7 Soulful Singles

Aunt B

“Oh Lord”

Aunt B officially came together as a band last summer, but the concept had been stewing for a few years between Shane and Megan Baskerville, the married duo that sits at the heart of the 8-piece. All that stewing paid off, however. Shortly after filling their roster, the band was down at Five Thirteen Recording to give shape to their s/t debut album which is due out next month. “Oh Lord” is the first single from that release. Megan Baskerville’s powerful vocals put a sultry spin on the daily task of just plain living. This blues rock anthem will put some steel in your spine. Give it a spin below and join us in the wait for the full release next month.

JSPH

“lifeLESS”

This smooth single from Cincinnati’s JSPH starts with a stripped down sound, but brace yourself, the energy kicks up. “lifeLESS” ebbs and flows between bedroom chill and full heartbreak. I don’t know what impressed me more: JSPH’s lryrical prowess or his ability to deliver said lyrics in such an emotionally stirring voice. Make sure you give “lifeLESS” a listen below or head here for your own digi-download of the single.

Cadillac Freeze

“El Miraj in tha Garage”

Cadillac Freeze makes psychedelic soul music and it’s pretty stellar. Combining a slinky vocals with a smooth production style, Cadillac Freeze shapes out a totally modern sound on “El Miraj in tha Garage”. And, it was just last summer that the Cali artist released the 18-track album Good Vibes and he’s already punching out new singles. That’s straight hustling. Cadillac Freeze is definitely an artist to keep an ear on. Start with “El Miraj in tha Garage” below or head here to score your own copy of the single.

Rebekah Todd

“Let Me Prove My Love”

Alt-blues musician Rebekah Todd just dropped her sophomore album, the result of a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised thirty grand for the project. The album, Crooked Lines, dropped two days ago and this single comes to us from that release. “Let Me Prove My Love” is a love song for the ages; full of the heartwrenching passion one feels in absence of their love. The North Carolina-based Todd wrote the song for her lover in Santiago, Chile and she has the vocal powers to deliver the angst of that long-distance divide in full force. So brace yourself as you delve into “Let Me Prove My Love” by Rebekah Todd below and then head here for the album from whence the single came, Crooked Lines. 

Baby E.

“Realize”

This soulful single comes to us  from producer Baby E.’s mixtape, Kill the Noise. He worked with ṡtravy to craft “Realize” – a chill number with a hiphop slant I really dig. The kickback attitude of “Realize” stands in sharp juxtaposition to the hard truths it lays out for the listener. Start with “Realize” below and then move on to the complete mixtape from L.A.’s Baby E. (available here). At fourteen tracks, Kill the Noise is one your going to want to set aside some time to really explore.

Reggie

“Sing No More: An Ode to Marvin, Luther, Teddy and MJ”

Last year Philly artist Reggie made the jump to L.A. to start pushing his sound to new audiences. “Sing No More: An Ode to Marvin, Luther, Teddy and MJ” does just what the title suggests. And, it pays tribute to R&B singers of the past not just with its title, but in the style laid out for us in the music itself, both instrumentally and vocally. My only complaint is that this track closes out in less than 90 seconds. This song feels a bit more like an introduction than a fully fleshed-out single. I mean, hell, that’s a long title for such a brief song. We’re going to need a little more than that next time, but by way of introduction, we’re doing swell. Check out “Sing No More: An Ode to Marvin, Luther, Teddy and MJ” by Reggie below….

Soon

“Used To”

Scandinavian R&B? Sign me up. Soon has a bit of the 90s boy band vibe with their soul-pop combo. The band’s recent single, “Used To”, definitely has this vibe as well as all the emotive charge you would expect from the genre. “Used To” deals with the misgivings of love you suspect is slipping away from you. That’s a topic that certainly lends itself to some harrowing feelings and Soon captures that energy. Give “Used To” a listen below.

3 Chill New Releases You Should Check Out

chill new releases 00by Carly Schorman
Senior Editor

Max Knouse

Dinasaur from Jensen

If this is an audiobook, it’s the most beautiful audiobook ever.

