Profiling great and underrated music from 3 artists. Click the artist's photo to visit their respective site. To submit an artist for a future profile, hit the "Contact/Info" tab and fill out the form.
KELLY ROWLAND: Love Again
You know Kelly Rowland; the cup of hot chocolate that was 1/3 of Destiny’s Child, one of the biggest-selling girl groups of all time. Many have been wooed by the burst of sexuality that was Rowland’s single, “Motivation,” and its subsequent album “Here I Am,” but I am not. I can understand the 30-year-old singer wanting to mature her sound and express that part of herself, but I find the manner in which sex has been approached to be kind of tacky. Loving to hear Rowland’s voice, but frustrated with her new material, I went back to the previous album, “Ms. Kelly;” a well-written, intimate R&B album that sadly received little record label support and promotion. An associated, equally great EP, “Diva Deluxe,” was released and from it spun the track, “Love Again.” I wanted to profile this song because I believe it’s a jewel more people should discover.
Profiling great and underrated music from 4 awesome artists. Hit the artist's picture to visit their respective site. To submit an artist for future "You Should Hear This" profiles, hit the 'Contact/Info' tab and fill out the form.
Springing from the now defunct R&B/pop group Danity Kane, singer/songwriter Dawn Richard landed in the hip-hop/R&B trio Diddy Dirty Money and received rave reviews with the experimental debut, “Last Train to Paris.” Now, while DDM is on hiatus, Richard has released a mixtape (A Tell-Tale Heart) and additional free music on her site, dawnrichardblog.com. “Save Me from You” is the latest song/music video to be uploaded (you can watch it below). I chose to profile this song because I find the writing to be interesting. Most lyrics relating heroism and romance have the usual approach of depicting the lover as a gracious savior for the other. “Save Me from You” is a bit different; Richard’s lover is a hero for everyone else and inflicts pain upon her, of which she wants to be rescued. I wish the accompanying music video better reflected the lyrics, but I imagine the budget for independent work isn’t as abundant.
James Morrison is a soulful acoustic-rock singer from England who reached instant popularity overseas with his debut single “You Give Me Something” in 2006. Morrison went on to win 3 BRIT Awards and all of 3 of his albums have gone platinum in the U.K., including the latest “The Awakening.” While Morrison has yet to have an official U.S. release (“Awakening” is only available through ITunes U.S.), one is likely to come as two of his most popular singles feature American artists Nelly Furtado and Jason Mraz. Growing up listening to his mother’s soul records and his father’s rock collection, Morrison cites Stevie Wonder, Van Morrison, Al Green and Otis Redding as influences. You can hear the song “Better Man” (which I first heard on the soap opera “General Hospital”) below with 2 “Awakening” album samplers from Morrison’s Youtube channel.
When Seth MacFarlane makes news, it’s usually for the unfiltered socio-political and pop culture commentary on his T.V. cartoon-comedies “Family Guy” and “American Dad.” This time, it’s for his music. Yes, you read correctly, his MUSIC. A lover of 1940’s and 1950’s big-band, swing and jazz, MacFarlane gets his Sinatra on with the release “Music is Better Than Words.” If the fact that he has an album isn’t surprising enough, MacFarlane is actually a fantastic singer. Smooth, strong and crisp, his voice is beyond pleasing to the ears. Check out “Love Won’t Let You Get Away” with Sara Bareillis below.
Out of all of the artists I’m profiling today, I’m most excited about The Seatbelts. Based out of Japan, The Seatbelts are lead by sound producer Yoko Kanno. Intentionally ambiguous, it’s hard to find extensive information about the group or individual band members. With no official website, their Facebook page leads to a somewhat disorganized Japanese-language music purchasing site that lists works by Kanno and her sporadic collaborations with one or two Seatbelts members. Their Wikipedia page is the most informative and comprehensive resource I found (click the photo to view it). According to the article, The Seatbelts discography consists of only soundtrack albums for the anime series “Cowboy Bebop” and there no American releases. It also purports that group disbanded in 2004. I heard about this band through a friend and I became immensely intrigued after listening to only two songs. The band is extremely eclectic, having material that is core jazz, pop, hip-hop, rock, funk and electronic. Majority of their work is instrumental, but there is a healthy portion that features an array of Japanese vocalists. Listen to jazzy and soothing “Diamonds” (featuring Ilaria Graziano) and the funky, rock-soul “Gotta Knock a Little Harder” (featuring Mai Yamane) below.
