Tag: neo soul

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.  

James Chatburn is a rapidly rising Sydney-born, Berlin-based singer/songwriter and producer. With the release of his first two EPs -which he followed with  a string of critically applauded and commercially successful collaborations, including Aussie hip-hop act’s Hilltop Hoods‘ certified Gold single “Higher,” the Aussie-born, German-based singer/songwriter and producer quickly established himself as one of the contemporary soul’s hottest new talents, developing a sound that seamlessly meshes elements of soul, blues, contemporary electro pop and neo soul. Adding to growing profile, Chatburn has toured with Jordan Rakei and The Internet.

Chatburn’s highly-anticipated full-length debut, Fable is slated for release later this year, and the album reportedly finds the Sydney-born, Berlin-based artist further establishing the warm, soulful sound that has won him attention internationally in the contemporary soul scene — but while pushing his sound in a subtly psychedelic direction. The album sonically draws from Unknown Mortal Orchestra, D’angelo, Donny Hathaway and Shuggie Otis among others. Interestingly, the album’s latest single “In My House” is centered around a two-step inducing groove featuring sinuous bass lines, shimmering and reverb-drenched guitars and thumping beats paired with Chatburn’s gravelly and effortlessly soulful vocals. While decidedly a warm and vibey neo-soul song, the song is centered around introspective and earnest songwriting.

“This piece asks the question of who we allow into our lives and why we do so, the ones which we allow close can leave so much behind when they dive into our being, so it is wise to be careful,” Chatburn explains in press notes. “The song came together quicker then any other song I have ever written, Ironically I used the chopped up recorded drums from another song which was supposed to be included on the upcoming Album Faible, a song I reformatted and re-wrote 4 times to be left discarded. All of the other instruments and vocals are the original recordings from the first day of writing.”

 

 

 

New Video: Los Angeles-based Phenom Angela Munoz Reveals Her True Self in Visuals for “I Don’t Care”

Founded and led by A Tribe Called Quest’s Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Adrian Younge, a Los Angeles-based composer, multi-instrumentalist, arranger, producer and Linear Labs founder, The Midnight Hour is a 10 member ensemble that also prominently singer/songwriter and guitarist Jack Waterson, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Loren Oden — and , singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and 18 year old Los Angeles-born and-based phenom, Angela Munoz. 

The Midnight Hour released their self-titled debut back in 2018, an effort that established their sound: jazz and orchestral inspired soul and hip-hop heavily influenced by  David Axelrod, Quincy Jones, Curtis Mayfield, Barry White and Jazzmatazz-era Gang Starr. Now, as you may recall, since the release of  the ensemble’s full-length debut, Muhammad, Younge and and the Linear Labs crew have been extremely busy: last year saw the release of Jack Waterson’s psych rock, solo debut Adrian Younge Presents JackWaterson, and a lengthy tour that included a Brooklyn Bowl stop last September. This year will see the release of the ensemble’s highly-anticipated sophomore album, as well as solo efforts from Loren Oden and Angela Munoz.

The young, Los Angeles-born and-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist phenom has a beguiling voice and mature presence that belie her relative youth. Munoz recalls Guns ‘N’ Roses’ “Welcome to The Jungle” as the catalyst that sparked her desire to play music and to become a star. As a girl, she learned to play guitar and piano — and with practice, she began to dominate singing competitions, leaving unexpected audiences in a trance. Interestingly, a few years ago Munoz’s brother Brandon introduced her to the Adrian Younge-produced Something About April. Munoz was intrigued by the quality of the music, and as a result, she found herself thinking about how it would be interesting to create music that encompassed various perspectives — similar to how Younge does so with his analog recordings.

Shortly after being introduced to Something About April, the Los Angeles-born and-based phenom serendipitously found self working with The Midnight Hour, who recorded her song “Bitches Do Voodoo” on their full-length debut. They’ve since took Munoz on tour, where she’s blown away audiences with her self-assured stage presence, a maturity that belies her age, some dexterous musicianship and her soulful vocals. 

