SONG OF THE DAY Mick Jenkins – Drowning feat. BADBADNOTGOOD


1461693299_62da3e9cf9b4c1c3644af25ddf49e429Earlier this month Chicago rapper Jayson Jenkins, aka Mick Jenkins, announced the release of his new album, ‘The Healing Component.’

Due this September via his Free Nation label, the album’s first shared track is titled ‘Drowning,’ a collaboration between Jenkins and the Toronto Band band BADBADNOTGOOD, who worked with Jenkins recently on their own track “Hyssop of Love.” 

The accompanying video was directed by Nathan R. Smith and is both a serious and evocative watch which sees Jenkins playing the role of a man who has escaped slavery, helping others to freedom also.  As the video plays out there is an opportunity for Jenkins to take revenge but instead he sets them free, wearing an American flag as a scarf he watches them drift off on a raft, his mercy a symbolic message.  I couldn’t help but associate this song and its content to what we see today in the US with police and ethnic minorities but this angle has not been stated, it was just what came to my mind when I watched the video.

5e38bafee6353dcbb9a2fbc0afcbe7e7.1000x1000x1It’s a fantastic song which gives us the chance to hear Jenkins sing in what sounds more like old-style blues that hip-hop, I love transition and the way his voice goes from rumbling lows to soulful highs and then in to full-on rap.  It is a truly unique track, I can’t say I’ve heard much like this lately; its simple instrumentation and structure sets an effectively tense feel whilst the vocal contrasts narrates the story perfectly…and just you wait until you get about four minutes in, the pace quickens into a funky, upbeat melody before dropping right back to just a voice and cow bell taps, it’s so dynamically pleasing.  Listen above.

Due on September 23rd, you can pre-order ‘The Healing Component’ from here 

 

Posted in Free Nation, hip hop, hip hop rap | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

SONG OF THE DAY Up Up We Go! – Mirror Mirror


a3055714887_10Up Up We Go are a New Orleans band currently made up of Salvatore Geloso (vocals, guitar, composer), Stephen J Gladney (saxophone, conjurer of the winds), Robin “Lizardo” Sherman (upright & electric bass) and Shawn “Cool Water” Myers (drums/percussion, heartbeat).

I use the word currently because the band apparently consists of a rotating cast of musical characters from far reaches of the globe including France, Australia, Italy, New York and New Orleans, all of whom rotate around the core member/songwriter and soulful singer, Madame Salvatore Geloso.

The band have been described as being, “Like a science experiment gone horribly wrong…. in all the right ways” and have a unique sound based upon the writings of their Sicilian front man, Salvatore Geloso who grew up with musical ancestors.

Geloso has travelled, busked and collaborated with an eclectic mix of performers over the years, now residing in New Orleans, drawn to its rich musical make-up.  Today’s song features on a self titled EP that the band released this July and is titled, ‘Mirror Mirror.’ This jazzy little number is instantly catchy and bounces along on an energetic rhythm, funky little guitar riff and equally groovin’ sax middle, it’s a great, lively listen.  Check it out above.

‘Up Up We Go’ EP is now available and can be found here…Another great track to check out is “Goodnight Miss Lulu White” .

Posted in Acoustic, Alternative, Blues, gospel, Jazz, New Orleans, R & B, Soul | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SONG OF THE DAY Adam Betts – Drumbones


0008104488_10My first encounter with Adam Betts occurred today when I heard ‘Drumbones’ on a radio show, I was instantly hooked, it’s all about the drums!  I’ve mentioned on many occasions just how much a good rhythm/beat means to me and this track feels like all my Christmases have come at once!  What also blew me away was the discovery that this whole track was performed live on a drum kit, created by Adam Betts alone, I love it!

Adam Betts is a beat-king who has drummed and toured with Squarepusher, been a member of the experimental London trio Three Trapped Tigers and has now launched his very own solo career.

His debut album, Colossal Squid is due this November and if ‘Drumbones’ is anything to go by this record will more than live up to its name!  Adam Betts is a marvel, a drummers dream who impressively created Colossal Squid live in one single day, a version he chose over many previous studio recordings.  Explaining the reasons for this, Betts said:

“It clicked that this was the way to represent the material in the best way possible – performed entirely live, as it happened. Any “mistakes”, any looseness, felt like a step away from the feeling of material being written with the click of a mouse at a computer. It’s really a punk album with tape delays instead of guitar chords.”

I read the next paragraph you’re about to see online, deciding to copy and paste it because musicradar has a far better grip on the technical aspects behind Adam Betts’ album than me, and they explained how:  In order to record the album live, Betts essentially made a series of instruments on Ableton – a combination of effects, synths, and samples – all of which could be triggered from his drum kit or SPD-SX, therefore enabling him to play everything live and giving him the freedom to take the music in any direction he pleased.

