I don't know where I've been that I'd hadn't heard of this band! But I will tell you this, their albums will definitely be a staple in my music library from now on.
Fitz and the Tantrums, who hail from the Los Angeles area, definitely encompass the L.A. Sound as well as Motown, 80's New Wave, Pop and Rock and Soul.
The Tour starts in Seattle
Thanks to my friend, photographer Steve Bartlett, I was able to attend my first of what may become, many Fitz and The Tantrums shows at Seattle's "Columbia City Theatre." What a great venue! This was the first night of their Spring Tour to kick off their new album "More Than Just A Dream."
The Band is:
Playing to a sold out crowd, they rocked the house! They knew their night at the Columbia City Theatre was going to be a success. They were there to party! It was awesome!
What was surprising to me were the varying ages in the audience. . . 21 to Senior Citizen??? Which I guess in retrospect doesn't surprise me. I think even my parents would like their music. Their tunes are very singable and bouncy.
What I noticed first about singers; Fitz and Noelle, is their stage presence. It reminded me of when I saw jazz artist Michael Franks at L.A.'s Greek Theatre back in the mid-80's. Michael sang without moving too much while back up vocalist, the great Brenda Russell was all over the place! I loved it! Fitz is the calm and Noelle is the storm!
Their combination of vocals is so "ABC," "Hall & Oates" meets Annie Lennox. Which is funny because towards the of their show, they did a great rendition of 80's Pop band the Eurythmics' Sweet Dreams. They owned that song! It was pretty amazing.
They performed many songs off their new album, which by the way releases May 7, 2013.
My favorite song off the album is "The Walker." This song ROCKS!! What a great song for a commercial. Here's some footage from that song by my friend Steve Bartlett:
More Than Just A Dream is the follow up to their 2010 album "Pickin' Up the Pieces." As much as I liked a couple of the songs from their first album, I am really impressed by this new one. If you've read my past reviews, you know I love to listen to an album from beginning to end. More Than Just A Dream does that for me.
"Out of My League"
"Keepin Our Eyes Out"
"Break the Walls"
"House On Fire"
From beginning to end, the songs are great to listen to. The title track, really sets off the tone for the rest of the tracks. As I said earlier, I love The Walker! What a great song! Spark is also a favorite
Thanks to Hype Machine who just premiered the new Fitz and the Tantrums album More Than Just A Dream online, I was able to listen to the whole thing here. Go ahead and check out the songs and if you like them, support the artist and buy their album.
I've always been a fan of British New Wave, Pop band Squeeze. So it was pretty cool to attend the April 12th show at Seattle's Triple Door of the Squeeze tribute done by some fantastic Seattle musicians going by the name of "Super Jam."
The show was titled, “Super Jam Plays Squeeze” and was presented by Roseta Productions. Super Jam performed Squeeze’s 1982 hit album “Singles 45’s and Under” in it's entirety with a few extras thrown in.
If you are familiar with the Seattle music scene and you were at this event, then you might have recognized everyone in the band. "Super Jam" included members of "Apple Jam," "Lucas Field," and "80s Invasion."
The band members were:
Rick Lovrovich (lead vocals, bass)
Jakael Tristram (lead vocals, guitar)
Shane Peck (drums)
Mark Romanowski (guitar, backing vocals)
Mark Zyla (keyboards)
Back ups were:
Esther Bentson & Cathy Sorbo
There were a few guest performers as well which added to the great night of reflection:
KJR's Bob Rivers of the "Bob Rivers Show" was on keyboards and Cliff Colon on saxophone
First of all, I was overwhelmed by the audience! The place with packed! It was awesome! To be honest, I wasn't sure what to expect when I got there. It was cool to see the varying ages from young to old-ER : ) Parents bringing their kids to relive the 80's with them, just like I have with my own kids.
From the first song, "Super Jam" DID NOT hold back anything. You could tell they were so excited to be playing for everyone there and for themselves. Guitarist, Jakael Tristram had told me a couple of months back that he was a huge fan of Squeeze and would be doing this show with some great Seattle musicians who also loved Squeeze. So I know that when April 12th arrived, they would get to see the fruit of their labor.
