MAY SHOWERS: LAURA MVULA, LADY, BIZ MARKIE, AND MORE

My recent deluge of work means a drought in posts but I’m finally back. Pardon the kitchen sink but I got a lot to cover.

First off, my early runner for “album of the year” goes to Laura Mvula. I’ve been singing her praises for a while but had been looking forward to finally reviewing the U.S. release of her Sing to the Moon for NPR. I feel like any kind of superlatives I might throw her way will be woefully inadequate. Listen to this, the first song on the album. If you’re not awed…well, maybe […]

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LAURA MVULA: REMEMBER THIS NAME

I’ll be writing more about her later, but let’s just say I found another “best album of the year” candidate.

SWEET LADY

I’ve been talking up the new album by Lady (CD/digital) for months now and for good reason: it’s awesome. My NPR review for it ran yesterday and already, I’ve gotten more feedback on it than anything else I can remember in recent memory.

That’s very auspicious for them. And it also highlights that the act of putting ears onto an album or a new artist is like the proverb about leading a horse to water: just because I review an album doesn’t mean people will necessarily gel with it. Either people feel it or they don’t. […]

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NICOLE WILLIS AND THE SOUL INVESTIGATORS: COMING BACK!

Nw

It’s been a minute since we’ve heard from them but they have a new album on the way. Check out their lead single:

DJ DAY’S VIDEO FOR “LAND OF 1000 CHANCES”

These may seem like a series of postcard shots (and to be sure, many are) but good god, does this make me miss S.F. something terribly. I love being back in L.A. and I’m fiercely defensive of a city that many have a woeful misconception of but whenever I think about The City, it’s not Los Angeles that’s on my mind or in my heart.

NICOLE WILLIS RETURNS!

Tell me when

One of our favorite soul bands of the late 2000s is back: Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators. She’s been MIA for a minute but Timmion recently put out a new 7″ by her. Here’s the teaser clips for both sides:

Dustygroove has copies or you can order direct from Timmion.

SIDEBAR #30: DAPHNE BROOKS

Tammi aretha
This Sidebar is a long time in coming; I originally wanted to talk to Daphne last year, when I noticed, holy cow, she wrote the liner notes to two of my favorite box sets of the year: Tammi Terrell’s solo collection, Come On and See Me and Take a Look, the complete Columbia recordings of Aretha Franklin.1

I’ve known Daphne for…damn, 15 years now! We first met at UCLA’s disChord Conference on popular music, back in 1997. I was but a wee newbie grad student at Cal; Daphne […]

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FRANK OCEAN: “AN URGENCY OF FEELING”

Frank+Ocean+01 e1305847591792
Frank Ocean: Thinkin’ ‘Bout You
Super Rich Kids
Pyramids
From Channel Orange (Def Jam, 2012)

(Editor’s note: This comes from Elias Leight, a new, aspiring music writer out on the East Coast. He wrote asking for advice on forging a path into the world of music criticism. I wanted to give him a shot by testing his craft here. –O.W.

Frank Ocean went from working as a songwriter for Def Jam to singing hooks for Odd Future to anchoring tracks for Beyonce, Jay-Z and Kanye. Now […]

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MICHAEL KIWANUKA: A KITCHEN SINK OF GOODNESS

Michael Kiwanuka 007
Michael Kiwanuka: Tell Me a Tale
From Home Again (Interscope, 2012)

I’ll totally cop to a massive late pass on this one. I probably have this album somewhere in a tall stack of “stuff I should have gotten around to” but hadn’t. It wasn’t until recently that my dude Sandeep up in B.C. reminded me to check this out and holy sh–, was this song amazing.

I know it’s not always a compliment to laud an artist for how he may remind you of other artists […]

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LIANNE LA HAVAS’S ALBUM: DUE OUT TUESDAY

I’ve been a big fan of this British singer/songwriter’s current summer jam, “Is Your Love Big Enough?” (which I posted about previously) and now that I’ve heard the entire album (dropping on Tuesday), my opinion hasn’t changed. I should warn: most of the album is very much acoustic guitar-y which is lovely and great but if you’re expecting more power pop ala “Is Your Love?” you’re not going to find a ton of it. La Havas’s style seems far closer to somewhere around Feist/Esparanza Spalding than, say, Adele.

But her ballads are just heartcrushingly gorgeous. Hard to beat […]

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