Album Reviews

Anderson .Paak – Malibu

                                                                              Parking Lot

Later with Jools Holland brought me to Anderson .Paak (& the Free Nationals, his accompanying live band) who I saw play on the show and they were tremendous, the mix of R n’ B, funk, neo-soul with a splash of hip hop caught my ear and more so as they are genres I have not listed to too much it exited me. My interest was piqued I naturally went and checked out his music on the interwebs.

Malibu was the album he was touring and the 4th of his career.  Checking it out was certainly the correct thing to do as it would have been a real shame if it had passed me by. Curiosity in this case didn’t kill the cat.

The album is smooth throughout from the opening The Bird which is more in the jazzy soul camp to the more R n’ B one like Carry Me the flow on the split song The Season/Carry Me is really interesting with .Paak showing one of the many aspects to his voice. The Season has one of the most memorable lyrics fro me in it ‘And fuck fame, that killed all my favourite entertainers’.  

Parking Lot is addictive the chorus is so darn catchy helped by the clapping that hooks you, oh and the pronounced bass on it is great also (rivalled a number of times admittedly by The Waters featuring BJ the Chicago Kid and Come Down man what a funky tune that is). I have linked it below the picture for a reason after all.

It gets all seductive on Room in Here which features The Game and Sonyae Elise (two of many great features from artists and musicians on Malibu) with  a simple backing beat and piano there isn’t much going on but it is still class and the playfulness side .Paak shows is more than enough to push the track forward. Playfulness also rears its head on track six Am I Wrong  a lyric to show this is ‘A I wrong to assume, If she can’t dance, then she can’t oow’ plus those horns.  

Make sure that you don’t let this quality collection of tracks go by without you listening to it, I promise that there is something for everyone. Be it if you are into soul, R n’ B and hip hop or not. It is does have its flaws though as some songs could have been cut to make the overall package more concentrated and tighter.

The cover of Malibu really does say a lot about this album in the fact that there is a lot of things going on, however at the focus is Anderson .Paak. Who is beyond brilliant merging all that busyness into a cohesive and explorative sound.      

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Singles/Songs, Song of the Day

Song of the Day: 3 Minutes to Midnight – High Windows

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                                                        High Windows (Listen and Buy from their Bandcamp page here)!

If someone asked you to describe what makes a song/piece of music special what would you say?

For me it is that unmatchable joy or emotional connection that can only be experienced/made through music. High Windows is such a track. I was honoured to be in the presence of the band when they performed it live reminding me why I love music.

At its core it is a classic rock track built on Jonathan Parks’ vocals and crazy guitar wizardry that mixes funk with more traditional rock and blues, getting your foot taping, head nodding but has a dancy quality also. For the first 54 seconds that is all you hear Parks’ class 1970’s-esc guitar tone and his singing.

Sam Leigh’s bass and David Stutt on drums join the fray giving a hint of the epicness that is about to come. The musicians slowly construct the layers, quickening the pace leading you into the HUGE chorus. By the second time it comes around you will be singing along belting it out in your room, it’ll make your soon to be released shower singles for sure.

3 Minutes to Midnight have put out a single that is tremendous, in addition to the gradual expansiveness of High Windows raising it to a high, high place indeed.

Go listen, like, follow and all that… FacebookJonathan Parks Music Facebook, 23 : 57’s SoundCloud, Jonathan Parks Music Twitter.

 

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Vinyl

Vinyl Vindication: Jay Som – Turn Into

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                                                  Turn Into Full Album (Via Polyvinyl Records’ YouTube Channel)

Jay Som’s (Melina Duterte) unofficial first collection of tracks where released a year ago in July of 2016. It was pressed into two vinyls one as you can see in the picture is a gorgeous fuschia and the other was a limited tea green/white starburst of which only 300 were made.

If I had known of Jay Som back then I would have tried to acquire one of them but alas I did not. That still does not take away from the one I own; it is possibly my favourite looking vinyl. Not just from the vibrant pop of the record but the whole package is stunning the front cover is a picture of some purple flowers (not sure which ones I did try and find out what they are) that Duterte took herself on her mobile. It works so well with the pale blue backing and on the reverse is another photo of the sky (presumably above the city she resides in Oakland, Ca). The inner sleeve has the track listing in pronounced block texted again backed by the blue of the front cover, I really do love it.

Then there is the music. It is dream pop and at times shoegaze-esc  brilliance. From the uber catchy Peach Boy with the keyboard to the vocal melodies that are certain to get you humming them for the rest of the week. Then the promotional single Ghost is just as good, personally I love the guitar but there is loads more to love as well. Another one of my favourites is the somewhat morbid sounding (don’t let that put you off) track Drown the delivery of Duterte’s vocals are in a lower register but even then you still can’t help but sing along. Unlimited Touch and Why I Say No are light and airy with the later having some of the best lyrics on the whole thing. The quality is consitent throughout.

