Find out what the CL Music Team is jamming to rocket launch the work week. Click here to check out previous entries.
Ray - Dillon Francis, Something, Something, Awesome EP (O WSLA - Feb. 2012) Juxtaposed to sometimes poorly-attended "indie" rock shows, dance clubs mostly stay packed when nationally recognized producers and DJs blow through town. Criticize them for their glow sticks and "odd" clothing choices, but EDM fans are loyal to their scene and come out in throngs to see their favorite artists. One of those surely to draw a crowd in a few weeks is Los Angeles-based Dillon Francis.
The 24-year-old boasts unanimous seals of approval from EDM heavyweights like Diplo and Skrillex and his synthesis of pop, dubstep and the increasingly popular moombathon — which he sometimes dubs "Horny Spice" — on tracks like "Dill The Noise" and "XX" from his Something, Something, Awesome EP (out now via Skrillex's OWSLA imprint) is irresistible.
Any truly creative soul with a love for 1950's culture and punk outfits like The Germs and Blood Brothers, Francis is an art school student-turned-graffiti artist-turned photographer, but his place seems to be at the hands of yet another Ableton session or embedded in the booth, with monitors glowing back at him and controllers begging to be manipulated whilst his fans clamor for more of the music that makes them move.
Listening to records at home or in the car is enjoyable, but there is really no substitute for letting the music be pummeled into your body by a venue's PA. Francis' appearance at Ampitheatre on Fri., Nov. 16 should be a great example of that.
Shanna - Feist, "Inside and Out" Oh, how I love your little sweet n' salty voice, and this tune specifically with its chill, Sunday, soft rock of the '70s kind of bounce. Plus, of course, I'm a sucker for a black n' white video with a photography vibe.
Gabe - Lenny Kravitz, Mama Said Deluxe 21st Anniversary Edition (2012) A 2-CD fully remastered version of Lenny's outstanding sophomore release from 1991. Kravitz showed he was no fluke after the attention his debut album garnered with this strong follow-up, which finds him channeling his inner fascinations with Curtis Mayfield, Sly Stone, Jimmy Page and David Bowie. "Stop Draggin' Around" still gets me fired up and elicits involuntary dance moves that I didn't even know I had. The main album has been fleshed out with demos, extended mixes and rarities while the bonus disc boasts a host of live tracks that show the real raw talent of Mr. Kravitz in his most comfortable setting: dazzling a live audience with his charisma and presence. One of the included b-sides from this era, "Light Skinned Girl From London," is worth the price of admission alone. I'm on a Lenny high this Monday and I like it.
Shae - Possessed by Paul James, Feed the Family (2012) I first heard Possessed by Paul James (born Konrad Wert) on Hiram & Heddie: a Tribute to Hank Williams and Leadbelly. The voice — a mix of Hank Sr., yes, but also of Blind Willie McTell — stopped me cold. Immediately, I needed to hear more, so I sought out his albums. I've been listening to my favorite, Feed the Family, for a couple of months now. Wert blends his acoustic guitar, banjo and fiddle to create a sound that is country, folk and blues, haunting, raw and human. He played a free show at Crum's in St. Pete this past weekend, so it was a joy to get to see him live. Though he mostly played songs from the album he's currently recording, he played several from FtF, including my favorite tracks, "Shoulda Known Better" (video below) and "Take Off Your Mask."
Leilani - Regina Spektor, What We Saw from the Cheap Seats (2012) Pure piano pop bliss with anti-folk and chamber overtones from one of my all-time favorite songstresses. As per usual, she has my throat tightening and eyes welling from track one, "Small Town Moon." Something about her voice is so pure and stunning that it squeezes your heart, and she has the uncanny ability to convey and evoke intense feelings and moods and vibes with her vocals, instrumentals and lyrics, from the vivid imagery of single "All the Rowboats," which likens the works of art in a museum to prisoners serving maximum sentences and carries an urgent percussive drive, to the more earnest crushing beauty of the melancholic "How." Below is a favorite from the album (though pretty much every track has something fantastic about it): “Don’t Leave Me (Ne Me Quitte Pas),” which has a very bright, sparkly, Paris-in-the-summertime feel with horns, marimba and Spektor singing most charmingly in both English and French overtop. Spektor hits Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater on Thurs., Nov. 15; stay tuned for a full-length feature in this week's paper...