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by Christian John Wikane

1 Dec 2009


Sweet like a Hershey’s chocolate kiss. Funky as if you forgot how good funk can feel. The sonic equivalent of sun rays bursting through an azure sky. That’s “Better”, the new single by Angela Johnson. How apt a title, because with each passing year and each new production, Angela Johnson only gets better.

A contender for the most infectious tune in her catalog, the song verifies that Johnson is one of the very best writers/producers/singers working today. Recently touring stages throughout France, this NY-native crafts grooves so tight that it’s no wonder why Johnson’s “Happy Feelings” was the highlight on Maysa’s Metamorphosis (2008). Nor is it surprising that Rahsaan Patterson readily agreed to collaborate with her on “Dream Flight”, a track from A Woman’s Touch (Johnson’s producer project of last year).

“Better” is the culmination of nearly a decade’s worth of recording, touring, and producing, both as a solo artist and her work with Cooly’s Hot Box. Those who have been following Angela Johnson will recognize the chord changes in the bridge as “distinctly Angela” while the drums and bass are luscious, deep and rich, just like the Cooly’s Hot Box cuts that found a home on the hippest European dance floors. Of course, there is her voice, a strident instrument that can become airborne within the space of two notes. Check her phrasing on “When you’re touching my skin / You’re lighting the fire deep within” at the 3:30 mark and brace yourself.

If you download only one more song before 2009 ends, make it “Better”.

by Tyler Gould

1 Dec 2009


Shout Out Louds
Work
(Merge)
Releasing: 23 February

“Walls” is the perfect song for an anthem or a movie soundtrack or for making taking the bus feel much more grandiose and exhilarating. It’s almost cruel the way its crescendo hooks into that very Bruce Springsteenian impulse to drop inhibitions, romanticize running away, and take an ill-advised road trip with no money or destination.

SONG LIST
01 1999
02 Fall Hard
03 Play the Game
04 Walls
05 Candle Burned Out
06 Throwing Stones
07 Four by Four
08 Moon
09 Show Me Something New
10 Too Late, Too Slow

Walls [MP3]
     

by Sarah Zupko

1 Dec 2009


Excessive cuteness alert, and no, it’s not just the precious Bishop Allen tune. Lots of dancing, mod, ‘60s looking girls fill up the frames of the latest video from the Brooklyn pop band’s 2009 album Grrr…. This brings to mind the excellent recent Vanity Fair essay “Addicted to Cute”. Bishop Allen could indeed be the poster children for said trend.

by Tyler Gould

30 Nov 2009


Spoon
Transference
(Merge)
Releasing: 19 January

Spoon follows last year’s beloved Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga with Transference. Check out a video teaser and two early live versions of a couple tracks below. “Written in Reverse” will be the first single, coming out digitally tomorrow.

SONG LIST
01 Before Destruction
02 Is Love Forever?
03 The Mystery Zone
04 Who Makes Your Money
05 Written In Reverse
06 I Saw The Light
07 Trouble Comes Running
08 Goodnight Laura
09 Out Go The Lights
10 Got Nuffin
11 Nobody Gets Me But You

Is Love Forever? (Live) [MP3]
     

Written in Reverse (Live) [MP3]
     

by Tyler Gould

30 Nov 2009


Ted Leo and the Pharmacists dispel rumors that Sully Sullenberger is the Highlander with “Even Heroes Have to Die” from their upcoming album, The Brutalist Bricks, which we’ll get a look at in March of the new year. This song and “One Polaroid a Day” are enough to get you in a Ted Leo mood, all digging up his back catalog and throwing it on repeat all day.

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists
Even Heroes Have to Die [MP3]
     

//Mixed media
//Blogs

Violin Virtuoso L. Subramaniam Mesmerizes in Rare New York Performance (Photos)

// Notes from the Road

"Co-presented by the World Music Institute, the 92Y hosted a rare and mesmerizing performance from India's violin virtuoso L. Subramaniam.

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