Babylon destroys their local culture and the heart of their society. Just a quick summary.

If you really liked the song, and also like yourself some smoother Dub sounds, there's a nyahbinghi version that you should check out. It can be found on the same album.

Gondwana's debut self titled album

It truly is a pity this little gem isn't an easier find. Their self titled debut album is full of simple masterpieces. Their critiques are hard hitting and well written. In the end; it's the music that really pulls me in.

The occasional sax solo, the basic and untainted Reggae bass that flows perfectly with the slickness of the vocals at hand. Today's track might not display it as well as others though. Give Armonía de Amor a listen for great vocal creamy-ness.

It ends up being one of those albums that have enough substance to get better with time. Out of the 13 tracks, I'd probably consider half of them single-worthy. There's maybe 3 tracks that don't really capture my attention, and one of them is their first/extremely popular single, Chainga Langa.

If you like what's been linked, I recommend the album. If you don't manage to get your hands on it, or you simply want more, you can hear their entire discography here. Just click the bold links under the summaries. Enjoy.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess - In The Moment

A little bit of depth, abstract as it may sometimes be, is enough to re-spark an interest in many genres. Today's track is a spark starter. Musical flint, if you will.

It comes from two of the guys most notably from Dream Theater, John Petrucci (guitar) and Jordan Rudess (keys), during a live performance in New York. You'll be able to tell they had fun.

It's not the easiest to listen to, but if you can let yourself go it's an easy track to get lost in. Give it a try.


This is almost exclusively Petrucci's track. Him and his guitar have sensual moments together where his technical ability reaches his peak (at the time).

Rudess does a perfect job of setting the mood, creating and bending the atmosphere to better accentuate Petrucci's guitar-love sounds. If not because I mention him being there, many wouldn't even notice he was there until just over the 3 minute mark. Regardless, his role is very important here.

If you're a fan of Jordan's keyboard caresses, you'll have the rest of the album to let soak through your ears. His talent might not have gone through exciting loops for this track, but it will for others. I promise.

Petrucci and Rudess' 2000 live album
Buy: CD

If you like what you hear so far, An Evening with John Petrucci & Jordan Rudess is worth looking into. It can definitely be musical-overload to some, but once you can begin to truly appreciate the finer moments of their technical abilities, you really see the light shining through the album.

Having just about every track end in that comforting applause after hearing the keys and guitar flirt and synchronize with each other is what keeps the album level. That sound would be far too perfect otherwise, and maybe a bit unnerving after a few songs.

I'd definitely recommend giving it a listen. If however, it feels like too much of a strain, it might be wise to start off with the more grounded sound of the Liquid Tension Experiment.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Milk Carton Kids - Michigan (Free Download)

To a lot of you, this is gonna sound like that one song you hear at the saddest part of a romantic comedy. This isn't necessarily bad, but it's not the best way to think of a song either.

What you'll be hearing is an acoustic duo, synchronized in perfect harmony as they sing the sound of melancholy. It fits a certain mood best, so I can't blame you if you don't end up digging it.

Give it a listen.

Listen on: Bandcamp

It's pretty. It's not extraordinary, and the talents are average. The best thing here is the overlapping vocals that make that single intriguing sound.

The lyrics, depressing as they may sound, aren't that bad either. Combined with the music they create the feeling of letting go. Nothing that hasn't been done, but at least it's well done in this case.

If you like the track, you can download it free with the rest of the album. I can't guarantee you'll like it all, but it's worth the listen.

Album art for The Milk Carton Kids' 'Prologue'

Prologue is their most recent release, and it is also free. When I say also, I mean you could check out their site or go a bit deeper into their released music to check what they've done (which so far includes another free album). But if I were you, I'd want a listen before the download. In that case, check them out on Bandcamp.

Frankly, I find a few songs on there pretty boring. And I mean no offense to The Milk Carton Kids when I say that, but I do think they've got a bit of musical maturing to do before they really hit a nice spot. They're very capable, and I look forward to their future projects.

Just the same, if you really enjoyed today's track the album might have a good feel for you. The vocals can really get interesting at times. Certain songs I thought featured other people, a woman even. I was mistaken and it was amazing.

