April 12th, 2005 by Paul Irish

westcoast hiphop // bounce turntablism

Labeling this track “underground hiphop” or “real hiphop”, although completely appropriate, would be misrepresentative in this case. “Count Your Blesings” is radio-friendly. It’s production’s polished. Its sound’s got bounce. And it doesn’t feel like most other on/under the radar hiphop because.. well, it’s pop hiphop. Just a warning though, Emanon is a duo: MC Aloe Blacc keeps the rhymes sounding real and musty, while DJ Exile rolls out syncopated bassbeats that keep you shaking.
Keepin’ it real an keepin’ it hot.

Emanon – Count Your Blessings

UPDATE: DJ Exile just dropped by tell us the original reggae track sampled is Sister Nancy’s “Bam Bam”. You’ve probably heard it in the stripclub scene in Belly. It’s available on this dancehall compilation.
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The Memory Band

May 24th, 2005 by Andrew Ladd

pastoral pop // instrumental ambient folk

The Memory Band’s self-titled debut made it onto my Best of 2004 list, and received raves from a Who’s Who of mainstream music journalism – Mojo, NME, Q, etc. And yet, inexplicably, they remain under-exposed and under-appreciated (if their Audioscrobbler results are anything to go by, anyway). The two tracks here are beguiling gems, but are only a shade better than the rest of the album, which is full of earthy grace and delight from start to finish. I particularly like ‘This is How We Walk on the Moon’, which is vaguely Four Tet-ish and sounds like ivy crawling up walls; but ‘Ploughshares’ is equally pleasant, a swarm of sunny glints on the ocean.
Soft but confident, a stroke of genius.

The Memory Band – This Is How We Walk On The Moon
The Memory Band – Ploughshares
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The Bamboos

February 17th, 2010 by Paul Irish

funk // soul

The Bamboos are probably the finest funk band of the era. Sometimes infused with serious female vocal talent like Alice Russell, but often rocking a solid instrumental groove that needs no adornment, they got you covered; whether you’re a dancer or a head-nodder. Australian-based but signed to the UK’s Tru-Thoughts: their new single is firey hot. True story: this track has had my mom dancing daily since she heard it! Feel this.

A hook you cannot refuse.
The Bamboos – On The Sly

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Corinne Bailey Rae

January 15th, 2006 by Paul Irish

female vocal // acoustic soul // downtempo

All I need is a sweet voice singing soul to convert me to from an overworked stressball to a free-breathing guy contentedly driving back home to his ‘regular’ life. And to that end, I thank you, Corinne Bailey Rae. She has emerged from an unknown status to be a hotly tipped solo female vocalist poised to be the next India.Arie. Her website aptly describes her tune ‘Like A Star’: “a slice of sublime Billie Holiday Blues delivered with a voice that pins you, in the softest but most persuasive of ways.” Delicious. Try ‘Enchantment’ if you want a little more Morcheeba-like motion.
A voice that floats effortlessly, full of caress and subtle quality.

Corinne Bailey Rae – Like A Star
Corinne Bailey Rae – Enchantment

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Reflex Reaction: Pre-release hip hop

October 7th, 2005 by Paul Irish
I want your reaction, here. Leave a comment and for any/all of the songs, write your reaction to the song – keep it brief! (5-15 words, extra points if you hit exactly 10) After a few days, I’m going to publish the most evocative/impressive/amusing comments here. Be sure to leave your name!

UPDATE! The best reactions follow:
Hi-Tek – How We Do It Ft. Snoop Dogg & Slim Thug

  • Snoop Dogg could not save that. Sounded generic – no groove ~anon
  • hi tek fell hard of after reflection eternal, nuff said ~anon
  • i find myself growing more bored with each second. ~anon
  • Busta Rhymes – Touch It

  • he didnt do his homework, lets hope he can make a better discovery next time. ~bob
  • busted rhymes but a dope cut to dance to ~mike
  • Just changing drum kit is not a viable compositional technique.~A
  • Rocky Marsiano – A Story To Be Told

