Thursday, February 28, 2013

THE STARS ARE OUT TONIGHT

The excitement builds as more new music from David Bowie is released but this time it's a music video for another track from the forthcoming album, "The Next Day". This video for "The Stars (Are Out Tonight)" is more like a short film which is directed by Floria Sigismondi (who recently did Solange's fantastic vid for "Losing You") and features the always fabulous, Oscar-winner, Tilda Swinton along with the equally androgynous male model, Andrej Pejic.

I'm not exactly sure what this is about but seems to deal with a aging, long-married couple looking back to their past in a very surreal fashion. I dig the song and really love the video. Take a look:


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

MEET JESSIE WARE


UPDATE:  The U.S. edition of "Devotion" is finally out on April 16th. The album feature two hot new tracks: "Imagine It Was Us" and a remix of "Wildest Moments" featuring A$AP Rocky.  Check out the video for "Imagine":


The rest of the world may be familiar with Brit-soul artist, Jessie Ware but here in the U.S., most people wouldn't have a clue. I'm hopping to put a little spotlight on this talented, twenty-eight year old singer/songwriter.

It would be easy to simply lump her with all of the other English female pop vocalists buzzing around these shores but Ms Ware is offering something slightly different than her counterparts. While American soul most certainly plays a heavy influence to this artist, her music also includes subtle electro-beats that manages to bring a surprisingly ethereal quality to her sound. She may not possess the big voice like some of her peers but you can feel her deep passion in every song.

So, take a moment to check out a couple of tunes from Jessie Ware's debut, "Devotion", you'll be glad you did:




"Devotion" - Jessie Ware (2012)

"110%" - Jessie Ware (2012)

What I love most about Ms Ware is how she has taken some classic r&b tunes and twisted them to sound familiar yet feel completely new and otherworldly. Here are two songs originally done by Bobby Caldwell and Stephanie Mills that the singer puts her distinctive stamp on:

"What You Won't Do For Love" - Jessie Ware (2012)

"Never Knew Love Like This Before" - Jessie Ware (2013)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

HEY MR. DJ . . .


The disc jockey or "D.J." are the people responsible for playing music, either on the radio or spinning in a club. They have become even more important these days since the rise in popularity of electronic music.

So, here's to the people who get the party started and makes sure it lasts all night long. Enjoy this selection of some of my favorite tunes that honors the tradition of the D.J:

"Hey, Mr. D.J." - Zhan√©  (1994)

"Last Night A D.J. Saved My Life" - Indeep (1982)

"D.J." - David Bowie (1979)

"Pon De Replay" - Rihanna (2005)

"D.J." - Amanda Blank (2009)

"Let The Music Play" - Shannon (1983)

"(Fuck Him) He's A D.J." - Ke$ha (Demo)

"Play" - Jennifer Lopez (2001)


Thursday, February 14, 2013

THE 55TH ANNUAL GRAMMY AWARDS



This year's Grammy awards was a dazzling evening filled with some incredible performances and imaginative musical match-ups. LL Cool J hosted once again and despite a well-intended but overly long speech about what The Grammys means to him, continued to fill the role with plenty of charm and grace.

Unlike last year where Adele swept the Grammys, no single artist dominated the awards as the wealth was spread around. There was not a single dull moment to be found on this telecast but I did have a few favorites;  Jack White tore it up with an all-female band for a slinky take of  "Love Interruption" before rocking hard with his male group during "Freedom At 21". Miguel delivered a sexy and smooth version of the Grammy-winning R&B Song of The Year, "Adorn" that made even Kelly Clarkson take notice which she announced during her accepting of the award for Best Pop Album. Later, she made her own impression with a rousing musical tribute to Life-Time Achievement honorees, the late Patti Page and Carole King. The two all-star tributes, first for reggae legend, Bob Marley that featured Sting, Bruno Mars, Rihanna and the musician's sons, Ziggy and Damian as well as a performance of The Band's "The Weight" which included Elton John, Mavis Staples, Zac Brown and Mumford & Sons to honor Levon Holm, who died last year and Justin Timberlake, using the show as a platform for his long-awaited return to music,  previewed the first single, "Suit and Tie" (which Jay-Z got out of his seat to add his contribution) and another tune, "Pusher Love Girl" from his forthcoming album as he proved that he's still got it.

While I'm not particularly crazy about the song, "Forrest Gump" but I loved the staging of Frank Ocean's set and I'm sure this was the first time on the Grammy stage where a song about same-sex love has been performed. I'm very surprised that neither Gotye or Carly Rae Jepsen didn't perform something on the show considering how many nominations that both received.. Even host, LL Cool J took to the stage to close out the show by bringing some old-school hip-hop with help from Chuck D and drummer, Travis Barker that took a moment to honor the Beastie Boys. For true music lovers, the Grammys is the only award show to watch and the one to absolutely not miss.

Here is the partial list of this year's Grammy winners presented on the telecast:

Album of the Year: "Babel" - Mumford & Sons
Record of the Year: "Somebody That I Used to Know" - Gotye featuring Kimbra
Song of the Year: "We Are Young," -  fun. 
Best New Artist: fun.
Best Pop Solo Performance: "Set Fire to the Rain (Live)" -  Adele
Best Pop Vocal Album: "Stronger" -  Kelly Clarkson
Best Rock Performance: "Lonely Boy" - The Black Keys
Best Urban Contemporary Album: "Channel Orange" -  Frank Ocean 
Best Rap/Sung Collaboration: "No Church in the Wild," - Jay-Z, Kanye West featuring Frank Ocean, The-Dream. 
Best Country Solo Performance: "Blown Away" -  Carrie Underwood
Best Country Album: "Uncaged" -  Zac Brown Band

For the complete list, please go to:
Grammy.com

Thursday, February 7, 2013

TAKE TWO:TEARS FOR FEARS


Tears For Fears achieved great international fame in the mid-eighties with their second album, "Songs From The Big Chair" but like many musical groups who find sudden success, their partnership was strained and crushed due to the pressures and the duo broke-up after their third album, "The Seeds Of Love" in 1990.

Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith first met as teenagers in Bath, England. They performed with several bands before starting their own group, History of Headaches while later renaming themselves, Tears For Fears. After signing with Phonogram Records, they released two singles before finding chart success with "Mad World" in 1982 where it peaked at number three in the U.K. Tears For Fears released their debut album, "The Hurting" the following year where it made it to number one on the British album chart.

Their follow-up album, "Songs From The Big Chair" became a world-wide smash with the record reaching the top of the U.S. album chart for five weeks. The four hit singles, "Mothers Talk", "Head Over Heels", "Shout" and "Everybody Wants To Rule The World" contributed to the album's major success with the latter two songs reaching number one in America.

After the duo separated, Orzabal kept the band's name and released another album, "Elemental" in 1993 while Smith recorded a solo project, "Soul On Board" that same year. The Tears For Fears album found only minor success in Europe while another album, "Raoul and the Kings of Spain" (released in 1995) was even less successful.

In 2000, Orzabal and Smith worked out their differences and began recording a new album. The appropriately titled, "Everybody Loves A Happy Ending" was released in 2004 which had their first song hit the British top forty in ten years. Tears For Fears has not recorded any new music to date but they still continue to tour together with their last major tour was in 2010 with another re-grouped '80's British new-wave band, Spandau Ballet.

Have a listen to two of my favorites:

"Mothers Talk" - Tears For Fears (1984)


"Head Over Heels" - Tears For Fears (1985)


ABSENT FACES IN POP MUSIC

I had read a interesting article recently in the Los Angeles Times about the difficulties of a new generation of Black female singers being...