Tag: Grammy Award

Live Footage: Tame Impala Performs “Borderline” on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”

I’ve managed to spill quite a bit of virtual ink over the course o this site’s ten-plus year history covering Perth, Australia-born and-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and JOVM mainstay Kevin Parker, the creative mastermind behind the critically acclaimed and commercially successful psych pop/synth pop project Tame Impala.

Parker’s third Tame Impala album, 2015’s Currents was a critical and commercial breakthrough: released to wide-ranging critical applause across the blogosphere and elsewhere the album was a RIAA Gold-Certified, Grammy-nominated effort that revealed a decided change in direction for Parker’s songwriting and sound, as it featured some of his most emotionally direct lyrics paired with a nuanced and textured sound that drew from and meshed elements of psych rock, psych pop, prog rock, synth pop and R&B.

Released earlier this year, Parker’s fourth Tame Impala effort The Slow Rush continued an impressive and enviable run of critically applauded and commercially material. Thematically the album focuses on the rapid passing of time and life’s innate cycles of creation and destruction — with the material contouring the feeling of a lifetime in a lightning bolt, of major milestones and events whizzing by you, while you swipe away on your phone. “A lot of the songs carry this idea of time passing, of seeing your life flash before your eyes, being able to see clearly your life from this point onwards. I’m being swept by this notion of time passing. There’s something really intoxicating about it,” Parker told the New York Times.

Last night, Parker and his backing band performed one of my favorite songs off the album — the hook driven and blissed out “Borderline” on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

New Video: Los Angeles’ Grand Master Releases a Power Chord Driven Anthem

Although he’s probably best known as the creative mastermind behind the rising psych rock act Grand Master, the Lincoln, NE-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Derek M. Walker is someone, who in his own words “knows nothing about music.” Walker initially relocated to Los Angeles for some adventure and to pursue music and film production despite not having a formal education in either one.

Walker spent a several year stint as the lead guitarist of Mere Mortals and then spent several years attempting to write and produce films and work on other creative pursuits; however, his obsession with music drove him back into his home studio, where he worked on writing and recording the demos that would eventually become Grand Master’s soon-to-be released album I Am Living. Initially Walker didn’t have intention of professionally recording or releasing the material but after he had written almost a dozen demos, he wondered to himself, what the purpose was if he didn’t do anything with them.

The Lincoln-born, Los Angeles-based mutli-instraumetnalist began the formal recording process by recording guitar, bass and vocals with his former Mere Mortals bandmate and current member of United Ghosts’ Axel Steurwald at Stuerwald’s Bedrock Studio. Walker didn’t make any changes to the material; he just duplicated what was already there with some vintage equipment. He then took the completed files over to Grammy Award-winning producer Mark Rains, who recorded drums with Bad Radio’s and United Ghosts’ Joey Ponchetti at Rains’ Station House studio — with Rains also mixing the album.

The album was then sent to JJ Golden, who mastered the material at Golden Mastering. Of course, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Walker had to complete his portion of the mixing and mastering process remotely, listening to mixes of headphones and then in hi car, comparing sounds and changes and sending notes. He’d wait a few days for changes to be made and they would all repeat the process again. But throughout it all. Walker says that he enjoyed the freedom of an untraditional songwriting process — one in which, he wasn’t concerned with song structure or arrangements. If he felt like singing a verse, he did so; if he felt like adding a chorus, he did so and if he didn’t, he it wasn’t added.

Slated for a September 25, 2020 release I Am Living reportedly finds the Lincoln-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist making the sort of music you’d cruise down the highway and bob your head while playing. I Am Living’s latest single, album title track “I Am Living” is an arena friendly psych rock song centered around a persistent, motorik groove, enormous fuzz and distortion pedal power chords, thunderous drumming and a rousingly anthemic hook. And while sonically, the song brings Songs for the Deaf-era Queens of the Stone Age to mind, the song manages to feel remarkably upbeat.

The recently released video features incredibly pixellated footage of cars driving down late night streets and of Walker bobbing his head and singing along. It’s eerie yet appropriately trippy.

