Category Archives: Pop

In Tall Buildings’ new album “Driver” streaming now at The Wall Street Journal

In Tall Buildings - "Driver" out Feb. 17 on Western  Vinyl.

In Tall Buildings – “Driver” out Feb. 17 on Western Vinyl.

In Tall Buildings’ new album, “Driver,” is streaming in full at Wall Street Journal. It’s a very intimate album, with Hall’s haunting vocals swaying in and out amid electro-pop swirls and sonic fades. While inherently private, Hall’s music still carries a hugely welcoming feel. It’s an impressive album that should make an impression on 2015.

The album, his second, was produced between his Chicago studio and a Michigan farmhouse. In Tall Buildings is set to play a record release show at Schubas Tavern in Chicago on Tuesday, March 5; his SXSW (March 18-22) dates will be released soon.

“Driver” is out Feb. 17 on Western Vinyl.

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Nile Rodgers, CHIC sign deal with Warner Bros.; album drops in June

Nile Rodgers performs with his band Chic on the third day of the Glastonbury music festival at Worthy Farm in Somerset June 28, 2013. REUTERS/Olivia Harris (BRITAIN - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)

Nile Rodgers performs with his band Chic on the third day of the Glastonbury Music Festival at Worthy Farm in Somerset, June 28, 2013. REUTERS/Olivia Harris

Warner Brothers has announced a recording deal with guitarist and producer Nile Rodgers and his band CHIC, which Rodgers co-founded. Warner Bros. has also announced a deal with Rodgers’ and Michael Ostin’s label, Land Of The Good Groove.

Even bigger news — Rodgers has been busy prepping the first CHIC album in almost 25 years —  with the first single scheduled for March 20, and the album to drop in June.

Rodgers’ influence on popular music has thrived, since the golden days of 70s funk and disco, through his producing, composing and guitar work.

CHIC’s disco smash “Le Freak” will be inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame on Sunday. Rodgers is set to receive the President’s Merit Award during the Academy’s 8th Grammy Week Celebration for the Producers & Engineers Wing of NARAS.

For the uninitiated, watch the video for “Le Freak”; its free-living, jumping soul-funk style that melds classical points with disco fire is unmistakable.

Le-Freak-Chic_crop

Concocted during New Year’s Eve 1977 and released in the disco/funk-rich period of 1978, “Le Freak” commemorates Studio 54’s snubbing of the band after Grace Jones didn’t notify the staff of the band’s arrival.

The song’s “Freak out!” and “Le Freak, C’est Chic” catchphrases can be found everywhere in pop culture across generations and with no sign of stopping; CHIC’s revival this year may only fan the flames.

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Filed under Disco, Funk, Pop, Soul, VIdeos

Happy 2015: West, McCartney drop “Only One”

West and McCartney are officially recording

West and McCartney are officially recording

Yes, more Kanye West news, but this time it’s serious.

West, quelling all earlier rumours back in August, has officially teamed up with Paul McCartney for the song “Only One”, a tribute to West’s daughter North. It was written from the perspective of West’s mom, Dr. Donda West.

“You’re still my chosen one; remember who you are,” West sings as McCartney’s brutally-honest keys keep the tune ultra-smooth.

McCartney’s work is some of his most beautiful since his Beatles days — the ending notes on “Only One” are powerful and threaten to overshadow the rest of the tune.

While there’s no word on how much the two have recorded together, according to a press release detailed on The Verge, the song is “the first publicly available recording from what has become a prolific musical collaboration between these two legendary artists.” According to the story, the two worked in LA last year through “stream-of-consciousness” riffing.

Hey, at least their first single wasn’t a song called “Piss On My Grave,” said to be the title of another McCartney/West collaboration. A portion of that song was spilled online last summer.

Check out the video here, and listen to the song at kanyewest.com.

All in all, no better way to ring in 2015 then this.

West and North

West and North

 

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Filed under Hip-Hop, News, Pop, VIdeos

Free download of Jessie Ware’s “You & I (Forever)”

19Pop star Jessie Ware has released 1,000 free downloads of the wispy, 80’s-tinged “You & I (Forever) (Corbu Remix)” as part of redbull.com’s “20 Before 15” year-end series.

For “You & I (Forever) (Corbu Remix),” Ware teamed up with Brooklyn dream-pop band Corbu, who you can hear on soundcloud.

As of 2:30 p.m. (today) Friday, there were a little more than 700 free downloads left. After that, Ware’s song is streaming-only. You can also check out five other Jessie Ware remixes here, recorded in Five Red Bull Studios worldwide.

The last “20 Before 15” track is out tomorrow.

Ware’s sophomore album “Tough Love” was out Oct. 13.

