Tag: neo soul

New Audio: King Canyon, A Supergroup Featuring Eric Krasno Shares Soulful Track with Son Little

King Canyon is a new supergroup featuring:

  • Eric Krasno, a a two-time Grammy winning, guitarist, producer and JOVM mainstay, best known for his work with Soulive, Lettuce, and Pretty Lights. Krasno has received seven Grammy nominations in the following categories: Best Blues Album, Best Contemporary Blues, Best R&B and Best Electronic Album.
  • Otis McDonald, a producer and multi-instrumentalist, best known for a large catalog that continues to be used in millions of videos across the Internet.
  • Mike Chiavaro, a Brooklyn-based electric and upright bassist, who has played with Richard Marx, Boy & Bear, and a lengthy list of others.

The trio can trace their collaboration back to April 2020: Krasno came across McDonalds music on Instagram and immediately became a fan. Months later, McDonald who had been woking on material with his longtime friend Chiavaro, enlisted Krasno to add some of his guitar to the mix. And before they knew it, the trio had an album’s worth of material rooted in classic R&B, funk and soul-tinged grooves, nostalgia, and a newfound friendship based in their mutual love for music.

For the creative process and the feel captured on the album are unlike any other project that these artists have been involved with previously. With each musician in a different location — Krasno in Los Angeles, McDonald in San Francisco and Chiavaro in Brooklyn — the band wrote and recorded material remotely while becoming arguably the highest band who never played a gig. “It was easy and fun. Exactly what it should be,” King Canyon’s Otis McDonald says. “It didn’t take long before we had a couple of albums’ worth of songs. Some tracks feature special guests and others showcase the power trio format. King Canyon is fresh and rooted in nostalgia.”

The trio’s self-titled, full-length debut is slated for a January 13, 2023 release through Mixto Records. The album will feature the trio collaborating with an impressive and eclectic array of guests including Tedeschi Trucks Band‘s Derek Trucks and Son Little. The trio have released two singles “Keep on Moving” and “Mulholland” that have received praise from the likes of Khraungbin, John Mayer, Black PumasAdrian Quesada, Live for Live Music, Jambands.com, and Relix.

The self-titled full-length debut album’s third and latest single “Ice & Fire” is an old-school soul and R&B-inspired strut centered around twinkling keys, an irresistible, funky groove and swinging, J. Dilla-inspired drumming paired with Son Little’s soulful yet plaintive vocal. Sonically, “Ice & Fire” brings a mix of JOVM mainstays Black Pumas and classic soul to mind — thanks to a dusty, old-timey feel with subtly modern production flourishes, and earnest performances.

“Son Little and I met a few years back at a festival. We had a lot of mutual respect for each other’s music and decided to start writing together,” Eric Krasno explains. “We instantly became tight as friends and frequent collaborators. Ice & Fire is a perfect mixture of the sounds of Son Little & King Canyon. Son’s lyrical imagery blends with the KC’s soundscape creating a unique and soulful sound.“

With a handful of singles, the rising, British neo-soul andhip-hop outfit Gotts Street Park — Josh Crocker (bass, production), Tom Henry (keys) and Joe Harris (guitar) have quickly amassed fans and acclaim from an impressive array of artists while working with Rejje Snow, Kali Uchis, Cosima, Yellow Days, Chester Watson, Celeste, Rosie Lowe, and a growing list of others.

Last year’s Diego EP, which featured a collection of compositions informed by the raw energy of being together and creating in the same room, served as a further introduction to the rising British trio.

Building upon a growing profile both nationally and internationally, the members of Gotts Street Park, along with Blue Flowers/[PIAS] shared their latest single, “Lost & Found,” a slow-burning and vibey bit of neo-soul featuring Charlotte Dos Santos’ self-assured and soulful vocal delivery, shimmering and reverb-drenched Rhodes and synths paired with a two-step inducing groove formed by a supple bass line and skittering boom bap.

“’Lost & Found’ is a song about falling in love and not being able to forget about a person. It’s about being in all shades of love,” Dos Santos explains in press notes.

Interestingly, the single, which was recorded between Leeds and New York, where Dos Santos was based at the time, can trace its origins back to when the Norwegian-born and currently Berlin-based singer/songwriter and the rising British outfit worked together on her most recent album.