Live Footage: Tame Impala on NPR Tiny Desk (At Home) Concert

Over the course of this site’s 10 year history, I’ve spilled quite a bit of virtual ink covering the Perth, Australia-born and-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and JOVM mainstay Kevin Parker, the creative mastermind behind the critically acclaimed and commercially successful psych pop/synth pop project Tame Impala.

Parker’s third Tame Impala album, 2015’s Currents was a critical and commercial breakthrough: released to wide-ranging critical applause across the blogosphere and elsewhere the album was a RIAA Gold-Certified, Grammy-nominated effort that revealed a decided change in direction for Parker’s songwriting and sound, as it featured some of his most emotionally direct lyrics paired with a nuanced and textured sound that drew from and meshed elements of psych rock, psych pop, prog rock, synth pop and R&B.

Released earlier this year, Parker’s fourth Tame Impala effort The Slow Rush continued an impressive and enviable run of critically applauded and commercially material, but unlike its immediate predecessor, the album thematically focuses on the rapid passing of time and life’s infinite cycles of creation and destruction — with the material conjuring the feeling of a lifetime in a lightning bolt, of major milestones and events whizzing by you while you’re staring at your phone. “A lot of the songs carry this idea of time passing, of seeing your life flash before your eyes, being able to see clearly your life from this point onwards. I’m being swept by this notion of time passing. There’s something really intoxicating about it,” Parker told the New York Times.

I’ve manged to write about five of The Slow Rush’s singles — the upbeat “Patience,” which seamlessly bridged ’90s house and ’70s funk while being a meditation on the cycles and phrases of life; “Borderline,” a hook-driven, blissed out track with house music flourishes; “It Might Be Time,”a swaggering prog rock meets psych pop anthem featuring shimmering synth arpeggios, thumping beats and an enormous hook; “Lost in Yesterday,” a woozy and lysergic, disco-tinged banger that explored time’s distorting effect on perspective and memories; and “Is It True,” which continued a run of swooning yet dance floor friendly material that focused on the impermanence and confusion of love and the countless paths our lives can take with just one single decision. 

Recently, Parker was invited to do a NPR Tiny Desk (Home) Concert. By default, the presentation of Parker’s music different than what you made expect: in the studio, Parker writes, performs and records all the instrumental and programming parts of his material — and live, he has a insanely talented collection of touring musicians, who interpret the material. For his Tiny Desk (Home) Concert, Parker, got his longtime collaborator Jay Watson and Dom Simper to do an electronic jam with a shit ton of electronic gear, including samplers, sequencers and mixers and some instruments. “I’ve wanted to do something like this for a while and thought Tiny Desk would be the opportunity to do it,” Parker told NPR’s Bobby Carter. 

So for this live session Paker, Watson and Simper performed the album’s more synth-based material “Breathe Deeper,”and the aforementioned “Is It True” and “Patience.” Interestingly, the NPR Tiny Desk session is a seamless synthesis of the live and studio approaches that manages to be faithful to the album’s material while giving it a free-flowing jam-like feel. 

Thundercat · Dragonball Durag (Remix) [feat. Guapdad 4000 & Smino]

Throughout the course of this site’s almost 10 year history  I’ve managed to spill quite a bit of virtual ink covering the critically applauded, Grammy Award-wining singer/songwriter, bassist and JOVM mainstay artist Stephen “Thundercat” Bruner. Bruner has long been a Brainfeeder Records cornerstone, releasing critically applauded material including  Golden Age of Apocalypse, 2013’s Apocalypse, 2015’s The Beyond/Where Giants Roam EP and 2017’s Drunk while also establishing himself as a highly sough-after collaborator, contributing to Kamasi Washington’s aptly titled 2015 effort, The Epic and to Kendrick Lamar‘s 2016 commercial and critical smash hit, the Grammy Award winning To Pimp A Butterfly. And in 2018, he teamed up with Flying Lotus to compose an original score for an episode of Donald Glover’s Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning TV series Atlanta.