Super Jam played two sets: Set 1:
Up the Junction
Is That Love?
Annie Get Your Gun
The reaction from the audience was exactly how I felt. . . Super Jam captured the essence of songwriters and members of Squeeze; Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook. If you closed your eyes, you could almost feel like you were back in those days of the 70's & early 80's when Squeeze performed.
Local Seattle artist, Lucas Field of his own band with the same name, came on stage and sang "When the Hangover Strikes" which was AMAZING!!! He was awesome!! I really enjoyed it. But when it came to his singing "Black Coffee in Bed," I have to admit I was a little bit disappointed. There was an iPad in front of the microphone so he could read the lyrics to both songs. And although he sang "When the Hangover Strikes" great with a very natural flow, "Black Coffee in Bed" sounded under rehearsed and a little bit like "Bandaroke." I also felt that the song was a little bit too high for Lucas, which made his voice sound a little pitchy. I believe that the song was better suited to Rick Lovrovich's voice.
Set 1 continued with Slap and Tickle
Cool For Cats
The band took a break and came out to interact with their audience. It was great! They were glowing and it was obvious they were totally overwhelmed by the love and support shown by everyone. While that was all going on, I did talk with a mother and son sitting next to me and asked them if they were fans of Squeeze. The mother was, but her son really didn't know the music of Squeeze, but was a fan of 80's Pop / New Wave. I asked them how they felt about the show at that point, and they really loved it!
I then turned to a gentleman sitting next to me and asked him what brought him to the show. He said that he was also a fan of 80s pop and wanted to check it out. But I found it humorous that he normally attends operas. So that was pretty cool that he choose to check this out.
So now onto Set 2..... Take Me I’m Yours
If I Didn’t Love You
Labelled With Love
Some Fantastic Place
I Can’t Hold On
Tempted, written by Paul Carrack who was part of Squeeze for a short time and recorded the 1981 release; "East Side Story" was done well with vocals by Jakael. Trivia....the LP East Side Story was produced by Elvis Costello and Roger Bechirian
The encore was incredible! If I remember correctly, it was "Another Nail in My Heart" "Pulling Mussels (From the Shell)." I totally loved seeing the audience getting up to dance.
This was one fun evening! I hope that Super Jam decides to do this again. Once was not enough for me.
Thanks to Steven Roseta of Roseta Productions for inviting me to be a part of this.
It pains me to say this!
But at this point, my husband was right when he said that PSY was a one-hit wonder. I said "How can you say that? He is totally famous in his country! There is no way! This guy is unbelievably talented! You just watch the next song is going to be even better than "Gangnam Style!"
PSY's latest single/video "M/V Gentlemen" has finally been released. WHAT A LET DOWN!
Lesson One: Don't try and out do what you did before.
"Gangnam Style" wasn't a great song, but it made history! It was catchy, bouncy and cutting edge as far as it's video work.
I have watched "M/V Gentlemen" several times and cannot believe what I am watching! There is really nothing original about the video. Sure, there isn't a horse or red Mercedes in this one. But he's got the same people that were in his other video, like the yellow suited guy.
I am really disappointed to say the least! I don't know who he is listening to as far as his creative core of people, but I think PSY needs to fire them and start over! I still believe that he is talented, but this video and this song are a total failure. The lyrical content is unimaginative, with it's extreme crude sexual lyrics. (Yes, I looked up the translation).
I cannot even say that the dancing is anything to speak of. WERE THE DANCERS EVEN DANCING??
Okay, I understand that with his newly coined dance moves; "Abracadabra," he is paying some kind of homage to KPop girl group "Brown Eyed Girls." But it's not like Brown Eyed Girls own those moves! Shoot....I was doing that back & forth swaying long before the BEG's were even born! And so were my L.A. friends! There isn't anything new under the sun here!
The way he treats women in the video is atrocious! Sure I get it! He's kind of making fun of how some men treat women! His character is saying that he is Gods gift to women with his arrogant, annoying self. Even to the point of being crude where he is sticking his finger in his arse, only to run his finger in front of a girl sitting at the table. I felt like I was watching a movie trailer for the old Problem Child movies, only this would be called "Problem Child: All Grown Up!" Its obvious that he meets his match in a woman he meets at the gym. And yeah, it's funny that he gets a dose of his own medicine with her, but are we selling music here or a video? I think if it's music, then what a terrible song! There is nothing original about the song whatsoever! It's repetitious..... it's stupid!
This video is so bad, I won't even grace my blog by adding the link of the video.
Yes PSY, we know who you are. Just hope it won't be. . . "Remember that guy from Korea with the Hammer pants? Whatever happened to him?"
Christafari's 'Reggae Worship' Jumps to #1 on Billboard Reggae Albums Chart
9 months after being released, album jumps to #1 – making Christafari the first Christian band in Billboard history to top the Reggae chart.
(LOS ANGELES, California) -- Nearly nine months after it was first released, Gospel reggae pioneers Christafari have jumped to #1 on this week’s Billboard Reggae Albums Chart with their latest album, Reggae Worship: A Roots Revival. While Christafari is no stranger to the Top 10 on the Reggae chart, this marks the first time in Billboard’s history that a Christian band has secured the top spot.
On Reggae Worship: A Roots Revival (Lion of Zion Entertainment), Christafari reworks classic hymns, reinterprets many of today's top worship anthems and gives fans a handful of original worship songs that truly capture the band's signature sound.
"We've been blown away by the positive response from our fans and the press for our latest album,” says Christafari’s founder and frontman, Mark Mohr. “To think that just a year ago we were asking our fans to help fund this album and now we are #1 on the Billboard chart! It's an honor to be the very first Christian artist to ever top this mainstream chart—and to do so with a worship album is even more incredible!"
Christafari has spent much of the last year on the road, touring internationally including stops in Fiji, New Caledonia, a month-long tour of Brazil and the United States, including a just completed 24-city Hawaiian island tour that resulted in 531 souls saved. In the coming months, the band will return to Hawaii and Brazil, and perform throughout the continental USA.
The band was recently featured on ABC Family’s The 700 Club, and TBN filmed a live concert appearance in Hawaii for an upcoming special broadcast.
With over a half million albums sold worldwide, Christafari is the all-time top selling Gospel Reggae artist. The band continues to tour worldwide, performing more than 100 shows each year reaching more than 50 countries. For more information, visit www.christafari.com.
The Spinners aka The Detroit Spinners lost it's 4th original member, Bobby (Bobbie) Smith on Saturday, March 16th.
It's so sad when you find that one of your favorite artists have died. The Thursday prior to his passing, I was one of the lucky ones to have just seen The Spinners perform here in the Seattle area. During the show, t was announced that Bobby was feeling under the weather and would not be a part of that evening's show. I was so disappointed because having been brought up at the height of The Spinners career, I was looking forward to seeing Bobby sing some of my favorite songs, such as "I'll Be Around," "Could It Be I'm Falling In Love," "Games People Play" and others.
This great artist will be missed!
Condolences to his family, friends and fellow members of The Spinners.
Check out my article at Vinyl Radio for a recap of the show.
Whosoever South Blends Country and Hip Hop with a Gospel Message on Debut Album “Goin’ Home”Album drops May 14th. Debut Single, “Where We From,” is available now at iTunes.
(NASHVILLE, Tennessee) -- Straight out of southern Georgia, Whosoever South blends country and hip hop with a Gospel message on their debut album, Goin’ Home, due May 14th from Pit Bull Productions. Produced by Asaf Fulks (Young Jeezy, Lil Wayne, Tyga, Courtney Stodden), Goin’ Home can only be classified as a genre all it’s own: Country Crunk.
Whosoever South combines street savvy influences like TobyMac and Lecrae with country and bluegrass styles similar to the T Bone Burnett-produced O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack, for an unconventional but infectious bass-thumping sound that serves as the catalyst for a dynamic ministry already making a major impact throughout the south.
Husband and wife Rowdy Eunice and Sarah Eunice along with longtime musical partner Mike Mitchell make up Whosoever South. While the group is firmly rooted in ministry, their beginnings were not as well-intentioned. A decade ago, the trio was involved in a regionally successful mainstream act known as Solid Ground, and they were opening for major artists such as Kanye West, Outkast, Ciara and Goodie Mob. Major record labels were interested in moving forward, but the group’s personal lives were spiraling out of control.
“It was so close to breaking big that it was scary,” Rowdy says of Solid Ground. “But many of the people we were in business with wound up dead or in prison and all of that fell apart, which wound up saving our lives in more ways than one.”
As everyone was separately sobering up from the world of parties, drugs and music industry excesses, Rowdy and Sarah found themselves in church by 2006, where they dedicated their lives to Christ. Mike eventually found his way there as well. Despite being on the verge of stardom prior to becoming born again, music was the furthest thing from their minds as they dug deep into the word and simply strove to get their lives on track. But God had other goals for the longtime collaborators.
In 2008, the trio reunited as Whosoever South, which was inspired by John 3:16 and Romans 10:13, coupled with a nod to their southern roots. After hundreds of concerts and a large regional fan base, the group is finally stepping into the national spotlight with their full-length album, Goin’ Home.
“It’s like a genre all its own because we don’t fit into any one genre,” says Rowdy of the group’s sound. “It’s not really been done before, but it’s not all that complicated either. It’s just a combination of good music: country, bluegrass, gospel and rap music all mixed together.”
A perfect example is the lead single “Where We From,” which talks about the group’s unceasing work ethic amidst a simple southern lifestyle filled with dirt roads, farms and good old-fashioned food. On a more evangelistic note, “All The Time” is a bluegrass/gospel/country stomper encouraging believers to let their light shine, while the title track is a down home jam with an equally assertive message.
“When we wrote Goin’ Home, we wanted to get that old bluesy type of feel from back in the day,” says Rowdy. “We wanted to remind listeners that this world is not our home and that one day we’ll leave here and go to our final destination. Hopefully it will be a reminder to not get caught up in the stresses of daily living, but a reminder that we’re just passing through.”
What can be said of an artist who records and releases "another" hymns album? Maybe the reactions out there might be, "oh no, do we really need another album on hymns?" Okay, I'll be truthful. . . I've been known to say that a few times. Maybe because, I'm thinking the classic hymns are going to be given some new twist to make them interesting to the listener or the artist wants to get alittle artsy with them. Well let me tell you. . . you won't find that here. Long time singer / songwriter Scott Krippayne, whose 2007 song "This Is My Now" co-written by Jeff Peabody and sung by American Idol's Jordin Sparks and Blake Lewis, has taken a chance by releasing his own, "Hymns." Don't Try and Reinvent the Wheel I love the title. . . "Hymns."
What you see is what you get!
Hymns are as American as "Baseball, French Fries, Apple Pie and Chevrolet." HAHAHA! Sorry. . .I couldn't resist. If you're as old as I am, you'll know where that line comes from. : ) Seriously, this is what I consider, a true, naked and honest album of the hymns. So beautiful and refreshing. Scott takes me to that place where I can imagine how these songs would have been heard in their original compositions. All the songs are just Scott and his pianoexcept for the bonus tracks.He seems to take a few liberties within each song, but they so subtle. Scott's bonus tracks are his own. These are a great addition to this album. Love them! I've always loved Scott's vocal tone. It's almost rockin', espe when he sings "Worthy Are You." He is crying out there! I can feel it. I wanna sing it!! Love it. . .oh wait. . . I just said that. Well, I do.
Tracklist: 1. Come Thou Long Expected Jesus 2. Nothing But the Blood 3. O Sacred Head Now Wounded 4. Crown Him With Many Crowns 5. All Hail the Power of Jesus Name 6. The Solid Rock 7. Stricken Smitten and Afflicted 8. Come Ye Sinners 9. A Hymn of Glory 10. All Praise to God 11. Were You There 12. Holy Holy Holy 13. Jesus Christ Is Risen Today 14. Hymn 14 Bonus Tracks 15. Worthy Are You 16. Reign Forever
Do yourself a favor and listen to this all the way through. It's so lovely.
Before leaving for California for the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM), I was researching the The NAMM Show schedule to get in order of what to see, who to see, etc. If you've never attended The NAMM Show, then you are missing out on one of history's greatest trade shows ever!!
