Category Archives: Track

Leon Bridges: River

With the beginning of Black History Month, Leon Bridges comes forward with the strongest message he has presented to date: He is a black musician living in the present. Obvious, sure. But amid the hype and excitement surrounding his authentic, throw-back sound and carefully curated nostalgic imagery, it’s still a message worth noting. With the release of the music video for “River” we find Leon in a dream partnership with brilliant director Miles Jay as he takes off his vintage suit jacket and joins the dialogue of 2016. He reflects, takes his time, tells a powerful story, and shares a redemptive moment with the golden-voiced Brittni Jessie, who takes the song to an entirely new dimension.

In a statement made this morning Leon says, “When thinking about how to best represent this universal battle, I reflected on the depiction of black communities in our media and particular experiences in my own life. This video showcases the unique struggle many black men and women face across this country. However, unlike the captured images which tend to represent only part of the story, I wanted to showcase that through all the injustice, there’s real hope in the world.”

Old soul revivalist hype aside, Leon has never been one to shy away from his history with R&B or love of hip-hop. He’s open to talking about the present and where he comes from with honesty and humility. Still, it’s important to see him participating in present day conversation on this level. It shows a depth and relevance which far exceeds that of a novelty sound or Instagram filter. It shows maturity and fresh direction for what lies ahead. And it reminds us all that we live in a world of both injustice and hope, reality and redemption, past and present.


[Video] Turbo Fruits: The Way I Want You

Brand spankin’ (and slappin’ and kickin’) new video for the Turbo Fruits single “The Way I Want You” just debuted on Entertainment Weekly this morning. The single is from the Fruits’ upcoming LP No Control, due out 4/20 and its video (directed by Stewart Copeland) features lead singer/guitarist Jonas Stein getting his ass kicked in the name of a good metaphor.

If this single is any indication of No Control, we’re in for some matured songwriting material and a slightly more musically relaxed version of our Turbo Fruits in the near future – something I’m extremely excited to get my hands on. But I guess we’ll just have to wait about 10 more weeks to find out.

Jazmine Sullivan : Let It Burn

“Let it Burn”, a brand new song from Jazmine Sullivan’s upcoming album Reality Show, is really doing it for me today. In this romantic track, Sullivan pours gospel flavor all over an old school groove and the result is smooth, nostalgic and addictive.

Her entire new album is streaming in full on Soundcloud several days before its scheduled release date, so check it out if you are so inclined. It’s a solid batch of r&b from a songwriter who is evolving gracefully.

This is the cut, though.

“Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)” Official Video

In the latest concerning Father John Misty’s upcoming album I Love You, Honeybear, (since the single “Bored in the USA”) we got a video today.

Check out his prismatic love letter, the official video for “Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)” below, along with Josh Tillman’s own perfectly penned press release.

(via Facebook)

A few months ago, I had an idea for a video. I was going to rent a wedding chapel, get a dozen kittens and stage a kitten wedding, over which I would preside and intercut with performance footage of me lip-syncing the song which you’re hearing today, “Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)”.

Sounds great, right? It may have even gone viral because kittens. If a video goes viral, that means you’re reaching a wider audience, and you might even get on a chart. If you get on a chart that means you’re streaming more records, and the more records you’re streaming the more money you supposedly have for hiring kitten wranglers.

Aside from the fact that kitten wranglers are considerably more expensive than you may realize and that said-kitten wranglers all informed me there was no way we were going to be able get the outfits I had mocked up onto said-kittens, there was another extenuating factor involved in the decision to abort this music video concept and ruin the slim likelihood that I might ever get to see the Huffington Post entertainment headline “EX-FLEET FOXES DRUMMER WEDS CATS”.

That reason is that the song actually means a great a deal to me.

It’s got the #4 on it because this iteration Chateau Lobby was the 4th attempt at arranging and producing the song that did not turn out perversely sentimental. Sentimentality brutalizes emotion. Much like ironic music videos.

