Tag: Rick James

New Audio: JOVM Mainstay Boulevards Releases a Soulful and Politically Charged Single

Jamil Rashad is a Raleigh, NC-based funk and soul artist and JOVM mainstay, who writes, records and performs under the name Boulevards. Rashad, who is the son of a renowned local radio DJ, grew up in musical household in which a passionate interest in music was fostered and encouraged: a young Rashad listened to a wide variety o music including soul, jazz, blues, R&B and funk.

When the Raleigh-based JOVM mainstay was a teenager, he became a self-confessed “scene kid,” getting involved in the city’s local punk, hardcore and metal scenes, which interestingly enough wound up influencing his own production work much later on. After attending art school and playing in a series of local bands, the Raleigh-based JOVM mainstay wound up returning to teh the sounds that first won his heart and imagination — funk and soul. And with Boulevards, Rashad began writing material that he once described as “party funk jams for the heart and soul to make you move,” eventually developing a national profile for a sound that some have compared to Dam-Funk, Escort, Mark Ronson, with the release of 2016’s Groove! and last year’s YADIG!

Rashad’s forthcoming effort, the Blake Rhein-produced Brother! EP is slated for a December 18, 2020 release through New West Records imprint Normaltown Records. The four song EP derives its title from the familiar greeting spoken among Black men. For Rashad, the word brother is a sort of spoken handshake, a verbal high five for the listener. “Growing up, I would see my father interacting with other African American men, using that word as a greeting. ‘What’s up, brother? Brother, let me talk to you.’ That’s what they said a lot in the ‘60s and ‘70s, but you don’t hear it as much now. It’s such a great word.” The EP’s material is the culmination of several years of writing, playing, touring and recording with the effort thematically touching upon race and America’s moral reckoning, heartbreak and self-inflicted suffering. And as a result, the four song EP is the most explicitly political batch of material of his growing catalog.

Perhaps because our current sociopolitical moment mirrors that of the late 60s and early 70s, the EP’s material, as you’ll hear on its second single, EP title track “Brother!” is indebted to the music he heard growing up: early Parliament Funkadelic, Sly and The Family Stone, Rick James, Curtis Mayfield, Shuggie Otis and a lengthy list of others.
“My dad put me on to that music, and I’ve always been attracted to those artists. That’s who I was inspired by, but I wanted to make it my own, make it Boulevards,” Rashad says. Centered around a soulful and slow-burning strut and some fuzzy, psychedelic and blues-tinged guitar work, “Brother!” is a cry of desperation about a society and world that seem determined to frustrate, humiliate and destroy you. And the only escape is through booze, drugs and sex.

“The song is about working and hustling every day and not being satisfied with the end result, whether it’s working for yourself or 9-5 corporations. Spending the hours, time, not getting a raise, losing a job, putting a smile on your face at a job you dislike, feeling stuck in life, making money and spending money to support bad habits,” Rashad says in press notes. “The only thing that makes you feel any kind of release is the bottom of the bottle.”

New Video: Blak Emoji Releases a Sexy Visual for “Love Lust Above”

Over the course of this site’s nine year history, I’ve written quite a bit about the New York-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Kelsey Warren, a grizzled local scene vet, who has been in a number of projects as a side man, hired gun or frontman including Denise Barbarita and the Morning Papers, and Pillow Theory among others.

Now, as you may recall, Warren’s latest attention-grabbing project Blak Emoji began in 2015 as a solo recording project with a rotating cast of players; however, over the past couple of years, the project gradually evolved into a full-fledged  band that features Sylvana Joyce (keytar), Bryan Percival (bass, keys) and Max Tholenaar-Maples (drums). During that same period, the project released a handful of slinky, 80s synth funk-inspired singles — “Another Club Night,” “Velvet Ropes & Dive Bars” and “Honey,” — that won attention across the blogosphere and this site. And while being a decided departure from Warren’s previously recorded work, Blak Emoji reveals a songwriter, who can effortlessly craft a big, dance floor friendly hook. 

Warren and company released their highly-anticipated full-length debut Kumi earlier this year and the album continues the slinky, Rick James meets Prince mold of his previously Blak Emoji work. Kumi’s latest single is the slinky, club banger “Love Lust Above.” Centered around layers of arpeggiated synths, thumping beats and Warren’s sultry vocal delivery, the track may arguably be the most sensual track off the album, bearing an uncanny resemblance to INXS’ “Need You Tonight.” 