Adam Betts is my hero! When I attempted to learn to play drums a few years ago I would’ve gone a whole lot further if I’d had lessons from somebody like this! I can’t wait to hear and see more, watching him drum in the video to ‘Drumbones’ is both thrilling and exhausting.  Check it out above!

Colossal Squid releases on November 12th via blood and biscuits and can be pre-ordered from here

Posted in Alternative Rock, beats, Blood and Biscuits, DIY, Electro, Electro pop, Electronic, Live electronica | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

SONG OF THE DAY Mauno – Benny


mauno-premiere-neu-pickI love a song with unexpected twists, and today’s perfectly crafted track definitely has a few turns up its sleeve!

Formed in September 2014, Mauno – pronounced Mao-no are a four-piece from Halifax, Novia Scotia whose experimental sound is both vast and dreamy.  Likened to Grizzly Bear, Mauno’s music creates a similar sense of open space in which melodies and rhythms explore and roam freely.

With a new album due out this October, first song ‘Benny’ is full of surprises as it leaps from steady to soaring, all in a blink; melodies rise and fall with effortless grace, drums roll then march and its dynamic feel is truly gripping.  Listen above and check out what I mean.

New album, ‘rough master’ (in lower case just like their name) is due out on 28th October via Tin Angel Records, pre-order your copy from here .

Posted in Alternative, Alternative pop, Alternative Rock, Tin Angel Records | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

SONG OF THE DAY The Moondoggies – Oh Now Honey


themoondoggies1Ten years ago in the city of Everett, Washington, five friends came together and formed the Americana band,  The Moondoggies.  Releasing their debut ‘Don’t Be A Stranger’ in 2008, this album was to be on of the first releases for Hardly Art Records.

Nearly a decade later, this record will be available on vinyl for the first time ever and the double LP will also include five b-sides from The Moondoggies’ early days, including todays instantly memorable and previously unreleased,“Oh Now Honey.”  Fierce vocals and a smashing piano melody drive this tune and from the very first few seconds, I knew I was going to enjoy it! Listen above.

‘Don’t Be a Stranger’ will be out on vinyl and digital on October 7, 2016 via Hardly Art Records.  Pre-order your copy from here.

Posted in Americana, Hardly Art Records, Rock | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

SONG OF THE DAY Don Drummond – Confucious


don-drummond2-300x183After featuring ‘Rico’s Torpedo’ by the great Rico & Joe’s All Stars last night, I’ve spent some time getting familiar with Don Drummond, the man who taught Rico Rodriguez to play trombone.

Don Drummond was a Jamaican ska trombonist/composer who became one of the original members of The Skatalites.  His musical career began in 1950 with the Eric Dean’s All-Stars where initially he played as a jazz musician.

For over a decade he played jazz until 1964 when he began to play ska, joining the Skatalites shortly after as well as converting to the Rastafari movement.  Unlike Rico Rodriguez, however, Don Drummond’s career was to be short-lived after he was convicted for the murder of his girlfriend in 1965.  Four years later and only 37 years of age, Drummond died in prison (with varying theories behind his death), his lasting legacy the great musicianship of Rico Rodriguez and the fantastic music of the Skatalites…I’ve also read that he has been known as “one of the most important architects of ska,”  his music literally shaping reggae as we know it, with that in mind I admirably introduce today’s fantastic track, ‘Confucious’ which was released in 1964.  Listen above.

Further reading: Heather Augustyn has written a book called Ska: An Oral History book which focuses on the life of Don Drummond.

Posted in Reggae, ska | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

SONG OF THE DAY Rico & Joe’s All Stars – Rico’s Torpedo


R-1539977-1346504047-6036.jpegThis song has been stuck in my head ever since I played it earlier and I haven’t been able to stop humming it yet.

Emmanuel “Rico” Rodriguez, aka Rico, Reco or El Reco was a Cuban-born Jamaican ska and reggae trombonist whose long and very accomplished musical career began in the late 50’s.  Moving to Jamaica with his family at a very young age, he grew up in Kingston where was taught to the trombone by school friend, Don Drummond (who later became one of the original members of The Skatalites).

In the late 1950’s Rodriguez became a Rastafarian and later formed the group Rico and the Rudies, with whom he recorded and released the albums ‘Blow Your Horn’ and ‘Brixton Cat.’  He has also recorded with lots of producers, including Karl Pitterson, Prince Buster and Lloyd ‘Matador’ Daley and has become known as one of the first and most distinguished ska artists.  Moving to the UK in the early 60’s, Rodriguez has also performed and recorded with the Specials, Jools Holland, Paul Young and many others.

