Friday, March 28, 2014

Sam Smith - Stay With Me

Feels Like: Mikky Ekko, Frank Ocean, Small Black

It's taken me a while to come around to Sam Smith. Sure he's had a couple catchy tracks but he always seems to ham it up a little to much. "Stay with Me" is a gospel-tinged electro ballad, and if there ever were a place to ham it up, it'd be on this track. It just fits. It's a strong song, not a swan song, and may just be the track that takes him to the next level.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Chance the Rapper - Home Studio

Feels Like: Nick Catchdubs, Kanye West, Statik Selektah

Chance the Rapper is a master of intonation and selecting the choicest soul-fueled hip-hop cuts this side of The College Dropout. "Home Studio" puts both of those talents on display. This track is a rough cut, created to christen the studio in him and James Blake's house (yes, they're roommates). Sure it could use a little fine-tuning to round out the edges, but it's always a good day when there's new music from last year's Rookie of the Year.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Yo Nashville: The Whigs - Hit Me

Feels Like: White Denim, Kings of Leon, The Black Keys

The Whigs are one of the hardest working bands in rock today. They're gearing up to release their 5th album in 9 years, not to mention the constant touring. I'm pretty sure they've played Nashville a handful of times in the past couple years (it doesn't hurt that Nashville's their homebase now). "Hit Me" is the first drop off of the upcoming Modern Creation, due April 22nd. It fits their scrappy The Replacements filtered through early Kings of Leon sound perfectly and shows their workload hasn't hampered their ability to create great songs.

Yo Nashville is a segment in which we highlight local acts from right here in Music City U.S.A.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Haim - If I Could Change Your Mind (The Knocks Remix)

Feels Like: Tourist, RAC, Cashmere Cat

Haim's Days Are Gone is almost perfect end to end. It'd be pretty damn hard for any remix to top their originals, but it can't hurt having a couple fresh takes on the tracks. The Knocks have plucked "If I Could Change Your Mind" for their own experiment, and it turns out quite nice. If nothing else, it proves if Haim's career fails, they can always be electronic vocalists for hire.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Yo Nashville: The Black Keys - Fever

Feels Like: White Denim, Portugal. The Man, Kongos

Although it's been their longest new music dry spell since they started a dozen or so years ago in Akron, OH, "Fever" picks up where the one-two punch of Brothers and El Camino left off. It's slick. It's catchy. It's throwback-y. It'll be on the radio for the next six months. Can't complain here.

Yo Nashville is a segment in which we highlight local acts from right here in Music City U.S.A.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Nick Waterhouse - This Is A Game

Feels Like: Ray Charles, Charles Bradley, St. Paul and the Broken Bones

Fridays need more soul. Enter LA's Nick Waterhouse. It's always surprising when someone who makes music that fits your tastes so perfectly flies under your radar for so long. Nick Waterhouse makes kickass soul and has been doing it for years. I like kickass soul and was unaware of Nick Waterhouse until today. While I discovered his music through the usual means(read: the Internet), I wish I had stumbled upon it at a club like the one in the video. The music has the vibe of a treasured secret, something people in the know keep close to the chest. It almost feels wrong sharing this.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Banks - Brain

Feels Like: S O H N, , Rhye

Banks makes it look easy. All the pieces are there. Cool black and white video. Check. Moody top-end production. Check. Model good looks. Check. "Brain" may not be that ground-breaking giving the bounty of moody female R&B singers on the scene. But it is quality, and should make it's way into your late-night listening playlist.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Jay Electronica - Better In Tune With The Infinite

Feels Like: The Roots, Raz, Mos Def

Jay Electronica has been laying low for a while now. And who's to blame him? The hype around his upcoming project is through the roof. The Roc Nation signing, the amazing glimpses of singles that have slipped through the cracks, the unfortunate yet well-handled task of having to spit after Kendrick's "Control"verse. It's all a lot for one guy to take. In comes "Better in Tune with the Infinite," a gorgeous, perfectly structured slice of Jay's nimble wordplay and amazing production selection skills. Act II is getting closer and it's going to be a classic.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Yo Nashville: Joshua Hedley - Weird Thought Thinker

Feels Like: Waylon Jennings, Jonny Fritz, Willie Nelson

Fiddler to the Stars (Johnny Fritz and Justin Townes Earle) Joshua Hedley is an amazing songwriter in his own right. That much is made clear listening to "Weird Thought Thinker," a country ballad that sounds as if it's drifted through honky-tonks and road-stops since the beginning of time. Harkening back to country's heyday, Hedley's voice is the co-star here, sounding more timeless than some of his alt-country compatriots. Here's hoping Hedley releases more of his own compositions in the future.