“​​The instrumental track was from a batch of jams that were recorded during lockdown,” Gotts Street Park’s Josh Crocker explains. “Charlotte heard the instrumental whilst some of us were working with her on her record last year, we’d been looking for a way to collaborate and this one jumped out as being really well-suited to her.”

Anna Stubbs is a London-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, best known for being one-half of forward-thinking London-based nu jazz/broken beat act Brotherly. Stubbs recently stepped out into the spotlight as a solo artist with her neo-soul/nu-jazz/jazz-fusion recording project Kinzoogianna

Stubbs’ Kinzoogianna full-length debut Gold For The Hungry Souls is slated for an August release through Brotherly/Kudos Records. Featuring a backing band of Rob Mullarkey (bass) and Richard Spaven (drums), Gold For The Hungry Souls will be comprised of “an epic, nu-jazz, soul collection of nine, quirky and memorable songs with hooky, unexpected grooves and harmonies,” according to Stubbs. 

Earlier this year, I wrote about Gold For The Hungry Souls single “Cinnamon Bun,” a dazzling mix of Quiet Storm, piano-led soul and jazz centered a mind-bending song structure, Stubbs’ powerhouse vocals and razor sharp hooks. Lyrically and thematically, the song captures life’s small — and perhaps most important — joys: waking up in the morning next to a lover after a night of lovemaking; coffee and sticky, sweet cinnamon buns for breakfast, with a novelistic specificity.

“Mexico,” Gold For The Hungry Souls‘ latest single continues a run of piano-led, jazz-influenced pop that sees the British singer/songwriter pairing Stubbs’ expressive vocals with glistening Rhodes, a sumptuous bass line and her unerring ability to write a song rooted in lived-in experience. It shouldn’t be surprising that the song, which was written during pandemic-related lockdowns expresses a wish to travel and adventure that should feel familiar to most of us.

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New Audio: British Soul Outfit Mama’s Gun releases a Crafted and Soulful Double A-Side Single

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Deriving their name from Erykah Badu‘s acclaimed and beloved album Mama’s Gun, the London-based soul outfit Mama’s Gun — currently, Andy Platts, Cameron Dawson, David Oliver, Terry Lewis and Chris Boot — formed back in 2008. And since their formation, they’ve released four full-length albums: 2009’s Routes to Riches, which broke big in Japan and eventually lead to the British band being the most played international artist on Japanese radio that year; 2011’s Life and Soul; 2014’s Cheap Hotel; and 2018’s Golden Days.

Adding to a growing profile, the London-based soul outfit have opened for Level 42, Beverley Knight, Ben l’Oncle Soul and Raphael Saadiq while developing a fanbase across Southeast Asia — in particular South Korea, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Singapore.

Mama’s Gun begins the new year with the “Party For One”/”Looking for Moses” double A-side single. Released this past Friday through the band’s Candelion Records with Secretly Group and Colemine Records serve as a bit of a teaser for the band’s forthcoming fifth album. “Party For One” is a slow-burning and strutting bit of 70s psych soul and neo-soul centered around the sort of low-slung and wobbling bass line that would make Bootsy Collins proud, a lush horn line, fluttering psychedelic effects and Andy Platts’ dreamy falsetto. “Party For One” points out a bitter irony that even loners and homebodies felt during pandemic-related lockdowns — sometimes, you just want to see and talk to another human adult.

“Lyrically ‘Party For One’ comes from me being a bit of a loner – I like my own company and space to create, think and reflect,” the band’s Andy Platts explains. “I was in my ideal world during the early stages of the pandemic, on my own and with no one around, but I was mourning the company of strangers. There is something in anonymous togetherness that is the stuff of life.” 

“Looking For Moses” manages to continue a run of crafted and expansive, 70s inspired soul centered around Andy Platts’ easygoing Bill Withers-like delivery paired with a warm and lush arrangement of wah wah pedaled guitar, glistening and arpeggiated Rhodes, shimmering strings and soulful harmonizing. Much like its companion, “Looking For Moses” comes from a deeply personal, lived-in space –while actually paying homage to the legendary Withers.

“‘Looking For Moses’ was the track that kicked off the writing for our new album [to be announced shortly],” Platts says. “Everything was panic stations at the time, it was my daughter that inspired the first set up with the lyrics ‘her mama says she can’t go out, baby girl maybe one day you’ll understand, when all of this is in the past.’ I wanted to imbue it with a bit of hope too – it’s about leaning on your beliefs but more so it’s about standing united and staying the course, and the reality of simply getting by and getting through life.”