Drunk, Bruner’s most recent album was conceived and written as an epic journey into the bizarre, hilarious and sometimes dark mind of the Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter and bassist, but importantly, the album represented a major career transition — from virtuoso bassist and collaborator, to globally recognized star while further cementing his reputation for arguably being one of the past decade’s most unique, genre-defying voices. Thundercat’s fourth full-length album, the Flying Lotus-produced It Is What It Is was released earlier this year through Brainfeeder Records. Much like its immediate predecessor, the album features a who’s who list of collaborators and guest spots from the likes of Ty Dolla $ign, Childish Gambino, Lil B, Kamasi Washington, The Internet‘s Steve Lacy, Slave‘s Steve Arrington, BADBADNOTGOOD, Louis Cole and Zack Fox among others.

“This album is about love, loss, life and the ups and downs that come with that,” Bruner says in press notes. “It’s a bit tongue-in-cheek, but at different points in life you come across places that you don’t necessarily understand… some things just aren’t meant to be understood.”

It Is What It Is‘ second single, “Dragonball Durag” is a mid-tempo strut of a song centered around Bruner’s chunky and wobbling bass lines and his velvety falsetto — and while recalling Quiet Storm-era funky soul, the song is mischievous and funny song that details its creator’s sense of humor and obsession with Dragon Ball Z and the confidence boosting power of the durag.

“I have a Dragon Ball tattoo… it runs everything. There is a saying that Dragon Ball is life,” Bruner explains. As for the durag: “There are two types of people in the world, the guy with the durag and the guy who doesn’t know what a durag is. The durag is a superpower, to turn your swag on… it does something, it changes you. If you have one in the wardrobe, think about wearing it tonight, and it may pop off because you never know what’s going to happen.”

Thundercat’s fourth album was released to widespread critical applause earlier this year and continuing the momentum as best as he could in light of pandemic-related lockdowns, the JOVM recently released a remix of “Dragonball Durag,” that features St. Louis emcee and vocalist Smino and Los Angeles-based emcee, vocalist, creative and like-minded anime fanatic Guapdad 4000. Smino is the co-founder of the Zero Fatigue collective, which features Bari, Monte Booker, Jay2 and Rayvn Layne — and he’s a member of of Ghetto Sage with Saba and Noname. Gaupdad 4000 and Smino are also members of hip-hop supergroup Zoink Gang with JID and Buddy. So all of these brothers are insanely busy. As far as the remix, it’s a straightforward take on the song that with the addition of Guapdad and Smino’s verses, add a new and ridiculous context to the song.  The swag is more, the fuckboi assholery is more and it’s fucking hilarious.

 

 

 

New Video: JOVM Mainstay Tame Impala Releases a Lysergic Visual for “Is It True”

Over the course of this site’s 10 year history, I’ve spilled quite a bit of virtual ink covering the Perth, Australia-born and-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and JOVM mainstay Kevin Parker, the creative mastermind behind the critically acclaimed and commercially successful psych pop/synth pop project Tame Impala.

Parker’s third Tame Impala album, 2015’s Currents was a critical and commercial breakthrough: released to wide-ranging critical applause across the blogosphere and elsewhere the album was a RIAA Gold-Certified, Grammy-nominated effort that revealed a decided change in direction for Parker’s songwriting and sound, as it featured some of his most emotionally direct lyrics paired with a nuanced and textured sound that drew from and meshed elements of psych rock, psych pop, prog rock, synth pop and R&B.

Released earlier this year, Parker’s fourth Tame Impala effort The Slow Rush continued an impressive and enviable run of critically applauded and commercially material, but unlike its immediate predecessor, the album thematically focuses on the rapid passing of time and life’s infinite cycles of creation and destruction — with the material conjuring the feeling of a lifetime in a lightning bolt, of major milestones and events whizzing by you while you’re staring at your phone. “A lot of the songs carry this idea of time passing, of seeing your life flash before your eyes, being able to see clearly your life from this point onwards. I’m being swept by this notion of time passing. There’s something really intoxicating about it,” Parker told the New York Times.