Yo Nashville is a segment in which we highlight local acts from right here in Music City U.S.A.

tUnE-yArDs - Water Fountain

Feels like: Amadou and Miriam, Andy Bull, M.I.A.

Aww yeah! It's the new tUnE-yArDs song from the upcoming album, and I gotta say, I love it.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Slow Club - Tears of Joy

Feels Like: The Magic Numbers, Broken Bells, The Bees

"Tears of Joy" gets two-thumbs up for being the most authentic-sounding Seventies jam in recent memory. By the time they reach the "Except for you to be good to me and me to be good to you" breakdown, the song is in full-on Seventies sway mode. There's an easiness to it making it ideal for Sunday mornings and late night wind-downs. Slow Club have been dormant since 2011's Paradise, but they're finally gearing back up and "Tears of Joy" is a welcome addition to their canon.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Asher Roth - Tangerine Girl

Feels Like: Outkast, Janelle Monae, Childish Gambino

Asher Roth is after something a lot of rappers aren't; a unique identity, a sound. "Tangerine Girl" could have easily been a verse-chorus-verse-chorus ploy for radio play. It's been five years since his last studio album and this being the first single off his second, it's a big statement to make. The only rapping comes in more than halfway through the song and more than anything else, the focus is on the groove. While he can still flip a verse with the best of them and this track may or may not be an indication he's steering away from straight-forward hip-hop, it'll be interesting to see which direction he goes as an artist.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Slakah the Beatchild - I Surrender

Feels Like: D'Angelo, Dwele, Joey Dosik

Anytime somebody's moniker ends with "the Beatchild," they're bound to have some funk in their bones. Canadian Slakah does not disappoint. "I Surrender" has all the easy grooving and subtle variations that make up great modern R&B. Since D'Angelo is turning James River into R&B's equivalent to Guns N' Roses' Chinese Democracy, the stage is primed for someone to step up and claim R&B's head guru title and Slakah is definitely worthy.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Small Black - No Stranger

Feels Like: The Temper Trap, M83, Daniel Ellsworth

Like or not, the Drive soundtrack has had a lasting impact on the indie music scene. The 80s-loving vibe descended upon us from places like Portland and Sweden, and before we knew it, we were drowning in music whose sole purpose was to elicit images of neon signs. Thankfully things have calmed down, and we've had some time to sort through the muck and the mire. Small Black is one band that stands out. "No Stranger" keeps its elbows in and just tries to enjoy the ride. It's simple, fun, and should be your neon sign song of choice until the next one comes along.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Yo Nashville: Evan P. Donahue - Tell Me Sara

Feels Like: Breathe Owl Breathe, Bon Iver, Junip

Slow songs are tough. The lower the BPM, the more the artist has to sell it. Thankfully, every second of Evan P. Donahue's "Tell Me Sara" is wrung for every ounce of greatness it contains. It's a brutally simple and endlessly repeatable melody. The band understands this and doesn't crowd the song with needless instrumentation. We caught Donahue and his band at January's Communion show at Mercy/High Watt and we highly recommend you do the same next time they play a hometown show.

Yo Nashville is a segment in which we highlight local acts from Music City U.S.A.

Monday, March 10, 2014

White Denim - Pretty Green

Feels Like: Tame Impala, Kongos, Portugal. The Man

Saw these crazy cats Saturday night. White Denim pull from all over, and it takes a minute or two to get acclimated to their at-times schizophrenic live experience. They cover a lot of ground, from spot-on psychedelic to Texas country swing to "Impossible Germany"-esque tandem guitar solos. It's a headtrip and they're a band that leaves you guessing 'til the end. "Pretty Green" is White Denim at their most accessible and highlights lead singer James Petralli's man-this-guy-could-front-just-about-any-70s-rock-band vocals.

Andy Allo - People Pleaser

Feels like: Prince, Dumpstaphunk, The Asteroids Galaxy Tour, Rizzle Kicks, Vitek

What the Funk?! Check out the awesome and funky Andy Allo.  She's gonna be big, you can take that one to the bank.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Notorious B.I.G. Feat. Jay-Z - Picasso Biggie (Picasso Baby Remix)

Feels Like: The Greatest

Biggie passed 17 years ago today. As a tribute, A-game hip-hop producer Illmind has dropped a remix of HOV's "Picasso Baby" featuring Notorious himself. Illmind has amplified the original's production with fuzzier bass and tripped-out organ, but the main reason is to highlight once again why two albums worth of material will never be enough.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Metronomy - Love Letters [Soulwax Remix]

Feels like:  LCD Soundsystem, Yuksek

Check out this sweet new remix from Soulwax.  Aww yeah!

Yo Nashville: Chancellor Warhol - Au Revoir

Feels Like: Lupe Fiasco, Casey Veggies, recent Eminem, J. Cole

In what may be the highest budget hip-hop video to come from Nashville, Chanellor Warhol's visuals and production for "Au Revoir" aim to put him in the next tier. While Nashville rap has repeatedly found niche areas where it can thrive, no rapper has ever hit the mainstream (Young Buck had one top twenty single and sure his album went platinum, but all you had to do was release an album and it'd go platinum in the early aughts). Chancellor Warhol has proven he has the chops to play in the big leagues, now it's up to his upcoming project, Paris is Burning, to drive that idea home.

Yo Nashville is a segment in which we highlight local acts from right here in Music City U.S.A.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Saun & Starr - Hot Shot

Feels Like: Charle Bradley, Liam Bailey, Mavis Staples

It is very, very hard to make soul that captures soul and R&B's heyday. The chief reanimators are NYC's Daptone Records and their stellar house band the Dap-Kings. This group has been responsible for such noted soul revivers as Charles Bradley, Sharon Jones, and the artist who brought the soul revival to the masses, Amy Winehouse. Saun & Starr are the latest to get dapped. "Hot Shot" is pure Daptone gold, and therefore, some of the truest soul being made today. Saun & Starr have been Sharon Jones's back-up singers for years, and now, in a trend that may or may not have been sparked by this years' Academy Award winner for Best Doc 20 Feet From Stardom, they are making their way into the spotlight. And rightfully so.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Cashmere Cat - With Me

Feels Like: Tourist, Flying Lotus, TNGHT

Norwegian DJ/Producer Cashmere Cat uses all of the intense sounds the EDM palette has to offer. Instead of throwing them at you all at once though, he chooses to use them only at certain moments and only when they support the song. "With Me" takes you on a journey with a melange of instruments, movements, and producer techniques to augment the ride. The simple video is all you need as your mind needs to stay focused to keep up with the constantly shifting moods in the musical landscape.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Dumpstaphunk - Dancin' to the Truth

Feels Like: The Meters, Vulfpeck, Trombone Shorty

Happy Fat Tuesday! Just spent a weekend knee-deep in great funk and oysters in the heart of the French Quarter. In the current musical landscape, N'awlins funk is more often than not overlooked. Outside of bands like Dumpstaphunk, Trombone Shorty, and Rebirth Brass Band, New Orleans music has to be experienced in the city itself. Nothing is more exciting than stumbling into a venue to discover a band seasoned to perfection, acclimated to the dim lighting and sweaty environs of a New Orleans watering hole.

Under the Covers: The Tallest Man on Earth - Graceland [Paul Simon Cover]

Feels like: Iron and Wine, Husky, Blind Pilot, Milo Greene, Family and Friends

Check out this awesome cover of Paul Simon's "Graceland".  Thanks to Gray Thibadeau for the heads up on another stellar tune.