At a simple Folk/Acoustic listen; being that it's free? It's not half bad.

If you're still not sure you're up for the free download, I recommend you check on an anonymous comment with a second opinion (here). Said anonymous person thinks I'm underselling this, and I think it's in the interest of my readers to entertain that thought.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Iron Butterfly - Are You Happy

Some of you already know this, but occasionally I like avoiding recent releases and attaching myself to classics from some 40 plus years ago. It's good for my ears.

Today's classics are Iron Butterfly and their wonderful Heavy Metal inspiring Psychedelic Rock. It might be a little corny to some, but once you get past that it'll be way too easy to listen to.

Give it a shot.


Right at the beginning you get the impact of a downwards spiral riff playing along with the organ. It sounds right enough to let you know it's supposed to feel wrong.

Of course, from there it gets a bit happier, but not without returning every once in a while. It confuses the song a bit and it's great for the atmosphere. Nothing too overdone, nothing that can't be imitated, but original enough to inspire decades of music.

Maybe a bit cheesy at times, but that's fine. It can grow on you.

Buy: CD | Vinyl

In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida starts off cheesy enough with Most Anything You Want, (let's not confuse cheesy with bad, kids) and it kinda keeps that same feel until you start nearing the end. You get to today's track and things start to normalizing before finally getting to the beautiful gem that is the title track.

That one amazing 17 minute song is probably the main reason the album ever got to 4x platinum. The catchy bass has been used in shows and movies as well as sampled on Nas' Thief's Theme (which I kinda wrote about). It worked so well, Nas later used the sample for Hip Hop is Dead.

If you haven't heard the song in its 17 minute glory, do. If you're not sure you want to, listen to the shortened single version and be silly. The full song is what makes the rest of the album a worthy purchase.

Don't get me wrong, the whole album has some top notch quality. It'll just be hard to notice when it's constantly topping its own music.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Mad Caddies - Big Brother

It's been a while since I've been in the mood for Ska. It's odd for me, it's basically upbeat Pop'd up Reggae. Regardless it catches my ear during certain moments of the day and I'm there right now.

Today's track is by the Caddies, a fun upbeat little band from California. Their styles, though varied, aren't exactly unique. They simply excel at doing it well.

Give them a try.


I don't really know why I'm craving this. It has some shockingly mainstream radio moments that almost seem cookie cut to thrill the lives of young teens. I cover up that fact with the classic Ska riffs and circus-like trumpets that make it a bit more refreshing.

I'll also add that unlike many other 90's based Ska bands, they progress their music into something a bit more filling.

It doesn't matter how I cover it all up, I still feel dirty inside.

If you like how it sounds, and don't mind the thought of minute-and-a-half long songs, giving the album a listen might be to your liking.

The Mad Caddies' debut album
Buy: CD | mp3

Quality Soft Core is their debut album, and that's probably the only reason I was able to sit through and listen to the whole thing. It wasn't bad, it just had a lot of very average tracks.

If you liked today's track, I'd give a quick listen to the tracks on Just One More. It still has its bland songs, but it's more of a balance than on this one.

Alternatively, if you really liked today's track you might just be better off checking Quality Soft Core out anyway. It's not bad, just not my preference.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Pantera - Piss (Previously Unreleased)

I woke up this morning, smiled with the rising sun, started making some breakfast and got online. It took me all of a few minutes to find out that just today, a previously unreleased Pantera track has officially been released.

From that moment on, headbangs. Lots of them; way too many. The initial excitement was enough to trick my body into thinking my back was a part of my head and should henceforth bend as well.

But I'm not trying to oversell it, that was excitements fault. The song is about as good as your average kick-ass-and-chew-bubble-gum Pantera-y goodness can get.

Give it a listen.


I can't really talk about this track without doing it injustice. An easy way to sum up a B-side unreleased Pantera track is to know that you can't underestimate Dimebag. If you understand, you can just skip the next few paragraphs.

I really like the changes they go through here. It starts off upbeat, short with impressive guitar skills right off the bat before charging you in with those heavy riffs. From there it doesn't even matter what they do, that transition fuels awkward head movements for hours.

