Tag: soul

Live Footage: Black Pumas Perform “Colors” at Arlyn Studios

Over the past few months I’ve written a bit about Black Pumas, an acclaimed Austin, TX-based soul act, comprised of Grammy-winning producer and guitarist Adrian Quesada,  27-year-old singer/songwriter Eric Burton and a cast of collaborators. The act can trace its origins to when Burton, a street performer, who busked his way from Los Angeles to Austin, where he met Quesada. 

Building upon the rapidly growing buzz surrounding them, the Austin-based soul act released their self-titled debut earlier this year. And as you may recall, album single “Colors” is ad decidedly old-school singer/songwriter soul-inspire track centered around an anachronistic arrangement and production featuring a looping 12 bar blues guitar, twinkling Rhodes, some gospel-tinged backing vocals and the superstar of the show — Burton’s soulful vocals and incredible vocal range, as his vocal delivery in “Colors” evoke hurt, yearning, pride and awe simultaneously. The act recently spoke to the folks at The Fader by email, explaining that “‘Colors’ was written while the sun was going down on a rooftop in New Mexico. Finding inspiration in the multicolored hues of the night sky. The song is a message of togetherness, but there’s awareness of mortality mixed in . . .” 

The band has been relentlessly touring over the past months and recently, they had an opportunity to spend a few days in Austin’s legendary Arlyn Studio, where they decided to run through a handful of songs that have become fine-tuned as a result of being on the road for the past few months. Amos David McKay shot the live session with a noir-ish sensibility, and during that session they performed a jam-like and sprawling rendition of “Colors” that retains the song’s soulfulness and message, while being an accurate representation of their live sound. 

New Audio: Ghost Funk Orchestra Latest Single and Video Evokes the Awkwardness of Having a Crush

Founded and led by composer, arranger and producer Seth Applebaum, the New York-based psych rock act Ghost Funk Orchestra initially began as a lo-fi recording project in 2014. Since their formation, the project has grown into full-fledged, 11 member unit that has become an up-and-coming prescience in the city’s psych rock and soul scenes — and that shouldn’t be surprising, as their sound draws from an eclectic array of sources including salsa, surf rock, Afobeat, stoner rock and others. 

Slated for an August 23, 2019 release through Colemine Records, the up-and-coming soul acts forthcoming full-length debut, A Song For Paul was conceived as a tribute to Applebaum’s late grandfather Paul Anish, a figure, who played an immense role in the Ghost Funk Orchestra founder and bandleader’s life. While the songs reportedly don’t address Paul Anish directly, the creative process for the album and the decisions made during it were meant to convey what Anish’s presence felt like for Seth — a stern yet loving, native New Yorker. For Applebaum, accurately capturing his grandfather’s essence meant expanding the arrangements much further than what he has done in the past, including crafting more comprehensive horn arrangements, as well as working with a string section for the first time in his career. 

A Song For Paul’s latest single “Seven Eight” is an angular and awkwardly lurching song that’s centered around an unusual time signature (7/8 time), a looping Tropicalia-like guitar line, ethereal vocals, an explosive and expressive horn arrangement, which gives the song a quirky yet cinematic air. And while bearing an uncanny resemblance to Radiohead’s “15 Step” and to Gorillaz “5/4,” the song evokes the drunken swoon of having a crush. As the band’s Seth Applebaum explains “Seven Eight is a song about having a crush. When writing the song, we chose an awkward time signature because having a crush will make anyone feel a little awkward.” 

Starring Romi Hanoch, the recently released video for “Seven Eight” relies heavily on found footage from old medical films, liquid light projections from Drippy Eye Projections thrown into a visual that has a decidedly film noir-ish feel. “The music video relies heavily on found footage, specifically pulled from old medical films that depict the beauty and chaos of the human body and its internal functions,” Seth Applebaum explains. “In addition, we were fortunate enough to have our friends at Drippy Eye Projections provide us with some incredible liquid light visuals to further the narrative of chemistry.”

New Video: Black Pumas Release a Darkly Sensual and Psychedelic Visual for “Black Moon Rising”

Black Pumas are a rising Austin, TX-based soul act, comprised of Grammy-winning producer, songwriter, composer, and guitarist Adrian Quesada,  27-year-old Los Angeles-born, Austin-based vocalist Eric Burton and a cast of collaborators and associates. And in a relatively short period of time, the band has received praise for their live shows from the likes of Pigeons and Planes and the Austin American-Statesman. 

The duo’s highly anticipated full-length debut was released last month through ATO Records and the album’s latest single is “Black Moon Rising,” a track that helped the band win Best New Band and Song of the Year at this year’s Austin Music Awards — and once you hear the track, you’ll immediately see why: Burton’s effortless, classic soul-like vocals glide over a gorgeous, Isaac Hayes-like production and arrangement — twinkling Rhodes piano, boom bap-like drumming, soaring strings and bluesy guitar licks, making it a slick synthesis of classic soul and contemporary hip-hop-inspired production. 