For about 2 weeks, as I was going through the schedule of performances and events, the name "Dustin Prinz" kept getting my attention. He would be playing a noon set at the Marriott that weekend. Did I go see him perform? NO! But fate was going to have it's way, no matter what!
With friends on one of the evenings, I saw a presentation on a film that would be released soon called "Haiti 10," which renown bassist, Victor Wooten had written the score for. I will definitely be talking about that in another blog. But for now. . .let's go on. . .
Sitting with my friends are 3 other guys. . .one of them. . .this guy named. . . YOU GUESSED IT. . . DUSTIN PRINZ!!!!
Was I shocked? UH Yeah...in my mind. But if I showed it, I don't think anyone there even noticed, since unbeknownst to me, being the last one to the table, everyone was just grateful that I wasn't this creepy guy that kept eyeing the very chair that was saved for me, hoping to sit there! My fashionably late self was a welcomed site! HA!!
We all talked a bit before and after the film presentation. I found Dustin to be a very cool guy. Getting to know him a little, I found he is a huge Beck fan. And he is an Nebraska native, who currently makes his home in Oklahoma. Several times during our conversations, I was strongly encouraged by his manager, Chris Harkness to check Dustin's website out and listen to him, because Dustin was a talent. And to be honest, when someone tells me that I need to check a person's music out, I think I put that "Oh No" wall up. (Sorry, just being honest). Well I took Chris's advice and went to his website that night in my hotel room. WOW! I am soooo glad I did! Thank you, Chris for being persistent! You have great insight!
A huge thanks to Josh Vittek of Dean Markley Strings, for inviting Dustin to his very first NAMM Show to perform. I suspect this will not be the last time for Dustin.
Dustin is CRAZY talented!!!
As Levar Burton would say, "But you don't have to take my word for it." Check out Dustin's documentary on his NAMM adventure.
I have watched this video several times. He is amazing. I found myself laughing out loud as he sang his songs on being Bipolar and making all those doctor appointments. I could totally relate to that! Check out the usual stuff, his website, YouTube, his Facebook, Twitter
And Dustin, I so regret that I did not catch your show live. Please forgive me! You are awesome! Cannot wait to see where your journey takes you.
Heather Powers + Simple Skincare ='s magic in "Camouflage."
Simple Skincare has kicked off their 2013 ad campaign with "Girls" and "The Mindy Project" actress, Allison Williams. You might not know that Allison is also the daughter of former TV Producer; Jane Gillan Stoddard and Brian Williams, anchor of NBC Nightly News and host of "Rock Center with Brian Williams." I am a huge fan of Brian Williams. And can I just say that I would LOVE to see Brian expand into comedy!? He's a super funny guy!
Anyways, I digress. . . (Get off the soapbox, Lo)!
As a music reviewer, I was very pleased by the song choice for the background.
I can't help it folks... I pay attention to these things!! HA!!
Simple Skincare has chosen a great song for their latest commercial by singer, songwriter Heather Powers. . . "Camouflage"
Heather has been in the music scene for quite a long time.
She is a multi talent whose time, I believe has come.
"Camouflage" is a great song and I think Simple Skincare has chosen wisely.
Wanna listen to the whole thing? Guess what! It's available online through iTunes and Amazon.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - GUITARISTS, AARON KUSTERER AND FORMER MICHAEL JACKSON SIDEWOMAN, JENNIFER BATTEN, JOIN FORCES ON NEW ROCK SINGLE
Honolulu, HI January 16, 2013 - Buddy Blaze artist, Aaron Kusterer, has teamed up with former Michael Jackson guitarist, Jennifer Batten to release a new instrumental rock single entitled, The Melting Pot.
"This single has been a blast to put together with Jennifer", says Kusterer. "She is a wonderful person and player; it doesn't get any better than that sort of a combination."
Prior to The Melting Pot, Kusterer has released several albums and has been featured in Guitar Player Magazine (Dec. '11). In addition to this project, he has just finished producing a new collaborative effort for Buddy Blaze Fine Electric Instruments which is due out on January 20.
