SONG OF THE DAY L’Orange – Look Around (feat. Oddisee)

“My new album is called The Ordinary Man, it’ll be out 10/27!   The first single with Oddisee is out today and it’s one of the best songs I’ve ever made.  Losing my hearing over the past few years has made it hard for me to make as much music as I wanted to. But, today it’s my pleasure to let you know that I’m back..”

Best known for his early 20th century-inspired style and stripped-down jazz influences, Nashville’s L’Orange is due to release a new album at the end of next month and, in his own words, boasts that this is some of his best work to date.  This could be because L’Orange has recently had to deal with hearing loss, for which he has undergone multiple surgeries, whilst also battling with depression and it can only be a blessing that from this ordeal he has found inspiration and solace in creating his third and latest record.

The Ordinary Man is a concept album about a superstar magician disillusioned with the world that made his greatness and, as explained on L’Orange’s Soundcloud page, follows a magician from being an unknown to the biggest star in the world. Performing impossible feats for thousands of people, the magician eventually becomes disillusioned and bitter, blaming the world for not understanding his greatness.  Although dark in tone, the album delivers this story playfully, conveying this shadowy story in a more lighthearted manner.   The album is also mostly instrumental but features guest vocals from the likes of, Del The Funky Homosapien, Blu, Elzhi and Oddisee, as well as up and coming artists like Koreatown Oddity, Chuuwee & Solemn Brigham

First single Look Around has a great feel with smooth flowing beats and vocals that deliver with smooth precision.  The track been described as a landmark collaboration for Mello Music Group combining the styles of L’Orange & Oddisee effortlessly.  The feel is good, the rhythm flowing and the vocals deliver with smooth precision.

The Ordinary Man releases October 27 via Mellow Music Group, pre-order your copy from here. 

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SONG OF THE DAY Lean Year – Watch Me

I’ll be the first one to admit that I’m not always the best with subtlety when it comes to music, my relative brief attention span reacts to bursts of sound and I can usually tell whether I’m going to like a song in the first few seconds so I need it to be gripping…but it’s also fair to say that I know and appreciate that music can strike hard with the softest approach and today’s song demonstrates that perfectly!

Last month I featured a new (debut) song by the emerging folk-rock duo, Emilie Rex and Rick Alverson, aka Lean Year.  Hailing from Richmond, Virginia and inspired by artists and bands such as Karen Dalton, Fred Neil, Brian Eno, Nina Simone, Bessie Smith, Love, and Elizabeth Cotton, the pair introduced themselves with their aptly titled and rather striking first track, Come and See (check this out here).

Lean Year’s eponymous debut album, which was co-written over the course of a year at their home studio, is due for release next month and ahead of this the pair have released another new song titled, Watch Me.  Minimalist in structure, yet abundant in its haunting style, sparse vocals envelope with the enticing ominous lyrics, If you wanna know just how to catch me, you better watch me, you better watch me.  Subtle and understated, but delivered with crisp directness, so much is said with so little and the soft whisper which doubles up for the lines, better watch me towards the end of the song only adds to the already atmospheric textures.  Instrumentally the hypnotic melody of a guitar, intermittent bass-plucks and sprawl of soft drawn-out strings provides a bewitching backdrop to what is a wonderfully written song! Check it out above.

Lean Year’s self titled debut will be released this October via Western Vinyl.  Pre-order it here. 

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SONG OF THE DAY Billy Fury – Fury’s Tune

This truly is a gorgeous song!  From the delicate call-and-response vocals of Fury and his female counterpart, to the yearning amble of the melodic guitar and the undulating percussion in between, this is just a little beauty of a track!

Fury’s Tune is one of Billy Fury’s self-penned B-sides which appeared on his 1961 Halfway To Paradise LP.  The song is a great representation of Fury at his most intense and charismatic and is a dark, brooding and fiercely seductive performance!  Check it out above and if you listen closely you will hear how this song name checks six of his early 45’s!

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SONG OF THE DAY The Funkees – Breakthrough

Afro-rock groovers, The Funkees formed in Nigeria in the late 1960’s, emerging at a time when their country was at civil war.

Specialising in a brand of funky, upbeat afro-rock dance music, their sound became a staple part of the Nigerian psychedelic rock scene, paving the way for artists such as Fela Kuti to follow in the early 70’s.

The Funkees were not alone in pioneering this new sound and many guitar-driven psych bands sprung up in Nigeria during the years leading up to 1970, all of which were heavily influenced by The Doors, Santana, Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane and James Brown.  Born out of this movement was a new style of psychedelic afro-rock and fuzz-funk!