In 2007 he was awarded an MBE for services to music and in 2012 he was awarded the Silver Musgrave Medal by the Institute of Jamaica in recognition of his contribution to Jamaican music.

Today’s song appears on the Brixton Cat album which was released on Trojan Records in 1969 and is titled ‘Rico’s Torpedo.’  It’s got a glorious feel and I love the way the high pitch chinking piano notes perfectly contrast the low, melodic tones of Rodriguez’s trombone.  Check it out above.

Posted in Reggae, Rocksteady, ska | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

SONG OF THE DAY D.D Dumbo – Walrus


DD-Dumbo-webAfter featuring one of my all time favourite artists yesterday, I bring you another! A more recent discovery and one that I came upon just a couple of years ago, but one that has made a massive impact on me.

Oliver Hugh Perry, aka D.D Dumbo is rather unique, his sound is unmistakable and his creative approach is both fresh and dynamic.  His music is earthy, drawing upon global and nature-inspired influences using only a simple drum beat, loop pedals and a 12-string guitar.

Minimal in structure and complemented by his powerful voice, D.D Dumbo’s music subtly
references traditional stylings from around the globe such as African desert blues, Tanzanian ilimba and transcendental Tuvan melody.  Vocally he is haunting and captivating, a whirlpool of grace and purity with which you will willingly submerge yourself into.

It’s been a long time coming but the young Australian artist has finally got a release date for his new album, ‘Utopia Defeated’ which is out 7 October via 4AD.  Taken from his debut comes today’s song, ‘Walrus’ which, with its infectious groove and lush layering, is an absolute delight to the ears!  Listen above.

Posted in 4AD, Alternative, Alternative Rock, Alternative rock/blues, Blues, Experimental indie, Experimental Rock, psych rock, Psych-world, Rhythm-based, World | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SONG OF THE DAY Gavin Clark/Sunhouse – Urban Ape


gav crop 1People often talk about how music touches them, how certain songs or an artist can impact their life, Gavin Clark has done that to me.  Ever since I bought the Sunhouse ‘Monkey Dead’ single in 1998, followed by the whole album ‘Crazy On The Weekend,’ I have loved the sound of Gavin Clark.  I love the way he sculpts a song with nothing more than just his outstanding vocals and a guitar, I love his lyrics and love the way when I play his music it feels like an old friend has stepped into the room; I admire many artists but he is one of my all time favourites and it is the most tragic thing that he left this world so young.

I read a review shortly after I discovered his death last year and it summed him up perfectly, describing how he was “a rare talent who deserves more recognition,” I couldn’t agree more.  Written by Richard Sefton, the director of sales and distribution at PIAS, you can check out the full review here.

Today’s song is taken from a collection of rare outtakes and is titled ‘Urban Ape.’  If you like this and are not familiar with all his other work, I strongly urge you to check out more and definitely watch the documentary he made with Shane Meadows,titled, ‘The Living Room.’   Listen above and check out a wonderful live performance below which was taken from the Living Room documentary.

Posted in Acoustic, Singer Songwriter | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

SONG OF THE DAY Nasambu + Kibrom – Take Your Time


0008027765_10“I love the way you take your time and set the stage just right, your love is so sublime, together we fly high”…

LA-based Nasambu Barasa and Kibrom Birhane are two solo musicians who are also members of the internationally acclaimed AfroSoul band, Nasambu and The Mystic Nomads.  After writing a song together for the very first time the pair discovered just how natural the process was and in a very few short minutes a complete song formed and thus they became the duo, Nasambu + Kibrom.

Composer and pianist, Kibrom Birhane creates sonic soundscapes for Nasambu’s lyricism and soaring melodies to flow in and around, the two fitting together perfectly.  Creating a blend of soulful classical and jazz tones the pair combine Ethiopian and Western scales with poetry sung in English, Swahili and Amharic.  The result is so dynamic, diverse interesting and unique!

Their 2016 debut EP ‘Love and Mercy’ is now available and is a carefully sculpted 3-song vision of jazzy elegance and has taken three years to complete.  Taken from this EP is first track ‘Take Your Time,’ a blissful tune that is both aptly titled and deliciously dreamy.  Vocally it soars, rising on weightless tones, whilst musically it is exquisitely delicate; about three minutes in the paces alters and this is the bit that I really like, words give way to tuneful chants and the rhythm picks up, the transition is really effective…  Listen above.

Order your copy of ‘Peace, Love and Mercy’ from here.

Posted in East African Jazz, Jazz, Jazz pop, la based, Soul | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment