Charm should never be underestimated. Many of our best relationships begin with a smile we didn’t see coming. Haroula Rose is an exceedingly charming young artist. Her voice and demeanor put in her in the company of Linda Perhacs and Sandy Denny, dusky crooners with one foot in folk and one foot in rock and a seemingly effortless way of getting under one’s skin. Rose’s second EP, So Easy arrives June 4th, and it’s a compact, effective introduction to her winning vibe as she mixes up originals and quality covers (Jimmy Webb’s enduring “Witchita Lineman” and Francoise Hardy rarity “Only Friends”). Check out the new Beatles inspired video from the EP and see if you don’t catch what we mean about that charm thing.
Labels are a treacherous thing. They make it easier to organize and market things but they often miss the mark on the true character of a thing. Case in point, New Zealand-based The Black Seeds, who are largely regarded as a contemporary reggae band. What they really are – to paraphrase a line from one of their songs – are major captains in the soul business. The Black Seeds ooze soul, both the kind one knows from radio and the kind one finds with their arms outstretched to the universe, a deep, sexy pulse vibrating within their sound – a most Gnostic groove to be sure. Yes, one picks up on the strains of Black Uhuru and other modern reggae touchstones – this band has a real gift for vibrant dub textures – but also the sway of the Motown’s Funk Brothers and the 70s city funk of the American 70s, not to mention loads of nifty African touches. In some ways, The Black Seeds are a more evolved, even more diverse descendent of revered U.K. funk-jazz pioneers Cymande and the king himself, Bob Marley, who liberally mingled pop and rock into his reggae for a sound with global, near-universal appeal. Slip on the Seeds’ latest platter, Dust And Dirt (released April 10 on Easy Star) and a life force that can’t be denied enters the room, activating dancing feet and loosening muscles as they sway through socially conscious and love fixated territory, nothing offered with heavy hands, their touch smooth and seductive at all times. DI regards The Black Seeds as one of THE bands to watch right now, such is our confidence given how steadily they keep growing with each new step they take.
We fired off DI’s signature questionnaire to Black Seeds’ keyboardist Nigel “Hammondhead “ Patterson and here’s what he had to say.
This one’s about God…sort of…Maybe it’s really about hoping there’s something out there that answers the ache inside, something that calms us and makes us feel safe. And what does it hurt to shake a tambourine and sing skyward from time to time anyway?
If you experience playback problems, pop over to the 8tracks mix page and it should play fine.
In this edition: Nathan Moore, John Fullbright, Jon Cleary, Paul Thorn, Steve Barton, Peter Gabriel and Beach House.
If you’re not already paying attention to Rival Sons then you’re missing out on the slow, steady evolution of a present day rock great. Don’t blame us. DI has been pushing these guys HARD since day one. If you like rock you can feel down in the meat of you – we’re talking vintage Black Crowes kinda hum – then the Sons are for you. And one of their best attributes is a knack for midtempo ballads the likes of which we haven’t seen Chris & Rich started talking to angels. To wit, the Rival Sons’ latest video (and a nifty live version from German TV we included as treat). And you if you haven’t already picked up their latest album, Pressure And Time (an Impound Album of the Year for 2012), there’s a sweet new edition that comes with a bonus DVD of live footage from the 2011 High Voltage Festival. Pick up a copy here.
We have rarely seen as enthusiastic – nay, joyful – a flipping of the bird as exhibited by Megadeth bassist Dave Ellefson. He appears to enjoy wagging that special digit around as much as DI, and for that and a career of majorly kick-ass bass work we salute ya, Dave! This photo was taken earlier this month at a New Jersey tour stop by our lensman pal Joe Russo, and we’ve included Megadeth’s latest high concept video below as a bonus!
One beautiful thing about the Internet is how it allows great ideas to blossom by providing a hitherto unknown means of communicating and sharing them with others. Where before an artist needed a gallery, a movie studio, a publisher, etc. to share their ideas, now, with a little elbow grease and vision anyone can offer up their inspiration to anyone else willing to pay attention. It is an endlessly exciting dynamic and one whose true social impact is only partially becoming clear.
Which brings us to Knock & Rock, the brainchild of Kalen Egan, a filmmaker who is literally taking music door-to-door. The concept behind Knock & Rock is bands stroll a neighborhood and ask total strangers if they can set up in their house for an impromptu concert. It’s a simple, brave idea and the participating musicians, Egan and his partner at K&R Noelia Estrada execute the whole thing with serious charm and no little amount of artistry. Part of the appeal of the segments on K&R is the reactions of the people they play for and how they get involved in the music experience. It’s a happy reminder of when music was something people made in the flesh in real time instead of consumed as a finished, polished product. Spend a little time exploring the site’s archives and one discovers a wealth of sweet music made by sweet people engaged in bringing some surprise and song to strangers – a random act of kindness executed without randomness.
Here’s the latest installment from Knock & Rock with Radars to the Sky, and Kalen tells DI they are working on a number of segments captured at this year’s SXSW. We’ll be paying attention and so should you – a good idea like this deserves to be watered with proper attention and enthusiam.