  • finally, something i can jam to in this set. i dig.~anon
  • Smooth , Slick, Groovy. Will live on my playlist for a while.~Cliff
  • refreshing jazz sampling and no rapping, gets old quick ~MT
  • Gabriel Mann

    November 10th, 2004 by Paul Irish

    folk // acoustic rock

    I don’t know what can convey how simple and lovely this song is better than the lyrics, so: My, my you’re just like pie, when I call you on the phone. You say hello and that’s the crust, the filling is yet to come. My, my you’re just like eggs. You’re all slimy on the outside and yolky in the middle. Wait a second… that’s not right; what I really meant is that I love you in the morning. Oh, I love you in the morning.
    No joke you’re an artichoke. You have to peel away the outside which is good ya know but the inside is better…

    Gabriel Mann – Artichoke


    September 27th, 2006 by Paul Irish

    electronic pop // dark house // minimal techno

    Highly architected electronic pop where adroit melodies meet a barrage of synthesized subtlety. Each turn of the music is unexpected; each bar maintains a heavy dose of complexity that keeps your ears engaged all fifty times you listen. I’ve heard this type of music described as bleepy-bloopy, which I’ll admit is appropriate, albeit a bit classless. Trentemøller, a Dane who creates all his music in Acid, takes a tack similar to the sonic landscapes of Telefon Tel Aviv and Télépopmusik. Thought. Aesthetics. Intelligence.

    The finest electronic music of the year.
    Trentemøller – Take Me Into Your Skin
    Trentemøller – Moan (feat. Ane Trolle)
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    Milo Greene

    April 26th, 2011 by Kyle


    Breezy with a beat, their infectious, sunny pop songs are riding waves and moving your shore. Pop doesn’t enter my playlist often, but this I cannot resist. Milo Greene is a new quintet in Los Angeles, harmonizing bliss like Local Natives drenched in glee from Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros. (thx, Elana)

    Takes me away.
    Milo Greene – 1957
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    Lizzy Parks

    June 11th, 2010 by Julija

    nu-jazz // british soul

    Praised by such music figures as Laurent Garnier and Gilles Peterson, Lizzy Parks is mostly known to a wider audience for her collaboration with Ben Lamdin and his Nostalgia 77. In her solo work, Lizzy blends singer-songwriter tradition with modern day jazz. While Nostalgia 77’s influence is evident, it does not overshadow Lizzy. Taken from her album Raise The Roof (2009), “Take Care” embodies complex nu-jazz arrangements, rich vocals and excellent Lamdin’s production. Her cover version of Etta James’ “Seven Day Fool” is a real old-school R&B meets funky jazz treat.

    Simple soul-jazz elegance.
    Lizzy Parks – Take Care
    Lizzy Parks – Seven Day Fool
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    August 14th, 2008 by Kyle

    electronica // swanky lounge

    Oozing with provocative charm, Bitter:Sweet‘s music is a s’mores of sexy melodies and chocolate-covered lyrics – each bite more delicious and mocking an endless craving. Turntables seduce a harp; strings and drums beckon basslines; while Shana’s voice is smoldering and sly, always teasing and pleasing, gently kindling before it ignites. Their tantalizing tendencies explore your innermost desires by fashioning sound as comely exotic dancing fire that casually mellows then miraculously rages.

    It’s no surprise they’ve highlighted numerous tv shows and movies since their debut, and seeing them live is a sensuous delight. Supported by a full band, they arouse shagadelic sincerities luring souls to dance with a touch of mystery emanating from their presence. Clearly, they’ve mastered their craft of making music that’s playful and seductive while translating this to a fantastic lounge experience.

    Be sure to say hello afterward; they’re some of the nicest folks I’ve met. And get there early for a warm-up by DJ L.C. mixing the likes of Rod Stewart, Genesis, and The Doors over danceable hip-hop beats that would make the RZA smile. Outstanding. Here’s photos I took during their show at Revolution Hall last week, and two aurgasmic songs from their latest album, Drama.

    Bitter:Sweet – The Bomb
    Bitter:Sweet – Drama

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