While the world lost a legendary writer and public figure when Maya Angelou passed earlier this May, fortunately many have found creative and heartwarming ways to celebrate her legacy. Perhaps most creative of all is the forthcoming album Caged Bird Songs, an album that pairs Angelou’s spoken word pieces with hip-hop musical backing. Below you can stream “On Aging”, a track where Angelou’s wise musings on getting older are met with a surprisingly well placed slap bass that could have been straight-ripped from a Rick James album.
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With the summer nearing its end, people will undoubtedly soon begin making statements on what the song of the summer of 2014 was. While three months offers some degree of hindsight, it pales in comparison to our ability to see which songs defined the summers of decades previous. Fifty years ago, there wasn’t much media attention devoted to what songs ruled the charts during the warmest months, but thanks to the Billboard charts, we can look back and see what they were. So let’s take a listen to the songs of summers in the ‘60s.
Saul Conrad grew up in a musical family and was trained in classical music from a very early age, receiving formal training for some 20 years. That education informs his super melodic and harmonically complex songs, which feel like mini revelations in the age of cookie cutter top 40 pop music. You know that you’re dealing with a special artist when they reference Kierkegaard as an influence on their music.
Asheville, North Carolina duo RBTS WIN, consisting of Javier Bolea and Cliff B. Worsham, formed in 2008 shortly after Bolea moved from his hometown of sun-drenched Miami to the mountain oasis of Worsham’s origins in Asheville. Their geographical backgrounds make sense when listening to Palm Sunday (Deluxe Edition), out Tuesday on their own Tidal Prism imprint. The album is awash in pop-leaning psych and swirling electronics informed by classic hip-hop sampling techniques, and etched with an imprint that is clearly informed by Since I Left You-era Avalanches. Today we are pleased to present the album stream in full.
Battle Flags is the project of singer/songwriter/producer Jack Budd, a Brooklynite via Richmond, Virginia. He describes his sound as “a sonic pop patchwork of bike rides, spray paint, social change, drunken camaraderie, and hope”. This translates into lyrical vocals, heavy rhythms, guitar riffs, and bright synths. His newest EP Color Engine II contains his best songs to date. Budd stepped his production game up big time with this EP while still keeping the homegrown feel of those previous recordings which garnered him a loyal following around the blogosphere.