Canadian singer-songwriter, Dallas Green, is a one man show known as "City & Colour." Springing from the punk-esque band AlexisonFire, City & Colour has recorded solo work dating back to 2004, with more of an acoustic, alternative focus. His latest project, "Little Hell," is available on ITunes (click his photo to view his site). I discovered City & Colour in an unlikely place: watching "Celebrity Rehab w/ Dr. Drew" on VH1. They played "O'Sister" during an emotional scene, which can be found below with "Fragile Bird." Hope you guys enjoy the songs and let me know what you think of his music.
Tonight on NBC's "The Voice," contestant Xenia performed a great song called "The Man That Can't Be Moved." Judge Adam Levine (of Maroon 5) claimed he hadn't heard the song & neither had I. I looked up the original artist, a band called "The Script," & fell in love. The group is from Dublin & has two available studio albums. Check them out.:)
Imagine if Pharrell Williams did an album with Amy Winehouse. That's what you get with Nikki & Rich, an up-and-coming L.A. based duo. Nikki Leonti, a former gospel/Christian-contemporary artist met hip-hop/R&B producer Rich "Rich Skillz" Velonskis in 2007, and it's been sweet, creative honey ever since. Rich's innovative and appealing production combined with Nikki's songwriting and soulful vocals make for some exciting and refreshing music. Check out "Same Kind of Man" and "City Lights" ft. Fabulous below. A 6-track EP is available for free download at nikkiandrich.com
So, I was watching “Dancing with the Stars” (yes, I’m guilty) and this young lady, Delta Goodrem performs with Michael Bolton. Noticing her powerful voice, I immediately took to a computer and checked out her website. Goodrem is an Australian 26-year-old singer/songwriter and pianist who is a vocal blend of Celine Dion and Faith Hill. Her official website is http://deltagoodrem.com/. Below are “Mistaken Identity,” “Almost Here” and a remix of “You Will Only Break My Heart.” Hope you enjoy it. A collection of song samples are available at http://www.bandit.fm/page#breathe/deltagoodrem.
"You Should Hear This" Week: profiling great and underrated albums April 26-30. Suggestion for a future "hear this" week? Click the contact tab and email us :)
Bittersweet World Deluxe
Favorites: Boys, Little Miss Obsessive, Rule Breaker, Follow You Wherever You Go
After a little bit of controversy surrounding her pregnancy status with her first child, Ashlee Simpson stepped away from the public media eye and stopped promoting this 2008 album. The halt in promotion could’ve been the reason why the record debuted at #4 on the U.S. Billboard Top 200 Albums chart, but ultimately did not certify gold or platinum, which is unfortunate because it was a solid record. A departure from her contemporary-pop 1st album “Autobiography,” “Bittersweet World” took an unorthodox cue from 70’s and 80’s pop-rock with a tinge of punk. Funky, fun and full of attitude, “World” discusses relationship issues between lighter-hearted tunes. An album sampler is below.
"You Should Hear This" Week: profiling great and underrated albums April 26-30. Suggestions for a future "hear this" week? Click the contact tab and email us :)
Favorites: Love Bomb, Sooner or Later
N.E.R.D.’s “Seeing Sounds” is an energetic, eclectic, innovative and intriguing funk, hip-hop and rock album. On the surface, the lyrics are hard to make sense of, but eventually, it comes together. What makes immediate sense is why Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo are one of the best production teams of their time, looking at the versatile and creative power put into their project. It's definitely underrated. Hear the album sampler below.