Turn Into is a completely beautiful package you literally could not ask for anything more or for it to be altered in any way sonically or visually.  

 

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Song of the Day

Song of the Day: Jeff Buckley & Elizabeth Fraser – All Flowers In Time Bend Towards The Sun

                                                    All Flowers In Time Bend Towards The Sun

Two angelic voices and an acoustic guitar or two are a gateway to a beautiful place. This time it is Jeff Buckley and Elizabeth Fraser (Cocteau Twins) who are a perfect musical match.

There isn’t much instrumentally to the song as stated above it is a couple of guitars but what they are doing is still quality. The main draw though is the singing and extension the lyrical content. It begins with a sweet giggle over the guitar and Fraser taking the first verse showing her talents before Buckley takes over for the chorus. Solo they are both gorgeous but when they sync up and harmonize then it really, really highlights that these musicians were meant to create this stunning song.

It is a brilliant duet which lets both artists stretch their musical muscles showing each others strengths. I only wish there was more from the two.

 

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Other

A Black Day Indeed. Thank You for the Soundtrack to my Formative Years and Beyond Chris Cornell.

                                               Soundgarden – Fell On Black Days

There I was at work doing the scanning and reading the mornings headlines on the BBC News website, when the Breaking News Banner popped up informing me that a legend had past.  That legend was Chris Cornell.

Frontman for Soundgarden, Audioslave, Temple of the Dog as well as his solo career. I distinctly remember the man first from hearing and seeing the video for Cochise. The weird rattle and the blast of drums slowly building into this epic rock track, then it all came together with that riff and of course Cornell’s unmistakable voice. It is safe to say I was hooked and they became a staple on my iPod throughout school and have never left. I picked up the solid copies of Audioslave’s eponymous (2002) and Out of Exile (2005) on the schools history trip to Berlin, Krakow, Auschwitz and Birkenau. In the coolest record shop named Cover their top music always reminds me of that great time and moving experience.

Son after hearing Cochise I ventured into his other bands and kept on loving the music he was involved in. Along with the music he helped create Audioslave were a doorway into getting into the famous Seattle scene of the 1990s, Pearl Jam and Screaming Trees specifically. He was a good friend of Alain Johannes,  Natasha Shneider and  Jack Irons the three people who formed Eleven. Whom are also linked to QotSA the list goes on, the man was very connected to a lot of bands that are of high importance to me. It shows how respected and awesome Cornell is. Oh and  he did arguably the best James Bond theme ever.

Chris Cornell is not only a phenomenal singer/musician but by all accounts a great human being. This heartbreaking news is true shock to myself, other fans and the music community. Now go and breakout some Soundgarden, Audioslave, Temple of the Dog, or his solo stuff and play it loud!    

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Vinyl

Vinyl Vindication: KT Tunstall- If Only/The Prayer (Block Party) and Saving My Face/Ain’t Nobody (Chaka Khan)

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Well aren’t they Pretty! I present the two newest additions to my small but ever growing Vinyl collection. Two singles from KT Tunstall’s second record Drastic Fantastic (2007) with their accompanying flip sides.

The vinyls are 7″ singles with two beautiful popping covers. One that is full of colourful floral patterns the other contrasts with it mainly being black and white other than the yellow outline to the writing, this is mirrored on the label also. But on the If Only record the label on the side not visible in the picture reflects the back of the sleeve…

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First up is If Only/The Prayer [Live for Radio 1] now I do love If Only but I did predominantly buy this for the cover of the Block Party track as I am sort of obsessed with it, I have never just played it once ever. It’s always multiple listens it is just so damn awesome with the cool  low ‘hmmmmm’s’ simple drum/percussion to bring it in with the sound becoming fuller for the chorus. With the outro really bursting to life with tremolo electric guitar and a speedy bassline.  In the original attitude is there in abundance which does transcribe to this version too. I just admire it!      

Saving My Face has  a special place in my life as it is my yearly shaving song where I play it at full blast and rather sillily change ‘Saving’ to ‘Shaving’ my face’ , I know it is dumb but it brings me endless joy (along with it being a good tune as well obviously). Ain’t Nobody is a classic so an artist of Tunstall’s calibre does it justice with her rhythmic take.

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Song of the Day

Song of the Day : Paramore – Told You So

                                                                                      Told You So (Official Video)

A refreshing new Summery sound for the band but one that everyone is familiar with it has brightened up the airwaves since its release yesterday.

It is vibrant with the funky licks, classic catchy vocals that are  are warped by drastically lowering the pitch every now and again adding a nice little dynamic. The drumming is very elaborate  which I would like to highlight as they really are key to the feel of the track.

Told You So is an upgrade from many of the hits that have been released over the past months, mainly because it has personality and is super fun! It’s easily my favourite pop song of this year so far.

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