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.      


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.



Vinyl Vindication: Jay Som – Turn Into


                                                  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.  


Song of the Day

Song of the Day: KT Tunstall- The Healer [Live at Manchseter’s Albert Hall, 27/8/2016]

                                                  The Healer Live for Napster

Last night (27/8/2016) I had the delight of seeing KT Tunstall live for a second time and it was one of the best nights of the year and up there with my favourite gig experiences ever.

I was grinning from start to end as her and the band rocked for a stonking two hour set that took from all her studio albums. But the song of the Golden State EP The Healer (was already one of my most listened to songs of this year) blew more than just my socks off. Before the start of the song the guitar tech came on holding her gorgeous White 1975 Gretsch Falcon whilst Tunstall held her acoustic. Offering two options to the crowd (I am paraphrasing):

‘Do you want a super happy song? Or a super aggressive happy song?’

Then the crowd screamed for which they would like, happily the choice I voted for won. She took hold of the Falcon and got aggressively happy.

What was to follow was one of the best performances I have ever seen and heard. It was certainly a rocking take on this already rocky number. I stood in awe in this beautiful venue being hit with a sonic wave of brilliance. I will never forget the feeling of being consumed by that monstrous wave.


Peggy Gou’s Just too Damn Goud


                                                        Rose [Technicolour]

A Korean Producer/Disk Jockey who is situated in the brilliant city of Berlin. A city that has been synonymous with some of the best records in modern times. With the world famous Hansa Studio by the Wall being a hub of creation for a lot of that great music e.g. Bowie and U2 record some of their best work including The Berlin Trilogy (Low, 1977. Heroes, 1977 and Lodger in 1979) and Achtung Baby (1991). Now there is another artist to add to the reputation of the fantastic city.

I have Noticing that the main way that DJ’s work is mainly flying around the world doing a set here and then jumping back on a plane, get to the next destination and play a set for the next load of club goers. This has never really interested me even if I do like the music that is played. However Peggy Gou is so impressive that I would put up with what would be an extremely uncomfortable situation. That speaks volumes to what I think of the music that Gou has created.

What music exactly is that? Well as a producer it is a wide array of brilliant electronic, house/acid house fusion whilst also putting her spin on other artists work and others putting their print on her’s.

A large reason why I have connected with the music that she puts out is because it takes what I and many others love about the genres and has kept it going by making it fresh and exciting. The newest release Seek For Maktoop EP  (2016) is one of the most relaxing, hypnotic extended plays of resent times. All words that you want to be associated with if you are in the House/Acid House arena. With tracks lasting for 7 plus minutes there is a lot of space being filled, filled with sonic swirls of electronic bliss that captivates the listener. All three originals move from one to the ext without missing a beat thus the spell is never lifted nor do you want it to be.

As a Producer/DJ there are hourly long mixes on her SoundCloud  e.g. Phonica Mix Series 26: Peggy Gou which is again one long construction of sound that goes on without a break. Balancing different music into a fine blend of flawless vibes which make an atmosphere where one can escape to,  is a massive thing for many music lovers so being able to have that quality is a darn good one to own for Gou

Many musicians do not create continuous tracks that are an hour long. Facing the challenges of putting together hourly long mixes and being able to make that whole hour interesting full of chilled out beats, keys and samples really is a testament to Gou’s talents.

Art of War EP and Art of War II EP (2016) were the last EP’s before Seek For Maktoop  and they to exude the brilliance that she possesses. With each release we are reminded of this and even when she does let others get hold of it to add their twist her foundations always mean that those remixes are outstanding. (Premire: Peggy Gou – When Round, They Go (Terekke Remix). She is a driving force behind modern House/Acid House who has reminded me of why I like it so much.

Peggy Gou has constructed one of the soundest homes in the House/Acid House landscape, and like me if you enter the atmosphere that Peggy Gou’s creations surround you in, then you will be spending hours and hours in that perfect piece of architecture.