I don’t care if you like the video or not. The label isn’t crazy about it. Management isn’t crazy about it. I have been informed I’m basically kissing an MTV Woody award goodbye forever. I made it on an iPad on my wedding anniversary with the one I love. We ate pancakes.

I love you,

Willie Dunn: I Pity the Country

Light in the Attic (LITA) is a record label out of Seattle, which specializes in small batch re-releases of rare records. With an intentionally curated catalog and beautiful accompanying artwork, Light in the Attic’s taste level sets itself on another echelon.

It was through LITA that I was introduced to Willie Dunn. This fall they released Native North America Vol 1, a compilation of lost folk, rock and country songs from the aboriginal community of North America (1961-1985). And, like all of their releases, it is an absolute gift.

Beautifully written and performed with heart, these songs reflect the sounds of the times. In true folk fashion, they are sung with poignant lyrics, unique to their storytellers, performed to solidify the identity of their native culture. But, what was scarcely on the radar of popular music in its time has, decades later, become virtually invisible. Thanks to LITA’s magnificent unearthing of these rare tunes, we have access to this piece of North American history.

The 34 tracks found here span a range of styles and voices, with some beautiful moments sprinkled throughout. But it’s the opening track, Willie Dunn’s “I Pity the Country” which stands out above the rest. In his voice is the pain of oppression, as his lyrics resonate with disheartened frustration:
I pity the country
I pity the state
And the mind of the man
That thrives on hate

It’s a timeless (and timely) message for those who would reflect on it.

For a preview of Light in the Attic’s release, see the video below.

Angel Olsen: All Right Now

Seven months after the release of her most recent and critically acclaimed LP, Angel Olsen is giving us all a little more. A deluxe release of Burn Your Fire For No Witness, including 5 brand new songs, was released in November. Among the new tracks is the refreshing single, “All Right Now.”

Now, there’s no arguing that Angel possesses a unique, almost singular style. It’s as easy to admit her talents in tone and range as it is to let your emotions ride the rise and fall of her melodic waves.Burn Your Fire For No Witness showcased brilliantly her ethereal vocals, often on the verge of trembling, yet controlled with powerful conviction.

But with “All Right Now”, the single from her batch of deluxe tracks, she steps back from heavy lyrical content to reveal a more secret weapon: space. From the almost whispered opening to the sparsely placed instrumentation, “All Right Now” moves gracefully through open air with a delicate hand. And while her single flows nicely with the rest of her LP, it stands out by feeling light as a feather, full of dreamy optimism without sparing an ounce of vulnerability.

One stormy night in April, I was lucky enough to see Angel perform. I made the drive with a few friends to Off Broadway, in her home town of St. Louis, excited to see her for the first time. I had long heard about her captivating brand of performances from several friends of mine. “Spellbinding” was often used to describe the experience. We stood at the front, watching Nashville openers Promised Land Sound play a set of groovy space country as the crowd grew larger and larger. The success ofBurn Your Fire For No Witness brought many new and younger fans to join Olsen’s old friends and family members in the audience.

When Angel stepped on stage to a roar of applause, she was smiling from ear to ear. The hushed hometown crowd stood in rapt attention as she made her way through new songs, which had only been out for a couple months at the time. That didn’t stop us all from singing along. She was humbled by the turnout and sweetly soft spoken, but she sang with commanding boldness, making fearless eye contact with the crowd.

Maybe it was the full band behind her, maybe it was the familiar faces in the crowd, maybe it was the success of her latest recorded effort – but something told me that this experience was very different than any before. Spellbinding and intimate as it was, there was nothing timid about it. She had matured, come into her own and knew how to put on a show.

As her body of work progresses, Angel Olsen seems increasingly more self-assured. And like so many proud members of that St. Louis audience, I’m excited to cheer her on. Whatever the next step in her journey will bring, it sure is nice to hear her pause and say, “It’s all right now.”

(art by Daniel Zender)