Category Archives: Retro Soul

Charles Bradley cancels tour dates due to cancer diagnosis

Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires have canceled their upcoming tour dates. In a statement released today, the soul singer, 67, announced that doctors have found a cancerous tumor in his stomach.

Bradley wrote part of the statement:

In the past few months, I have had to cancel a number of shows due to illness, taking me away from my beautiful fans.

My doctors recently discovered a cancerous tumor in my stomach.  

I’m getting the best medical care and we are all extremely optimistic. I will fight through this like I’ve fought through the many other obstacles in my life.

My upcoming tour dates will be postponed so I can concentrate on healing.

Thank you all for understanding. Music is how I share my love with the world, and the love that my fans have given back brings me so much joy. I look forward to seeing your gorgeous faces soon, and to continue to share my love through music.

Bradley has been on the road for much of 2016, but has recently canceled several shows  in light of his health issues. The press release states part of his time off will be for treatment and recovery. 

After Bradley worked as a cook for 10 years, he lived in various cities across the country, playing  at small venues and working menial jobs for about 20 years. His career began again in 1996 under the alias “Black Velvet,” as a James Brown impersonator. He was later discovered by Daptone’s Gabriel Roth. His first single was 2002’s “Take It As It Come, Pt. 1” and “Take It As It Come, Pt. 2.” Since 2011 he’s released three albums, including Changes, out this year.

Read more about Bradley in this 2011 story.

While I haven’t covered much of Bradley’s music on the blog, I’ve admired his music and soulful style, and I hope he makes a quick recovery.

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Filed under Music News, R&B, Retro Soul, Soul, Uncategorized

Thundercat’s rolling bass drives “Them Changes”

Thundercat is back, this time with the retro-soul gem “Them Changes.”
Singer, producer and bass player Thundercat (Stephen Bruner) is known for working with Flying Lotusthundercat bass and Suicidal Tendencies. Bruner has also made a recent appearance on Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp A Butterfly,” but his resume includes working with Erykah Badu’s “New Amerykah” in 2008. He’s been collaborating with Flying Lotus since Bruner’s first album, 2011’s “Golden Age of Apocalypse,” which Flying Lotus produced.

Thundercat’s new single “Them Changes” channels slivers of Kool and the Gang’s romantic vocals and the easy-living piano of Hall and Oates and modernizes it into a new version of smooth R&B funk.

It’s an infectious hit, and its bumping and rolling bass lifts you off the floor.

Via Rolling Stone, Thundercat’s new mini-album, “The Beyond/Where the Giants Roam,” which Flying Lotus co-produced, is out June 22. Thundercat is on the Brainfeeder label.

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Filed under Funk, Retro Soul, Soul

Kimbra’s “Golden Echo” streaming on NPR

Kimbra Golden Echo

You can thank us later. Kimbra’s new album “The Golden Echo” is now streaming on NPR First Listen. The album is a shot in the arm by the singer as she pays homage to her different influences over the 70s, 80s and 90s. It’s a giant leap forward for her — although she can effectively left her Gotye days behind long ago.

“Golden Echo” is due Aug. 19  via Warner Bros.

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Filed under Electronic, New Music, Retro Soul, Soul, Synth pop, Techno

Lil Silva, BANKS shine on “Don’t You Love”

British producer Lil Silva’s gotten some impressive feedback from his latest EP “Mabel” and rightly so.

The single “Don’t You Love” from Lil Silva features a techno-soul beat with a deep bass that cuts cleanly across the music.
The song begins with a cerebral Asian-flavoured sound that gyrates like a rubber elastic and forms the melody and backbone of the song. If you hear that strange sound and this is your first exposure to Lil Silva — just keep listening.
The singer BANKS adds a trance-like sultry layer that beckons you in further.
“Don’t You Love,” on Soundcloud, contains a house-techno remix of the song that’s even more mysterious.
“Mabel” was released Aug. 5 on True Panther in North America, and Good Years in the UK.
The track listing for “Mabel,” which you can stream here, is:

01. First Mark

02. Kimmy

03. Don’t You Love (feat. BANKS)

04. Mabel

05. Right For You (feat. BANKS)

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Filed under Electronic, Retro Soul, Techno

Kimbra’s new song “Miracle”: Welcome to the 70s

Kimbra Golden Echo

New Zealand’s own Kimbra has released a new disco-infused single off The Golden Echo,” “Miracle,” which unabashedly channels early Michael Jackson harmonies but brings a lighthearted twist. The song also features Michael Jackson/Daft Punk drummer John JR Robinson, so it’s a win/win.

“The Golden Echo,” Kimbra’s second album, will be released Aug. 19 on Warner Bros. Records

Kimbra has also announced a U.S. headlining tour that kicks off Oct. 20— tickets are on sale beginning Friday, July 25.

