Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Avi Buffalo: Jessica

"Once upon a time there was a girl/boy who picked up the guitar and started writing songs... "

A fairy tale for singers/musicians might start like that. And when things go well - really, really well - that tale might continue like this:

"And her/his band was signed to Sub Pop, had a first album released, toured the US, Canada and Europe and shared a bill with Iggy Pop & the Stooges and Sonic Youth".

Yep, 2010 is looking pretty good (and very busy) for Avi aka Avi Buffalo and his band mates Rebecca, Arin and Sheridan in the Long Beach, California band that bears Avi's nick name.

Lemon Sun: Touch The Lightning

Lemon Sun has a very cool new video out directed by Emily Wilder.

Last October I posted a piece on the band:

In March I posted another Lemon Sun video: "Telephone":

Friday, April 23, 2010

Melody Gardot: Baby I'm A Fool

I became a big fan of Melody Gardot early last year and am tickled pink that the 25 year-old natural is getting the acclaim she fully deserves. She is being compared to Norah Jones which is like comparing apples to oranges. Her closest musical "sisters" are in fact American singer Peggy Lee (1920-2002) and Swedish singer/actress Monica Zetterlund (1937-2005). Melody also happens to bear an uncanny physical resemblance to these two great ladies.

On the the Later With Jools Holland show in England this month:

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Yaw: Where Will You Be?

I'm not in the habit of posting music videos that are not music videos, that is to say that they have no moving images but merely consist of one image or a slide show uploaded to YouTube by fans of the artist/band. However, where there are rules, there are exceptions and an exception must be made in this case.

Last night I was listening online to the archived edition of Coco and Robin of Danish duo Quadron's April 20 guest DJ set on KCRW, Santa Monica with host Anthony Valadez who has a weekly midnight to 3 am show. Coco and Robin picked some favorite tracks and just after Michael Jackson's "Got To Be There", another song came on.

My ears perked up just from hearing the instrumental intro which - thanks to the sound of a lone trumpet - reminded me of Jerry Goldsmith's gorgeous soundtrack for the film "L.A. Confidential". And there were trembling strings, an angelic chorus of soulful Sam Cooke style backing vocals and sweet Isley Brothers guitar sounds before the sublime vocals kicked in - a man's voice, but with a Nina Simone timbre to it. I was puzzled: when was this recorded - decades ago or this year? I was intrigued, eyes wide open, ears and heart taking in every perfect note and word in this gut wrenching love song.

Today, after learning from KCRW's track list that the vocalist's name is Chicago based singer Yaw, I Googled the name and found his MySpace Music profile. Turns out British DJ and champion of great new music Gilles Peterson released the CD "Brownswood Bubblers 3" on his label Brownswood Recordings in 2008 - it featured various artists, including Yaw and his track "Where Will You Be".

Better late than never to find out about fab music - thank you Quadron and KCRW and Gilles Peterson.

NOTE: his MySpace page has several excellent tracks in addition to "Where Will You Be". Unfortunately, a party promoter has posted a P.R. piece with sound in Yaw's comment space - you'll have to scroll down the page and turn it off.

Yaw does hip hop as well, but I hope he'll record a full album of old school soul songs like "Where Will You Be" 'cause I want more of this intoxicating Nina Simone/The Isley Brothers/The Temptations/The Four Tops/Marvin Gaye/Al Green/Sam Cooke sound.

Flawless. Listen for yourself.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Johnossi: What's The Point?

Johnossi - What's The Point

Johnossi | MySpace Music Videos

Johnossi: Party With My Pain

Johnossi - Party with my pain

Johnossi | MySpace Music Videos

Johnossi: Man Must Dance

Johnossi - Man must dance

Johnossi | MySpace Music Videos

Melissa Horn: Jag kan inte skilja på [I Can't Tell If]

Melissa Horn: Lät Du Henne Komma Närmre? [Did You Let Her Get Closer?]

A big name in her native Sweden, young singer/songwriter Melissa Horn sings exclusively in Swedish, but fortunately music is universally understood. Lovely hushed vocals and guitar and excellent lyrics, some of which have been translated by her fans in the comment space on YouTube. Having been raised in Denmark, I also speak and understand Swedish which - contrary to the more flat and gutteral sounding Danish - is very melodic. You might even say that Swedish is the Italian of the Northern European languages and thus made for music.

In an interview Melissa Horn says that she has no desire for fame. If not recording in English, an artist will sadly rarely gain recognition outside their home turf. Most likely she will not be singing in English anytime soon and she shouldn't - it's partly what sets her apart from a large crop of female singer/songwriters. Still, it'd be pretty great to have her do shows in the US - she is no doubt the kind of artist whom American audiences would pay to see in concert despite not knowing a lick of Swedish.

A comparison to the young Joni Mitchell is always tempting when discovering a new female singer/songwriter. However, (ignoring the big age difference for argument's sake) the love child of Alison Krauss and Leonard Cohen is what came to mind as I listened to Melissa Horn's songs.