New Audio: Philly’s brushstroke Releases a Wobbly and Expansive New Single

Eoin Murphy is a Philadelphia-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and creative mastermind behind the emerging solo recording project brushstroke, a project influenced by neo-soul, psych pop and alternative R&B.

Late last year, I wrote about the slow-burning “Freeze,” a single that reminded me quite a bit of JOVM mainstays Nick Hakim and Tame Impala as it was centered around a dusty, lo-fi production shimmering guitars, twinkling keys, blown-out beats, Murphy’s plaintive and soulful falsetto and a radio friendly hook. Building upon a growing profile, the Philadelphia-based singer/songwriter released his latest single “Lucid,” which finds him further establishing and expanding upon his wobbly, lo-fi sound complete with blown-out beats and shimmering, reverb-drenched guitars, soulful vocals paired with neo-soul crooning and shoegazey guitars and vibes. But unlike its immediate predecessor, “Lucid” possesses a hip-hop-inspired swagger that fully manifests itself with hard hitting boom-bap beats and a skittering J. Dilla meets Flying Lotus-like coda. And underneath all of that is all of the profound and uneasy feelings of the past year or so of most of our lives — that feeling of being adrift and isolated, of frustration and boredom, of anger over increasing injustice and shitty behavior, and so on.

“The concept of the track really just stems from a lot of stress and anger that myself and I’m sure lots of other people we’re feeling throughout 2020.”

James Chatburn · Jewellery And Gold

I’ve written a quite a bit about the Sydney-born, Berlin-based singer/songwriter and producer James Chatburn over the past five years or so. With the release of his first two EPs and a string of critically applauded, commercially successful collaborations — including Aussie hip-hop act Hilltop Hoods‘ certified Gold single “Higher,” Chatburn quickly established himself as an in-demand songwriter and producer, and one of indie soul’s rising talents, developing and honing a sound that features elements of soul, blues, electro pop and neo soul.

Chatburn’s highly-anticipated full-length debut, Faible is slated for release later this year, and the album reportedly finds the Sydney-born, Berlin-based artist further cementing the warm, soulful sound that has won him attention internationally  — but while pushing his sound in a subtly psychedelic direction: the album’s material sonically is influenced by Unknown Mortal Orchestra, D’Angelo, Donny Hathaway, and Shuggie Otis among others. Earlier this year, I wrote about album single “In My House,” a warm and vibey two-step inducing track centered around introspective songwriting. “Jewellery and Gold,” Faible‘s latest single continues a run of vibey and dusty neo-soul featuring twinkling, old-timey keys propulsive boom bap-like breakbeats, a sinuous bass line and Chatburn’s effortlessly soulful crooning.

Interestingly, the song may be among the funniest, most tongue-in-cheek leaning song he’s written, as the song finds him — er, his narrator — looking forward to a future where he’s flush with cash and all of his issues would just dissolve, because — well, money.  Those of us, who have worked hard to live check-to-check understand that one implicitly.

“It started off as a noughties Pharrell/Neptunesy kind of vibe, but then I replaced the original synth with a piano and I decided to go for this throwback soul feeling, coming back to this Neptunes vibe in part c,” Chatburn says of his latest single. “As an indie artist I don’t live off much money, but sometimes I think, damn it would be nice to have a little more, even if I know that’s not gonna solve anything.”

Live Footage: Nick Hakim Performs “QADIR” on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”

I’ve written quite a bit about the Washington, DC-born, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter, guitarist Nick Hakim over the past handful of years. Hakim’s critically applauded full-length debut, 2017’s Green Twins can trace its origins back to when he finished his two critically applauded EPs Where Will We Go Part 1 and Where We Will Go Part 2. Armed with the masters for those efforts, Hakim relocated from Boston, where he was then based to Brooklyn.

As soon as he got himself settled, he quickly went to work, spending his spare time writing and recording sketches using his phone’s voice memo app and a four-track cassette recorder, fleshing the material out whenever possible. He then took his new demo’d material to various studios in NYC, Philadelphia and London, where he built up the material with a number of engineers, including frequent collaborator Andrew Sarlo (bass, engineering and production), who were tasked with keeping the original spirit and essence of the material intact as much as humanly possible.