On Dinasaur from Jensen [sic], Max Knouse seems to follow a bit of the Jeff Mangum/Aeroplane Over the Sea approach to record-making by creating an elaborate and elusive narrative that plays out over the course of the album.

If you try to view the lyrics through the album’s Bandcamp page, you will be rewarded with a single word (a clue perhaps?) rather than the full story. Although Dinasaur from Jensen counts nine tracks, several of those included are brief interludes between full songs.

It was all the way back in 2014 that Max Knouse knocked our socks off with The Hasty Escape (his band) and their album, The Filthier ThingsYou can hear elements of Knouse’s earlier work – that windswept Americana, the entrancing harmonies, the stellar guitarwork – but this new undertaking is a bit stranger and no less engaging. It’s impossible to pick a “favorite song” from the album. Dinasaur from Jensen should be consumed in its entirety in one sitting, not piece by piece. However, I will say that “Bottle Submerged” had some favorite moments for me.

Sink into the strange and wondrous aural experience that is Dinasaur from Jensen below…

Delafaye

The Hilltop

We heard Delafaye’s first single back in November and then we covered his next single the following month. So, of course, we were just about counting down the days until we could hear his complete debut EP.

The Hilltop dropped on January 27th through the British label Street Mission Records and, I must say, Delafaye is the perfect fit for a London label. His music has a somber, English sensibility and he keeps the focus on songwriting at its core; placing authentic expressions of emotion over catchy hooks and substance over glitz.

“Time and Money” opens The Hilltop; a somber, reflective number that I find as comforting as hot coffee on a bone-chilling morning. “Rain” follows and you’ll start accurately assuming that the EP will continue along this meditative path to its conclusion. Delafaye is for those peaceful, pensive moments. “Dreamers”, my personal favorite, comes next before “Thinkin of You” closes out the album.

Just in case you missed those earlier reviews, Delafaye is the musical moniker of Kentucky songwriter Andrew Shockley. Let’s all hope for an Arizona stop on his next tour. That’s a ticket I would purchase.

Until then, you can check out the new single, “Rain”, from The Hilltop by Delafaye below or head to iTunes or Spotify for the complete EP.

Without Youth

Seasons

Despite the hundreds of submissions we receive every week, I still like stumbling around for some heartfelt bedroom indie as a much needed break from the glitzy, production-heavy singles we get flooded with day in, day out.

Without Youth has just that sort of refreshing sound I needed to soothe my PR-weary soul: honest and simple yet poignant. Something more a little more promising than polished. There’s warmth in the four tracks found on Seasons; the duo’s latest EP which came out in January.

“Rooms” opens the EP and establishes a dreamy feel for the rest of the release. Liz Christy’s voice matches that dreaminess with her breathy, almost sleepy, vocal style that shifts from pensive to airy. Devon Hancock is the other half of the musical partnership that is Without Youth. Hancock occasionally joins in singing duties to add casual harmonies on tracks like “Take III” which, btw, is a personal favorite from the EP because of its rich, almost-gritty instrumental texturing. “Between Love and Hate” closes the release with a 5+ minute meditation on, well, love and hate and how one can transform into the other.

If you dig the intimacy of bedroom indie pop, I suggest delving into Seasons from Phoenix’s Without Youth below…

7 Strange & Wondrous Music Videos

Chelou
“Halfway to Nowhere”

Low Country Kingdom
“Doin’ It”

Trevor Wesley
“In This World”

20 Ft Neon Jesus
“Drank In My Chalice”

Hammered Satin
“Strawberries and Cream”

HALO the Great
“Love Hard”

Yuri Krivoshein
“Star Wars Surf”

Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra: PAO!

phoenix afrobeat orchestra 01by Mark Anderson
Senior Editor

Holy Mother of Kuti – after a 6 year wait you can now own your very own Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra album that you can play whenever your heart desires. I mean, this is huge, like a 16-piece-band playing righteous-African-funk huge.

Sure, the album may be only 4 tracks (there’s a 5th bonus track online) but it clocks in at nearly 30 minutes of body-grooving goodness. It’s impossible not to dance to PAO! In fact, I think you might be super-villain level evil if you don’t like the music of Phoenix’s own Afrobeat Orchestra.