20 BEFORE 15’ TRACKS TO-DATE

Dec 01 – Tokimonsta x Iza – ” Pinch

Dec 02 – Sizarr -” Baggage Man

Dec 03 – Compass (Camilo Lara X Toy Selectah) – ” La Llama

Dec 04 – Lil’ Herb x Earl Sweatshirt – ” Knucklehead

Dec 05 – Dengue Dengue Dengue – ” Pineal

Dec 06 – Branko featuring Alex Rita & Bison – ” Eventually

Dec 07 – Brodinski x Jackson & His Computer Band featuring Lil Debbie – ” Pump

Dec 08 – Yosi Horikawa – ” Gull

Dec 09 – Thibo Tazz – ” Zero Point One

Dec 10 – Louis Baker – ” Just Want To Thank You ” (Balco Remix)

Dec 11 – Elliphant x Mo – ” One More Time ” (Eloq Remix)

Dec 12 – Five Knives – ” Savages

Dec 13 – Javiera Mena – ” Otra Era ” (High Klassified Remix)

Dec 14 – D’Angelo and The Vanguard  – “Sugah Daddy”

Dec 15 – Skrillex – “Dirty Vibe” (Gladiator Remix)

Dec 16 – The Wanton Bishops – “Another Sun Rising”

Dec17 – Bomba Estereo – “ Mueve tu Cuerpo” (produced by Nadastrom)

Dec 18 – New Beat Fund – “It’s Cool” (Priory LWC Remix)

Dec 19 – Jessie Ware – “You And I Forever” (Corbu Remix)

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Filed under Free download, Pop

A cure for the nation’s cold snap: “Uptown Funk”

mark-ronson-uptown-funk

Mark Ronson’s newest gem “Uptown Funk” is frankly, a dance-funk synth explosion of fun-filled joy. It’s loaded to the gills with vibrant energy and brightness — a pick-me-up-and-carry-me-through-the-fall (and winter) kind of song.

“Uptown Funk” also features Bruno Mars, in case you need more motivation to listen to “Uptown Funk.”

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Filed under Dance, Funk, New Music, Pop

Nico and Vinz make inspirational sound cool again on “Black Star Elephant”

Nico_&_Vinz_-_Black_Star_Elephant

Nico and Vinz, with Black Star Elephant, have crafted a pure and primal debut album that rejoices in their chosen path and applauds others’ individuality.

The reach of the singer and songwriter duo—Nico Sereba and Vincent Dery—from Oslo, Norway, had already expanded across several continents when their single “Am I Wrong” hit the airwaves last year. Star Elephant is a continuation of that universal theme of personal exploration.

The album’s ebullience shines through 21 tracks (including brief interludes) of personal stories brought to life through a freshly cut and bright global sound.

Their concept album may be recognized by some as a Graceland for the 21st century—or at least for 2014. It’s more danceable and less subtle than Paul Simon’s album, but its social message of humanity in peril juxtaposed with the beauty of true love quietly mirrors that effort.

On Black Star, African melodies intersect with brass-band accents that cross over to dance beats, drawing a new path in world music. Thumping pop and dance beats remind listeners to find their center, even if it means going against the grain.

Nico and Vinz also made the wise decision to expose all of nature’s imperfections on Black Star. Soothing chants, and sounds such as distant rain or birdsong bring a universality through its sheer honesty. “Thought I Knew” closes out with more conventional music, yet dramatic and gorgeous orchestral points, and the chorus chant of the lovely “My Melody” is symbiotic with funky deep bass.

The myriad influences on Black Star never cry out for space. Nico and Vinz have discovered a neat and trim formula for their songs, but one that’s never constrained to it. The homey, acoustic love song “Last Time” is gently laced together, and the positive message of “Know What I’m Not,” reminds listeners that a personal journey, if not hard-fought, will be meaningless. Similarly, on “Miracles,” the line “You’ll bring home the trophy if you walk it all the way” might land flat in others’ hands, but Nico and Vinz manage to deftly slip it in, avoiding the dangers of having a PSA for a song.

“Homeless” is one of many on Black Star about working life and its chronic struggles, while “In Your Arms” attempts to tackle world injustice. The question “What is high if you don’t know low?” on “Another Day” blends urban rap and dance beats to animate mini-vignettes of children growing up with a TV for a parent.

Nico and Vinz, with their inspirational debut, have skillfully walked the line between being grateful for what you have while still celebrating life’s deficiencies.

Black Star Elephant was released Oct. 14 on Warner Bros.

Dig It or Ditch It: Dig It

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Filed under Hip-Hop, New Music, Pop, World Music

Prince, 3rdEyeGirl to appear on SNL

Prince and his band 3rdEyeGirl will perform on SNL on Nov. 1 for Prince’s third visit to the show.

This will be Prince’s first TV appearance since Plectrumelectrum and Art Official Age were released at the top of charts. There’s no surprise Prince likes the boobtube — he appeared on the show “Who’s That Girl” with Zooey Deschanel because he’s a fan and, well, because he’s Prince.

