What the CL Music Team is listening to on this fine Monday to rocket launch the work week. Click here to check out previous entries.
Younge's album would've made my Best of 2011 list, had I heard it sooner and I've been jamming the hell out of it for the past few weeks. In Something About April, multi-instrumentalist/composer Younge — who's been a buzzed-about talent since he scored the 2009 blaxploitation spoof, Black Dynamite — mixes '70s retro funk and psyche soul in the vein of Sly and the Family Stone, with moments of '50s R&B-fused pop, sexy blaxsploitation slinkiness and hints of Spaghetti Western drama, all of it wrapped up in a sexy, seriously cool package. Singer-songwriter provides mood-setting vocals amid the instrumental forays, which feature guests Dennis Coffey (Motown’s Funk Brother fuzz guitarist), Shawn Lee (Ubiquity Records), and Italian cinephiles Calibro 35. Check out lead single "It's Me" below."It's Me" by Adrian Younge Presents Venice Dawn by Wax Poetics
Taylor - Adam and the Amethysts, Flickering Flashlight (2011)
Jangly, friendly, homemade-ly pop....What more could one ask for on a rainy Monday morning?
Gabe - Simple Minds, Sparkle In The Rain (1984)
Triumphant, soaring, anthemic rock is just what I needed this morning. Sparkle In The Rain, Simple Minds' sixth studio album, has long been a source of inspiration for me and 28 years after its release, it still holds the same majestic power. The album sounds like it was meant to be belted from a mountaintop for the whole world to hear thanks to its huge sound and ringing choruses. Loaded with several UK hit singles, the album was a worldwide success and it ranks among my all-time favorites. And extra points for having the stones to cover Lou Reed's epic "Street Hassle" and paring it down to a shorter yet no less effective piece of work.
Shanna - Marble Sounds, "Good Occasions" (2010)
Feels appropriate for the this overcast morning...
Joel - Gotye, Making Mirrors (2011)
“Somebody That I Used To Know” (video below) seems to be everywhere only a few short months since its stateside release, but the rest of Gotye’s debut isn’t much like it. Making Mirrors is a strange, artsy-soul affair that draws more from Sting and Peter Gabriel than from any contemporary influence. “I Feel Better” sounds like a feel-good R&B track, but pitch-shifted vocals turns “State Of The Art” into something almost otherworldly.
Shae - Dessa, A Badly Broken Code (2010)
At first, I was on the fence about A Badly Broken Code. I'm admittedly not the biggest fan of hip-hop, and Dessa (née Margret Wander) disconcertingly looks a lot like my high school volleyball coach; when listening to music, no one should be transported back to the humid gym where they spent hours practicing serves and sprawls. But Dessa's voice is pristine yet forceful; she hits the mic with intelligent, literary lyrics executed with clarity and precision, a female Aesop Rock without the slack-jawed swagger. And like Aesop Rock, who I didn't like at first either, she's grown on me. I throw on A Badly Broken Code during any number of occasions: at work; while baking; while getting ready for a night out. What ultimately won me over? Dessa's confidence and ability to incorporate many different elements into her music: she has hip-hop ballads (reminiscent of Mary J. Blige), uses a clarinet on her slinky "Dixon's Girl," and sings the a cappella "Poor Atlas" using vocals as the string section. Like Adele's 21, there's a bit of something for everyone. Unlike Adele's album-as-a-product, Dessa's record comes across as something more substantial and artistic.
Evan — Daedalus, Bespoke (2011)
There was a bit of buzz about this DJ a few months back when he hit town. I feel terrible for missing the show, because this enjoyable mix of electronica and dance music has been on repeat for me for a few weeks. "In Tatters" is a stand-out track; listen below.