Sunday, April 30, 2017

NEW SOUNDS

NAO


After thrilling the crowd during her first appearance at this year's Coachella Valley Music and Arts event, it's clear that the British electro-soul singer, Nao seems to be on the verge of jumping to the next level. The helium-voiced, twenty-nine year old artist (her name is pronounced "neigh-yo" and it's a variation of her given name Neo Jessica Joshua) has continued to build momentum ever since she released two EP's, "So Good" in 2014 and "February 15" the following year. 2016 saw her drop her acclaimed debut album, "For All We Know" with the singles, "Bad Blood" and "Girlfriend" helping it reach the top-five on the U.S. dance chart. I'm quite sure that Nao is a name you will be hearing a lot more from. Enjoy the music video for "Girlfriend" and a live performance of "Bad Blood":





KHALID


Khalid is another young artist pushing the boundaries of soul music by merging other genres with it to create something different. The now nineteen year old spent his early years living in various places due to his mother serving in the army. After settling in El Paso, TX, Khalid Robinson studied singing and musical theater in high school. When he decided to pursue a music career instead of going to college, his mother, who sang with the U.S. Army band, supported her son's decision. He released his debut album, "American Teen" earlier this year after the positive response of his 2016 first single, "Location" which the tune reached the top-twenty on the pop chart and top-ten on the r&b/hip-hop chart. With his career off to a great, promising start, Khalid has made sure his mama ain't got nothing to worry about.

Monday, April 17, 2017

THE RETURN OF THE POP PRODIGY


Lorde has already given us a little taste of her upcoming second album, "Melodrama" with "Green Light" , a song burning up the charts right now.  In an in-depth profile written by Rolling Stone writer, Jonah Weiner for the New York Times Magazine, the young singer discusses what she had been doing in the four years since her breakout debut album, "Pure Heroine" and the fascinating process involved in the creation of her new music which is due out in June.

Click below to read:

The Return of The Pop Prodigy

As a bonus, here is another song from the album, "Liability", a ballad she performed live during her recent appearance on an episode of "Saturday Night Live":

Saturday, April 15, 2017

WAY BACK


TLC, one of the biggest girl groups of all time that ruled the charts back in the 1990's,  has just returned with new music after taking a recording hiatus following the tragic death of member, Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes in 2002.  With the use of Kickstarter to help raise funds to record what will be their fifth and (apparently) final album, the surviving members, Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins and Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas have released the first single, "Way Back" that features a rap verse by Snoop Dogg. The song delivers a nostalgic vibe with lyrics that reminisces about the past while name-checking some musical greats like James Brown and Michael Jackson. This is a great jam that really should return TLC back to the charts.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

WELCOME BACK

BLONDIE


Blondie began as a scrappy New York punk band in the mid-'70's before "Heart of Glass", their worldwide smash rock/disco hybrid, transformed them in to a slightly glossier pop-rock outfit yet they managed to maintain their rebellious spirit. The group, with a line-up at the time that featured Nigel Harrison on bass guitar, Jimmy Destri on keyboards, Frank Infante on guitar, Clem Burke on drummer, Chris Stein on guitar and his girlfriend at the time, Debbie Harry who was the official voice and unofficial face of the band, enjoyed mainstream success for a few years before jealousy, in-fighting and Stein's near-fatal illness drove them apart by 1982.

Each member went on to explore their own musical endeavors, including Harry's moderately successful solo career, before the original five band members of Blondie (which includes Gary Valentine on bass before he was replaced by Harrison in 1977) came back together first for a few live performances in 1997, an international tour the following year and then a new album, "No Exit" in 1999 although Valentine had left the band again before the recording of it.

Now down to Harry, Stein and Burke (with Leigh Foxx on bass, Matt Katz-Bohen on piano and Tommy Kessler on guitar filling out the rest of the band), Blondie has kept plugging away ever since and are preparing to release their eleventh studio album, "Pollinator" in May.  The first single, "Fun" features the early propulsive energy of the band while feeling quite modern.



DEPECHE MODE


The members of the British band, Depeche Mode dabbled in rock and acoustic before moving on to exploring synthesisers in the early '80's. The quartet, consisting of Martin Gore, Vince Clarke, Andy Fletcher and Dave Gahan, helped usher in the new wave-synthpop scene in England and reached the top twenty on the UK chart with "New Life", "Dreaming Of Me" and "Just Can't Get Enough" from their debut album, "Speak & Spell" in 1981. Due to his apparent discomfort with their pop success, Clarke left Depeche Mode although he quickly went and formed Yazoo ("Yaz" in the U.S.) with Alison Moyet and later Erasure with Andy Bell. Clarke was replaced with Alan Wilder in 1982 and he remained with the band until 1995.

The sound of Depeche Mode has evolved over the years with the utilizing of more guitars and offering songs with far weightier subjects. The trio have just released their fourteenth album, "Spirit" and are speaking on these politically charged times. The first single, "Where's The Revolution" pretty much says it all. The band has returned to filmmaker, Anton Corbijn to create the video for the song.



Wednesday, April 5, 2017

RANDOM SIGHTS + SOUNDS

After her New Year's Eve performance fiasco, Mariah Carey seems eager to put that out of people's minds with some new music. Clearly inspired by her recent break-up with former fiance, billionaire James Packer, "I Don't" is a bitter "her" side of the story backed up with an old-school r&b beat with YG adding a rap for a modern touch. I'm really digging the song but the cartoon sexuality in the music video is just too much. The forty-six year old mother of two directed this clip and it simply features endless shots of herself in ridiculously revealing outfits gyrating and flipping her hair seductively. I know the over-the-top, sexy diva image has always been her thing but it's getting a little sad now. "I Don't" is the first of several singles that will be released throughout the year with an album that will likely happen depending on how well these songs do.



And here is a far more classier Carey paying loving tribute to the recently departed George Michael with an incredible live version of his ballad, "One More Try":



Here is a collection of some dynamic music videos of recent songs I've been digging:











RANDOM SIGHTS + SOUNDS

Miley Cyrus has certainly caused a little whiplash with her drastic image shifts. She was introduced as the cute "Hannah Montana&quo...