Thematically, the album’s material focused on specific experiences, feeling and thoughts he had during the time he was writing and composing it, making the album feel like a series of different self-portraits. Much like Vincent Van Gogh’s famed self-portraits, the material sometimes captures its creator in broad strokes, with subtle gradations in mood, tone and feeling. Sonically, Green Twins drew from a broad array of influences including Robert Wyatt, Marvin Gaye, Shuggie Otis and My Bloody Valentine and others. “We wanted to imagine what it would have sounded like if RZA had produced a Portishead album. We experimented with engineering techniques from Phil Spector and Al Green’s Back Up Train, drum programming from RZA and Outkast, and we were listening to a lot of The Impressions, John Lennon, Wu-Tang, Madlib and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins,” Hakim said in press notes at the time.

Since the release of Green Twins, Hakim developed a reputation as a highly sought-after, go-to collaborator working with Lianna La Havas, Anderson .Paak, Onyx Collective, Sporting Life, IGBO, Nappy Nina, Ambrose Akinmusire, Slingbaum, FKA Twins and Oumou Sangare.

The JOVM mainstay released his highly-anticipated sophomore album WILL THIS MAKE ME SOUND GOOD earlier this year through ATO Records. Interestingly, the album’s material manages to be distinctly Hakim while being a tonal shift from its predecessor: his sophomore album reflects the ideas with which he grappled with while writing and recording the album. To prepare listeners for the experience, Hakim shared the following statement about the record:

“I feel the people simmering, on our way to the boiling point. There’s a lot of madness going on around us and this world can feel so cold. It can get hard to remember what makes it worth it. The people around me and the music I love helps.

For a while, I couldn’t write. I worked on new music but couldn’t find the right words. But that time was just a build-up to the three months of expression that led to this album. I hope this music will raise awareness about where we are right now. About how we are living on this planet. About how we treat our neighbors. About community. About depression. About what can heal us and what can’t. About overmedication, overstimulation and manipulation. About respecting and loving the people around us, because one day they won’t be here-or you won’t.

But it’s also true that I’m still trying to figure this record out. People have told me that it’s confusing or that it’s messy-that’s fine. There’s so much pressure on artists to commit to being one thing, or to restrict an album to exploring just one subject or sound. But my life isn’t like that, and so my music can’t be like that either. I’m not thinking about this music as a product to be bought and sold, or how I’ll buy your interest. This is my world; a lot of friends touched this record, and that makes me feel lucky and proud. These songs are glimpses into my community. I’m exploring, but I’m not alone. It’s a journey in progress; it’s an experiment, every day.”

“QADIR” is a slow-burning and atmospheric single, centered around a repetitive and hypnotic arrangement featuring shimmering and reverb-drenched guitar, a sinuous baseline fluttering flute, stuttering beats and Hakim’s expressive and  plaintive vocals — and as a result, the track is a fever dream full of ache and longing, partially written as an ode to a late friend and an urgent reminder to check in on your loved ones before it’s too late. ”If I really sink into a recording, I don’t want it to end,” Hakim says. “[‘QADIR’] is repetitive and hypnotizing, like a trance — that’s intentional. The song is my ode to him. It’s my attempt to relate to how he must have been feeling.”

Recently Hakim and his backing band performed a socially distant rendition of “QADIR” on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, which features Hakim singing the song on a cartoon-background that’s one part hood, one part Sesame Street. 

 

With her recently released debut EP La fille aux cheveux coleur soleil, the emerging Lille, France-based singer/songwriter Julia quickly establishes her sound and approach  — a slick synthesis of jazzy neo-soul, hop-hop inspired beats paired with the French singer/songwriter’s  powerhouse vocals singing and rhyming lyrics in her native French and English.  “I’m just trying to make you feel my  feelings. The rest is all yours,” the Lille-based singer/songwriter says in press notes.

EP title track and opener “La fille aux cheveux coleur soleil” is a swaggering and slow-burning, neo-soul track with twinkling Rhodes, thumping beats, atmospheric electronics and Julia’s effortlessly soulful and sultry vocals. The EP’s second single “Hangover” is a hip-hop soul-like track featuring some more twinkling Rhodes, boom-bap beats, a sinuous bass line and Julia singing in a jazzy and seductive French. Seemingly inspired by Erykah Badu, Jill Scott and others, with a Quiet Storm vibey-ness, these two tracks — to my ears, at least — reveal a young superstar in the making. The EP’s two singles possess a remarkable self-assuredness and confidence with the material being ambitious, accessible — and centered around earnest, lived-in experience.