Directed by Jasin Cadic, the recently released and slickly shot video stars Maya Eley, Kristina Kiss, Ruth Gutierrez and Kelsey Warren further emphasizes the sultry, dance floor friendly vibe of the song. At one point, we see Warren getting painted by a love interest, as two shadowy figures convulsively dance in the background. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstay Camille Trust Releases a Sultry Bit of Funky Pop

Over the past few years of this site’s almost nine year history, I’ve written a bit about the up-and-coming Tampa, FL-born, New York-based soul/pop artist, Camille Trust. And as you may recall, Trust has publicly cited Janis Joplin, Lauryn Hill and Etta James as major influences — although from her live shows and raw, unvarnished honesty, her work strikes me as being much more indebted to Mary J. Blige.

Last year was big year for the Tampa-born, New York-based soul/pop artist as she released her long-awaited debut EP No Other Way, which featured the sultry “Freak,” a track that to my ears was part Gwen Stefani “Hollaback Girl” part Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk” part Rick James with an Earth Wind and Fire-like horn line. Sonically, the song was a strutting and swaggering bit of hook-driven funk paired within a brash and boldly feminist anthem in which, the song’s narrator openly and freely talks about lust and desiring raunchy, freaky sex from her object of affection.  Building upon the attention that she received for “Freak,” Trust’s latest single “Scandalous” continues in a similar vein — sultry and strutting, hook-driven funk with a sinuous bass line, a big horn line; but unlike its predecessor, the song sounds a bit more indebted to Prince and Carl Carlton’s “She’s a Bad Mama Jama” and The Gap Band, with a self-assured, come-hither performance from Trust. 

Directed by Dylan Perlot and featuring choreography by Camille Trust and Ivy Ledon, the recently released video for “Scandalous” continues from its predecessor, following Trust is a feverishly shot visual that features split screens, 80s styled Flashdance-like dance routines and some sultry strutting from Trust and her backing dancers — as expected. Much like the song it accompanies, it’s brash, self-assured and just a lot of fun, capturing a young vocalist, who I think we’ll be hearing quite a bit more from.

New Video: Camille Trust Returns with a Swaggering, Feminist Anthem

Throughout the past handful of years, I’ve written a bit about Camille Trust, an up-and-coming Tampa, FL-born, New York-based soul/pop artist. And as you may recall, Trust has cited the likes of Janis JoplinLauryn Hill and Etta James; however from with her energetic, dynamic stage presence and raw, unvarnished honesty, her work to me, seems much more indebted to Mary J. Blige.

2018 has been a big year for the Tampa-born, New York-based soul/pop artist, as she released her long-awaited debut EP No Other Way. Trust closes out the year with the release of “Freak,” a sultry track that draws from both classic soul, contemporary pop and hip-hop simultaneously as its centered by a Gwen StefaniHollaback Girl” meets Mark Ronson‘s “Uptown Funk” meets Rick James-like performance from Trust, handclap-led hook, a horn arrangement reminiscent of Earth Wind and Fire. But more important, the song is a brash, boldly feminist anthem in which the song’s narrator talks about wanting and needing raunchy, nasty, freaky sex from her object of affection.

Directed by Tanima Mehrotra and featuring choreography by Camille Trust and Ivy Ledon, the recently released video features Trust and a series of different backing dancers shot in a series of dressed in bold, bright colors in front of equally bold, bright backgrounds — before pulling out to reveal the behind the scenes, with Trust taking off earrings and getting ready for a successive video. Much like the song, it’s brash, sensual, playful and captures the artist’s swaggering and undeniable confidence and presence.

