Blending electronic beats with some choppy Latin funk, Black Eskimo (a duo comprised of Ingrid Chavez and Marco Valentin) chart their course in some pop-friendly waters. Chavez, noted especially for her spoken word material, opts to ditch the talk and simply sing. Her voice, light and airy, hovers just above the grooves provided by multi-instrumentalist Valentin, who gives the beats some crunchy texture without cluttering up the soundscape unnecessarily. It’s really just a taster of what is to come, as Eskimo are due for a full-length release. But if a sweet and tangier brand of electro-pop is your dish, then this should go down nicely like a chilled lemon posset. Check out their debut single, “Escapology”.
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On July 1st, 1941, viewers seen the world’s first TV commercial, a 20-second spot for Bulova watches. It isn’t on YouTube yet, but you’re not missing much: just a clock superimposed on a US map while an announcer says, “America runs on Bulova time.” Thankfully, commercials got a lot more interesting throughout the years, so here’s a look at some of the most unforgettable.
Joan Allen ... The Contender
Ellen Burstyn ... Requiem for a Dream
Juliette Binoche ... Chocolat
Laura Linney ... You Can Count on Me
Julia Roberts ... Erin Brockovich
Gillian Anderson … House of Mirth
Tragedy has long moved artists to write, we all know that. Look at how many songs came out of the 9/11 attacks. Ben Kono, a hard-working sideman saxophonist from New York, started to put together the pieces of his song “Paradise in Manzanar” not long after the twin towers fell. But it relates to a different tragedy: the imprisonment of Japanese-American civilians during World War II. After reading Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston’s Farewell to Manzanar in the tenth grade, “paradise” is one of the last words I would use to describe the California internment camps. But there’s the old adage about life dealing you lemons…
“Paradise in Manzanar” is one of the most striking tracks from Kono’s solo debut Crossing, which is saying something since the whole album boasts an elegant selection of songs of the chamber jazz and/or post-classical persuasion. There is a fine video of the song being performed live on YouTube and it can also be sampled on Kono’s website.
With the 4th of July holiday over, summer is in full swing and here’s a new tunes playlist ready to provide a soundtrack for everything on the list. From picnics and BBQs to hanging at the beach, the season is just meant to be lived outdoors. A bevy of new releases filled much of the space, rounded out by a few tracks saved from earlier in the year since they seemed more suited for summer. Enjoy!
1. “Make Some Noise” - Beastie Boys
Doing their thing since 1979, the Beastie Boys return with a new release, Hot Sauce Committee Part Two. (The part one was put aside as Adam “MCA” Yauch underwent treatment for cancer.) This lead track is unapologetically recognizable as a Beastie Boys creation, finding new influences from the current music scene.