I’ve managed to write about four of the album’s previous release singles — the upbeat “Patience,” a single which seamlessly bridged ’90s house and ’70s funk while being a meditation on the cycles and phrases of life; “Borderline,” a hook-driven, blissed out track with house music flourishes; It Might Be Time,”a swaggering prog rock meets psych pop anthem featuring shimmering synth arpeggios, thumping beats and an enormous hook; and “Lost in Yesterday,” a woozy and lysergic, disco-tinged banger that explored time’s distorting effect on perspective and memories that suggested that given enough time, nostalgia gives even the most embittering times in your life, a rosy tinge and a sense of purpose and meaning that may not have actually existed.

The Slow Rush’s fifth and latest single “Is It True” continues a run of swooning yet dance floor friendly material featuring handclap led percussion, synth arpeggios, Parker’s plaintive falsetto an enormous hook and a shimmering and dreamy bridge held together by a sinuous bass line. And while dance floor friendly, the track focuses on the seeming impermanence and confusion of love, and the countless paths our lives can take with just one single decision. In the song’s case, the decision is whether or not its narrator tells an object of affection how he feels for her — with the understanding that whatever happens will be life altering.

The recently released video for “Is It True” features Parker on a TV screen singing the song and rocking out to it — in front of flashing and rapidly morphing background and trippy lighting effects. At one point we see Parker laying in grassy, technicolor field, adding to the overall lysergic feel. 

Live Footage: Black Pumas Performs “Fire” on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”

I’ve spilled quit a bit of virtual ink covering the Grammy Award-nominated Austin, TX-based soul act and JOVM mainstays, Black Pumas over the past year. Led by Grammy Award-winning producer, songwriter, guitarist and producer Adrian Quesada and San Fernando Valley-born singer/songwriter and guitarist Eric Burton, the acclaimed act can trace their origins back to 2017. Burton, who grew up singing in church and in musical theater, started busking at the Santa Monica pier, where he brought in a few hundred dollars and day and honing his performance skills. He then traveled through the Western states before deciding to settle down in Austin, setting up a busking spot on 6th Street and Congress, a prime location in the city’s downtown neighborhood for maximum exposure.  

Meanwhile, Quesada was looking to collaborate with someone new. He reached out to friends in Los Angeles and London — but nothing seemed to fit. Serendipitously, a mutual friend recommended Burton to Quesada, telling the Grammy Award-winning songwriter, guitarist and producer that Burton was the best singer he had ever heard. The two musicians connected but Burton took a while to respond. “My friends were like ‘Dude, you’re a mad man, you need to hit that guy back!’” Burton recalls. When Burton did call Quesada, he sang to him over the phone. “I loved his energy, his vibe, and I knew it would be incredible on record,” Quesada says. “From the moment I heard him on the phone, I was all about it.”

Last year, the duo along with a talented cast of collaborators released their breakthrough full-length debut. Along with that, the band had gone on a relentless tour schedule that brought their uplifting live show across North America and the European Union, including three separate stops in the New York area: The Knitting Factory, last May; Mercury Lounge, last July; and Brooklyn Bowl last September. Additionally, during that same period of time the band has made begun to make the rounds across the nationally televised talk show circuit, playing  Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Ellen Show and others.

Since the self-titled debut’s release, the album has sold 155,000+ album equivalents worldwide, with smash hit “Colors” hitting #1 on Adult Album Alternative (AAA) radio and has been streamed over 60 million times. And as I mentioned earlier, the band was nominated for a Best New Artist Grammy along with fellow JOVM mainstay Yola — losing out to Billie Eilish.

Black Pumas will be releasing a deluxe version of their breakthrough self-titled album, which will feature new artwork, previously unpublished in-studio and live performance photographs, as well as a bonus 7 inch featuring three previously unreleased originals, live-in studio versions of “Colors,” “October 33,” and “Confines;” a live version of “Know You Better,” recorded at C-Boys Heart & Soul, the Austin club, where the band first made a name for themselves; the band’s attention-grabbing covers of The Beatles‘ “Eleanor Rigby,” Death’s “Politicians in My Eyes,” Bobby “Blue” Bland‘s “Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City,” and Tracy Chapman‘s “Fast Car,” which they premiered on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert last month.