 

 

New Video: Acclaimed Scandinavian Soul Artist Jonas Releases a Joyful and Warm New Single

Throughout his 20 plus year music career, the Copenhagen-based singer/songwriter  and multi-instrumentalist Jonas (born Jonas Rendbo) has been hailed by international press as the Godfather of Scandinavian Soul. During that period, the Copenhagen-based singer/songwriter has released a ton of music. which he has supported with tours across the world, sharing stages with Omar, John Legend, Joss Stone, Lynden David Hall and Bilal among a lengthy and growing list of others. Adding to his accolades, Rendbo won Artist of the Year and Best Video at the 2016 Scandinavian Soul Music Awards. 

Since 2004, Rendbo has split time between Copenhagen and London, where he met his wife and started a family. And while in London, he started collaborating with London-based multi-instrumentalist and producer The Scratch Professor, who coincidentally is Omar’s brother. Rendbo and The Scratch Professor had an instant musical simpatico and a couple of songs they wrote together wound up on Jonas’ sophomore album 2009’s W.A.I.T.T. 

Interestingly, their collaboration also managed to produce a handful of songs that the Copenhagen-based singer/songwriter had kept in his vault over the past decade — and have finally been released last month as the four song EP 4ward Fast To Future. Recorded, produced, mixed and mastered during COVID-19 quarantine lockdown during April, the EP is return to the warm, neo-soul sounds of his earliest work. 

The EP’s later single “Pick Me Up” is warm bit of 90s inspired soul, centered around shimmering Rhodes, boom bap-like beats, a sinuous bass line, a strutting horn line, an infectious hook and Rendbo’s sultry and plaintive falsetto. And while being a joyous, two step-inducing, radio friendly jam, the song’s narrator talks about desiring — and then having — the sort of love (and lover) that most of us dream of: that ride or die person, who’s with you and supports you through thick and thin, joy and heartbreak, sickness and health. Lucky and rare are those who find it. And if you’re one of those lucky ones,  I hope that you cherish it. Few things our morally bankrupt world live up to that. 

The recently released video features thermal imaging of Rendbo, The Scratch Professor, some of the track’s featured musicians as they perform the song — and we see Rendbo’s wife, dancing along the song with a enormous smile on her face. It may be DIY but it’s heartfelt.  
Throughout his 20 plus year music career, the Copenhagen-based singer/songwriter  and multi-instrumentalist Jonas (born Jonas Rendbo) has been hailed by international press as the Godfather of Scandinavian Soul. During that period, the Copenhagen-based singer/songwriter has released a ton of music. which he has supported with tours across the world, sharing stages with Omar, John Legend, Joss Stone, Lynden David Hall and Bilal among a lengthy and growing list of others. Adding to his accolades, Rendbo won Artist of the Year and Best Video at the 2016 Scandinavian Soul Music Awards. 

Since 2004, Rendbo has split time between Copenhagen and London, where he met his wife and started a family. And while in London, he started collaborating with London-based multi-instrumentalist and producer The Scratch Professor, who coincidentally is Omar’s brother. Rendbo and The Scratch Professor had an instant musical simpatico and a couple of songs they wrote together wound up on Jonas’ sophomore album 2009’s W.A.I.T.T. 

Interestingly, their collaboration also managed to produce a handful of songs that the Copenhagen-based singer/songwriter had kept in his vault over the past decade — and have finally been released last month as the four song EP 4ward Fast To Future. Recorded, produced, mixed and mastered during COVID-19 quarantine lockdown during April, the EP is return to the warm, neo-soul sounds of his earliest work. 

The EP’s later single “Pick Me Up” is warm bit of 90s inspired soul, centered around shimmering Rhodes, boom bap-like beats, a sinuous bass line, a strutting horn line, an infectious hook and Rendbo’s sultry and plaintive falsetto. And while being a joyous, two step-inducing, radio friendly jam, the song’s narrator talks about desiring — and then having — the sort of love (and lover) that most of us dream of: that ride or die person, who’s with you and supports you through thick and thin, joy and heartbreak, sickness and health. Lucky and rare are those who find it. And if you’re one of those lucky ones,  I hope that you cherish it. Few things our morally bankrupt world live up to that. 

The recently released video features thermal imaging of Rendbo, The Scratch Professor, some of the track’s featured musicians as they perform the song — and we see Rendbo’s wife, dancing along the song with a enormous smile on her face. It may be DIY but it’s heartfelt.