Heavy Rotation: McFadden & Whitehead, Shalamar, Edith Piaf, Sigma

My week just gone has been filled with the funk and disco of Shalamar and McFadden & Whitehead, and the classical romance of celebrated French chanteuse, Edith Piaf. Continue reading

Heavy Rotation: Angeline Morrison, Beck, Eryn Allen Kane, Michael Giacchino

It’s time for something new. Or, rather, old. In starting this new, ad hoc series, titled Heavy Rotation, I plan to throw a little light on the artists, albums and songs that I have been listening to frequently, ones I missed, and generally music which I feel deserves attention.

Consider this my Time Out-style hot picks: no more than five minutes to read, and guaranteed to lead you to people or things that will give you hours of pleasure.

If I find myself having time to do these posts more frequently, I may try to put together a Spotify playlist to accompany it.

We start off this new series with an enchanting jazz singer, who is new to me, Angeline Morrison, the rising gospel goddess Eryn Allen Kane, and film composer Michael Giacchino. Continue reading

Various Artists – 30th Century Records Volume 1 review

30th Century Vol_1 - custom, banner, background grey (1440x810)Long-time fans of musician and producer, Danger Mouse, will know that his musical palette is as wide as his hair is big. 30th Century Records is a brand-new imprint label set up by the Mouse to look for “things that I like or that I connect with in some way that maybe other people are not”. This inaugural release features 11 unknown, or barely known, artists, and is a stimulating appetiser to what 30th Century may bring us in the months and years to come. Continue reading

Jam of the Week: People Under the Stairs – Nobody Cares

People Under the Stairs press photo 2015 (750x422)Unless you’ve locked yourself away from the internet and the outside world for the last seven days, you can’t fail to have noticed we’ve been through one of those ‘weeks that changed the world’. As the media, politicians and, most importantly, ordinary people gradually come to terms with the recent attacks in Paris, Beirut and, just yesterday, Nigeria, it is heartening to see musicians, such as Thundercat, producing music in tribute to those that sadly lost their lives and to remind us of the need for unity.

Today’s jam comes from one of the most underrated west coast’s hip hop duos, People Under the Stairs. It isn’t a Paris tribute, but it is about community and what happens when the places that help strengthen the bonds between us are neglected. Continue reading

Choice Cuts: Candi Staton – Candi Staton

Honest Jon’s / Capitol Records, 2004
Candi Staton, press photo, Dec 2005, Alan Messer, 01 9590x332)Christmas with candy has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? But while overindulging in the sweet stuff will see you spending more time at the dentist the following month, there is one confection you can indulge in all calendar year without guilt: the music of Candi Staton.

Candi Staton - Honest Jon's 2004 comp artwork, 500This southern-born soul and gospel singer is best known for featuring on the 1986 version of ‘You’ve Got the Love’ by the Source. But it is Staton’s early soul music that will really make you sit up and take notice. UK independent label, Honest Jon’s Records, released a compilation of her music in 2004, making 26 songs from her much-sought after FAME recordings available to new listeners. (You can now get a double-CD, featuring all her master recordings from this era, but the Honest Jon’s CD is a bargain nowadays – got mine for £2. Its vinyl version, however, is almost as pricy as Staton’s classic LPs.)

All of the songs on the simply titled compilation, Candi Staton, are unfettered confessionals that steam with emotion. Continue reading

Choice Cuts: Wanda Jackson – Rockin’ with Wanda

Wanda Jackson, press photo, 1950s, Creative Commons (972x547)Is it possible to make old music sound sexy and essential in the space of a two-word header? Golden Oldies? Bygone Beats? Essential Echoes? Well, I’ll spare you anymore chocking examples of alliteration and get to the point.

Old music is fantastic. Whether it’s some forgotten hip hop mixtape from four years ago or an aging jazz LP from four decades ago, any music you haven’t heard is still new to you. So with this new series of posts, I intend to write about classic albums that I’ve been listening to, underappreciated artists whose music I’ve had on heavy rotation and perhaps even little-known relics you won’t find on Spotify.

So, my discerning reader, join me as we delve into crates and explore digital frontiers in search of audio gold.

To start with, an artist I learned of only last week, whose music has already hijacked many of my listening hours. Continue reading