Building upon their rapidly growing profile, the act was recently on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, where they performed one of my favorite songs off their self-titled album, the Muscle Shoals-like shuffle “Fire.”

Live Footage: Black Pumas Perform “Confines” with a String Quartet

I’ve spilled quit a bit of virtual ink covering the Grammy Award-nominated Austin, TX-based soul act and JOVM mainstays, Black Pumas over the past couple of years. Led by Grammy Award-winning producer, songwriter, guitarist and producer Adrian Quesada and San Fernando Valley-born singer/songwriter and guitarist Eric Burton, the acclaimed act can trace their origins back to 2017. Burton, who grew up singing in church and in musical theater 

Burton, who grew up singing in church and in musical theater, started busking at the Santa Monica pier, where he brought in a few hundred dollars and day and honing his performance skills. He then traveled through the Western states before deciding to settle down in Austin, setting up a busking spot on 6th Street and Congress, a prime location in the city’s downtown neighborhood for maximum exposure.  Meanwhile, Quesada was looking to collaborate with someone knew. He reached out to friends in Los Angeles and London — but nothing seemed to fit. Serendipitously, a mutual friend recommended Burton to Quesada, telling the Grammy Award-winning songwriter, guitarist and producer that Burton was the best singer he had ever heard. 

The two musicians connected but Burton took a while to respond. “My friends were like ‘Dude, you’re a mad man, you need to hit that guy back!’” Burton recalls. When Burton did call Quesada, he sang to him over the phone. “I loved his energy, his vibe, and I knew it would be incredible on record,” Quesada says. “From the moment I heard him on the phone, I was all about it.”

Last year, the duo along with a talented cast of collaborators released their breakthrough full-length debut. Along with that, the band had gone on a relentless tour schedule that brought their uplifting live show across North America and the European Union, including three separate stops in the New York area: The Knitting Factory, last May; Mercury Lounge, last July; and Brooklyn Bowl last September. Additionally, during that same period of time the band has made begun to make the rounds across the nationally televised talk show circuit, playing  Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Ellen Show and others.

Since the self-titled debut’s release, the album has sold 155,000+ album equivalents worldwide, with smash hit “Colors” hitting #1 on Adult Album Alternative (AAA) radio and has been streamed over 60 million times. And as I mentioned earlier, the band was nominated for a Best New Artist Grammy along with fellow JOVM mainstay Yola — losing out to Billie Eilish. 

Black Pumas will be releasing a deluxe version of their breakthrough self-titled album, which will feature new artwork, previously unpublished in-studio and live performance photographs, as well as a bonus 7 inch featuring three previously unreleased originals, live-in studio versions of “Colors,” “October 33,” and “Confines;” a live version of “Know You Better,” recorded at C-Boys Heart & Soul, the Austin club, where the band first made a name for themselves; the band’s attention-grabbing covers of The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby,” Death’s “Politicians in My Eyes,” Bobby “Blue” Bland’s “Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City,” and Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car,” which they premiered on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert last month. To celebrate the forthcoming release of the deluxe edition, the band released live footage of their in-studio performance of “Confines” with a string quartet. While continuing to show viewers that Burton is a stand-out star, the in studio rendition is a stunningly gorgeous version of the album single. 

Throwback: Happy 81st Birthday Mavis Staples!

Throughout the course of this site’s almost ten year history, I’ve managed to spill quite a bit of virtual ink covering the legendary Chicago-born singer, actress, and civil rights activist Mavis Staples. Going into a deep dive into her career as a member of the Staple Singers and and a solo artist will be a bit gratuitous — but throughout her career, she has received commercial and critical success, as well as a proverbial boatload of accolades. Stapes has received eight Grammy Awards nominations with the Staple Singers, winning one — a Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 2004. She also received a Grammy nod for a collaboration with longtime friend Bob Dylan. And as a solo artist, she’s been nominated for five Grammys, winning two — Best Americana Album for 2010’s You Are Not Alone and a Best American Roots Performance for  2015’s ”See That My Grave Is Kept Clean.”