10/20  San Francisco, CA – The Independent*

10/23  Los Angeles, CA – The Roxy*

10/24  Santa Ana, CA – The Observatory*

10/25-10/26   Las Vegas, NV – Life Is Beautiful Festival

10/27  Salt Lake City, UT – In The Venue*

10/28  Denver, CO – Sherman Street Event Center*

10/30  Minneapolis, MN – Fine Line Music Café

11/01  Chicago, IL – Lincoln Hall

11/06  New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom*

11/07  Philadelphia, PA – World Café Live – Downstairs*

11/08  Washington, DC – U Street Music Hall*

11/09  Allston, MA – Brighton Music Hall*

* w/ Empress Of


Filed under New Music, Pop, R & B, Retro Soul

Lightboxes’ “Something Else” a hidden gem

This is why blogging about music is so vital: A band like Lightboxes comes along and you wonder why they haven’t been picked up yet.

The hip-hop/soul duo has a short blurb in‘s “The Neu Bulletin,” neatly tucked between links for Hockeysmith and TRIXY. Lightboxes, from southeast London, is John Atterbury and Donna Thompson, who met at Goldsmiths College.
On the song “Something Else,” Thompson’s youthful voice, like Joss Stone or early Adele, brings a bright flavor to the tune, which wakes you up with its ingenuity. (Additional vocals by Sarah Williams White.)


The sound feels a bit like Fugees or Feist, as it walks a funky jazz bass that skips along with the beat and jumps it once in a while. It keeps you on your toes, and after all, shouldn’t music keep you guessing?

Catch “Something Else” and a bit about Lightboxes and its EP “Let It Grow” on bandcamp.

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Filed under Electronic, Experimental, R & B, Retro Soul

ICYMI: Charles Bradley: “You Put the Flame On It”

In case you missed it, soul singer Charles Bradley appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! this week with the song “You Put the Flame on It.”

Bradley released his acclaimed second album, “Victim of Love,” in spring 2013. The album’s been added to a plethora of ‘best-of’ lists, so it’s worth your while to listen to what all the fuss is about.


Charles Bradley’s lived a storied life: He lived on the streets and worked odd jobs until he was discovered by the Daptones’ Gabriel Roth just a couple years ago. There’s even a documentary about him: “Charles Bradley: Soul of America,” that chronicles his rise.

His straight-forward style of singing is offset by his distinct voice, at times raspy and straining, but always full of soul and emotion.

Charles Bradley is also set to perform at one of the Vans House Parties in Brooklyn, N.Y., on June 12, so watch for that.

Watch the Kimmel performance on Youtube.

Just a few links for your perusal:

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Filed under Retro Soul, Soul, Uncategorized

Harding’s “Soul Power” shines bright


Curtis Harding’s new album deserves far more media attention than it’s gotten.
His neo-soul debut, “Soul Power,” is multi-faceted, complex and easygoing. It’s as if he’s been a successful solo artist for decades, not a man whose recent gig was as backup for CeeLo Green and, more recently, in Black-Lips side group Night Sun.

Harding’s already done a couple of videos for “Soul Power,” worth noting if only because they’re polar opposites. “Next Time” is black and white and glossy and features St. Laurent model Grace Hartzel walking topless on the beach. You’d think he took a cue from Chris Isaak.


On the other hand, Harding, in the single “Keep on Shining,” plays a somewhat dysfunctional puppet who’ll do anything he has to for love. The puppet visual is odd, but it sticks. “I can finally see the light,” he says.


Harding’s vocals are rich and sincere and is what drives the fresh, upbeat sound of “Soul Power.” The horn section sounds like they’ve been doing this for years– a well-oiled soul machine. Harding rides high on this 70s soul vibe he’s created, mixing it up with 60s doo-wop and R & B stylings. The influence of Amy Winehouse is thankfully still alive.

“Next Time,” takes on a 50s feel with just a few guitar changes and some distortion, and all without dating the sound. “Heaven’s on the Other Side” is fun and light and has a little bit of a disco feel. He can play hardball too, as on “Drive My Car,” but without taking it all too seriously. A bad-ass, undulating guitar hook rules “Cruel World” and ends the album.

Like many good albums, the first few listens might not bring the revelation that it has the mileage to last. But the sometimes gritty, often heartfelt “Soul Power” shows Harding’s versatility, an attribute artists don’t always reach on a debut. “Soul Power” is something special.

Dig it or Ditch it: Definitely Dig it

Listen to the “Soul Power” stream via  The “Keep On Shining” video (link above) with Harding as lovestruck marionette is worth watching.
Harding’s album, which came out May 6, is available through Burger Records and iTunes. He’s also heading out on a short summer tour:

Wednesday, June 11 – Brooklyn, NY @ Glasslands

Thursday, June 12 – Washington, DC @ DC9

Friday, June 13 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Three Rivers Arts Festival

Saturday, June 14 – Chicago, IL @ Schuba’s

Thursday, July 17 – Nashville, TN @ Exit / In

Saturday, July 19 – Asheville, NC @ Orange Peel


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Filed under News, R & B, Retro Soul, Review, Soul