Oh, and once you get past the feeling of the final unreleased Pantera track, once you start paying closer attention to the lyrics, and once you feel the anger surge through your veins, you'll realize how bad ass it would be to chant along.

And then that just falls apart.

Pantera's previously unreleased "Piss". The lost track from Vulgar Display of Power.

The single has been put up for sale as an mp3. I would've thought to put it up on vinyl too, for the extremely hardcore fans. That is of course a decently expensive idea for a single 4 minute track, so I understand.

Now if the song alone isn't good enough for you, make sure you get yourself Vulgar Display of Power. Piss was recorded during the make of it, and fits in quite snugly with all those amazing tracks. If you need to refresh your memories, think Walk, or This Love. Oh yes.

Patience however will pay off quite nicely. Come May 15th 2012 the 20th anniversary Deluxe Edition of Vulgar Display of Power will be released on a DVD/CD bundle, and it will include the lost track. If you can stand the wait, pre-order it.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Robert Glasper with Bilal - Letter to Hermione

No, this has nothing to do with Harry Potter. Today's track was written back in 1969 by David Bowie. And seeing as today's track was released in 2012, that'd make it a cover.

I'm not a huge Bowie fan, but I respect the guy, I can enjoy his songs. I also think it's a cool thought to cover a less than over-played track with some Jazz piano, Bilal's excellent vocal style, and an overall great band.

Give it a listen.


I like how Glasper re-composed this piece from the original. It starts off innocently enough, but there's about 2 minutes of instrumentals in there that make the song a lot more tolerable. A bit more fresh.

Right away we get some great drum-work. It was enough to keep me happy until Bilal came through with vocals. They're not my favorite part of the song, but they suit the lyrics very well. Slide that all in with Robert's flirting piano and the cheery moments of the flute and you make a song complete.

This is one of many covers and many vocalists on the album. The diversity mixed together with a Jazz background makes Black Radio an interesting listen.

Album where David Bowie's Letter to Hermione is covered
Buy: CD | mp3 | Vinyl

I think as far as serious and interesting listens go, this one probably gets near the top of my recent finds. What happens with the Robert Glasper Experiment is that they take that 'Experiment' part and take it really serious. It's both refreshing and confusing, look:

The title track is an excellently composed piece featuring the amazing talents of Mos Def. It's practically nothing like today's song.

Then the covers extent everywhere from Mongo Santamaria's Jazz standard Afro Blue (complete with Erykah Badu), to today's Bowie cover, to a really.. interesting.. take on Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit where his voice is auto tuned. Don't knock it 'till you try it.

Beyond the many covers, the original tracks and the intense vibes of good Hip-Hop seeping through, all you get is an interesting listen. It's not the best, but it keeps the mind curious. As soon as it starts, Lift Off Mic Check comes into play and you'll already know what kind of ride you're gonna be in. I recommend taking that ride if the seams between Hip-Hop and Jazz are to your liking.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Supermen Lovers - Say No More (Free)

It's not the first time I mention some Disco/House on here, but I was starting to need something from this side of the musical field. Something happy, upbeat, and catchy.

It was a pleasant surprise to see these guys had recently released a free EP, so I gave it a listen and got my dose of happy/catchy/stuff.

Give it a try yourself.


A snappy, almost repetitive entrance that soon turns into something a lot catchier. It's way too easy to sing along to the words 'Say No More'.

Oh, and if you're interested in visual aid, try the shorter music video out.

Sure,  it's a lot less Disco than last time, but still pretty vibrant. It's nothing astounding, but it's got enough funk to get people dancing and that's special all its own.

And of course, it's free for the time being. I can't stress enough how that doesn't mean it always will be, so don't wait. If you like it, go grab it.

TSL's newest free EP

The Fantasma Disco EP will contain two original tracks (the second is called Let Me Show You) and a few remixes to each of those. I find no need to post or create links to those tracks because they're free to acquire. Go find them, shoo.

I will mention that downloading through Amazon is a gentle pain in the backside, but for free? It's hard to argue.

It's also necessary to mention that those two tracks are part of a whole album called Between the Ages. I personally prefer the style and size of the songs on the EP, but if you want a lot more then you might wanna get into it. You can listen via Grooveshark here, or just check it out over the top here.

