Posts from 2009

Mélissa Laveaux

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009 by Julija

folk // acoustic blues // world

Soul, folk, jazz and creole influences shine throughout Camphor & Copper (2008) — the first full-length of self-taught guitarist and singer-songwriter Mélissa Laveaux. On her debut album Mélissa displays impressive musical range and clever lyrics. Mélissa’s folk-blues arrangements, catchy hand claps, whispery vocals and her unique percussive finger-style guitar will be appealing to the fans of Ayo and Aurgasm featured Asa. Of special quality is Mélissa’s sharp and powerful cover of Elliott Smith’s “Needle in the Hay”.

From world music rhythms to brutally honest blues.
Melissa Laveaux – Needle In The Hay
Melissa Laveaux – Koud’lo
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Tony Allen

Friday, May 22nd, 2009 by Andrew Ladd

afrofunk // jazz

The opening to “Too Many Prisoners (Elewon Po)” sounds like it could be taken right off an Isaac Hayes record (one extremely well-known one in particular…), which is funny because Hayes is one of the few people not commonly listed as an Allen influence (viz. Art Blakey, Dizzy Gillespie, James Brown, Fela Kuti, etc.). After that, though, the Shaft theme is quickly dropped for something more like Pucho Brown: a breezy, carefree collection of bass, vocals, and the drumming for which Allen is most renowned. The single was released May 11 and is available on iTunes; the album (Secret Agent) comes out June 8. (We also covered some of Tony’s other work way back in August 2007.)

Bright and flavorful
Tony Allen ““ Too Many Prisoners (Elewon Po)
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Audie Darling

Friday, May 8th, 2009 by Kyle

country-folk // singer-songwriter

Venturing from home in Nashville, Audie‘s sound grew dear as she followed charms winding their way through mountain trails and Parisian boulevards before encountering musical kin in Portland. With helpful newfound friends, a tickle of entrancing hymnals was then culled from her memory; forming a delicate, haunting echo in your heart that asks where you’ve been. Were you calling out quietly in the night for a friend? Or swinging in tire swings on dwindling summer days… an occasional ring to your ear of someone you knew and should maybe say hello to. Do clairvoyant clarinets introduce another scene? Stringing you along as hammers unlock dissonance and banjitars herald kind nudges anent upright bass. Jeering ghosts fleshed out with hindsight; twilight’s mist dispersed upon reason; her songs usher in an elusive, captivating treasure to collect and hold tender forever.

An audio darling.
Audie Darling – Warn Out Shoe
Audie Darling – Little Bird
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Indigo Jam Unit

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009 by Kyle

nu-jazz // clubjazz

Vastly more magnificent than any emerging technology’s precisely programmed ability to enthrall for ages, Osaka’s Indigo Jam Unit unleashes an afferent stream of crystal clear sonic consciousness that is impeccably scored with invigorating, astonishing rapture. Notes come alive within songs that maintain constant creativity; patterns changing and folding over another, weaving in and pulling out sensations that suddenly burst into existence. A pure marvel what piano, drums, double bass and percussion can achieve. This is storytelling without words; using images developed entirely from sound.

Now you’re playing with power.
Indigo Jam Unit – Pirates
Indigo Jam Unit – Arctic Circle
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Kate Schutt

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009 by Julija

jazz // singer-songwriter

Kate Schutt’s debut studio album No Love Lost (2007) stretches from Jazz standards to American singer-songwriter tradition. A guitarist, producer and songwriter, Kate shifts throughout her album from slow-paced and melancholic ballads to slightly more up-tempo moments, often accompanied by her 8-string guitar. “Wrecking Ball” is a sweet display of pre-World-War II continental jazz influences such as tender gypsy-like arrangements and melodic trumpet hooks alongside southern-style harmonica riffs and heartfelt vocals.

