Sunday, 01 December 2013 21:35

"Without Your Love" - Bang, You're Dead

Reverbnation describes Bang, You're Dead as "electronica/soul." Those are two genres that don't seem quite compatible. Yet, in their song "Without Your Love," the group pulls off the marriage of these two sounds quite nimbly.

Lead singer Jes Hudak is soulful (ala Elle Goulding), and her voice is both haunting and ethereal over a beat provided by her partner-in-crime DJ Quickie Mart. There is a yearning to the vocals that makes the song emotionally insistent, perhaps sad, but not melancholy. And the beat never overwhelmes the song. 

My suggestion: explore "Electronica/Soul" with Bang, You're Dead. Diversity is a good thing, and they've produced a quality sound and a quality song. I can dig it. As a matter-of-fact, it's going on my iTunes.

 

 

Published in Reviews
Tuesday, 26 November 2013 14:58

RC & The Gritz

It isn’t often that artists experience success on their first commercial venture, and when they do, it’s even less often that they stay humble and accessible. But RC Williams, of RC and the Gritz, has managed to do both.

At the age of 19, RC was part of God’s Property, the backup band for Kirk Franklin, best known for their rousing hit “Stomp.” That song led to a “BET” video, a performance on Jay Leno, the Soul Train Awards, and meeting stars like Puff Daddy, Snoop, and Whitney Houston.

Fast forward almost 20 years, and RC has become an established artist of his own.

He and the Gritz are Erykah Badu’s backup band, and his work on her album, “Worldwide Underground,” resulted in a Grammy nomination.

He has toured with Snoop Lion, written for Raheem Devaughn, and worked with artists from Prince to Jill Scott. Each month his star power brings artists such as Bilal, Stokely, and Eric Roberson to the funky Deep Ellum joint on Elm Street called “The Prophet Bar.”

With those accomplishments and that influence under his belt, some might expect RC to be trippin’ over his own ego. Rest assured, he is not. For all his talent in writing, producing, and playing, for all his travels – Europe, Asia, and coast to coast – RC remains humble.

Perhaps it’s due to his beginnings. RC is a Dallas native. Born and raised. Like many musicians, his roots are in Gospel, and he will readily adds that, at one point, his mother’s spirituality was so strong that she didn’t want him playing secular music.

But as they both journeyed down the path he was destined to travel, they learned that music is music. And, more importantly, that music calls RC to play.

As you sit back and talk to RC, you can’t help but wonder how he has continued to maintain success in an industry where success can be fleeting. He credits it to “creating relationships.” RC believes that creating relationships and then building on them is fundamental to success.

“You don’t have to get out of Dallas to succeed. Relationships … making good relationships is the key.” Build good strong relationships and be willing to help each other out. Do “friendship trades.” Appreciate the talent that surrounds you.

Those relationships, that talent, and those friendship trades have all culminated in what’s next for RC and the Gritz: the release of their first album entitled “Pay Your Tab.”

The title is inspired by a Prophet Bar waiter requesting that RC tell the patrons to “close their tab,” and RC describes the album as “groovy, emotional, and catchy.” The funky disc features performances from Raheem, Snoop, and, of course, Erykah Badu.

Interestingly, the Gritz weren’t formed to create an album; they were formed to play some gigs around Dallas in their downtime. But somewhere along the way, something organic happened: People asked, the songs came, the writing began, and it was a natural process.

This isn’t to say the album came easy. RC admits that “doing it the first time was a real learning experience.” But when you love your work, it rarely seems like work at all. What’s clear is that RC loves his work.

So with Grammy nominations, TV performances, and worldwide tours under his belt, is there much left for RC and his Gritz?

According to RC, the answer is yes.

“I feel like this is a beginning. My plan is to build an empire down here and to take the initiative to build artists from the city of Dallas. I’m blessed to be where I am. But I’m not stopping here.”

RC and the Gritz are blessed to be here and Dallas is blessed to have him as a native son.

RC and the Gritz is composed of RC Williams, Braylon Lacy, Cleon Edwards, Claudia Melton, Jah Born, Taron Lockett, and Evan Knight.

“Pay Your Tab” by RC and The Gritz is available via iTunes, CDBaby, and other digital outlets. It should be available at retail stores the first week in December.

Published in Interviews
Monday, 25 November 2013 22:41

"Anyday" - Alexis Jones

As evidenced by Youtube, Alexis Jones is on her grind writing and singing songs. A song she recently uploaded but that hasn't got the number of views it deserves is her song called "Anyday."

"Anyday" is sleek and sexy, ripe for late night "Quiet Storms," and R&B adult-contemporary. She reminded me a bit of LeToya in this song as she vacillated between sensual and sexual.  I listened to the song again and again (which is kinda how I review songs). And every time I heard it, I liked it more and more.

Here's to hoping that Alexis Jones will find her fan base "any day." Good songs and good artists deserve to be heard. 

Published in Reviews
Sunday, 24 November 2013 00:25

"BLVD" - IAMNAYAH

Like Rihanna in a Calvin Harris song, IAMNAYAH owns the BLVD. In the song, she promises to "go hard," and that she does. The melody begins with her singing with a piano. But that belies  what the song will become - a throbbing dance song with a catchy hook and an ingratiating beat. Thirty seconds into the song, you'll be nodding your head. Sixty seconds into the song, you'll feel compelled to move.

IAMNAYAH is calliing 'all her rebels' to get in trouble with her on the boulevard. While I"m not a rebel, if she keeps dropping songs like this, I may need to go find this BLVD.