Munoz’s debut single “I Don’t Care” features the Los Angeles-born and-based phenom’s remarkably self-assured and effortlessly soulful vocals over a gorgeous arrangement of twinkling keys and harp, soaring strings, a sinuous bass line, wah wah pedaled guitar and an enormous hook.  And while the material is deceptively anachronistic sonically with the song drawing from classic Quiet Storm soul and 90s neo soul, there’s an underlying youthful brashness that’s beguiling and infectious. Munoz wrote “I Don’t Care” about how difficult staying true to who you are can be, especially as an artist, and ultimately realizing that she doesn’t need to fit into a mold — or be something that she never wanted to be. Unsurprisingly, she’s been told since she was a child that, in order to succeed as a musician she needed to change herself to look like a “superstar.” 

Directed by Adrian Younge, the recently released, gorgeously cinematic video sees Munoz peeling back the layers of the glamorous look that is expected of her to reveal her true self — and by doing so, we wind up seeing how truly beguiling the young artist really is.  “I knew that my purpose in life isn’t to be anyone’s object, it’s to share my experiences and impact people in the most positive way,” Munoz says in press notes. “I hope the song and video helps people realize that they don’t need to change the way they are to feel accepted.” 

New Audio: Introducing Los Angeles-based Phenom Angela Munoz

Founded and led by A Tribe Called Quest’s Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Adrian Younge, a Los Angeles-based composer, multi-instrumentalist, arranger, producer and Linear Labs founder, The Midnight Hour is a 10 member ensemble that also prominently singer/songwriter and guitarist Jack Waterson, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Loren Oden — and , singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and 18 year old Los Angeles-born and-based phenom, Angela Munoz. 

The Midnight Hour released their self-titled debut back in 2018, an effort that established their sound: jazz and orchestral inspired soul and hip-hop heavily influenced by  David Axelrod, Quincy Jones, Curtis Mayfield, Barry White and Jazzmatazz-era Gang Starr. Now, as you may recall, since the release of  the ensemble’s full-length debut, Muhammad, Younge and and the Linear Labs crew have been extremely busy: last year saw the release of Jack Waterson’s psych rock, solo debut Adrian Younge Presents Jack Waterson, and a lengthy tour that included a Brooklyn Bowl stop last September. This year will see the release of the ensemble’s highly-anticipated sophomore album, as well as solo efforts from Loren Oden and Angela Munoz. 

The young, Los Angeles-born and-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist phenom has a beguiling voice and mature presence that belie her relative youth. Munoz recalls Guns ‘N’ Roses’ “Welcome to The Jungle” as the catalyst that sparked her desire to play music and to become a star. As a girl, she learned to play guitar and piano — and with practice, she began to dominate singing competitions, leaving unexpected audiences in a trance. Interestingly, a few years ago Munoz’s brother Brandon introduced her to the Adrian Younge-produced Something About April. Munoz was intrigued by the quality of the music, and as a result, she found herself thinking about how it would be interesting to create music that encompassed various perspectives — similar to how Younge does so with his analog recordings. 

Shortly after being introduced to Something About April, the Los Angeles-born and-based phenom serendipitously found self working with The Midnight Hour, who recorded her song “Bitches Do Voodoo” on their full-length debut. They’ve since took Munoz on tour. where she’s blown audiences. 

Munoz’s debut single “I Don’t Care” features the Los Angeles-born and-based phenom’s remarkably self-assured and effortlessly soulful vocals over a gorgeous arrangement of twinkling keys and harp, soaring strings, a sinuous bass line, wah wah pedaled guitar and an enormous hook.  And while the material is deceptively anachronistic sonically with the song drawing from classic Quiet Storm soul and 90s neo soul, there’s an underlying youthful brashness that’s beguiling and infectious.