I first heard The Funkees Breakthrough on a great compilation album by Soundway Records called, The World Ends: Afro Rock & Psychedelia in 1970’s Nigeria, and if you like today’s song, it’s definitely worth exploring the other 31 funk-laden tracks.  I love the uniqueness of this music, it’s an exciting melting pot of sound embracing a fusion of styles that defies geography and time!  Listen above and see what you think!


Posted in Afro beat, afro funk, Afro Pop, Alternative, Psych rock, Psych-funk, Psych-world, Psychedelic rock, Soundway Records, World | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SONG OF THE DAY Francesca Belmonte – Stole

Francesca Belmonte has been described as a hip-hop blues artist and if you are familiar with her vocals style, you can see how she has gained this title and why it is she works so well with Tricky.

Featuring as a backing vocalist on various Tricky albums, Francesca Belmonte featured heavily on his 2013 False Idols and 2014 Adrian Thaws records.  In 2015 she embarked on a solo career, employing Tricky as her producer and mentor, releasing her debut album, Stole on his False Idols label that same year.

The albums title track has recently been re-vamped and is to appear on Tricky’s forthcoming 13th album, Ununiform which releases in two days time!  This reworked version is titled New Stole and has as a faster tempo while focusing on a new rhythmic, hypnotic and melodic dynamic.  This gives the track a more upbeat feel, whilst the sensual rawness of Francesca’s vocals remain prominent and the addition of Tricky vocals adds to the intensity.  Unfortunately I can’t say, ‘check it out above’ and play you this new song just yet because it will release with the album in a couple of days (but you can preview/download this track by following the link at the bottom of the page).  What I can play you is the 2015 original which I’m equally loving and just as happy to feature! Listen to this above.

Which version do you prefer?  Preview/download the new version here and listen to the original above.  There is also a free download of the original track on Francesca Belmonte’s Soundcloud page here.


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SONG OF THE DAY Cristobal And The Sea – Goat Flokk

‘Exitoca’ is a trip into an alternative reality where humans care for each other and the environment, value sensual experiences and dance their troubles away…Christobal and The Sea

London-based Christobal and The Sea consists of band members from Portugal, Spain, France, Egypt and the USA, so it’s no wonder their sound is so interesting, colourful and diverse!  Bringing together a range of influences from Brazilian tropicalia to Syrian pop, the band present a truly global vision. This vision is to create music that will unite and bring people together in a world where we are being driven further apart.

In three days time the band are to release new album Exitoca and as described on their Bandcamp page:

The title is a reference to the genre known as Exotica, which represented the escapism dreams of a generation of American salary-men and housewives in the 50s and 60s. Their desire was to move to an uncomplicated Pacific paradise; something that captured their own creative needs rather than the actual physical environment they found themselves in. Cristobal and the Sea’s ‘Exitoca’ is the attempt to free that dreamer movement from the grips of it’s privileged background and reclaim it for those who need it most now. 

With this title Cristobal and The Sea are reclaiming the term for those who most need it now; for those that have become scattered across the world, who find themselves displaced by conflict, political strife or environmental issues.

First single Goat Flokk is a bouncy little number with a melodic flowing lead and contrasting half-spoken vocals, fusing together Brazilian and Syrian influences.  The accompanying video (which you can watch below) was directed by new band member, Elliot Arndt who explained the video by describing how,  “I wanted to create a sort of psychedelic and cinematic enigma by suggesting links between the characters and their actions yet never really giving anyone the satisfaction of knowing what the hell is going on. The song really just called for something surreal, fast-paced and random and that’s just what we went for.”

Available on the 22nd September via City Slang, pre-order your copy of Exitoca from here.

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SONG OF THE DAY Antibalas – Gold Rush

If ever there was a day I needed cheering up, today is it.. I’m blue with tooth problems and stressed with heart wasn’t even in finding a song tonight, I’m so preoccupied by discomfort.  Luckily I didn’t have to look far to find some relief, for a beacon of musical light shone though the cloudiness and brought me the healing sounds of Antibalas!

