Friday, May 27, 2016

MEET DALEY


While possessing a butter smooth, soulful voice like his fellow Brits, Sam Smith and Adele, Daley has not made nearly as large of an impact here in the States, at least not yet. I recently discovered the talented twenty-six year old vocalist through his Pharrell produced song, "Look Up" which had reached the top-ten on the U.S. Adult R&B Chart back in 2013.

Born Gareth Daley in Manchester, England, he first got noticed through performing at open-mic nights and posting himself singing on his Myspace page. Daley's first major breakthrough came when he got involved with Gorillaz co-creator Damon Albarn . He co-wrote and sang on the track, "Doncamatic" for the "Plastic Beach" album in 2011. He later released that year a free download mix-tape titled "Those Who Wait" which became a viral sensation throughout Europe.

After releasing another mix-tape and opening for such artists like Emeli Sande, Jessie J and Miguel, this finally lead to Daley's debut studio album, "Days + Nights" in 2014. This impressive collection blends together old-school soul and modern beats along with Daley's solid song-writing skills and soaring, passionate vocals. Put it all together and this is a record you must hear.

There's word that he's got some new music on the way but in the meantime check out the video for the sensual song, "Look Up" and discover for yourself the magical, musical gift named "Daley":

Sunday, May 22, 2016

HOT AND FRESH OUT THE KITCHEN

BEYONCE - "LEMONADE"


With her sixth studio album, "Lemonade", Beyoncé continues to form her own path on how she will present her music to the world. First, on April 23rd, she released an hour-long HBO film that presented all of the new songs together as a "visual album" which featured striking imagery and poetic interludes covering many subjects involving race, gender and marriage. Shortly after the television premiere, the album was released exclusively for on-line streaming on Tidal (which she's a co-owner) before it became available to everyone two days later.

The title of the album references that old saying that when life serves you lemons, you gotta make some lemonade and that's exactly what the multiple Grammy winner has done. Without ever being specific, Beyoncé seems to have used some difficult times in her marriage as well as her parent's acrimonious break-up to create a searing collection of songs involving betrayal, anger, revenge, hope and ultimately, forgiveness. The music blurs and twists together many genres, perfectly complementing the lyrics with edgy and offbeat sounds. "Lemonade" is far from comfortable, easily digestible pop music. The album makes a bold statement and I think it's the singer's strongest work to date.



PET SHOP BOYS - "SUPER"



I can't believe it's been thirty years since Pet Shop Boys released their debut album, "Please". The record featured the now classic tunes "Suburbia", "Love Comes Quickly", "Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)" and still my favorite track from them, "West End Girls".  There is no doubt that their early sound can be attributed to the current popularity of electronic dance music. Now, the boys, Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe, are back with their thirteenth album. "Super". With production duties once again handled by Stuart Price, the band dives deeper in to pure electronica yet retain much of their pop sensibilities. The first single, "The Pop Kids" takes a nostalgic look back at the dance scene in the '90's when they first started out. This song also became Pet Shop Boys' eleventh number one song on the U.S. Dance Club chart.

"The Pop Kids" - Pet Shop Boys (2016) mp3

Tegan and Sara, those formerly alt-rocking Canadian twins, continue to move in an eletropop direction. With their eight album, "Love You To Death" due out in June, the ladies may be seeking commercial success but only want it on their terms and the single, "Boyfriend" clearly indicates that. The song involves a love triangle with a confused girl caught between a boy and another girl.

"Boyfriend" - Tegan and Sara (2016) mp3

After taking some time off to have her second child, Alicia Keys is finally back with some new music since 2012's "Girl On Fire". The first single, "In Common" is a smooth dance hall-flavored track that should easily put the artist back on the charts. For the music video directed by Pierre Debusschere, Keys is lovely and fresh-faced in this slick black& white clip featuring energetic dancers in a pseudo-cityscape.



Finally, Justin Timberlake is not only lending his voice to the upcoming animated film, "Trolls" (due out later this fall) but he has also just released a song for the soundtrack. "Can't Stop The Feeling", co-written and produced by pop wizard, Max Martin, has already reached the the top of the charts in seven countries including the U.S. The song feels very similar to "Happy", another catchy, feel-good song for an animated film that swept the globe. Even the music video, directed by film maker Mark Romanek, features average people dancing and singing along to the song.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

NUMBER ONE FLASHBACK



Forty years ago this week, The Sylvers were riding the top of the charts with "Boogie Fever". This family act originally from Memphis had found modest success as performers before this breakthrough took them to number one on both the pop and r&b charts.

There were a total of ten Sylvers children with nine of them part of the singing group at various points in their musical career. The four oldest children (Olympia, Leon, Charmaine, and James) began as a singing group called "The Little Angels" and performed on television and opened for several soul acts. A few years later, younger brothers, Edmund and Ricky joined the group and then became known as "The Sylvers". They released their self-titled debut album in 1972 with two singles, "Fool's Paradise" and "Wish I Could Talk To You" reaching the top-twenty on the r&b chart. The following year, the youngest member in the act, Foster had a hit solo single, "Misdemeanor" (written by Leon) that reached number seven on the U.S. soul chart.

By 1975, sisters, Angie and Pat became part of the group before The Sylvers signed to a major label, Capitol Records. The family was teamed-up with producer Freddie Perren (who had worked with another famous family act, The Jackson 5) and helped take them to the next level. Their fourth album, "Showcase" featured "Boogie Fever" and that single went on to sell over two million copies.

Charmaine decided to leave the group before the release of the follow-up album, "Something Special" in 1976. Also produced by Perren, the album featured two more hits, "Hot Line" and "High School Dance".

Wanting to take control over their music and feature a more mature sound, The Sylvers wrote and produced their next album, "New Horizons" in 1977.  This failed to reach the level of popularity of their previous efforts and while the group went on to create some critically-acclaimed records, they were never able to recapture the magic of their past success. The Sylvers came to an official end in 1985 after their final album, "Bizarre" failed to find an audience.

Let's go back and watch The Sylvers perform their hit live on The Midnight Special:

ICONA POP ARE "GIRLS GIRLS"

Those Swedish musical party-girls, Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo, otherwise known as  Icona Pop are back with a new club-banging anthem. ...