'The Melting Pot' will be released Tuesday, January 22, on Steve Vai's Digital Nations (www.digital-nations.com). To get a sneak preview, head over to www.aaronkusterer.com!
www.jenniferbatten.com (Jennifer Batten appears courtesy of Lion Music)
Songwriter, Musician and Speaker, Jen Haugland's latest EP "Your Love Comes After Me" proves to be worship that infiltrates the soul.
Jen calls this project an expression of hope and healing. And after listening to it several times, I believe her. Because these are her songs, her stories. And heard, are the ingredients of pride, selfishness, pain, dispair, redemption, forgiveness, grace, mercy, hope . . . LOVE.
Build This Santuary
It Is Well
Your Love Comes After Me
My Heart’s Desire
Every song is a solid piece of work. And with the quality of musicianship and engineering, the listener can truly hear Jen's heart. Leann Albrecht lends her voice to "My Heart's Desire," with husband Carl, renown drummer, on his kit.
I wouldn't say that vocally, this is the best singing I've ever heard in the technical sense. But in this case, it doesn't matter. Every song conveys sooo much! They are so heartfelt, so deep. No one, BUT Jen could sing them, with the exception of Leann : )
I recently heard Jen speak. And I almost wish that the EP had an accompanying CD of the stories behind the songs. The songs were the "soundtrack" to her story. Listening to her pour out her life, with the songs beautifully woven into her biography as she spoke, made each song comprehendable and that much more meaningful. The look on the faces of those in the room seemed to have confirmed my thoughts. . . she had hit a nerve with many there that night. I'm sure there were some who arrived feeling that no one understood where they were in their season of life and may have left feeling "heard" and encouraged.
"Your Love Comes After Me" IS an album of hope AND an album of healing.
One of my favorite Christmas albums ever released has to be "My Gift To You" by Alexander O'Neal! This is one those albums that can be played from beginning to end. . . the way an album should be played.
Released in 1988, this album has stood the test of time. With iconic producers James (Jimmy Jam) Harris and Terry Lewis at the helm, it has all the makings of an outstanding Christmas albums. It rocks, it bumps, it's classic and classy! Alexander O'Neal is so versatile. He can schmooze and he can be humble, all with his tone. I believe him as he is singing his heart out!
My Gift To You
CAN I JUST SAY THIS IS MY FAVORITE?!?!
LISTEN TO THAT BEATBOXIN THE MC IS PUTTIN OUT!
CLASSIC!!This is Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis all the way!
Our First Christmas
Remember Why (It's Christmas)
The Little Drummer Boy
The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)
Thank You For A Good Year
Remember Why (It's Christmas) (Reprise)
Allmusic says this album is a "lushly romantic set considerably more thoughtful and heartfelt than your average yuletide cash-in. Half of the album's ten songs are Jam/Lewis originals, and even if none of them emerged as contemporary standards, they do a good job of capturing both the secular ('Our First Christmas') and spiritual ('Remember Why It's Christmas') dimensions of the season. O'Neal also delivers shopworn material like 'The Little Drummer Boy' and 'Winter Wonderland' with conviction, saving his most potent performance for the Donny Hathaway classic 'This Christmas.' There's no getting around the trademark Jam/Lewis production, though. My Gift to You is plainly a product of its era, complete with thick synthesizers and programmed rhythms, and is best enjoyed by listeners still hoping Santa brings them acid-washed jeans and Members Only jackets regardless of the year in question."
This is so true. This album is more than just a bumpin Christmas album. There's the message of hope and thankfulness with The Sounds Of Blackness lending their gospel choir talents to those songs. And considering the state our world is in, I believe this album and it's message is very timely.
I have always stated that if an artist is going to cover a song, it should be done right or not at all. Mel Torme's The Christmas Song sung by the great Nat King Cole, in my opinion could never be covered. And yet, I've always enjoyed Alexander O'Neal's version of the classic song, recorded in the same key with the intro the same as Nat's original. Lovely.
Winter Wonderland is super cool and jazzy. Very classiy "Big Las Vegas of the 60's" sounding!! I love it!!
If you haven't heard this album, it's available all over from streaming sites such as Grooveshark or even to purchase.
Take a listen. Trust me, you are going to love it.
It just might be your Christmas music stable, like it is mine. : )