Well ... maybe I am a little rebellious ... 

Published in Reviews
Friday, 22 November 2013 16:49

"Parkway" - Gaelle Adisson

I've never been the victim of a stalking. But I know it ain't sexy. I'm no fool. Getting your tires slashed, being followed by a not-so-covert vehicle, someone peeping through your window-blinds ... it's ain't cool, and it ain't sexy.

Yet, while I realize this, I must admit that in the song "Parkway," Gaelle Adisson has crafted a sexy and serene melody about stalking. Is the chick crazy?? She is, and she owns it. She acknowledges with no shame, "I'm not your average bitch."

Ever hear a song and think, where was I when this song came out? That's what I wondered when I stumbled upon "Parkway" and the album"Transient." I was sorry that it took me so long to come across it. Check out her electronica love song "Falling" or the Pop-oriented "Give it Back" you'll know what I mean.

Beautiful women are most men's achilles heel, including the crazy beautiful ones. In "Parkway" Gaelle is both beautiful and crazy. And I have to admit, I'd still fuck with her. Maybe that makes me crazy too. 

Published in Reviews
Friday, 22 November 2013 00:14

"Hush" - RC and the Gritz

RC and the Gritz.

Grits because they are the epitome of soul food? Or grits because the word implies the need for grit, for strength, for resilience? Perhaps their name - RC and the Gritz - is a fusion of both ideas. Because fusion is what RC and the Gritz have stirred up in their gumbo called "Hush."

The lyrics themselves are simple: "I'm about to lose my cool. Girl, you need to hush."

And just as good soul food starts with simple ingredients and then is layered with all types of spicy, sugary, and salty goodness, so it this song. This song is a boiling pot of soul and hip hop. It's a sprinking of jazz, pinch of funk, and sauteed in R&B.

The song is not meant to be an appetizer, it's the main course. It's a delicious bowl of grits. Give it a listen and eat up. While you're doing that, sit back and enjoy the video. I gotta say, I keep seeing great videos by Dallas' artist; and I keep seeing Jeff Adair's named attached to them ... 

Published in Reviews
Monday, 18 November 2013 21:59

"Believe" - Rachel Marie

Rachel Marie has two songs available on Soundcloud. Her single "High" and the R&B infused gospel song "Believe." 

I've choosen to review "Believe" - it's sweet, sincere, and sung effortlessly. Over beat that's intent on making you groove to its sound, Marie declares her belief in a Higher Power. It's the type of song meant to be bring spirituality to a wide audience, and cater to those who prefer Mary Mary to the more traditional gospel songs.

"Believe" me, Marie has nailed it. Favoring lower tones, and careful not to oversing, she embues afffection for faith and an affirmation for God. She's done a great job - I played the song five times in a row - and she should be proud of her work here. 

Published in Reviews
Tuesday, 05 November 2013 03:37

"How I Feel" - Flo Rida

Flo Rida, the sample king, is back with his latest song "How I Feel." And like most of his ditties, it contains an interpolation of someone else's song. Yes, he has done it again.  He has remixed Nina Simone and her classic "Feeling Good" with a song of his own. I gotta say, I was immediately irritated. The sample seems to desecrate the song. Nina's song is about freedom, hope, liberty. Flo's song is about excess, cash, and bling. Geez! Times like this I wonder, is sampling a display of creativity or a lack of it? But that's another blog. 

Regardless of how I feel about Flo Rida's endless samples, he has managed to turn them into hits. He sampled Brenda Russell in "I Cry," he sampled Dead of Alive in "Right Round," and Etta James in "Good Feeling." All those songs went multi-platinum. So maybe Flo's motto is, "if it ain't broke, why fix it?

As for me, I was gritting my teeth through most of "How I Feel." But I have to admit that the beat was somewhat ingratiating and by the time I got over the sacrilege of  including Nina in this song, I began to tap my foot to the tune. I'm guessing that was somewhere around the 2.17 mark of a 2.50 minute song ...

Published in Reviews
Saturday, 02 November 2013 18:37

"Breakfast Can Wait" - Prince

Ever since Prince found religion (or religion found him), he has toned down his lyrics and his antics. So there is something amusingly perverse in hearing his falsetto croon, "I'm not trying to make you blush ... breakfast can wait."

Really? Making us blush is what Prince did best for the first twenty years of his career.

In any case, "Breakfast Can Wait" is simply suggestive, and it's wicked fun. When the object of Prince's affection asks if she was loud last night, he replies, "Loud? Yea. Quite."

This is the type of breakfast that deserves a second and third helping. 

Now if only I knew why Dave Chappelle adorned the song cover ... 

Published in Reviews
Saturday, 26 October 2013 14:34

“Ice cream Everyday” - Amel Larrieux

Back in the late 90's, Amel was dropping R&B dance music with a group named “Groove Theory.” They had a top ten hit and a gold disc but the story goes that Amel wanted to do more adult fare so the duo went their separate ways.

While Amel has never “blown up” on the charts, she has been putting out adult-oriented music over the years and has proven to have vocal chops and writing skills not displayed with Groove Theory. As a matter-of-fact, anyone who knows her song “For Real” (got her some play time on VH1) knows she is a gifted lyricist with an amazing vocal range.

It's been a few years since Amel dropped an album. And while I believe that “Bravebird” will always be my favorite, with songs like “I Do Take,” and “Ur the Shhh” or her latest album - “Ice Cream Everyday” - it's good to have Amel back. And trust me, she's still in quality form.

Published in Reviews
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