An Interview with Melat

I wrote about and interviewed a young R&B singer named Melat for Splice Today. Read the piece here, and listen to her “Move Me” below.

Ultimate Dance Party Revisited

I wrote a piece about the increasing number of artists making music that sounds like it could have appeared on the ’90s Ultimate Dance Party compilations. Right now, most of these acts are from abroad–Kiesza, Duke Dumont, Gorgon City–but soon Americans will get on board. Check out Kiesza’s “Hideaway,” below, and also the song “Show Me Love,” from 1993, which provides the kind of template a lot of the new stuff is building on.

 

Black Resonance

I reviewed a new book about the interactions between music and literature for Paste.

Man on the Run

I reviewed a new book, Man on the Run, about Paul McCartney in the ’70s. Here’s McCartney doing disco.

Joe and Trey Songz, Trying to Keep up

I wrote about two new albums by somewhat older R&B singers, Trey Songz and Joe. Right now, there is no dominant male R&B singer, so all the boys are looking for any edge they can find in a competitive market, meaning that injecting increasing levels of sexuality into their music plays an increasingly important role. This can put the older guard in a tight spot. Below, one of Joe’s hits from 1997, “Don’t Wanna Be A Player.”

Zoe Muth’s World of Strangers

I wrote about Zoe Muth, a singer-songwriter from Austin, Texas, and her excellent new album World of Strangers. See the piece here. Below, listen to “Mama Needs A Margarita,” one of the strongest traditional country songs of the year.

Tove Lo and Erik Hassle: Love as a Gateway Drug

This year, the two Swedish pop singers that have been getting the most attention are Lykke Li and Robyn, but I wrote about a couple of up and comers: Tove Lo and Erik Hassle. Listen to Hassle’s “Ready For You” below.

New Biography of Louis Jordan

I reviewed a biography of Louis Jordan for Splice Today. Louis Jordan influenced all the people who went on to influence everyone else–Chuck Berry, Little Richard, James Brown, B.B. King. Below, check out Jordan’s “Caldonia Boogie.”

 

Archival Music Releases

I wrote a piece about “archival” music releases for Diffuser. I discuss three different types of these albums. The first, Wheedle’s Groove, focuses on a specific regional scene–the soul and funk of Seattle. The second, Too Slow To Disco, is like a glorified mix tape you might make your friend. The last one, L’Amore, is a reissue of an album that was privately pressed and barely heard back in 1983. Below, listen to Lewis’ “Cool Night In Paris.”

Bruising Albums from Big Smo and Brantley Gilbert

I wrote a piece for Splice Today about two new country albums from Big Smo and Brantley Gilbert. Smo’s a rapper, Gilbert isn’t–but Gilbert co-wrote a country rap song back in 2008 with Colt Ford. Listen to the original version of that song, “Dirt Road Anthem,” below. As I write in my piece, one of the interesting things about the song is that it sounds like it could be on an album from the R&B singer Babyface or the southern rapper David Banner.

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