Written and directed by Amos David McKay, the recently released video for “Black Moon Rising” is one part Blaxploitation and one part Quentin Tarantino as it follows Burton and Quesada as they’re leaving a hotel and hitting the road in a gorgeous, classic car — at night. Of course, the night brings about dark psychedelic images and situations, creating a balance of sultry and murky. 

Live Footage: Mavis Staples Performs “We Get By” on “CBS This Morning Saturday Sessions”

Over the past few years, I’ve written a bit about the legendary, Chicago-born singer, actress, and civil rights activist Mavis Staples and throughout a music career that has spanned over eight decades, several different genres and styles as a member of The Staple Singers and as a solo artist, Staples has had achieved commercial and critical success, as well as a proverbial boatload of accolades. Staples has been nominated for eight Grammy Awards with the Staples Singers, winning one — a Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 2004. She received a Grammy nod for a collaboration with 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.” The legendary, Chicago-born vocalist has also 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. And let’s not forget that Mavis was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a member of The Staple Singers in 1999, was a Kennedy Center Honoree in 2016 and inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2017. 

Staples turns 80 next month — July 10, 2019 — and while many artists at her age and with her achievements would have understandably begun to slow down, the legendary vocalist has managed to be wildly prolific, releasing three, critically applauded albums in her late 70s with Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy. Her latest album, the Ben Harper written and produced, We Get By was released by her longtime label home Anti- Records a few weeks ago, and as the legendary vocalist says in press notes, “When I first started reading the lyrics Ben wrote for me, I said to myself, ‘My God, he’s saying everything that needs to be said right now. But the songs were also true to my journey and the stories I’ve been singing all my life. There’s a spirituality and an honesty to Ben’s writing that took me back to church.”

“I come from a family of Mavis fans,” the multi-Grammy nominated and multi-Grammy winning Ben Harper explains in press notes, “so her music has been woven into the fabric of my life from the very start. When I got the call for this gig, it felt like my entire career, everything I’d ever written, had been pre-production for this.” 

The imitable Mavis Staples was recently on CBS This Morning’s Saturday Sessions where she and her backing band performed the uplifting album title track”We Get By.” Naturally, the track is what Staples has long specialized in: heartfelt, uplifting spirituals centered around lived-in experience — particularly, finding some way to survive in a difficult and uneasy world with your dignity, sanity and spiritual life intact. 

New Audio: Daptone Records Release an All-Star Collaboration to Celebrate Their 100th 45RPM Single

The renowned indie soul label Daptone Records was founded back in 2001 when its founders, Gabriel Roth and Neal Sugarman wanted to build a new home for their bands’ respective releases after Desco Records folded. Shortly, after label’s founding, Roth, Sugarman, Charles Bradley and Sharon Jones and a collection of artists found an unassuming, beaten up, two family 19th Century brownstone in Bushwick, Brooklyn that would eventually become the home to their new label and their famed House of Soul Studios. And through the release of 50 full-length albums and about 100 singles on 45RPM, the Brooklyn-based soul label built a globally recognized reputation for its discerning tastes and uncompromising standards of quality, realizing exceptionally well-crafted and thoughtful soul records, made by a close family of musicians, who share a common musical philosophy, vocabulary and integrity. 

Since their formation, the label has sold over a million records from their roster of artists including JOVM mainstays Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, The Budos Band, Antibalas, Menahan Street Band, The Sugarman 3 and Naomi Shelton. Although many of the label’s artists have never quite achieved mainstream pop status, the label’s roster have managed to influence artists and labels around the world, including the likes of Amy Winehouse, who worked with The Dap Kings on her seminal album Back to Black, as well as Mark Ronson and Jay-Z, who have tapped the label’s sound for some of their biggest hits. 

Daptone’s 100th 45RPM release is slated for a June 28, 2019 release. And interestingly, the  A-side single “Hey Brother,” which is credited to the Daptone Family features a a historic and unprecedented collaboration of the label’s roster of incredible talent, including the late and beloved monarchs of the soul, Charles Bradley and Sharon Jones, as well as Saun & Starr, The Frightnrs, James Hunter, Naomi Shelton, Amayo and Lee Fields performing together for the first and only time on record. The single finds each of those artists singing a powerful and much-needed message of righteousness and brotherhood over a What’s Going On Marvin Gaye-era like groove played by members of The Dap Kings and Menahan Street Band. 

Written and recorded by The Frightnrs, “Hey Brother (Do Unto Others)” initially appeared on their acclaimed full-length debut, Nothing More to Say. With the band’s Dan Klein tragic death from ALS just before the album’s release, the label and its artists felt it would be both a thank you to the label’s deeply devoted fans and a fitting tribute to Klein to re-imagine the track as a soulful, All-Star team-like collaboration. Sadly, in the aftermath of the deaths of Charles Bradley, Dan Klein, Cliff Driver and Sharon Jones, the single has become a meditative and loving tribute to all of the artists they’ve lost in a tremendously short period of time. 