You're welcome.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Ahab - The Hunt

A little while ago on one of my darker riff posts, Dylanthulhu let me know about these guys. An insinuated recommendation took place, and I eventually listened to an album.

What you get for today's track is 11 minutes worth of eerie "Funeral Doom Metal" that definitely isn't for everyone. You'll be able to tell by the 2 minute mark if it is or not.

Give it a try if you feel up to it.


Interesting as this may be, I was fortunate enough to listen to this at the perfect time. I had been through a long day, my stomach was giving me some problems, and I just wanted to lean back and feel a slice of world crumble. Almost poetically, Ahab delivered.

There were still some moments that creep my ears out, but most notably is Of the Monstrous Pictures of Whales, which pretty much sounds like the musical version of a whale dying. Just.. great.

And if it hasn't reached you yet, this will be found on an album that will be more enjoyed by Moby Dick fans. Many will still be able to enjoy it, but it's all a concept album based on Herman Melville's novel.

Buy: CD | mp3

The album, The Call of the Wretched Sea, is the first step. I'll talk about the second some other day, but for now all that matters is this. An hours worth of Funeral Doom Metal based off a classic tale.

I don't expect many to fall in love with the efforts put into this album. I'm not even sure I would've liked it if not for that mood, but it's pretty well done. It's not easy to make a 10 minute song interesting with this mix of genres.

If The Hunt proves to be worthy of your time, I'd recommend giving the rest of the album a listen. If an hour's too much for you, maybe just listening to their second EP The Oath will do the trick.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Al Tascith Joe - Ethiopian Peace Song

A long time ago I mentioned this song. I didn't know too much about it, and frankly there wasn't much on the song out there. I spent months finding anything and everything I could until today's post. The post where I can sit here in self satisfaction as I expose what little I do know.

Today's track is a very old Reggae track from back when Studio One and Coxsone Dodd were one. What you get is a super chill song all about love and the Rastafari faith.

It's a great relaxing track, give it a listen.



None of you have any idea the lengths I went to to acquire this gem. I've done things I'm not proud of (no, seriously) because this is a vinyl single and it's been sold out since way before I was born. A depressing situation.

All the same, along with it I've learned a bit of information on it.

It's actually a remake on another song called La La Peace Song. It's an amazing original, but Al's remake relaxes me too much for me to prefer it.

And it's a single, but the second song, Rasta Peace Song, is credited to Al & The Brentford All Stars. It's pretty much a more instrumental version of the track.

Album art to the single Ethiopian Peace Song by Al Tascith Joe

It's so unknown that I actually had to hurry and make a quick album cover for it, for my own personal happiness. It's not the best I've done, but it works.

And of course if not for The Prodigy, I wouldn't even know this song exists. Even when music isn't at its best, it provides tunes which will stick with me forever. I'm damn happy right now.

If you manage to find a copy available anywhere, you'd be insulting my being by not letting me know. You'd also be passing through unforgivable shame if you don't buy it. Unless it's $2,000 or something, in which case I totally understand.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Jorge Drexler - La Trama y el Desenlace

Well known and appreciated in the Latin-American community is Jorge Drexler. The Uruguayan won an Oscar in 2004 for composing Al Otro Lado del Río from The Motorcycle Diaries, and has been more widely known and respected since then.

Something he hasn't changed much is his simple style. He likes the sound of his guitar, and he makes sure his voice floats right over it, but I think that just the same he's managed to greatly improve the quality of his overall sound.

Give him a try.


Translated to "The Plot and Outcome", the song is essentially, in a romantic sense (and he repeats this several times) loving the plot more than the outcome.

You can hear this without understanding or paying attention to the lyrics. The melancholic harmonica against the more cheerful guitar, all accompanied by the wind instruments. It's really excellently done.

If you enjoy the sounds, you should look into the rest of the album, Amar la Trama (Loving the Plot).

Album art for Drexler's 2010 release
Buy: CD | mp3

For the most part the album is about as simple and easy to listen to as today's track, but there are a few songs here and there that are more vocal based. Some examples could be La Nieve en la Bola de Nieve (The Snow in the Snowball) or Aquiles Por Su Talón es Aquiles (Aquiles By His Heel is Aquiles).

