Thursday, March 17, 2011

Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears - Scandalous (2011)

Scandalous was produced by Jim Eno of Spoon, who also produced the band’s celebrated 2009 debut, Tell ‘Em What Your Name Is! (Lost Highway). Tell ‘Em What Your Name Is! featured a young band’s modern and gritty take on classic American funk, soul, rock and blues. The album garnered positive feedback from the press, including Esquire, Spin, NPR, UTNE Reader, Los Angeles Times, Mojo, and On Scandalous, Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears elevate their game to another level with 11 new songs that offer more diverse and contemporary stylings than its predecessor. Gospel punk burner "You Been Lyin'" (featuring The Relatives) fits squarely alongside the country blues of "Messin'" and the Stax-meets-Stones soul of Solomon Burke’s "Since I Met You Baby." The raw funk creeper "She's So Scandalous" stands out as an album highlight.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Shawn Lee's Ping Pong Orchestra - World of Funk (2011)

Lee has as an uncanny ability to pick-up and play any instrument he can lay his hands on (his studio is like a candy-store for curious musicians) and for World of Funk he went global playing sitar, ektar, Balaphone, Tanpura, kalimba, Steel drum, Guitarron, Moroccan castanets, Cithare, vibraphone, Xylophone, Bulbul tarang, Charango, Bouzouki, talking drum, and Udu.

Adding to Lees melting pot of sounds are guests from around the world. Brazilian singer-multi instrumentalist Curumin (Hailing from Sao Paulo, and of Japanese/Spanish Brazilian background) and British/Egyptian singer Natacha Atlas completely embody the spirit of World of Funk. While on-tour in Los Angeles this Summer Lee locked down three very special collaborations. The first was with Chhom Nimol the LA based Cambodian singer with the band Dengue Fever. Lee made an instrumental track with Clutchy Hopkins (which includes the sound of a 1960's Smith and Corona typewriter!) for Dengue Fever member Paul Smith who recorded Chhoms haunting vocal. A chance meeting with Bardo of Chicano Batman on Sunset Boulevard led to some garage-y flavored West Coast Latino-funk. And then both Willie McNeal and Money Mark suggested Lee work with Cava.

The album also features Truth and Soul Recording artist Michael Leonhart, NOMO bandleader Elliot Bergman, and Lee’s mother-in-law (aka Nanny Jee)!

Red Snapper - Key (2011)

‘Key’ is a guide to all things ‘Snapper’, ghostly sonic landscapes, ripping machine gun rhythms and bone shaking bass. Two years in the making, from a band who met nearly 20 years ago, a sonic journey through afrobilly funk, grinding dub jazz and future blues bophop, full of dark soul and blistering passion. “Key” is the seventh and arguably the best album from a genre-defying group that continue to break boundaries and create new sounds while staying true to their unique energy that fans have always loved.

Raphael Saadiq - Stone Rollin' (2011)

Grammy Award winning singer, songwriter and record producer Raphael Saadiq has announced the release of his fifth studio album Stone Rollin’ on May 10, 2011 on Columbia Records. Known for defying the confines of working within one genre, this standard bearer for “old school” R&B returns with a new release that celebrates the classic sounds of 60’s and 70’s soul with a futuristic twist.
With Stone Rollin’, Saadiq nods to his heroes like Chuck Berry, Stevie Wonder, Little Walter and Sly Stone, while merging his own contemporary twist, one born out of a combination of his recent touring experiences, as well as inspiration derived from indie acts that hold regular rotation in his ipod. The end result is a collection that showcases Saadiq’s gifted musicality and the stellar production skills that have become the artist’s signature.

Raphael Saadiq says of the recording

“Both the attraction and reaction to my music from my listeners has giving me all that I need to continue pushing the envelope and making music that wakes and rocks the soul of many, Its Ready, I’m Ready, and I know the world is Ready, Lets all go Stone Rollin.”