New Music Monday: September 23rd 2019

posted by Cassie Betten on 09/23/2019

These releases among others are available to request at wyce.org/request or call (616)742-9923  For a complete list of everything we add visit: grcmc.org/wyce/music/library

 

Sir Was -  Holding On To A Dream 

Swedish pop artist and producer, sir Was, returns with his latest release, Holding On To A Dream, that draws inspiration from soul music and classic hip hop. Each tune has this warm layer of synths underneath grooving drums, colored with percussion sounds and electronic textures and processes (echoes, reversing sounds, expansive reverb, etc). On his Bandcamp page, he writes, “I was interested in having a lusher sound, more rich. With the first record, I had this idea that I wanted it to sound like an old vinyl record. I wanted this lo-fi, old-school sound. When I realized that I was actually making another album, I felt a bit scared of the whole thing, but it didn’t take me that long to realize that the only thing I could do was to make something that felt really right in my body and soul. I’ve realized that there’s nothing to be afraid of. I’m ready to explore so much more.” The vibe throughout this release is one informed by great songwriting references, shaped by classic hip-hop beats, and colored with layers of delightful electronics. It’s a great release to reference for producers, listeners of electronic music looking for more human elements in the arrangements, or even pop fans need a break from the Top 40 radio to immerse yourself in a laid back release. 


Songs to check out: Deployed (feat. Little Dragon), No Giving Up, The Sun Will Shine

 

 

Lettuce – Elevate 

Lettuce is a band that continues to grow with every passing year. With several albums under their belt and years of touring experience dazzling audiences around the country, Elevate feels like a distinct step forward from their previous release, Crush, in 2015. Lettuce’s signature brand of funk fusion is on full display, with great horn arrangements, deep pocket grooves, spacey soundscapes, and soaring vocals from Nigel Hall. The first track, “Trapezoid,” plays on a funk groove laden with trap music backing beats, “Krewe” is a percussion-driven track that is sure to get you dancing at their shows, and even a solid arrangement of “Everybody Wants to Rule The World” shows how a tune filtered through the Lettuce funk engine can result in some great original moments from classic songs. This album is part of a myriad of reasons why when they come through Grand Rapids on November 13th (with Ghost Note as support!) you need to be front and center taking in the funk!

Highlights: Krewe, Love is Too Strong, Everybody Wants to Rule the World

 

Gruff Rhys – Pang! 

Right away, Gruff Rhys asserts himself as a different type of artist, preferring to reach out to a world artist in his mother tongue, Welsh, than inwardly towards artists who are familiar with the language. He has traveled the world, gleaning bits of culture and music from trips to South America and stays in Johannesburg, and continues to infuse his fascination with so many sounds into his music. For his latest album, Pang!, he tracked simple Welsh-laden songs with Welsh brass player Gavin Fitzjohn, American drummer Kliph Scurlock (The Flaming Lips), and Guinean musician N’famady Kouyate on the balafon (West African xylophone), and then had artist Muzi remix all of the tunes for the final release of the album. The result is a distinct blent of cultural styles from African instruments to South American song styles all composed within a Welsh-language, a true testimant to world influence and collaborative spirit. Check out this release if you’ve been craving some truly eclectic fusion between cultures.
 
Highlights: Pang! - Muzi Remix, Bae Bae Bae - Muzi Remix, Taranau Mai - Muzi Remix

 

Foy Vance – To Memphis 

Foy Vance has crafted two recent releases to focus in on a series of demos, all titled either “Soul” or “Americana,” and they have both been released this year. The previous release, From Muscle Shoals, focuses in on tracks inspired by the legendary FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals. His release earlier this month, To Memphis, dives into the Americana-inspired demos in Memphis at Sam Philipps Recording Studio. Each track is steeped in folk tradition, centering around finger-picked acoustic guitars, organ sitting comfortably in the background, and despondent vocals. However, the folk idioms get placed within a pop structure, opening up arrangement possibilities with added instrumentation and the occasional rock beats behind the drums. All-in-all, to see a project like this come to fruition, and to hear two distinct albums from the same artist in a year, is satisfying to hear as a listener, and Foy Vance should be proud of his accomplishments. For more behind-the-scenes observations of this release, you can check out a mini-documentary that he published on YouTube.

Highlights: I Won’t Let You Fall, Only The Artist, Malibu Jane

 

Brittany Howard – Jaime 

Brittany Howard is an artist who doesn’t do well with being comfortable. From the moment her group, Alabama Shakes, received the first wave of reviews and category buzz words on their release, Brittany was part of the reason the group’s sound continues to evolve with each release. In 2018, after years of touring and feeling boxed in with a long stint of writer’s block, she announced that she would be leaving the band to release an album that met her creative needs. The result is Jaime, an album that takes risks and is more experimental than any other project Brittany has been involved in. The album title comes from Brittany’s younger sister, Jaime, who died young from a rare form of eye cancer, and the bond their shared in the earliest steps into songwriting they both took. Lyrically, the album speaks to Brittany’s life, and how distinct moments of love and hatred have shaped her world view. The album is filled with sonic ear-candy, from funky grooves to whimsical synths to soulful vocals and back again, and the music video for the track “Stay High” even includes actor/dancer/furniture designer Terry Crews, who often widens the box people try to put on him as a muscular comedy/action star (you can view a behind-the-scenes video here). This release feels like a creative overdrive from someone who found her way out of writer’s block and into the stratosphere.

Highlights: Stay High, History Repeats, 13th Century Metal, He Loves Me

 

 

New Music Monday is a collaboration with WYCE Staff and Dutcher SnedekerThese among others are all available for request at wyce.org/request or call (616) 742-9923 For a complete list of everything we add visit: grcmc.org/wyce/music/library

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