Tag: Neil Young

New Audio: Meshell Ndegeocello Releases a Folksy Cover of Force MD’s “Tender Love”

Born Michelle Lynn Johnson to US Army Sergeant Major Jacques Johnson, a saxophonist and Helen Johnson, a health care work, the Berlin, Germany-born, American-based singer/songwriter, rapper and bassist Meshell Ndegeocello was raised in Washington, DC where she attended the Duke Ellington School of the Arts and Oxon Hill High School. When she turned 17, she adopted the name Meshell Ndegeocello, with the surname, as she has explained meaning “free like a bird in Swahili.”

In the late 80s, Ndedgeocello gigged around DC’s go-go circuit, playing with bands like Prophecy, Little Bennie and the Masters, and Rare Essence before unsuccessfully trying out for Living Colour’s bassist spot, after Muzz Skillings left the band. Deciding to go solo, Ndegeocello, has the distinction of being Madonna’s Maverick Records first signings and while achieving a fair amount of commercial success. Her collaborative cover of Van Morrison’s “Wild Night,” with John Mellencamp peaked at #3 on the Billboard Charts in 1994 and “If That’s Your Boyfriend (He Wasn’t Last Night)” peaked at #73 later that year. Adding to a rapidly rising profile, she collaborated with the legendary Herbie Hancock on a track for Red Hot Organization’s AIDS awareness, tribute compilation Stolen Moments: Red Hot + Cool, which was named Time Magazine’s “Album of the Year.”  Her cover of Bill Withers’ “Who Is He (And What Is He to You)” was a #1 Dance Hit in 1996 and was briefly featured in the major motion picture Jerry Maguire, and she landed Dance Top 20 hits with “Earth,” “Leviticus: Faggot,” and “Stay.” Along with that she collaborated with Madonna, playing bass on “I’d Rather Be Your Lover,” and contributing a verse at the last minute, after Tupac Shakur had criminal charges filed against him. Additionally, Ndegeocello has collaborated with Chaka Khan, rapping “Never Miss the Water,” a single that landed #1 on Billboard’s Dance Club Charts and peaked at #36 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles Chart. Additionally, Ndegeocello has collaborated with the likes of Basement Jaxx, Indigo Girls, Scritti Politti, The Blind Boys of Alabama, The Rolling Stones, Alanis Morrissette and Zap Mama.
Ndeogecello has also had her music featured in the soundtracks of How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Lost & Delirious, Batman & Robin, Love Jones, Love & Basketball, Talk to Me, Tyler Perry’s Daddy’s Little Girls, The Best Man, Higher Learning, Down in the Delta, The Hurricane, Noah’s Arc: Jumping the Broom and Soul Men.

Interestingly, Ndegeocello has managed the rare feat of achieving commercial success while arguably being one of the most uncompromisingly, iconoclastic and unique artists of the past 25 years — and she’s been credited as being at the forefront of the neo-soul movement, thanks in part to a genre defying and difficult to pigeonhole sound that draws from hip-hop, classic soul, rock, reggae, jazz and singer/songwriter pop. Adding to that iconoclastic nature, Ndegeocello has written and composed a musical influenced by James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time, titled Can I Get a Witness?: The Gospel of James Baldwin and she released a gorgeous tribute album to Nina Simone, which featured collaborations with JOVM mainstay Cody ChesnuTT and others.

The renowned bassist, singer/songwriter and rapper’s latest album Ventriloquism is slated for a March 16, 2018 release and the album will feature covers of songs by TLC, Janet Jackson, Tina Tuner, Prince and others, all of which have been influential to Ndeogeocello’s work — but with a unique take. The album’s first single, her cover of Force MD’s smash hit “Tender Love,” finds Ndegeocello turning the slow-burning 80s piano ballad classic into a folksy, Harvest-era Neil Young/Fleetwood Mac track, complete with shuffling drumming, twinkling Fender Rhodes and harmonica. In my mind, what makes Ndegeocello’s cover truly fascinating is that she manages to completely eschew the 80s pop ballad cheesiness of the song, which makes it endearing 30 years after its release but without doing away with the song’s earnestness — while pointing out that the song manages to possess something that listeners far removed from the song’s initial release can grasp and connect to on a very visceral level. That’s what separates the great, timeless songs from the countless songs that will be forgotten 6 months or more after they’ve been released.  And on another level, the song will continue the renowned and iconoclastic Ndegeocello’s commentary on society’s narrow expectations of what black music should sound and be like.

