Archive for the ‘r&b’ tag
Retro-soul man Mayer Hawthorne is set to release a LP coming this July titled Where Does This Door Go? Here’s the first single from that album, “Her Favorite Song” featuring none other than Jessie Ware, who is one of my favorites from the UK right now. This soul/funk/bossa nova influenced track is quite smooth, as Hawthorne croons about a lonely lady making her escape with her ‘favorite song’. That lonely girl would be played by Ms. Ware, who says very little words on this track – but in this case, less is more! Have a listen.
Twenty-three-year-old New Yorker Solana Rowe makes music that invokes the feelings many of her peers can relate to, including heartbreak, loneliness, ambition, and love. However, not a lot of twenty-three-year-old New Yorkers are able to display the same amount of sheer, thoroughly impressive skill (at least I can’t). Rowe– who works under the moniker of SZA– plans to display her gift for words, beats, and dreamy pop craftsmanship in a series of three EPs released throughout this year. The first of these mixtapes, the S EP, is a warm, welcome introduction.
That SZA’s trio of releases will be titled S, Z, and A, isn’t just fitting for obvious reasons; it’s also a testament to just how deeply personal the singer’s music can be. In eight tracks and just over twenty-eight minutes, S provides startling insight into what makes SZA tick: her hopes, dreams, fears, and anxieties. Glorious opening number “Castles” enchants through the sounds of magical, Christmas-style sleigh bells and SZA’s ethereal, innocent vocals. “I wish I was prettier a little for ya/Maybe I’ll understand when I get older,” she sings, with the naivete of a child. “I’m not finished yet,” she later declares. Because who of us is?
“Terror Dome” begins with a lengthy sampling of dialogue from Rosemary’s Baby; it’s the memorable scene where Mia Farrow begs to see her doctor in a feverish panic, pleading on behalf of her unborn child. “There are plots against people, aren’t there?” she asks fearfully, which then transitions to SZA’s ominous introduction, “Welcome to my terror dome.” Another sample highlights “The Odyssey,” but this time, it’s an interview with iconic singer and actress Eartha Kitt. When the journalist asks Eartha, “Are you willing to compromise within a relationship?”, she basically laughs in face. “A man comes into my life and I have to compromise? For what?”
The second half of S has a decidedly chillier vibe, especially on “Pray,” “Ice.Moon,” and “Wings,” the latter of which features some pretty nasty drops. SZA flits between pop and R&B with purpose based on whatever suits her mood at the time. Overall, the EP is the beginning of a mythic journey with a promising young artist that we should all be planning to take. “I’m alive,” SZA sings on “Aftermath,” almost as if realizing it for the very first time. And with that, we’ll go wherever SZA wants to take us.
3.5 / 5 bars
Brooklyn’s Body Language have just released a new colorful visual to accompany their indie/r&b track “What’s the Point” off their free Grammar EP, which they dropped a couple of months ago. It was announced that the track will also be featured on their upcoming Grammar LP, soon to be released on July 15th. The video and editing is quite neat. Watch below.
London producer Eric Lau has been a favorite of mine for quite some time because he remains one of the most consistent of them all – and he never disappoints. Since his debut album in 2005, New Territories, Lau has released jam after jam on the regular. He’s back at it with a new single off of a new album due out on April 8th. He teams up once again with frequent collaborator and songstress Rahel on this single, titled “Everytime”. Lau and Rahel deliver that mellow, jazzy hip hop and r&b that they’re known and loved for on this track. Listen below, and you can preorder the track here.
One of Brooklyn’s most uprising bands, Body Language, has just re-released their Grammar EP, this time with two brand new tracks. The 5-track EP is available free for download on the band’s website, while they prepare for a spring tour and an album release later this year. If you’ve been following Body Language, you might have heard track 3 (“I’m A Mess”), track 4 (“The First”), and track 5 (“Lose My Head”) on their previous release of this EP or at their live show, but the first two never-before-heard tracks are fresh. The new tracks stay true to the retro-minded, indie/soulful/futuristic/r&b sound that the Brooklyn quartet has mastered. Track 1, “The Chasing” is an up-beat indie/pop tune that’s guaranteed to lift the mood up. Track 2, “What’s The Point” is a more 80′s r&b/new wave groove with some fantastic lush harmonies sung by the 4 multi-instrumentalists. This EP sure has me looking forward to the upcoming album release, and I must add – if you have not seen Body Language live, you must! Their recorded music is great, but it does not do their live show any justice. Check out their website for the tour dates, and listen to Grammar EP down below.
Last week we heard the premier of James Blake’s newest single “Retrograde,” now check out the visuals for that very track. The video accompanies this tracks mood exceptionally well, maintaining that cold, haunting vibe and quite possibly making the song sound even better. I don’t know if its just me, but I had the same feeling I get while watching suspenseful, eerie movies such as Donnie Darko as I watched this video. The end of the video is left rather open, meaning there may be a “to be continued” part 2. Watch Retrograde below.
Stuart Howard’s avant-garde pop songs are all at once strange and familiar; as Lapalux, his music pulls from the most unexpected of sources. “Bethr,” his latest– a super-shimmery, warped gem that didn’t make the cut of upcoming LP Nostalchic– surprisingly samples “Everybody’s Free” from Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo & Juliet soundtrack. The smooth, R&B vocals are almost as classic 90s as a teen Leonardo DiCaprio, but are definitely just as cool.
Great news – James Blake is back with a new single and an upcoming album. The announcement was made today via Facebook. The new album is titled Overgrown and it is set to be released April 8th. If you like Blake’s previous album, then it sounds like you will not be disappointed with what’s coming next. The first single off the album, called “Retrograde,” sonically picks up right where Blake left off on his his first album. The cold, haunting vocals and laid back vibe is present in “Retrograde” – similar to his biggest hit “Limit To Your Love.” This moody track is brilliantly produced, in a less-is-more kind of way. Blake keeps it minimal, but he includes just enough to make this a compelling piece of music. Have a listen.