Sunday, July 24, 2016

MISS SHARON JONES!


For over twenty years with the funky, horn-driven back-up band, The Dap-Kings by her side, Sharon Jones has been a driving force at keeping the spirit of good old-fashioned soul music alive and well.

Back in 2013, Jones was in the process of releasing another record and going out on tour to promote it when the singer was diagnosed with cancer. After postponing the album, she had surgery on her liver and underwent chemotherapy. In "Miss Sharon Jones!", Oscar-winning film maker, Barbara Kopple examines her struggle to recover from the disease while Jones' long-time band mates, who are all very close and supportive, have growing concerns about money and the future of their careers since they are far from household names. As pressure mounts and the situation looks very bleak at times, Jones' deep faith and infectious optimism keeps her steady on a positive path.

The documentary made it's premiere at last year's Toronto Film Festival where it was rapturously received. "Miss Sharon Jones!" will open in New York on July 29th before hitting the rest of the country throughout August. Be sure to check this out.



And that postponed album, "Give the People What They Want" was released a year after her recovery with Jones and the band making it back on the road. The record received plenty of critical acclaim and would earn the band their very first Grammy nomination for Best R&B Album. Now, it you are unfamiliar with Miss Jones and the Dap-Kings, here's a little sampler of exactly what they do:





Saturday, July 16, 2016

HOT TRACKS


First up, we have Britney Spears who has just dropped a new song, "Make Me" which is the first release from her upcoming ninth studio album. With an obligatory guest appearance by a rapper (here we have G-Easy), this beat-heavy, sexy ballad has Spears cooing seductively about having her man make her do whatever he'd like. I think this just might be the hit that will bring her back to the top of the charts.




With the 2016 Rio Olympics just a few weeks away, it's time to hear an inspirational anthem to help get everyone pumped up for the event. Katy Perry has been assigned that job and "Rise" is the song. This Max Martin produced ballad is intended to lift up and inspire and does so with Perry's robust vocals and lyrics with an encouraging positive message. The music video drives it all home with powerful images from past Olympics.




Finally, we have Tinashe with "Superlove", an '90's inspired, throw-back jam. The track is a part of "Joyride", her highly anticipated follow-up to her 2014 studio debut, "Aquarius" that featured the million-selling smash, "2 On". This hypnotic song, produced by The Dream and Tricky Stewart, may feature a familiar vibe that will certainly remind you of the great Aaliyah yet Tinashe manages to make "Superlove" stand out as a modern classic.

"Superlove" - Tinashe (2016) mp3

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

NEW SOUNDS

MAXWELL



It's quite clear that Maxwell likes to take his time, After an eight-year gap between his 2001 release "Now" and 2009's "BLACKsummers'night", the neo-soul vocalist has finally returned with a follow-up. This sequel, "blackSUMMERS'night" arrives seven years later and is certainly worth the wait. With his reliably smooth voice,  Maxwell delivers more lovely ballads and inspirational songs on love and relationships. Despite the still quite striking forty-three year old artist calling this new collection "progressive soul" which is a merging of gospel, disco, rock and a touch of psychedelic pop, the album doesn't offer any real surprises or major shifts in sound, just his sensual, old-school, funk-driven vibe that made him a major player back in the '90's.

The first single, "Lake By The Ocean" has been riding high on top of the adult r&b chart and I'm sure there will be more to come.



BLOOD ORANGE


Dev Hynes, or as he's better known, Blood Orange, has been devoting much of his time of late working on music for several pop artists. Solange Knowles, Sky Ferreira, FKA Twigs, Florence and the Machine, Carly Rae Jepsen and Kylie Minogue are just a few of the artists that have benefited from the dynamic writing and producing talent of this thirty-year-old Brit. Now, he's ready to focus on himself with a third Blood Orange CD, "Freetown Sound". Far removed from the lightweight fizz of hit-making pop, this record explores the racial, sexual and political tensions happening in the world today. Adding to the quirky rhythms and hook-less tunes are a collection of eclectic guest performers ranging from the expected (Jepsen and Debbie Harry) and the unexpected (author, Ta-Nehisi Coates and slam poet, Ashlee Haze).

I love that a track now on this record, "Hadron Collider" (that features a long-absent, Nelly Furtado) was first released only as a promotional cassette tape last December and sold during his shows at the Apollo Theater. Have a listen:

"Hadron Collider" - Blood Orange & Nelly Furtado (2016) mp3

Fergie is once again back with some new music. Much like what happen with Gwen Stefani, Fergie dropped a song, "L.A. Love (La La)" way back in 2014 after a long absence from the scene but nobody was feeling much love for the tune.

After regrouping, the forty-one-year-old singer is giving it another try with a sexy little ditty called "M.I.L.F.$" (pronounced "MILF Money"). If you don't know what a M.I.L.F. is, well, let's just say it means someone that would enjoy an intimate encounter with a mature woman with children. To be perfectly honest, I'm not really feeling this song but I do love the music video. The colorful, hyper-sexual clip, directed by Colin Tilley, is littered with hot fashion models like Alessandra Ambrósio, Chrissy Teigen, Amber Valletta, Devon Aoki, Angela Lindvall as well musician, Ciara and the notorious, Kim Kardashian who all happen to be mothers. And model, Jon Kortajarena plays the milkman lusting after all these women. You must check this out:



Finally, here is that infamous video by Kanye West for his latest single, "Famous". Inspired by the painting, "Sleep" by Vincent Desiderio, the clip features notable figures like Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Bill Cosby, Taylor Swift, Rihanna (who provides vocals on the track), West, former girlfriend, Amber Rose and his wife, Kim Kardashian, all sleeping nude in a bed together (with the help of synthetic look-alike bodies). Personally I think all the outrage and shock about this video is much ado about nothing but take a look and see for yourself.  BE WARNED: NUDITY MAKES THIS NSFW:

PINK ASKS "WHAT ABOUT US?"

The last time we heard from Pink it was with her musical contribution to Disney 's 2016 " Alice in Wonderland " sequel, &...