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jessie ware tough love

The Electronic Music Playlist July 2014

From a former Mercury Prize winner’s unexpected sample of a Miley Cyrus track, to a reworking of a two-step garage classic, to the classy return of Britain’s premier soul chanteuse; here’s a look at five of the best dance/electronica tracks you need to look out for this July. Jessie Ware – “Tough Love” British chanteuse Jessie Ware delivered one of the most stunning albums of 2012 with Devotion, and this […]

essence festival

Essence Festival Hits New Orleans July 4th Weekend

This Independence Day weekend marks the 20th anniversary of one of the most beloved and celebrated events in black music (not to mention the hottest ticket in town): the Essence Festival! Kicking off in New Orleans on July 3rd, the Essence Festival (formerly called the Essence Music Festival) promises performances from some of the biggest black stars and icons in the business: Nas, Prince, Mary J. Blige, Jill Scott, The […]

how to dress well what is this heart

How To Dress Well “What Is This Heart?” – Album Review

Domino (2014)

Arguably the hipster R&B scene’s most tortured soul, New Yorker Tom Krell, aka How To Dress Well, delivered one of the most heart-breaking albums of 2012 with Total Loss, a hypnotic series of eulogies which featured everything from a spoken word excerpt from a 1980s documentary about teenage homelessness to the sound of a body splashing into the sea. The solemn self-portrait which adorns the cover of his third album, […]

lil wayne tha carter

Lil Wayne’s “Tha Carter” Reigns Supreme

Let’s give a shout out to Lil Wayne, who this week celebrates the 10 year anniversary of his breakout album Tha Carter, released June 29, 2004. The Platinum-certified album is based off The Carter, a crack house empire from New Jack City.  (Remember that movie?)   Featuring his trademark speedy, weezy raps, mature delivery, clever wordplay, and devil-may-care attitude, Tha Carter launched Weezy’s five album saga, of which he’s on the […]

Bobby Womack

Soul Legend Bobby Womack Passes Away, Age 70

Bobby Womack, the R&B and soul legend known for penning and/or recording hits like “That’s The Way I Feel About Cha,” “If You Think You’re Lonely Now” and “It’s All Over Now,” died on Friday.  He was 70 years old. A publicist for Womack’s label XL Recordings confirmed his death to media on Friday.  Womack had suffered from a variety of health issues, including colon cancer, prostate cancer, diabetes and […]

Bassnectar Noise vs. Beauty

Bassnectar “Noise vs. Beauty” – Album Review

Amorphous Music (2014)

One of the most eclectic figures in the Golden State’s thriving dance music community, DJ/producer Lorin Ashton, aka Bassnectar, continues to hop from sub-genre to sub-genre in an attempt to fuse two contrasting sensory qualities on his tenth studio effort, Noise vs. Beauty. Initially recorded with just an acoustic guitar and piano, the follow-up to 2012’s Vava Voom features occasional traces of the latter, namely the delicate piano motif which […]

Janelle Monae

Janelle Monae, Stevie Wonder Rock Electric At The Hollywood Bowl

Arch Androids rejoiced last Sunday when the mother of space age afro-punk and sci-fi hip-hop took the stage.  That would be none other than Janelle Monae. Monae, 28, of “Q.U.E.E.N” fame, is one of those rare talents that comes along once in a generation—a marvelous singing voice matched with a mighty vision (think the female Andre 3000), fancy footwork (James Brown style), her signature black / white suits (her “uniform”), […]

michael jackson dangerous

Pop Rewind: Michael Jackson “Black or White”

Yesterday, June 25, marked five years since the “King of Pop” passed away. It only seems fitting, then, to pull another Michael Jackson hit out of the vault for this week’s Rewind. “Black or White,” Jackson’s ode to racial harmony, was the lead single from 1991’s Dangerous, blending pop, dance, rap and a touch of metal into a highly catchy tune that dares you not to dance to it. The […]

deadmau5 while 1 2

Deadmau5 “while (1<2)” – Album Review

Mau5trap (2014)

For all of his continuous dismissals of the EDM scene, mousehead-wearing Canadian Joel Zimmerman appeared to succumb to the “if you can’t beat them, join them” approach with 2012’s Album Title Goes Here, a joyless and generic attempt to court the fratboy crowd which exposed him as something of a hypocrite. Thankfully, follow-up album while (1<2), his seventh album recorded under his deadmau5 moniker, suggests that one of dance music’s […]

ti iggy no mediocre

T.I. and Iggy (and Azealia Banks) Don’t Want “No Mediocre”

When it comes to women, T.I. lets it be known in his new single that he wants “No Mediocre”.  T.I.’s southern twang tossed over Brazilian steel drums sounds like butta. Only drawback, Mr. Tip’s lyrics are a bit tooo simple: “Right hand in the air, I solemnly swear / I never f**k a b**ch if she don’t do her hair”.  Sounds like something out of a kindergarten playground, instead of […]

GusGus Mexico

GusGus “Mexico” – Album Review

Kompakt (2014)

Continuing to tone down the weirdness of their early 4AD days, ever-changing Icelandic collective GusGus are following up 2011’s Arabian Horse with another relatively conventional electro-pop affair, Mexico. Their ninth studio effort still contains the odd unsettling moment – the ghostly pitch-shifted vocal which duets with the beautifully ethereal tones of Urour Hakonardottir on the lush deep house of “Another Life,” the industrial ambience which opens the pulsing “Not The […]

the verve bittersweet symphony

Rock Rewind: The Verve “Bitter Sweet Symphony”

The signature repeating orchestral line of British alt-rock band The Verve’s “Bitter Sweet Symphony” is instantly recognizable today by millions of music lovers around the world. Ironically, this musical motif that forms the foundation for this band’s only Top-40 U.S. hit also provided their greatest source of controversy—for you see, it wasn’t really theirs. The orchestral line in question is something of a “cover of a cover,” sampled from the […]

michelle williams say yes

Michelle Williams’ “Say Yes” Reunites Destiny’s Child

Michelle Williams’ latest single “Say Yes” (from her upcoming album Journey to Freedom) is an airy, inspiring ode to Jesus green-lighting your whole life.  Not only does it uplift the listener’s spirits, it reunites one of the greatest girl groups of all time, Destiny’s Child.  In support of their sister, Kelly Rowland and Beyoncé Knowles join Michelle on her latest single, all of them claiming their authority in Christ by […]

lana del rey ultraviolence

Lana Del Rey “Ultraviolence” –Album Review

Lana Del Rey/Polydor (2014)

A couple of years ago, during a less-than-flattering moment in Lana Del Rey’s emerging career, I wrote an article explaining why we shouldn’t write her off just yet.  Ultraviolence is why. Since Born To Die was released (to mixed reviews but impressive sales—the music fans have the final word, after all), Del Rey has been essentially doing two things.  First, she’s been giving the world time to get used to […]

tiesto a town called paradise

Tiesto “A Town Called Paradise” – Album Review

PM:AM (2014)

Dutch trance legend Tiesto has been crowned the winner of DJ Mag’s Top 100 poll three times, has a three-club residency in Las Vegas and topped Forbes’ 2013 DJ Rich List–and yet, up until this year, he still hadn’t scored a major crossover single. However, the 45-year-old now appears to have decided that he wants a piece of the chart action, too, and on his fifth studio effort, A Town […]

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