New Video: The Psychedelic Visuals for Hebdo’s 70s Rock Channeling “Go Back Home”

Joseph Hebdo is a Columbus OH-born and based singer/songwriter and producer, known by mononym Hebdo, who with the release of four EPs and two full-length albums has developed a reputation for an adventurous defiance of easy categorization although sonically, he has generally specialized in a rather anachronistic sound, influenced by Paul McCartney, Dr. Dog, Beck, Andrew Bird and others, complete with layered vocals, incredibly catchy choruses and a deliberate attention to craft. Unsurprisingly, his songwriting process initially begins in solitude, building songs in the studio and experimenting endlessly before brining in backing musicians to flesh out the material and add finishing touches — i.e., overdubs, additional tracking and the like. However, his latest single “Go Back Home” was recorded with a full-band in a single session at 3 Elliot Studio and the single finds the Columbus, OH-based singer/songwriter and his backing band sounding as though they were taking cues from Creedence Clearwater Revival, Bob Dylan, The Band and Neil Young with the material walking a tightrope between folk, AM rock, southern rock, complete with a loose, jam-band like vibe and an impressive guitar solo.

Adding to the anachronistic vibes, the recently released video pairs 70s-inspired animation with slickly, shot live footage evoking travel in a variety of forms that’s adds a trippy sensibility to the proceedings. 
 
 

New Video: The Trippy Psychedelia Meets New Age Visuals for Jonathan Wilson’s Lush New Single “Over The Midnight”

Jonathan Wilson is a Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, who has collaborated with the likes of Father John Misty, Lucius, Karen Elson and Conor Oberst, contributed guitar and vocals as a member of the backing and touring bands for Roger Waters’ Grammy nominated Is This The Life We Really Want?, and throughout that same period, the highly sought after Wilson has released two albums which have garnered comparisons to the Laurel Canyon troubadours of the 1960s and 1970s — in particular Crosby, Stills and Nash, Neil Young, Dennis Wilson, Tom Petty and others; however, Wilson’s third and forthcoming album, Rare Birds, which is slated for a March 2, 2018 release through renowned indie label Bella Union Records is reportedly one of the singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer’s most ambitious and downright “maximalist” works to date featuring contributions from collaborators Father John Misty and Lucius, as well as Lana Del Rey and New Age musician Laraaji.

While much of the album’s material thematically and lyrically find Wilson meditating on a failed relationship and its aftermath, he has insisted in press notes that it’s not meant to specifically be a concept album. “It’s meant more as a healing affair, a rejuvenation, a reconciliation, for others, and for me. I wanted to balance personal narrative with the need I feel for calming, healing music. I think we need journeys in sound, psychedelic gossamer-winged music, to incite hope, positivity, longing, reckless abandon and regret. It’s all in there.” And interestingly enough, the album’s first single “Over The Midnight” finds Wilson pairing British, early 80s synth pop with layered instrumentation that may bring to mind Peter Gabriel 3, Security and So-era Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush and Tears for Fears but while nodding at the lush psych pop of contemporaries like Tame Impala — but with a swooning romanticism; after all, the song is about a sacred and profoundly safe space where lovers could exist while escaping a world on the verge of collapse.

Directed by Andrea Nakhla and featuring animation by Clara Luzian, the recently released video for “Over The Midnight” draws from New Age concepts of consciousness and awareness of one’s connectedness to the larger universe around them and to others.