“Oppression Scatter” opens PAO! and sets the true tone of the album: stare down all that seeks to oppress you as you shout and dance in celebration and joy of rebellion. “Can you hear them crying?/Can you hear?/Now you hear them silence/Now you hear…”

With its rhythmic repetition of the chorus, “Come With Us” might just be my favorite song on the album. An anthem for all who seek connection through love, the song’s message is clear: “Peace and blood my family/You’re one of us/It’s the PAO way!”

Following the dynamite instrumental track of trumpeter/conductor Aldy Montufar’s “Push”, PAO ends the album with “Blossom”, an ode to all of us who work long hours, striving for that next dollar just to survive. They remind us that we all need some contentment and happiness in our life, keeping our head, “You got to…/Plant the seed and watch it blossom/Higher!”

Recorded to tape and engineered at Fivethirteen Recording in Tempe and mastered at SAE Mastering in Phoenix, PAO! is a piece of Valley Music history and hopefully just the beginning of Phoenix Afrobeat output. My only complaint is that it isn’t longer!

~

Check out Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra on New Year’s Eve at the Crescent Ballroom Block Party!

The Tastemaker’s Ten: John Polle of Whispering Wires

john-polle

Tucson musician John Polle of Whispering Wires and Discos took some time out of his schedule to participate in our Tastemaker’s Ten. As per usual, we asked him to select ten tracks that he feels everyone should hear. What came back was an eclectic mix of singles from Arizona and beyond; unconfined by time period or location. Enjoy.

Lenguas Largas
“Abba Daddy”

I closed my eyes and picked this track at random, because they’re all good. These soul-punk weirdos give you everything you need: sex, druggy hidden headphone treasures, sonic landscapes, and hooks. It’s rumored head Lengua Isaac Reyes can write hits and play Grand Theft Auto simultaneously. ¿Quíen es mejor? ¡Nadie!

*I have, on occasion, played with Lenguas Largas, but purely in a support role. I am first and foremost a fan.

Tommy Johnson
“I Want Someone to Love Me”

This guy sold his soul to the devil before Robert Johnson, drank Sterno when he couldn’t buy booze, and wrote this masterpiece.

Pre Fix
“Underneathica”

Early 80s noisemakers from the art-you-can-dance-to school of rock. Free your mind and your middle finger will follow.

Free Machines
“Different Shapes”

There is a spring in Nogales, AZ that bestows those who drink from it rock n’ roll superpowers (see also Isaac Reyes). Great riffs, smart lyrics, timeless sounds.

Pere Ubu
“Final Solution”

There’s a reason this song was released as a single, if you were to put it next to any other track on a record, said track would be reduced to ashes. Put on your headphones, turn it up, and experience the majesty. If I could cry, the guitar solo in this song would bring me to tears.

Liquor Boys
“Sex War”

One of these dudes worked at the local record store in my dinky hometown. He once refused to let me purchase a record he thought sucked, he was right to do so. The Liquor Boys played only one show, in a former post office, with Sacramento band Tales of Terror. Their cassette, released in 1984, was recorded in the 4-track home studio of some Christian dude who wouldn’t let them drink or smoke weed in his house. Smoke some weed in your house while listening to this.

JJCnV
“Stomach Baby”

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you combined Big Black and The Archies? Yeah, me neither… Well, it turns out you get a sticky, sweet, and vicious explosion. Check out any of their delightful recordings or see them live and get ready to join the cult. Bring a towel.

Ramones
“Cretin Hop”

Most things that need to be said have been said.

DeZurik Sisters (AKA Cackle Sisters)
“Arizona Yodeler”

They developed their unique yodeling style by trying to mimic birds on their family farm in Minnesota. The end result is otherworldly. As psychedelic as anything a mountain of amps and wah-wah pedals could ever produce.

Neil Young & Crazy Horse
“Pocahontas”

I don’t really know what it’s about, but I like the imagery. And considering what a heartless jerk he is, Neil sure can tug at the ole heartstrings.

And, just because we can, we included this one from John’s band, Whispering Wires, recorded live at Wooden Tooth Records down in Tucson. For more from Whispering Wires, head here.