New Video: Follow a Fierce Woman with a Cannon Through the Streets of Munich in the Visuals for Moullinex’s “Work It Out”

Luis Clara Gomes is a critically applauded Lisbon, Portugal-born, Munich, Germany-based multi-instrumentalist, electronic music artist and producer best known as Moullinex, who can trace the origins of his musical career to a childhood being surrounded by music and musicians at an early age; in fact, his childhood has been so influential to him, that throughout his own career, he has refused to adhere to a specific genre or scene — although he has developed a reputation for crafting organic instrumentation and arrangements with disco and house music, and for a deliberate, careful attention to melody. And as a result, Gomes has remixed the work of Cut Copy, Sebastien Teller, Two Door Cinema Club and a lengthy list of others, as well as collaborated with Peaches for a disco rework of “Maniac.” Along with his frequent collaborator and guitarist in his backing band Bruno Cadoso, best known as Xinobi, Gomes co-founded the Discotexas imprint and the The Discotexas Band, the label’s house band, which features Gomes, Xinobi and Luis Calçada.
Hypersex, Gomes’ third Moullinex album is slated for release later this fall, and the album is reportedly a collective love letter to club culture, celebrating its inclusion and acceptance of difference. And the album’s latest single “Work It Out” is a swaggering bit of 80s-inspired synth funk that draws from Rick James, Cameo, Prince, Cherelle and others that features Azari & III’s Fritz Helder — and much like the artists that influenced them, the collaboration between the two consists of a sultry and sweaty yet funky groove and punchily delivered lyrics; but interestingly enough much like Boulevard’s “Got To Go,” the song is a celebratory kiss off, when you’ve finally gotten sick of someone’s bullshit and want them to just get out of your face. 

Directed by João Pedro Vale and Nuno Alexandre Ferreira follows a coolly, self-assured woman with an enormous phallic-shaped cannon through the streets of Munich that’s presented like a series of Instagram photos stitched together. 

If you’ve been frequenting this site over its six year history, you’ve likely made yourself familiar with New York-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and long-term JOVM mainstay artist Rene Lopez. And over the years, Lopez has uncompromisingly refused to be pigeonholed into one particular genre. Over the years, Lopez has managed to mesh salsa, boogaloo, old-school hip-hop, meringue and electronica into one cohesive whole on E.L.S.; salsa and 7os Brazilian music on his most deeply personal effort Paint the Moon Gold; and slinkily seductive synth-based R&B and funk, inspired by PrinceThe Gap BandRick JamesChic and others on Love Has No Mercy and its subsequent releases.

Now, much like The Raveonettes and several others, Lopez has spent the past year on a single of the month series that he’s dubbed the Jam of the Month. The last and latest single of the series “Who Stole Your Heart” is a swaggering 80s freestyle and hip-hop inspired track that pairs Lopez’s silky smooth vocals with big wobbling, tweeter and woofer rocking 808s and layers of cascading synths to craft a dance floor ready party jam that sounds as though it drew from Herbie HancockRockit” and others.

 

New Single: Check Out the Slinky, Seductive and Soulful Electro Pop Sounds of Michigan’s Daniel Wilson

  Up-and-coming, 24 year-old, Michigan-based singer/songwriter and producer Daniel Wilson much like a number of pop artists grew up in a gospel music-loving home. Feeling inspired to create by using file-sharing programs, the Michigan-based Wilson […]

Over the six year history of this site, I’ve written quite a bit about New York-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Rene Lopez, one of JOVM‘s earliest mainstay artists. And throughout that time, Lopez has uncompromisingly refused to be pigeonholed into one particular genre — the New York based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has managed to mesh salsa, boogaloo, old-school hip-hop, meringue and electronica into one cohesive whole on E.L.S. (short for Electric Latin Soul); salsa and 7os Brazilian music on his most deeply personal effort Paint the Moon Gold; and slinkily seductive synth-based R&B and funk, inspired by Prince, The Gap Band, Rick James, Chic and others on Love Has No Mercy and its subsequent releases. This shouldn’t be surprising as Lopez has told me in an interview, he grew up in a household where salsa, merengue and disco were frequently played — and his first band The Authority was deeply influenced by his love of Prince and funk. So in some way, Lopez has come back full circle.

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past year in particular, you’d likely know that Lopez is among a handful of artists who has focused on a single of the month series. While on one level, such a phenomenon points to the death of the album, it also allows artists to be creative without concerning themselves with the strict thematic and lyrical structure of an album — but with fairly strict deadlines to compete and release material. Lopez’s latest Jam of the Month, “Run Run Baby,” is a sleek, slinky and sensual synth-based pop/R&B that strikes me as a modernized version of Prince’s “The Beautiful Ones” if covered by Dam-Funk as Lopez’s sultry crooning is paired with shimmering and wobbling synths, skittering drum programming.