She also has been nominated for 11 Blues Music Awards, winning nine, including Album of the Year for 2004’s Have A Little Faith, which featured Song of the Year and album title track “Have A Little Faith.” She’s also won three Soul Blues Female Artist Awards — one in 2004 and back to back wins in 2017 and 2018. Staples was also inducted into Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a member of The Staple Singers in 1999, was a Kennedy CenterHonoree in 2016 and inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2017.

Today is the legendary vocalist’s 81st birthday and I personally wanted to wish the national treasure a very Happy Birthday. May there be at least another 80 more!

ATO Records, is a New York-based indie label  — and over their 20 years of existence, the label has released a diverse range of artists, whose work generally imparts messages of inclusivity, justice and equality. Music offers solace — and is most often an agent and vehicle for change. In that spirit, the label has assembled a compilation album Silence Is Not an Option (turn this up) that showcases the label’s roster while simultaneously showcasing some fo the tracks off their extensive catalog that explore themes and issues of identity, community, social justice and resistance.

The compilation also prominently features “See Me,” a brand new song by Grammy-nominated R&B singer/songwriter Emily King. The breathtakingly gorgeous track, centered around an atmospheric arrangement of twinkling keys and King’s soulful vocals was written just a few days ago in response to the Black Lives Matters protests all over the world.  “Feeling so moved by this powerful time,” says King. “Everyday watching the world demand justice. I wake up with sadness but also hope. Like people are starting to finally notice how deeply broken things are. Can you hear me now? Can you see me now? I started singing the words and they wouldn’t leave my head.”

 

 

Live Footage: JOVM Mainstays Black Pumas Perform Their Gorgeous Cover of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”

Over the past 18 months or so, I’ve spilled quite a bit of virtual ink covering the Grammy Award-nominated Austin, TX-based soul act and JOVM mainstays, Black Pumas. Led by Grammy Award-winning producer, songwriter and guitarist Adrian Quesada and 27 year old singer/songwriter Eric Burton, the act can trace its origins back to when Burton, a popular street performer in his native  Los Angeles busked his way across country to Austin, where he eventually met Quesada.

Now, as you may recall, the acclaimed Austin-based soul act their critically applauded and commercially successful self-titled, full-length debut, an effort that featured the smash hit “Colors,” which amassed over four million YouTubeviews —and being one o the most added songs to Adult Album Alternative (AAAA) radio. Along with that, the band had gone on a relentless tour schedule that brought their uplifting live show across North America and the European Union, including three separate stops in the New York area: The Knitting Factory, last May; Mercury Lounge, last July; and Brooklyn Bowl last September. Additionally, during that same period of time the band has made begun to make the rounds across the nationally televised talk show circuit, playing  Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Ellen Show and others.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the members of the acclaimed, Austin-based JOVM mainstay act had been covering Tracy Chapman‘s  smash hit “Fast Car” during their live sets — and their rendition has quickly become a fan favorite. Unsurprisingly, the song and its lyrics resonate deeply with Burton — and although the Black Pumas cover is fairly straightforward and loving rendition, it comes from a deeply personal place, as though Burton could have written it himself. “To me, ‘Fast Car’ is a song of hope, dreams and a relentless heart to go somewhere and be someone,” says Burton. “I learned the song when I first began to busk and of the covers that I knew, it garnered the most attention from the random passerby. As a musician and artist, I’m attracted to songs that make us reflect on our daily struggles for making life worth living for.”

Recently, Black Pumas performed their gorgeous and heartfelt cover of “Fast Car” on Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Interestingly, with each repeated listen of the Black Pumas cover, I’m reminded of what a great song “Fast Car” is — and how much I loved it.  Sometimes a great song is an artist reaching down within themselves to tell the truth as they see it, paired with their voice and a guitar — or whatever instrument they feel fit.