Chris Ingalls: Oh, hell yeah. The Jam made albums for roughly five years before Paul Weller suddenly broke up the band in order to form the dance/jazz/funk combo the Style Council, and the seeds of that new band were evident in later Jam songs like this one. Largely dismissing his British Invasion heroes in favor of his R&B ones, “Town Called Malice” is Weller’s love letter to soul music, and it’s a damn flawless one—probably their best single out of many fantastic ones. British working class woes are chronicled (“To either cut down on beer or the kids’ new gear”) with the help of joyous organ, Bruce Foxton’s bouncy bass line and Rick Buckler’s tight yet manic drumming. Pure perfection. [10/10]
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When I first caught Lawrence during CMJ in 2015, it was a completely chance encounter. I was hanging out in Webster Hall and wandering between floors capturing various bands. I wasn’t sticking around for entire sets for the most part until I went downstairs and saw the youthful Lawrence. Led by brother and sister Clyde and Gracie Lawrence, the band’s soulful sound hooked me. I didn’t get a chance to see them again until well into 2016 and by this point the group had finished recording and had just released their debut album Breakfast (streaming below) which was produced by Eric Krasno (of Soullive). So I got a chance to familiarize myself with the album and, enticed by what I heard, I looked forward to the homecoming show for the New York based group.
At Rockwood, the siblings, plus their band of six other musicians including three brass or woodwind players, had tons of friends, family and fans in tow for a sold-out sweaty show during which they were treated to a soulful course of Breakfast. Including Breakfast songs, Lawrence also performed a few energetic covers, including Destiny’s Child’s “Say My Name” and The Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back”, that were enhanced by the powerful horns and Gracie’s dynamic vocals. The band closed out their set with an encore of “Me & You”, a song whose funky rhythm possesses the confident strut of a classic ‘70s funk anthem. There’s a lot to look forward to from Lawrence and for the band who will be heading out to draw in more listeners this summer at Bonnaroo.
Emmanuel Elone: “Strange Country” is simply excellent folk music. The intricate guitar playing perfectly matches the female vocals, and the lyrics are great as well. The only off-putting aspect of this song is that Kacy and Clayton clearly have no uniquely defined sound, instead copying almost directly from ‘60s and early ‘70s folk singers like Bob Dylan, Donovan, Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, and even a hint of some acoustic Led Zeppelin. Nevertheless, “Strange Country” is folk music at its finest, and deserves to be heard. [8/10]
Pantha du Prince has just released another new video from his new album The Triad releasing this Friday via Rough Trade Records. This comes hot on the heels of “Frau Im Mond, Sterne Laufen” released back on May 9th. The “In an Open Space” video is seriously trippy and Pantha du Prince’s warm, minimal techno pulls you deep into his imagination.
Emmanuel Elone: People who complain about the current state of pop music do not know who Grimes is. “California”, besides being a solid pop tune, has colorful and quirky electronic instrumentation that blend perfectly with Grimes’ child-like vocals. To be sure, her lyrics are still nothing particularly of note, but one has to accept the musicianship and musicality of her work at the very least. “California” may not be reinventing pop music, but it is revitalizing it. [7/10]
// Notes from the Road
"Cage the Elephant rocked two sold-out nights at Summerstage and return to NYC for a free show May 29th. Info on that and a preview of the full Summerstage schedule is here.READ the article