Lee Fields & The Expressions | Ladies

27 05 2010

When I hear a song like this, I ask myself how it’s not ubiquitously known by all music fans. It’s one of those tunes that’s so good you would just assume that it has made the rounds on radio, TV and all the internet music outlets already. It was featured in the credit sequence of an Entourage episode a while back but even with that flash of exposure it still remains a hidden gem. It’s a total mystery to me but is, perhaps, telling of what today’s music scene is seeking. It’s almost like Pitchfork and all the other musical taste-makers don’t give any love to artists who A) are not younger than 26, B) don’t possess shabby, unkempt facial hair, or C) are not making cheap viral videos of their act. Because of such bias, the old talented guys like Lee Fields get swept under the rug. “Ladies” was released on the 2009 album My World, from Truth & Soul Records based out of Williamsburg, NY. El Michel’s Affair is on the same label. You may even hear a bit of their sound coming through in the arrangement as some of the players overlap. Blend that aesthetic with Lee’s incredible raspy soul-soaked vocals and it’s a no-brainer. Check out “Ladies”  and you will likely run out and buy this album right away. Be sure to look into some of the other bands on the label too.

References:

Visit Lee Fields & the Expressions online

More info on Truth & Soul Records





Raphael Saadiq

21 05 2010

One of my new obsessions is this gentleman, Raphael Saadiq. Of Tony! Toni! Toné! fame, Raphael released a neo-soul album in 2008 entitled The Way I See It, which I picked up just a week ago. This album is fantastic, it won 3 Grammys in 2008 and was voted Best Album on iTunes. I’m not sure how it evaded me for so long but I’m sure glad I found it. The material gives numerous nods to retro soul of the 60’s while still remaining oh-so relevant, and in a unique way. The entire album is full of great songs and the production quality is outstanding. What’s interesting is that it does not mimic the vintage studio sound of the old days but instead blends some ideas and techniques from both today and yesteryear. I’m especially fond of the sound of the drums, the kick has a big boomy presence that feels like a punch in the stomach… it’s great. Of all the tracks, I particularly like “100 Yard Dash”, “Big Easy”, “Love That Girl” and “Sure Hope You Mean It”. There is some great live footage from Seattle’s KEXP that showcases these tunes. The first, and my favorite, is “Big Easy”. It’s inspired by the great city of New Orleans and the studio version features NOLA’s own Rebirth Brass Band. In this clip Saadiq and the band set up and then he introduces the tune. As they fire it up, you will notice the lovely lady in red… she is amazing. As if the band wasn’t enough, her contribution makes this one hell of a  performance.

Raphael has a cool perspective on this business. He began playing bass at just 12 years old and has collaborated with some of the biggest acts in contemporary R&B and Hip Hop. Be sure to read his resumé by following some of the links below. It’s really interesting to see his credentials and how it has led him from a family-based R&B trio to this ‘grand-standing’ outfit that he currently tours with. What I find to be the most interesting thing is that at the heart of his rich career is the fact that he is a bass player… who at one time toured with Prince. To me, it makes sense that a guy who has been laying down some fat grooves and comping on sweet harmonies for 30 years would craft such a great album. Check it out, it’s worth it.

Purchase Online:

Buy The Way I See It on Amazon

Buy The Way I See It on iTunes

References:

Raphael Saadiq’s official site

More info on Raphael Saadiq

More info on Tony! Toni! Toné!

More info on The Way I See It





Home

15 05 2010

It didn’t take much to find our new home. Although we don’t move in until this summer, it’s a done deal. To honor the occasion here’s Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros’ “Home”. It’s from their 2009 release Up From Below. This LA based band has their own brand of indie power pop and a pretty weird (and cool) back story of how they formed. To give you a clue, there is no Edward Sharpe. He’s a fictional figure in the same vain as Steely Dan, acting solely as a frontman persona. The band itself is comprised of any where from 10-15 guys and girls depending on the situation. This is the official music video for “Home”. It’s a really great song that has a wild west shuffle feel to it and some really endearing lyrics. The video is one of the coolest I’ve seen in a long time. Not only do I like the vintage filter they used but the subject matter is so fun. I wish I was out there with them just have an good ol’ time. Overall it gets an A+ for the music, aesthetic and attitude.

References:

More info on Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

More info on the album Up From Below

Purchase Up From Below on Amazon








%d bloggers like this: