Tag: soul

Listening Booth — The New Mastersounds, “You Mess Me Up”

Listening Booth — The New Mastersounds, “You Mess Me Up”

Listening Booth, Music
With all the crap I've been dealing with thanks to Hurricane Sandy, I've had precious little time for music listening. And that means I haven't been able to really dig into the new record from the New Mastersounds, Out on the Faultline. I mean to correct that today, and the first step is sharing the official video for the first song off the LP, "You Mess Me Up." It's a fun video for an even funner song. That's right, funner. The group's last album, Breaks from the Border, made my 2011 year-end best of list, and I have a feeling this one will too. Out on the Faultline is available now! And if you're on Spotify, you can check out this track and most of the ones featured in my Listening Booth series by subscribing to this playlist.
Album Cover of the Week: Stevie Wonder, Where I’m Coming From

Album Cover of the Week: Stevie Wonder, Where I’m Coming From

Album Cover of the Week, Music
I last showcased an album cover from the great Stevie Wonder when I wrote about Innervisions in 2009. Today I want to go back to the beginning. Not of Wonder's career, but of his string of all-time classic albums in the 1970s. For today we look at Where I'm Coming From, released on Motown's Tamla label on April 12, 1971. A few things strike me right away about this cover. First is the very bold use of "WONDER" with its many pictures of Stevie. This was the first album where Wonder really was able to assert full creative control over his music, and I think this cover speaks to that. The second thing is the title -- Where I'm Coming From. It's an unmistakable declaration that this album was intended not to generate profit for Berry Gordy but to let America and the world know what w...
Music from the Worst Album Covers — Millie Jackson, Back to the S__t!

Music from the Worst Album Covers — Millie Jackson, Back to the S__t!

Album Cover of the Week, Featured Posts, Music
My first exposure of any kind to the music of Millie Jackson was her song "All the Way Lover" from the compilation album Blaxploitation, Volume 3: The Big Payback. It's a surreal cut that's alternately soulful and hilarious. Jackson sings and speaks as she exhorts her man to, well, go all the way. Oh and then she admonishes other women to stop watching soap operas or gossiping, and get down to pleasing their men lest they stray. But hey, why not hear it for yourself? It's an experience you should enjoy at least once. So now that you've heard that, the following album cover should come as no surprise. Wait, does that say Back to the Seat!? Back to the Suit!? No, that doesn't make sense. Must be Back to the Shit! Released in 1989 on Jive Records, well after Jackson's peri
Album cover of the week: Ike and Tina Turner — Outta Season

Album cover of the week: Ike and Tina Turner — Outta Season

Album Cover of the Week, Music
As provocative album covers go, Ike and Tina Turner's Outta Season LP has to be one of the greats. The image of the couple eating watermelon while wearing whiteface -- a brilliant mockery of blackface minstrelsy -- would be controversial now, so the fact that this was released in 1968 is even more amazing. Not surprisingly, the foreign versions of Outta Season featured much more unimaginative album art. I don't know if they featured the super sexy gatefold picture the original U.S. edition (on Blue Thumb Records) had.
Pop Culture Capsule — 1974 Billboard Magazine Soul Train Spotlight

Pop Culture Capsule — 1974 Billboard Magazine Soul Train Spotlight

Capsules, Featured Posts, History
Tributes to the late Don Cornelius have been filling the internet since the news broke of his death earlier this week. There's nothing of substance I can add to the legacy of Cornelius and his beloved creation, Soul Train, so instead I'll offer up this 1974 tribute from Billboard magazine. This spotlight combines a history of the show, then celebrating its third year on the air, with tribute ads from well-known soul and R&B artists, as well as plenty of cool pictures. (more…)
The Music Year That Was: The Best Albums of 2011

The Music Year That Was: The Best Albums of 2011

Music
The usual disclaimers about my year-end music lists still apply. I'm only one man and only have so much time to listen to new albums. So even if I hear an album and it's really good, if nothing about it grabs me right away I may end up forgetting it. Also, naturally I'm going to gravitate toward music either from acts I already know and like or that's recommended by friends and writers/critics I respect. These, then, are the ten albums that I have returned to more than any other in 2011 and probably will in 2012. Because at the end of the day, isn't that the only mark of a good record? #1. Mastodon, The Hunter As much as I was disappointed with Crack the Skye, I absolutely love The Hunter. I've read a lot of comparisons between it and Metallica's "Black Album," and I can see why. It's...
Listening booth — The Roots, “Make My” (feat. Big K.R.I.T.)

Listening booth — The Roots, “Make My” (feat. Big K.R.I.T.)

Listening Booth, Music
If nothing else, the Roots are insanely prolific. Despite their day (night) job as the house band for Jimmy Fallon's late night talk show, they find time to record and release project after project. It's barely been 18 months since How I Got Over came out (and even less since their collaboration with John Legend), the followup album -- Undun -- is scheduled for a December 6 release. The first single from Undun (which the Roots say will be a concept album), "Make My," was just dropped. Check it: The Roots "Make My" featuring Big K.R.I.T. by okayplayer I wasn't expecting anything this mellow, but I really like it. I love that keyboard riff, and the bridge is a hunk of vintage soul right off one of Stevie Wonder's classic '70s albums.
Album review mini-roundup: Anthrax, Ladytron, and The New Mastersounds

Album review mini-roundup: Anthrax, Ladytron, and The New Mastersounds

Music
Anthrax, Worship Music (Megaforce Records) -- No disrespect to John Bush, but Anthrax only sounds like Anthrax to me with Joey Belladonna behind the mic. Interestingly enough, his first album with Anthrax in more than 20 years is a much more modern-sounding album than I expected. While parts of Worship Music -- tracks like "Earth on Hell" -- are right out of the Persistence of Time era, others ("Fight 'Em 'Til You Can't" and "I'm Alive") sound more the like modern, radio-friendly hard rock found on more recent discs. Belladonna was in a tough spot here, as he and Scott Ian publicly admitted that Worship Music was largely complete when he was brought in. So he was basically singing over songs that were written with former singer Dan Nelson in mind. To his credit, Belladonna sounds at hom...
Listening booth — Amy Winehouse (Tränenpalast, Berlin, Germany 2004)

Listening booth — Amy Winehouse (Tränenpalast, Berlin, Germany 2004)

Listening Booth, Music
I'll cop to not being the biggest Amy Winehouse fan in the world, but there's no denying the incredible talent she possessed. That talent is on display during the concert I'm sharing with you today. This is from a July 29, 2011 broadcast on Deutschlandfunk, a German radio station. It captures Amy performing in support of her debut album, Frank, on September 28, 2004 at the Tränenpalast in Berlin, Germany. This is the Amy that fans will likely want to remember. Before the scandal, before the very public -- and ultimately losing -- battles with addiction, and before the days of mysteriously canceled shows and poor performances. Here, she's in great voice and hits a groove with her sterling backing band. (These are all in .mp3 format by the way. If you want to download the show in .F