Just the same he can switch up and let the voice take the second role, a bit like today's track but more like Mundo Abisal (Nether World).

Overall a decent listen. I'm sure by the time the next album is released the quality will increase, he's done a great job of it so far. Until then, this album is gonna get its fair share of my ear.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Esperanza Spalding (with Joe Lovano) - I Can't Help It

A lot of you may know of the beautiful bass playing Jazz singer that is Esperanza Spalding, so it's weird for me to write about her. Anyone who can upset a Bieber fan deserves my attention though, so it's justified.

I gave her most recent album a listen, and it's not quite what I was expecting. There are a few gems though, my favorite is today's track.

Give it a listen.


It takes serious guts to cover a Michael Jackson song (and a damn good one at that) but it takes real talent to make it sound better. With the help of Joe Lovano she manages to really pull out the Stevie Wonder side of the track. It just feels better to me. Feel free to disagree.

The beginning of the song deceived me, it was too different. Joe started off with his magic and the bass just started to slide in there ever so perfectly. By the time I realized what I was listening to I had already fallen in love with it.

If you really like it and you haven't given her your attention, you should make it a point to check out some of her other albums. If you've already heard the other albums, maybe you should check this one out. Maybe.

Esperanza Spalding's jazzy-funk-blues album cover
Buy: CD | mp3

Radio Music Society is an interesting listen. Frankly, the positive reviews and excess of hope for this talented artist allowed me to break a personal rule: Never expect more of the following albums.

The first few tracks were decent at best. There's no doubt that the talent put into it is top notch, and the lyrics are all excellently written, but there was something missing right from the start. The problem as far as my ears are concerned is it's a bit over-produced to be a Jazz album.

Not that there's anything wrong with breaking the comfort zones, my favorite track ended up being the funkiest! But most of the tracks that really tried to be Jazz ended up sounding too well done. Personally, I like it a bit more on the medium rare side.

I've no doubt all these tracks will sound much better live; if you get the chance to see her you probably should. I just think most of the tracks run a little short. I recommend giving it a listen for yourself, but if you don't know much on her, go for some of her previous albums.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Ed Sheeran - U.N.I. (Free-Ish)

A few days ago a friend told me to write about Ed Sheeran. Not suggested, told. Now, I'm not usually one to just cave in, but I do love the word of mouth side of music. I decided to stop neglecting this guy and give him a thorough listen.

I'm glad I did. Maybe not as glad as I could hope to be, but he's a talented person who deserves to be heard.

Give him a try if you haven't already.


The first track of his I heard was The A Team (which is excellently written, give it a listen if you  have the time to pay attention). Given the nature of that song, the contrast of this one was a bit harsh. Rapping over the beautiful sounds, knowing when to stop and sing and keeping his voice calm through the "strong" bits. It's impressive.

If you want it free, it's a slightly different version and it comes with another track on the Take One EP. Give it a listen here or download it at his site. Don't hesitate too much, these things can be taken down at any time.

I couldn't really blame you if you just just liked this version. You can find it at his debut album "+". It's worth checking out.

Ed Sheeran's debut album "Plus"

There was something about this album that deeply intrigued me right from the beginning. It starts off with The A Team, which is a controversial subject in itself but is also extremely well written. it's simple, it's nice, it grabs your attention. It's everything it should be in his case.

After that it takes sharp turns in places I wouldn't expect. He shows off his Hip-Hop side, like in today's track where he raps rather well. He also goes a bit Pop. I'm not a fan of of it, but what he did wasn't that bad actually. Small Bump is a good example of his Pop style.

Overall it's divided in thirds, one part Acoustic Hip-Hop thing, one part Pop-ish, and the final part plain old Acoustic Rock.

There are a few things most of his tracks have in common though. Excellent writing for one. He may be a relatively average singer, but he's an amazing lyricist. Another thing I felt to be homey was how he paused. It reminded me a bit of Tracy Chapman, so it was welcomed.

A good song to show off the writing and those deliciously timed pauses would be Wake Me Up. If you dig it, the album will be worth it.

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