The Juju Orchestra

December 13th, 2008 by Julija

tango // bossa nova

The German-based producers and DJs of the Juju Orchestra make a mean cocktail of styles with great hooks and irresistible beats. As the trio blends live instruments and a variety of samples, “This Is Not A Tango” brings an uptempo Argentine dance interpretation evoking the smoky and passionate sound of Gotan Project. The softly funky Bossa groove of “Nâo Posso Demorar” reflects the influences of such music icons as Caetano Veloso and Stan Getz, while its easy going vibe makes it the perfect lounging tune. (Thanks, Philipp!)

Soulful tropical beats mixed with retro appeal.
The Juju Orchestra – This Is Not A Tango
The Juju Orchestra РN̢o Posso Demorar feat. Katia B (stream only)
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¡Cubanismo!

November 22nd, 2005 by Paul Irish

cuban jazz // modern son

Havana’s prodigy, Jesús Alemañy, tightens these fifteen wildly talented musicians into a combustible knot of chart-topping latin rhythm. They lay down some flying trumpet riffs and fabulous bongos in the classic Cuban style, throwing in mind-blowingly high solos and firey dance grooves. This group was a key component of the Cuban musical explosion into the States in the late nineties, joining alongside the globally popular Buena Vista Social Club in drawing out American ears and feet to the dance floor and bringing the time-honored, trumpet-propelled Cuban band into the modern arena. Certainly one of the spiciest groups to blow out of Havana in half a century, ¡Cubanismo! tops my list of Latin music. Thank you, Senior Alemañy.
Thanksgiving en fuego!

¡Cubanismo! – Tumbao De Coqueta
¡Cubanismo! – Now In Marinao
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Antje Duvekot

November 2nd, 2005 by Paul Irish

singer-songwriter // acoustic folk

Acoustic starlet Antje Duvekot has been captivating the ears of East Coast audiences ever since she came over from Germany as a teenager. Why, precisely? The girl can write. She placed both 1st and 2nd in the prestigious John Lennon songwriting contest and was also a finalist in the USA Songwriting Competition. Her song “Judas” first hit my own ears from local Boston radio station WERS. Part of the allure is making the religious familial (a la Christopher Moore), part is the unexpected lyrics, but the bulk of my attraction is the uplifting melodic lines that make listening such a joy. And before you go tell people about her, you’ll want to know the proper pronounciation: On-tyeh Doo-ve-kot.
Well-excuted songwriting: thoughtful, delicate, and sublime.

Antje Duvekot – Judas
Antje Duvekot – Dandelion
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Da Cruz

May 20th, 2008 by Julija

brazilian // bossa nova

The delightful and energetic rhythms of Brazil transform the listeners of Mariana Da Cruz far away from the clichéd carnivals, bikinis and samba-plumes to the urban and still romantic part of the tropical country. A choir and Bossa nova singer, Da Cruz has been performing at the clubs of São Paulo and Lisbon, Portugal, where she absorbed the influences of fashionable European electro and traditional Fado music. Multi-influenced, yet connected to her roots, Da Cruz develops the sound of a fresh, summery and compelling pop.

A real Brazilian feel.
Da Cruz – Sarah

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Fredrika Stahl

December 21st, 2009 by Julija

jazz // pop // chanson

The repertoire of Swedish singer-songwriter Fredrika Stahl consists of elegant jazz compositions and dreamy vocal textures. “Monumental Mismatch”, the opening track of Tributaries (2008), possesses this certain element of playfulness and simplicity that works so well with Fredrika’s flirtatious jazz approach. Accompanied by accordion and delicate piano arrangements, lyrical “Pourquoi Pas Moi” is a true homage to French chanson, while her yearning vocals bring to mind the critically acclaimed Lisa Ekdahl.

Gentle jazz for a wintry afternoon.
Fredrika Stahl – Monumental Mismatch
Fredrika Stahl – Pourquoi Pas Moi
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Alabama Shakes

November 30th, 2011 by Kyle

southern rock // soul

Southern rock bursting with soul! Alabama Shakes amplify my love for music. Their powerful groove and vigorous energy makes me a little less sad about great 60’s acts I was born too late to see live. Janis Joplin meets Nina Simone rocking out with The Black Keys, shedding gleams of hope to shake loose dusty spirits.

Turn it up.
Alabama Shakes – Hold On
Alabama Shakes – You Ain’t Alone
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Lay Low

October 11th, 2009 by Julija

blues // folk

Singer-songwriter Lovísa Elísabet Sigrúnardóttir, a.k.a. Lay Low, has been named as one of the most promising new artists back in her home country Iceland. On her album Farewell Good Night’s Sleep (2009) Lay Low captures the essence of blues, country and folk, concocting them all into music that feels like a perfect soundtrack for a cross country road trip. One of the album’s highlights, “Last Time Around”, unfolds sweetly with her soft crooning, melancholic bluesy sound and a hint of Iceland and Nashville in it.

Country-tinged Icelandic love song.

Lay Low – Last Time Around
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Yael Naim

October 7th, 2007 by Julija

pop folk // soft r&b

When Paris-born, Israeli-raised Yael Naim met David Donatien, a West Indian drummer, the two sat down to share their rich musical experiences. Combining Yael’s classical education and love of pop and jazz, this collaboration lead into recording 13 beautifully arranged compositions, mostly sung in Hebrew, with instrumentation of piano, guitar, cello, bass and percussion. While the mood ranges from melancholic to sweeter and hopeful notes, she carries intimate feeling throughout her songs.

Never-fading optimism that leaves you smiling and humming along.
Yael Naim – New Soul
Yael Naim – Pachad

UPDATE 01/16/2008: “New Soul” is featured in Apple’s ad for the Macbook Air (thx, zelnox!)
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Micky Green

December 4th, 2007 by Julija

electropop

Renaud Létang, one of the most sought-after French producers, known for lending his hand to Feist, Jamie Lidell, Manu Chao and Peaches, took interest in the songwriting attempts of a young Australian model Michaela Gehrmann a.k.a. Micky Green. Combining his professional skills, Micky’s desire to create music, and focusing on rhythmic structures, the two recorded White T-Shirt (2007). Blessed with a stylish production, “Oh!” provides the listeners with fashionable electro beats, while retro-romantic “Now it’s gone” is both surprisingly quirky and delicate.

Electro-tinged treats.
Micky Green – Oh!
Micky Green – Now It’s Gone
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Arvo Pärt

September 26th, 2005 by Paul Irish

contemporary classical // tintinnabuli

Now this is a twisted analogy, but if you can imagine Rachmaninoff as producer for Kanye West’s hit singles, then the brains behind the minimal “Wait Wait (The Whisper Song)” would be Arvo Pärt. You see, back in 1972, the Estonian composer completed his seventh well-received musical work, but felt it didn’t speak his true voice so he entered into a four-year period of silence and reclusion. During that time he studied plainsong, Gregorian chant, and Renaissance polyphony. When he emerged, he termed the radically different style of his music as tintinnabuli – characterized by simple harmonies and single tonal triad. Many draw similarities to minimalistic composer Phillip Glass, but Pärt’s approach relies less on repetition; rather, it builds from the most primitive musical elements – the triad and one specific tonality.
Classical compositions braving their beautiful, gentle simplicity.

Arvo Pärt’s “Gloria” from Missa Syllabica
Arvo Pärt’s “Spiegel Im Spiegel” from Fratres
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