“Everybody seemed to really love the idea of being together on a record like that,” Gabriel Roth recently told Billboard. “Every one of those singers that I asked, after I explained what we were trying to do. they really jumped through hoops to try to make it happen.” 

New Video: Marta Ren and The Groovelets Release a Sleek and Gorgeously Shot Visual for Psych Soul Barnburner “Worth It”

In her native Portugal, the Porto-born and-based vocalist Marta Ren has been a part of the country’s music scene since the mid 1990s and she may be best known for her stint as the frontwoman of the acclaimed breakbeat outfit The Bombazines with whom she recorded and released two full-length albums — and for contributing her vocals to a number of nationally known acts. Interestingly, Ren has long been inspired by the funk and soul sounds of the 60s and over the last few years, the Porto-born and-based vocalist decided it was time to step out into the spotlight with her own soul and funk project, under her name. She eventually hooked up with her backing band The Groovelets, with whom she released her critically praised, attention-grabbing debut Stop Look Listen, an effort that received airplay from BBC Radio 6′s Craig Charles and Radio France‘s Francis Viel.

Building upon a growing international profile, Ren and her Groovelets played across Europe to support her critically acclaimed debut effort, including the Trans Musicales Festival, Sziget Festival, Eurosonic Nooderslag and Mostly Jazz Funk and Soul Festival. Interestingly, the strutting, Emre Ramazanoglu-produced “Worth It,” is the first batch of material from the Portuguese soulstress in a couple of years — and reportedly, it’s the first taste from her highly-anticipated sophomore album, slated for an early 2020 release through Record Kicks. And while retaining elements of the classic 60s soul that first caught the attention of this site and elsewhere, Ren an The Groovelets’ latest single is a sultry, slow-burning and cinematic track that finds their sound nodding at psych-tinged soul that finds Ren taking names and kicking ass with stomping aplomb.

Directed by Pedro Coquenão and Vasco Mendes, the recently released video for “Worth It” is set in an empty yet gorgeous and opulent, old theater and focuses on a broken-hearted Ren, getting herself ready to perform. And at points, the video has Ren as a larger-than-life, force of nature. 

In her native Portugal, the Porto-born and-based vocalist Marta Ren has been a part of the country’s music scene since the mid 1990s and she may be best known for her stint as the frontwoman of the acclaimed breakbeat outfit The Bombazines with whom she recorded and released two full-length albums — and for contributing her vocals to a number of nationally known acts. Interestingly, Ren has long been inspired by the funk and soul sounds of the 60s and over the last few years, the Porto-born and-based vocalist decided it was time to step out into the spotlight with her own soul and funk project, under her name. She eventually hooked up with her backing band The Groovelets, with whom she released her critically praised, attention-grabbing debut Stop Look Listen, an effort that received airplay from BBC Radio 6′s Craig Charles and Radio France‘s Francis Viel.

Building upon a growing international profile, Ren and her Groovelets played across Europe to support her critically acclaimed debut effort, including the Trans Musicales Festival, Sziget Festival, Eurosonic Nooderslag and Mostly Jazz Funk and Soul Festival. Interestingly, the strutting, Emre Ramazanoglu-produced “Worth It,” is the first batch of material from the Portuguese soulstress in a couple of years — and reportedly, it’s the first taste from her highly-anticipated sophomore album, slated for an early 2020 release through Record Kicks. And while retaining elements of the classic 60s soul that first caught the attention of this site and elsewhere, Ren an The Groovelets’ latest single is a sultry, slow-burning and cinematic track that finds their sound nodding at psych-tinged soul that finds Ren taking names and kicking ass with stomping aplomb.

 

 

 

 

New Audio: Introducing the Classic Soul Sounds of Austin’s Black Pumas

Black Pumas are a rising Austin, TX-based soul act, comprised of Grammy-winning producer and guitarist Adrian Quesada and 27-year-old singer/songwriter Eric Burton and a cast of collaborators. Interestingly, Burton was a street performer for several years, who busked his way from Los Angeles to Austin, where he met Quesada.

In a relatively short time, the band has received praise for their live shows from Pigeons and Planes and the Austin American-Statesman, eventually winning Best New Band and Song of the Year for “Black Moon Rising” at this year’s Austin Music Awards. Building upon the rapidly growing buzz surrounding them, the act will be releasing their self-titled full-length debut through ATO Records on June 21. The album’s latest single “Colors” is old-school singer/songwriter soul centered around a gospel and blues-inspired arrangement featuring soaring organs, a looped 12 blues guitar line, a supple bass line, and twinkling Rhodes — but by far, the star of the show is Burton’s soulful vocals and incredible range, which evoke hurt, yearning and pride. 

The band is making their NYC debut next Wednesday with a set at The Knitting Factory.