Everything about Melbourne outfit The Bombay Royale screams over the top, too much guilty pleasure. A crazy mash-up of genres you would find in a Tarantino soundtrack propells the Hindi and Bengali vocals. Synth sounds on the border of hypnotism and cheese, mexican trumpets battling tabla rhythms, surf guitars flowing into cinematic string arrangements, all completed with a dash of hammond soul. This genre-defying joyride should never work but is evidently forged with such a love of music that it sounds awesome.
Hitting you in the guts like a vindaloo of funk. The Bombay Royale – Monkey Fight Snake The Bombay Royale – Sote Sote Adhi Raat + Purchase/Visit
An unnamed songstress has the voice of a lover caressing your bare skin. Sincere, truthful and vulnerable; pour yourself out to let her in. Behind the guise of daily living is a gentle gaze full of understanding, compassion, and patience. Tangible care and memories – how words can be spoken by others yet only from her sound so right.
First appearing on Jazz in Mexico – The Legendary 1954 Sessions, pioneering Mexican drummer and composer Tino Contreras was born in 1928 in Chihuahua, Chih., and has recorded over 40 albums to date. El Jazz Mexicano De Tino Contreras (2011) showcases his ingenuity of styles absorbed from world travels – containing ritual chants, waltz, psychedelia, and microtones to name a few. However, my aurgasm is Jazz Tropical (1962) as double bass swings through proclaiming horns, congas are aplenty, and occasional shouts propel excitement. Tino’s drum solo in “Conversacion” is a highlight, while the cascading piano from his take on Ernesto Lecuona’s “La Malagueña” and the lively swagger of “Night in Tunisia” is exquisite.
Invigorating Latin flavors. Tino Contreras – Noche en Tunisia Tino Contreras – La Malagueña + Purchase/Visit
In a vast sea of female jazz vocalists, the newcomer New York-based chanteuse Ann Sophie quickly caught our attention with her retro glamorous single “Get Over Yourself”. As the debut single sets the tone, the real treat is actually down the road – her upcoming EP. Ann Sophie possesses a truly passionate, convincing vocal style that would appeal as much to soulful jazz-pop lovers as well as retro-soul sweetness devotees.
Strong vocals and superb production. Ann Sophie – Get Over Yourself + Purchase/Visit
The sound of Berlin-based composer Oskar Schuster is probably best described as dreamy escapism. His delicate piano, Parisian accordion, tender glockenspiel and music box create a perfect late-night soundtrack. Oskar’s soft, elegantly structured compositions evoke certain similarities with such artists as Yann Tiersen and Detektivbyrån, yet evolve into his own captivating soundscapes. “Sneeuwland”, featured below, was recorded for his SellaBand promo video to crowdfund his new album.
Hush (The Secrets Project) (2012), Shelly Fraley’s latest album, has everything to satisfy your pop cravings for the summer. It’s sweet, yet far from sugary. It’s catchy, yet sophisticated. Essentially, it’s everything you could want in a pop song. Shelly’s album ranges from mid-tempo piano ballads to upbeat acoustic tunes, all brimming with the cleverly crafted hooks. The opening track “Hush” would most certainly appeal to the fans of Lenka, while the lovely “Just Don’t Wanna Be Alone” shares similarities with such pop-folk darlings as Rosi Golan and Katie Herzig.
Shawn James Seymour and Yoshimi Tomida make up the husband and wife duo, Lullatone, from Nagoya, Japan. Lullatone’s first album was comprised of lullabies written by Shawn for Yoshimi, and their freshly recorded album is a collection of new lullabies for their child, Niko. Their appropriately self-dubbed “pajama pop,” is a playful blend of whispered vocals, unique instrumentals and carefully spaced beats. For the album, The Bedtime Beat, they mixed the ambient sounds of bedtime rituals, such as splashing bathwater and gentle snoring. Notably, in the song “Goodnight Train” they used a xylophone played with a violin bow to imitate the chug-chug of a train. Conceptual but not distancing, their comforting and alluring sound is far from boring. Rather, Lullatone’s songs are delightful gems that capture the familiar essence of home.
Miriam Bryant’s debut single “Finders, Keepers” (2012) might label her as a potential Sweden’s answer to the British soul invasion. However, while vocal comparisons to the critically acclaimed Adele are definitely due, Miriam’s songwriting is more in line with Paloma Faith’s jazz glamour with an added touch of Amanda Jenssen‘s sing-along soul-pop. “Finders, Keepers” is a truly emotive ballad that evolves around dramatic piano and strings, and Miriam’s powerful vocals. She’s one songstress I’ll be keeping a keen eye on in the future.
Despite the absolute frigid temperatures this morning, my ride to work was warm because I had the sizzling island flavor of this tune to keep me moving. What at first intrigued my ears as odd spanish rap, soon matured its sonic sound as a dubbed-out dance track where you choose your level of involvement. You can let it be the backdrop for your utterly fascinating conversation of say, folksonomies; or conversely, you can crank it up, clap your hands, and make the other drivers on the road wish they had the CD, too. A squeeky clean tropical production of deliciously organic sounds.
Danish-born and Berlin-based songstress Agnes Obel possesses a natural sense of tone and melody as well as a truly faultless voice. The beautifully crafted somber folk melodies of her debut album Philharmonics (2010) linger in the air and stir the heart. While Agnes vocal delivery brings to mind the long-time Aurgasm favourite Ane Brun, the album ranges from romantic quirkiness of Joanna Newsom to echoes of Debussy. European readers might recognize the bright melody of “Just So”, as the song was used by German telecommunications company and played all over Northern Europe ever since.