 

If you had been frequenting this site earlier this year, you would have come across a post on the Brooklyn-based psych rock/stoner rock act Weird Owl. And since their formation back in 2004, the band comprised of Trevor Tyrrell (guitar, vocals), Jon Rudd (guitar), Sean Reynolds (drums), Kenneth Cook (bass, keys, synths, backing vocals) and John Cassidy (keys, synths), have developed a reputation for a sound that’s been compared to Deep Purple, Hawkwind, Neil Young, Pink Floyd and Spirit, for releasing a steady stream of new music, which they’ve supported through several tours of the US and UK. (Interestingly enough, their first two albums 2009’s Ever the Silver Cord Be Loosed and 2011’s Build Your Beast a Fire, which were self-released managed to catch the attention of   The Brian Jonestown Massacre‘s Anton Newcombe, who released the band’s 2013 EP Healing and 2015’s Interstellar Skeletal through his A Recordings, Ltd. — and as a result, the Brooklyn-based psych rock received a growing international profile within psych rock circles.)

Now, as you may recall, the band’s sixth full-length Bubblegum Brainwaves is slated for release Friday, and the album thematically is influenced by our weird and terrifying age as it touches upon cognitive dissonance, darkness, uncertainty, war and a world crumbling towards a dysfunctional dystopia, while reportedly finding the band pushing their sound towards new directions; in fact, Bubblegum Brainwaves‘ first single
You (Sometimes Not You),” featured shimmering synths and a catchy Summer of Love meets retro-futuristic synth pop melody paired with a soaring hook. The album’s latest single “Invisibility Cloak” may arguably be one of the album’s anthemic and forceful tunes — but it manages to possess a dark, foreboding vibe, reminiscent of JOVM mainstays King Gizzard and Lizard Wizard.

Since their formation in 2004, the Brooklyn-based psych rock/stoner rock Weird Owl, comprised of Trevor Tyrrell (guitar, vocals), Jon Rudd (guitar), Sean Reynolds (drums), Kenneth Cook (bass, keys, synths, backing vocals) and John Cassidy (keys, synths), have developed a reputation for a sound that’s been compared to Deep Purple, Hawkwind, Neil Young, Pink Floyd and Spirit, for releasing a steady stream of new music, which they’ve supported through tours of the US and UK; in fact, heir first two albums 2009’s Ever the Silver Cord Be Loosed and 2011’s Build Your Beast a Fire were self-released with later material catching the attention of The Brian Jonestown Massacre‘s Anton Newcombe, who released the band’s 2013 EP Healing and 2015’s Interstellar Skeletal through his A Recordings, Ltd. 

The band’s sixth release this decade, Bubblegum Brainwaves is slated for an October 13, 2017 release, and the album thematically touches upon cognitive dissonance, darkness, uncertainty, war, a world crumbling towards a dysfunctional dystopia — and naturally is informed by the currently political climate while reportedly finding the band pushing their sound towards new directions.  And as you’ll hear on “You (Sometimes Not You),” the first single off the band’s forthcoming album, the members of Weird Owl pair shimmering synths with a soaring hook and a catchy, Summer of Love meets retro-futuristic synth pop melody.

 


New Video: The Playful and Menacing Visuals for Cool Ghouls’ “(If I Can’t Be) The Man”

With the release of 2014’s A Swirling Fire Burning Through the Rye, the San Francisco, CA-based psych rock/indie rock quartet Cool Ghouls, comprised of Pat Thomas, Ryan Wong, Pat McDonald, and Alex Fleshman, received a growing national profile for a sound that’s clearly indebted to The Byrds, Crosby, Stills, and Nash, Neil Young, Creedence Clearwater Revival and classic psych rock as their material is generally comprised of jangling guitar chords, simple yet propulsive percussion and layered, multi-part harmonies. Last year’s Animal Races further cemented their growing profile and reputation for crafting jangling guitar rock straight out of 1966-1970 or so; in fact, you may recall that last year I wrote about album singles “Sundial” and “Spectator.”

Currently, the band is on tour to support Animal Races and a limited release, tour-only cassette Gord’s Horse but interestingly enough, Animal Races’ latest single is the twangy, Grateful Dead and Everybody Says This Is Nowhere-era Neil Young–leaning bit of psych rock “(If I Can’t) Be The Man.”

