Iceland’s Sólstafir will release Berdreyminn on 26 May via Season of Mist but we are pleased to premiere the single “Isafold” now. Over its 22-year history, the group has confounded those seeking easy comparisons. They’ve come often, over the years, but in many ways have failed to fully express the group’s tastes and influences. Sigur Rós, Ennio Morricone, and Fields of the Nephilim are but three names that have been mentioned and guitarist/vocalist Aðalbjörn Tryggvason offers more when discussing this latest track.
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Gift of Gab, a.k.a. Tim Parker is one-half of the seminal hip-hop duo Blackalicious who have released a bevy of critically acclaimed albums throughout their career. Gab also has a highly successful solo career dating back to 2004, and he’s set to release a new solo EP, Rejoice! Rappers Are Rapping Again, in April. Gab’s style is pure classic hip-hop with dazzling rhyme schemes, soulful production from Jumbo, and politically and socially relevant critique. Gab says, “the new batch of songs I’m working on is all about lyricism for heads who love it. I’m in a place in my career right now where I’m hearing a lot of talk that hip-hop isn’t as lyrical as it once was. I come from the school of Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, and rappers that are really intensely rhyming. With this new slew of music I am doing, it’s almost like I’m rhyming for other rappers.”
Detroit’s Blaire Alise possesses the soul of a ‘60s mod popster with all of the glorious harmonies of the British Invasion melded to the sweetest melodies of Detroit pop/soul via Motown. Her latest album, My Eye, highlights the range of Blaire Alise and the Bombshells’ super catchy music, loaded with cotton candy killer melodies and harmonies that could melt the coldest of hearts. Case in point is the group’s latest single “Rolleiflex” with its instantly memorable melodic line, splendid vocals, and its perfect chorus. As the song is about memories, Alise had the video entirely shot in Super 8 video, which paints the song’s historical influences.
Singer-songwriter Elli Perry was something of a road warrior in years past, touring incessantly, but following her marriage failing, Perry was burned out, exhausted and needed some fresh inspiration. She wound up carrying on her roaming ways through travel and living new places, such as Costa Rica and the French countryside. It was during that peripatetic period that Perry penned the songs that comprise her new album, Little Thieves, releasing 30 March. Her new single “Smoking Gun” is a powerful song that looks at the pain of depression but meets that pain with real fight and determination to overcome the disease’s debilitating effects.
Mike Schiller: Well, a thing doesn’t always have to be subtle to be beautiful, does it? Fresh off his Grammy win and a surprise appearance in the “Album of the Year” category comes the video for the song he played at that particular ceremony. Just in case we weren’t sure of Simpson’s stance on our current president, he makes it very clear here. In the video, a child—and, one is to assume, all the purity of heart and mind that child is meant to represent—gives an iron-fisted Trump the what-for, smashes a heart-shaped hole in a tremendous wall, and rids the world of war machines. It’s comforting to see these sorts of messages come out of the heartland and at a time when Simpson’s audience is as broad as it has ever been. For its part, the song itself is as beautiful and appropriate as it could be. It’s a tale of perseverance and strength and love in 6/8 country-gospel style, complete with a few brilliant Dap-Kings horns to bring it all home. Just lovely. [9/10]