Saturday, August 16, 2014

HOT AND FRESH OUT THE KITCHEN

FKA TWIGS - "LP1"


Tahliah Barnett began her professional career as a teenage back-up dancer who appeared in several music videos which earned her the nickname, "Twigs". Now the twenty-six year old Brit has decided to move in front of the mic using the moniker, FKA Twigs which stands for "Formerly Known As". After writing, producing and self-releasing an EP ("EP1") in 2012, Twigs signed with Young Turks Records and released another EP ("EP2") the following year.

Now her full-length debut album, "LP1" is out and creating some serious buzz. Taking elements of classic soul and merging with trip-hop and electronica, the music of FKA Twigs has an ethereal quality despite the hard-hitting beats and quirky rhythms. While she may be too "out there" for the average American listener but I think FKA Twigs brings a much needed freshness to the music scene. See what you think of one of my favorite tracks:

"Give Up" - FKA Twigs (2014)

In the video for the first single, "Two Weeks", FKA Twigs makes me think that she's channeling Aaliyah in the movie, "Queen of The Damned":



ED SHEERAN - 'X"



Ed Sheeran burst on to the scene in 2011 with the acoustic ballad, "The A Team" that reached the top-ten in several countries and earned him a Grammy nomination for "Song of The Year". For his follow-up release, "x" (pronounced "multiply"), the British artist called on top producers, Rick Rubin, Benny Blanco and Pharrell Williams to help expand his sound while still allowing him to keep his guitar in hand. The album is off to a great start with the Williams produced, Justin Timberlake inspired single, "Sing" which has become a world-wide smash, reaching number one in seven countries.

While "x" is a solid production but there's still a whiff of calculation that I find troubling. Sheeran has added current musical trends to some of the songs that seems too much like catering to capture the attention of a pop audience. The problem is that it's doesn't always feel authentic or necessarily a good fit for the talented singer. Anyway, I ain't mad at him because overall, I really like the album. In fact, here is one of the songs that I really like:

"Thinking Out Loud" - Ed Sheeran (2014)

SINEAD O'CONNOR - "I'M NOT BOSSY, I'M THE BOSS"


The one thing you can say about the troubled and controversial artist, Sinéad O'Connor is that she's unafraid to voice her opinion regardless of the outcome. At the height of her fame, she infamously tore up the photo of Pope John Paul II to protest child abuse in the church after a performance on "SNL" in 1992. That act essentially put the brakes on O'Connor's career and never really fully recovered. O'Connor continued to create some interesting music over the years but has garnered little attention from an unforgiving public.

On the cover of her tenth studio album. "I'm Not Bossy, I'm The Boss" (I love that title), O'Connor appears dolled up like her idea of a modern, young pop star. She is back to form with some well-crafted songs about sex and love that are far more insightful and clever than anything from Miley Cyrus. Listen to the first single:

"Take Me To Church" - Sinéad O'Connor (2014)

SIA - "1000 FORMS OF FEAR"


After putting her own career on hold and becoming a very successful songwriter-for-hire for the last few years, Sia has finally decided to record her own music once again. She saved some interesting material for herself but it's far darker than your standard pop tune. Using that full-bodied drawl of a voice, Sia gives these songs an extra edge. "1000 Forms of Fear" is the Aussie singer's sixth studio recording and her first to reach the top of the U.S. Billboard album chart. The moody first single, "Chandelier" has made it to the top ten across most of the globe.

While Sia may have resumed her singing, she has no desire to promote her music in the conventional fashion. No picture of Sia is on the album, she will not appear in any videos and has gone as far as performing live with her back to the audience. This may come across as a bit extreme but it does put the focus back on the music where it actually belongs.

"Big Girls Cry" - Sia (2014)

Nicki Minaj has received plenty of attention for the second single, "Anaconda" from her next release, "The Pinkprint" but it's been more for the cover art than for the actual song. Minaj has left little to the imagination, as she displays the inspiration for the tune and I say, "If you got it, flaunt it".

Sampling the 1992 Sir Mix-A-Lot track, "Baby Got Back", the song is classic Nicki Minaj and burning up the charts:



Kimbra is back with a new song, "90's music" from the soon-to-drop second CD, "The Golden Echo". The video is wild and colorful ode to that decade which includes some of the clothes and dance moves:



Finally, this is my current favorite music video. I don't know anything about this artist, Kiesza but this slick vid for the song, "Hideaway" is a seemingly non-stop dance routine that covers pretty much every dance move that has ever been created:

TAKE TWO: TEDDY PENDERGRASS

Back in the '70's, if you wanted to create a sexy mood, all you had to do was turn down the lights, pop open a bottle of wine and...