Courtesy of Daptone Records, this Brooklyn-based afrobeat collective have just released new album, Where The Gods Are In Peace.  Consisting of five tracks and lasting for a brief 35 minutes, the last three songs make up the Tombstone trilogy.  First track Gold Rush is a glorious ten minutes long and these blissful moments pass in a flash, sucking you into a hypnotic world where time is marked by funky jazz melodies, bendy guitars and loose percussion.  Horn sections are gripping with their mesmerising and uplifting solo’s, vocals are bracing, whilst drums mark time and punctuate with energised rhythms that sound like a pounding heartbeat…

True to classic Afrobeat’s potential to tackle dire social and political issues via cathartic party music, Antibalas emphasised positivity and hope in their statement about the album stating how,  “We are still very much a political band, but as we mature we present and pay homage to the deep courage of our ancestors, we express a message of peace, harmony, and dance, and we take a hard look into the past while forging a future of solutions.”

Bliss out to the beautiful sounds of Gold Rush above and grab yourself a copy of Where The Gods Are In Peace from here. 

Posted in Afro beat, afro funk, Afrobeat, brooklyn, Daptone Records, Funk, Jazz, World | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

SONG OF THE DAY Chayns – You

Earlier this month Chicago’s Numero label released Live On The Moon, an album of 60’s Texas rock’n’roll which has been unearthed by Numero Group’s, From the Stacks, imprint.  Consisting of 9 tracks from The Chayns early material, this album also includes their superb (and nicely slowed down) cover of The Strangeloves 1965 hit, Night Time. (which was originally issued on their own Chayn-Reaction Production)

Originally called the Monarchs, the band initially consisted of Wayne Gustafson on rhythm guitar, Dale Watson on bass, Bob Tunmer on drums, Charlie Eddleman on guitars/vocals and Myles Wells on lead guitar ( who was just 14 at the time but already writing most of their original recorded material!).  Not happy with their current name, the band had been searching for a new one and it was drummer Bob Tumner who inspired their new title after he appeared at a practice session one day with suede boots on and a chain down his leg!  The Chains was considered too ordinary and it was the spelling of Myles’ name that eventually led them to The Chayns!

Live On The Moon is a fantastic album and it was hard picking one song to feature today, but their 1968 track, One has got great dynamics; swapping between the quiet lull of the verse and loud storm of the chorus.  Two heavy bass notes and a sparse rhythm creates anticipation in the first verse, promising something bigger is brewing and when the chorus breaks into a crescendoing peak the tempo rises before dropping and subsiding once’s really effective and I love it when music keeps you on your toes!

Check it out above and listen to the whole album here. 


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SONG OF THE DAY Mattiel – Count Your Blessings

Definitely not lacking on the talent front, Georgia-born Mattiel is an ad designer, illustrator, set builder and (more recently) a singer-songwriter!  Her youth was spent on her mother’s farm and as an adolescent she would often listen to her mother’s record collection, with artists such as Donovan, Peter Paul and Mary and The Monkees inspiring an early passion for music.

After moving to Atlanta, Mattiel developed a palette for more diverse musical interests and began to develop her own vocal style over the course of several years (often singing alone in her car on long drives to work!).  In 2014, after meeting singer and guitar player Randy Michael and Atlanta hip-hop songwriter Jonah Swilley, Mattiel herself ventured into songwriting and as a group they began working on an album.

Songs were created with Michael and Swilley supplying instrumental compositions and Mattiel providing the lyrical content and melodies.  The result is the forthcoming MATTIEL LP which is due for release on the 29th of this month!

Count Your Blessings has a gorgeous warm intro that immediately envelopes you into with Mattiel’s radiant vocals and classic old sound and I can’t help think of Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood when I hear this!  Wonderfully crafted, this song got into my head immediately with its melodic hook and crescendoing brass section, whilst crisp drums add punchy dynamics.  Listen above and pre-order your copy of Mattiel’s new record here.

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SONG OF THE DAY Trio Da Kali and Kronos Quartet – Ladilikan

Yesterday’s song had such a profound effect on me that I couldn’t resist revisiting this gorgeous music once again!

Ladilikan releases today via World Circuit Records and is an album that seamlessly blends together the most exquisite fusion of contemporary western strings and traditional African sounds.  The album has been created and recorded by Malian band Trio Da Kali and San Francisco’s Kronus Quartet, who have come together in this super-group to create this wonderful musical hybrid.

Kronos’ artistic director and founder, reports that the album is “one of the most beautiful Kronos has ever done” and after hearing their griot grooves being played by violins, viola and cello, Trio da Kali’s musical director Fodé Lassana Diabaté said, “This is going to be the best collaboration of my life.” 

The albums impressive title track is dramatic and striking with its gorgeous, punchy melodic strings, soaring vocals and rhythmic balafon all playing harmoniously side by side…it’s just simply gorgeous! Check it out above.

Ladilikan is out now via World Circuit Records and can be purchased from here.

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