Sunday, June 21, 2015

Josh Flowers & The Wild: I'm Gone + Jacques Cousteau

London quartet Josh Flowers & The Wild released their debut five-track EP 'Young Bones' in March of 2013 and will drop a full-length later this year.  Two outstanding teaser songs from the upcoming album have been uploaded to Soundcloud: "I'm Gone" and "Jacques Cousteau".

The band is currently doing a mini-tour at various venues around London: next up Thursday June 25 is a show at storied pub The KPH where Tom Jones once performed for 10 pounds in the early days of his career.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Nico & Vinz: When The Day Comes

I first wrote about Norwegian duo Nico & Vinz two years ago and posted the video for the stellar song "Am I Wrong" which has since then become a big hit worldwide, incl. in the U.S. The track is included on the full-length 'Black Star Elephant', released in October 2014. (Note: the two changed their name from Envy after signing with Warner Bros. in January 2014.)

Their latest video, a poignant tale accompanying the outstanding track "When the Day Comes", was published in September 2014. As with the excellent clip that was shot for "Am I Wrong", this one too was directed by fellow Norwegian Kavar Singh.

Having toured extensively in Europe and the U.S. throughout 2014, it must be nice to slow things down a little this year. So far there are only two dates scheduled for the summer:  Friday June 26 they have a show at the three-day Br√•valla Festival in Norrk√∂ping, Sweden. Friday July 3 they will be performing at the Superdome in New Orleans as part of the four-day Essence Festival.

My post from two years ago:

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Melody Gardot: Preacherman (Posted In Tribute To Kalief Browder)

R.I.P. Kalief Browder May 25, 1993 - June 6, 2015

30-year-old Philadelphia singer-songwriter-musician Melody Gardot takes a bold new direction both musically and lyrically on her fourth full-length, released June 1.  Poignantly entitled 'The Currency of Man', its fifteen tracks explore themes of social justice, including racism and homelessness. The outstanding song "Preacherman" is a powerful eulogy for 14-year-old Emmet Till, murdered in the summer of 1955 in Mississippi.

It seems to me fitting to post the haunting video accompanying "Preacherman" as a tribute to 22-year-old Kalief Browder.  Held at the infamous Rikers Island prison in NYC without trial for three hellish years (2010-2013, nearly two of them spent in solitary confinement) for a crime he did not commit, his brief time as a free man came to an end this past Saturday June 6 when he hanged himself at home in the Bronx.

I urge you to read the full October, 2014 story written by Jennifer Gonnerman in the New Yorker as well as the June 7 obituary, also written by Gonnerman; see links below. Kalief's death may be classified as suicide by hanging, but in reality his death was caused by racism and gross miscarriage of justice. His tragic story boggles the mind, tears at the heart and scars the soul, just as Emmet Till's story continues to do, sixty years later.

Gardot kicks off her extensive summer and fall European tour schedule this week with a show Friday June 13 in Deauville, France.

"Preacherman" was directed by Calum MacDiarmid who splits his time between London and L.A. The video was shot in and around the Mississippi city of Canton, a popular filming location. The remarkable lead is Jackson, MS native Jeanna Dampier. A molecular biologist by day, this is her first major role. In the clip she carries her son Arthur; her husband Reggie Dampier plays the preacher. (Their daughter Elizabeth was the voice of young Tiana in the 2009 Disney feature 'The Princess and the Frog'.)

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Shamir: Darker

20-year-old Las Vegas native Shamir dropped his acclaimed debut full-length 'Ratchet' last month and has been busy performing all spring. He will be touring all summer and into the fall with a mix of headliner shows and festival gigs in Europe and the U.S. , plus two dates in Mexico City November 21 and 22.

His latest excellent video, accompanying the stellar album track 'Darker', was directed by Anthony Sylvester of NYC based production company Cutdatflo.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Wyles & Simpson: Stormy Skies + Light And Dark

Self-taught vocalist Abigail Wyles and classically trained musician Holly Simpson make up London based duo Wyles & Simpson. In March they dropped their outstanding self-titled debut full-length and have so far published two excellent videos to go with the sublime tracks "Stormy Skies" and "Light and Dark". (Note: video # 3 is a live version of "Stormy Skies")

Wyles's voice calls to mind fellow British singer Rachel Foster's greatly missed work with Andy Cato of Groove Armada when the two briefly collaborated under the name Weekend Players, sadly releasing only one album in 2001, the much lauded 'The Pursuit of Happiness'.

Stellar live versions of the stunning soundscapes created and co-produced by Wyles & Simpson can be heard at several festivals this summer. First up is a performance Friday June 12 at the Meadows in the Mountains Festival in Bulgaria, held for three days since 2011 in the vicinity of the village Polkovnik Serafimovo in the Rhodope Mountains, not far from the Greek border.  They will also be appearing at the Glastonbury Festival June 25.