Clear vocals, old-fashioned jazz instrumentation.
Kate Schutt – Wrecking Ball
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Sunday, April 19th, 2009 by Paul Irish

swing-jazz // balkan // swedish hiphop

“Django guitar, windy street swing; music for both art directors and for your mother” is how MOVITS! describe their sound. Well-known in Sweden, but unheard of elsewhere, they fold together elements of 1930’s big band swing, roma swing and rhythm & blues, then drop hiphop vocals on top for some serious energetic firepower. The ability to seamlessly interweave a number of genres reminds me of The Cat Empire, but while MOVITS! could relax on their catchy beats, they expertly drop variations (i.e. 2:00 in the video above) that’ll keep you smiling throughout the song.

Music for art directors and your mother
MOVITS! – Äppelknyckarjazz
MOVITS! – Swing För Hyresgästföreningen
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Lucy Schwartz

Saturday, April 11th, 2009 by Michelle

indie pop // singer-songwriter

Lucy Schwartz, whose songs range between stripped-down ballads, jazz-inspired pop and indie folk, is that rare combination of talented songwriter and skilled performer. Lucy’s debut album, Winter in June (2007) offers a glimpse of this young singer-songwriter’s burgeoning talents. The delightfully catchy “I Don’t Know A Thing” is a shockingly self-aware admittance, delivered with a carefree shrug and smile. Lucy continues to surprise, displaying raw vulnerability as well as youthful exuberance in her songs. “Gone Away” is a tender and aching ballad, delicately crafted with a sensibility that belies her young age. Keep an eye (and ear) on this one.

Sweet and lovely pop gems.
Lucy Schwartz – I Don’t Know A Thing
Lucy Schwartz – Gone Away
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Tricot Machine

Thursday, April 9th, 2009 by Julija

indie pop // chanson québécoise

Among the girl-boy indie-pop acts, Tricot Machine, a Montréal-based duo barely known outside Quebec, is worth the wider recognition for their memorable melodies, soft vocals, dynamic compositions and witty lyrics. Throughout their album Tricot Machine’s Catherine Leduc and Matthieu Beaumont tell stories of ordinary life, childhood memories, the animals of the forest as in their song “L’ours” (The Bear) — be sure to check the video. Equally fun “Pas Fait En Chocolate” carries gentle arrangements of keyboard and catchy vocal lines.

Playful, unassuming merriment.
Tricot Machine – L’ours
Tricot Machine – Pas Fait En Chocolat
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Josh Ottum

Sunday, April 5th, 2009 by Julija

indie pop // experimental

Josh Ottum, a Seattle-based musician and songwriter, has been making his tiny-bedroom-music for 4 years before composing his debut album Like The Season (2007). To put it in his own words, Like The Season is a twelve song journey into the hallways, bedrooms, dining rooms and garages of popular music. Josh’s “The Easy Way Out” evolves from sweet, coherent and easy-on-the-ears harmonies to a rhythmically driven complex production. With layered arrangements of multiple drums, repetitive piano, catchy horn lines and quirky phrasing Josh builds “The Easy Way Out” to a charmingly dynamic indie-pop song.

Whimsical songwriting, complex instrumentation.
Josh Ottum – The Easy Way Out
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Russian Red

Friday, March 27th, 2009 by Kyle

precious folk melodías

I once spent a week in Madrid; feeling more comfort there than any place I’ve ever been. Leaving on a whim, I learned words and phrases concerning food and direction after arrival. Most of this trip I was alone; wandering in pursuit of distant intrigue: a hill, a park, a museum, or the oldest restaurant; curiosity fulfilling me. Nourished by surroundings, I found heightened sense of romanticism, joy, wonder, play, friendship, detail.. so much vibrant detail in art and life; flourishing endeavors, hellos and goodbyes, zest and woe. Lourdes Hernández‘s I Love Your Glasses encompasses all of my experiences in her hometown; dazzling me in abundance and passionately reminding me of a time felt dearly like home.

Mazzy Star meets Neko Case for tapas.
Russian Red – Nice Thick Feathers
Russian Red – Take Me Home
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