Jam of the Week: SZA – Drew Barrymore

Missouri singer SZA has been a firm favourite of mine since discovering her in the early half of 2014. She makes wavy, psychedelic R&B and neo-soul, similar to Kelela and Jhené Aiko, and she has a voice that will say with you for days. Continue reading

Jam of the Week: Kahlia Bakosi – Small Print (ft. Mumblez Black Ink)

Kahlia Bakosi - Small Print single (500x281)Kahlia Bakosi is revealing her talent like the slow unfurling of flower petals. Sounding like she’s perpetually on an emotional cliff edge, her honeyed vocals are tinged with projection approaching the big-ticket bombast of a Dawn Richard. She caught my ear some months ago with a track called, ‘Fire’. Continue reading

Choice Cuts: Gorillaz – Demon Days

Parlophone Records, 2005Gorillaz - Demon Days artwork, wallpaper edit (1024x576)A gimmick. That’s what they put Gorillaz’ success down to. Despite everything that had been achieved by this unusual musical concoction in the 18 months since the launch of their 2001 debut album, detractors still labelled them a here today, gone tomorrow band. But little did they know that the virtual band, created by musician, Damon Albarn, and cartoonist, Jamie Hewlett, would front what would later be acknowledged as one of the most influential and progressive records of the noughties: Demon Days. Continue reading

Jam of the Week: Blur – Go Out

Blur - British Summer Time, Hyde Park poster (1416x797)As if news of Gorillaz return in 2016 wasn’t enough already. Yesterday, Blur announced their first new album as four-piece in 16 years. Should the rumoured The Good, the Bad & the Queen follow-up somehow be in the mix, I’ll be doing back flips down the street. Blur’s new album, titled The Magic Whip, started from jam sessions in the “claustrophobic and hot” confides of a Hong Kong studio, following a cancelled show in Japan. Guitarist Graham Coxon and long-time Blur producer Stephen Street developed these sessions until, as drummer Dave Rowntree put it, “we all realised we’d done something quite special there”. Continue reading

In memoriam: Bobby Womack

Bobby Womack, Hague Jazz 2011, 16/06/2011, by Maurice Haak (1920x1080)Comfort and supreme sense of serenity. That’s the feeling that rouse within me when I heard Bobby Womack sing live for the first time at the Camden Roundhouse in April 2010.

I’d heard of this trailblazing soul man before, but at that point I couldn’t actually say I ‘knew’ his music with serious conviction. That night at the Roundhouse, I was there to see Bobby perform with Gorillaz – Damon Albarn and his circus of musical collaborators. My unfamiliarity with his legacy didn’t stop me from appreciating what a special moment it was to be in his presence and feel his energy, however.

I’ll never forget the atmosphere all around me from the crowd that night when he sung ‘Cloud of Unknowing’. A dreamy, ever-so-slightly foreboding song, steeped with organs and strings. It’s classic Albarn at his melancholic best. It’s also seemingly a complete world away from Womack’s lean-in-and-listen soul music, you might think. Yet, every syllable fluttered with emotion. The mood in the concert hall at that moment was breathless – the entire crowd had been beset by the same euphoria. Continue reading

Best albums of 2011

Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi, Rome press photo 01This year has seen the end of my time at university in Nottingham and the beginning of a new chapter at Goldsmiths in London. From Janelle Monáe’s ArchAndroid and the classic soul of the 60s getting me through my dissertation, to my first ever listen to Danger Mouse’s Rome (walking to and from the city campus’s library for the Trent Media AGM), to Ghostpoet’s life-affirming tones giving me the vigour to make it through my driving theory test; music has been with me every step of the way. Continue reading

Fall in Spring

Today, Gorillaz’ tour album, The Fall, goes on commercial release worldwide.
I’ve actually had a digital version of the album since Christmas 2010 as part of my Sub Division fan club subscription. Back then I had my misgiving. I wouldn’t hold it in the same esteem as the band’s other studio albums, but it’s really grown on me in recent months, especially thanks to the airplay of ‘Revolving Doors’.
I had a terrific time celebrating my first proper Record Store Day, but I didn’t manage to get my hands on the vinyl album I was desperately craving.

So it was back to eBay were I’ve already been seeking out the best deal I can from the 40+ copies of The Fall that have been listed there in the past two days. And much to my delight I was able to snap up a copy this evening for just over £25 (the original sale price being £15). Ah, Gorillaz complex over, I can back to work… or at least gaze out of my window and daydream about little pink plastic bags floating on a highway.