Directed, shot and edited by Ry Pieri, the recently released video for “(If I Can’t) Be The Man” features the members of Cool Ghouls as cheap beer drinking clowns in a park and it’s all fun and games until the drunkenness turns rather dark.

New Audio: The Afghan Whigs Return with a Tribal and Darkly Seductive New Single

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past few years, you’d likely be familiar with the Cincinnati, OH-based indie rock act, The Afghan Whigs. Currently comprised of founding members Greg Dulli (guitar, vocals) and John Curley (bass) along with Dave Rosser (guitar), Jon Skibic (guitar), multi-instrumentalist Rick Nelson and Patrick Keeler (drums), the Cincinnati-based outfit can trace its origins to when its founding members — Dulli, Curley and Steve Earle (drums) founded the back in 1986, after the breakup of Dulli’s previous band The Black Republicans. As the story goes, Curley introduced Dulli to Rick McCollum (guitar), a frequent jam partner of Curley’s, who had developed a reputation within the Cincinnati scene for his use of effects pedals. With their initial lineup complete, the band went on to write material that Dulli has publicly described as being a cross between a cross between The Band, The Temptations and Neil Young and Crazy Horse.

Although the band has since gone through several lineup changes, a lengthy breakup and a recent and very fruitful reunion, the Cincinnati-based band has the distinction of being within the first batch of bands that Sub Pop Records ever signed outside of the Pacific Northwest, and one of the more highly-regarded and critically applauded bands of the early 90s with 1993’s Gentlemen landing at number 17 on The Village Voice‘s Pazz and Jop critics list and 1996’s Black Love, arguably their most commercially successful effort landed at number 79 on the Billboard Top 200. Interestingly, while being their most commercially successful effort, Black Love was praised for sound that reportedly drew from 1970s Rolling Stones while setting themselves apart from the rock music being released that year.

After their breakup in 2001, the members of the band went on towards other creative pursuits — with Dulli frequently and famously collaborating with Mark Lanegan and others; but after reuniting for a series of festival tours, the band released 2014’s Do To The Beast, which marked both the band’s first proper release in over 16 years and the band’s return to Sub Pop Records. And while being one of that year’s most forceful and seductive albums, the album continued Dulli’s long-held reputation for writing angst and bile-filled lyrics, focusing on bitter, lingering memories of relationships gone sour and on his own long-held obsessions with drug addiction, sexual deviancy, suicidal ideation and bleak, gallows humor. And because most of the lyrics are written and sun from the first person, it gives the material a disturbing and deeply personal air, as though the song’s narrators are confession their darkest, most fucked up secrets, desires and fantasies.

In Spades, the band’s forthcoming album is slated for a May 5, 2017 release through Sub Pop Records and the album, which was produced by the band’s Greg Dulli reportedly finds the band at their most soulful and urgent and while being darkly seductive, emphasizing a pop leaning sensibility. And much like their previously recorded work, the material manages to be veiled. “It’s a spooky record,” notes Dulli. “I like that it’s veiled. It’s not a concept album per se, but as I began to assemble it, I saw an arc and followed it. To me, it’s about memory — in particular, how quickly life and memory can blur together.” Last month, I wrote about In Spades’ first single “Demon In Profile,” a single that evoked life’s uneasily lingering ghosts — the electric tough of a lover’s skin, their smell, their very physical presence, and the sense of loss and confusion that permeates everything once that person is no longer in your life; that hurt and ache are inescapable parts of our lives that makes the necessary process of letting go and moving forward seem ridiculous and impossible; and that worse yet, even when you’ve moved forward, you can’t possibly forget. Drawing more directly from soul — thanks in part to a horn section — the song manages to be evoke Quiet Storm soul-like sexiness with a bold, arena rock friendliness. In Spades’ second and latest single “Arabian Nights” is an enormous, arena rock-friendly song that indirectly nods at Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy and The Who’s Who’s Next and Who Are You — thanks in part to Keeler’s swaggering, tribal-like stomp drum work, propulsive synths and blistering guitar work; but just underneath the stormy and swaggering surface is a vulnerability and sensuality that Dulli evokes through crooned vocals.