Joining Prince on SNL will be host Chris Rock. Hilarity may ensue.

Chris Rock Prince

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Aretha shuts it down on Adele’s “Rolling In the Deep”

Aretha Franklin Sings the Gread Diva Classics

Aretha Franklin Sings the Gread Diva Classics

Aretha Franklin is back with her latest covers album and she feels great.
“Aretha Sings the Great Diva Classics” is just that. The ultimate diva puts her spin on songs like “Midnight Train to Georgia,” “I Will Survive” and “People” by Barbra Streisand.
But it’s Franklin’s version of Adele’s 2010 soul hit “Rolling in the Deep” that has people talking.
It takes no small effort to outshine the young Brit singer’s powerful chords on the pop single that propelled her to instant fame.
Although somewhat overpowered by a busy disco beat, in Franklin’s capable hands, she can coax even more angry passion from “Rolling in the Deep.”
The Queen of Soul’s voice continues to mellow to a honeyed mahogany. But make no mistake, she can still bring out the claws and own any note she pleases.
While the song will always be Adele’s baby, Franklin easily meets, then surpasses, Adele’s stronghold on the radio-friendly empire of “Deep,” bending it to her will.

“Aretha Sings the Great Diva Classics” was released on vinyl Sept. 30 with a digital release Oct. 21.
Listen to Aretha’s version, then to Adele’s and tell me what you think.

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Filed under Covers, New Music, Pop, Soul

Prince retains royal title as king of rock on “Plectrumelectrum”

Songwriter, producer, guitarist, and hardest-working man Prince has released two powerhouse albums, the solo “Art Official Age” and “Plectrumelectrum,” with his band 3 Eye Girl.prince-3rdeyegirl-fixurlifeup-600x450

“Plectrumelectrum” is more rock-oriented than “Art Official Age,” and richer as well; a crowd-pleasing arena-rock binge.

“Wow,” with its grand refrain, is a lesson on the right way to open an album and sets the bar for the rest of “Plectrumelectrum.” Its message of a beautiful drug addict in denial is an unexpected twist.

“Another Love” also weaves a venomous message. As he cries out, “The greatest living soul, you’ll never know,” Prince is defiant in his bitter testament to lost love.

The hard-rock hooks on the title track riff a bit off the first half of Led Zeppelin’s “The Ocean,” and the instrumental only gains strength.

Monster ’80s guitar chords and rhythms, including roiling chunks of downright hot funk, all dominate “Plectrumelectrum” ’s master-blaster sound.

The album is also full of sensitive, beautiful melodies. The country-tinged female vocals for “Whitecaps” float effortlessly on a contemporary wave, while “Stop This Train” is a delicate love duet set to a reggae beat.

Prince’s vocals sound just as good as they did five, 10, 15 albums ago, but now he’s got an extra edge to his messages of sensual love and social awareness.

If some felt Prince needed to shore up his title as the royal authority on dance, pop, funk and rock, “Plectrumelectrum” is here to shut them all down.

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Filed under Funk, New Music, Pop, Rock

Prince announces 2 new albums Sept. 30

Prince: Art Official Age

Prince: Art Official Age

Plectrumelectrum

Plectrumelectrum

Today the Purple One announced the upcoming arrival of two new studio albums, “Art Official Age” and “Plectrumelectrum” through Warner Bros., for a Sept. 30 release.

“Art Official Age” is solo Prince, while “Plectrumelectrum” is by Prince’s band 3rdeyegirl.

In keeping with Prince’s allure, the releases will be marked by events to take place globally, and which will be confirmed soon, according to a press release.

The news comes as the artist and Warner Bros. have come back together with the record label returning Prince’s recordings back to him, including 80s blockbusters “Dirty Mind,” “1999,” “Purple Rain” and “Sign ‘O’ the Times.”

More info will be coming– the Artist Formerly Known As Prince likes keeping his fans waiting, but it’s a good chance that wait will be worth it.

Below is the track listing for both new albums:

ART OFFICIAL AGE                                   PLECTRUMELECTRUM

ART OFFICIAL CAGE                                  WOW

CLOUDS                                                       PRETZELBODYLOGIC

BREAKDOWN                                              AINTTURNINROUND

THE GOLD STANDARD                             PLECTRUMELECTRUM

U KNOW                                                        WHITECAPS

BREAKFAST CAN WAIT                             FIXURLIFEUP

THIS COULD BE US                                   BOYTROUBLE

WHAT IT FEELS LIKE                                 STOPTHISTRAIN

affirmation I & II                                            ANOTHERLOVE

WAY BACK HOME                                       TICTACTOE

FUNKNROLL                                               MARZ

TIME                                                               FUNKNROLL

affirmation III

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Filed under Electronic, New Music, News, Pop