New Video: The Darkly Seductive and Soulful Visuals and Sounds of The Afghan Whigs’ Newest Single “Demon In Profile”

Currently comprised of founding members Greg Dulli (guitar, vocals) and John Curley (bass) along with Dave Rosser (guitar), Jon Skibic (guitar), multi-instrumentalist Rick Nelson and Cully Symington (drums), the Cincinnati, OH-based septet The Afghan Whigs can trace its origins to when its founding members — Dulli, Curley and Steve Earle (drums) founded the band in 1986 after the breakup of Dulli’s previous band The Black Republicans. Curley introduced Dulli to Rick McCollum (guitar), a frequent jam partner, who had developed a reputation across the Cincinnati scene for use of effects pedals. With their initial lineup finalized, Dulli has publicly described the band as intending to be a cross between The Band, The Temptations and Neil Young and Crazy Horse.

Although the band has gone through several lineups, including a lengthy breakup and a recent reunion, the Cincinnati-based band has the distinction of being among the first batch of bands that Sub Pop Records signed outside of the Pacific Northwest, as well as being one of the more highly-regarded and critically applauded bands of the early 90s, with 1993’s Gentlemen landing at number 17 on The Village Voice’s Pazz and Jop critics list and 1996’s Black Love, which landed at number 79 on the Billboard Top 200, while being critically praised for a sound that reportedly drew from 1970s Rolling Stones while setting themselves apart from the rock music being released that year.

After their breakup in 2001, the members of the band went on towards other creative pursuits — with Dulli frequently and famously collaborating with Mark Lanegan and others; but after reuniting for a series of festival tours, the band released 2014’s Do To The Beast, which marked both the band’s first proper release in over 16 years and the band’s return to Sub Pop Records. And while arguably being one of that year’s most forceful albums rooted around Dulli’s angst and bile-filled lyrics, evoking the bitter, lingering and fucked up memories of a relationship gone terribly sour; but while also focusing on Dulli’s long-held obsessions.

In Spades, the band’s forthcoming album is slated for a May 5, 2017 release through Sub Pop Records and the album, which was produced by the band’s Greg Dulli reportedly finds the band at their most soulful and urgent and while being darkly seductive, emphasizing a pop leaning sensibility. And much like their previously recorded work, the material manages to be veiled. “It’s a spooky record,” notes Dulli. “I like that it’s veiled. It’s not a concept album per se, but as I began to assemble it, I saw an arc and followed it. To me, it’s about memory — in particular, how quickly life and memory can blur together.” And as you’ll hear on the album’s first single “Demon In Profile,” the song evokes life’s lingering ghosts — the electric touch of a lover’s skin, their smell and the sense of loss and confusion that permeates everything once a person is no longer in your life, and how at times its inescapable, that letting go seems impossible and unfeasible. While being one of the more soulful tunes the band has released, thanks in part to the horn section, its one of the sexiest yet anthemic songs they’ve released in some time.

The recently released video possesses a dream like logic as it follows several characters haunted by both their demons and their pasts in various ways — but spending the most amount of time on a fat, washed up, weary and arrogant pop star, getting ready to perform before a crowd of teenyboppers. But is it the present? Or is it a glorious past that of wild success, drugs and women that fuel this fantasy? And it ends suggesting that it’s main character is stuck within some uneasy, never-ending, dread-filled nightmare.

If you’ve been frequenting this site for the better part of the past 18 months or so, you’ve come across several posts about San Francisco-based psych rock/indie rock quartet Cool Ghouls — and with the release of last year’s A Swirling Fire Burning Through the Rye, the indie rock quartet quickly received attention across the blogosphere for a sound that’s heavily indebted to The ByrdsCrosby, Stills, and NashNeil YoungCreedence Clearwater Revival and classic psych rock as their material is generally comprised of jangling guitar chords, simple yet propulsive percussion and layered, multi-part harmonies. “Spectator,” the latest single off the band’s soon-to-be released third full-length effort Animal Races will, much like the album’s previous singles, further cement the band’s burgeoning reputation for jangling guitar pop that sounds as though it were were released sometime in 1966.