The Reverend Shawn Amos is on a mission to bring blues to wider attention within pop culture spaces. After all, it’s a living, breathing, vibrant genre that continues to grow, not some old retro form of music. Just look at the careers of Gark Clark Jr., Robert Randolph and Keb’ Mo’ for the most recent examples. Amos comes at the blues from a lifetime of appreciation as he formerly worked as a music industry executive where he recorded and produced a number of Grammy-nominated albums. Now, he’s stepping out with the microphone as a blues preacher and the result is fabulous, as his singing seduces the blues-starved masses and his harmonica playing makes them believers.
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Zmei3 is a group of Romanians whose music emanates from a mixture of traditional Romanian musical forms, including gypsy music from the region which is so integral to the overall sounds of Eastern European music. However, Zmei3 is anything but a traditional group as they tackle the realities of life in Romania post-communism in their lyrics. The group’s new album Rough Romanian Soul is a gorgeous record with passion and, indeed, soul running through it. Classically trained singer Paula Turcas is something special with her stunning voice, capable of soaring high and low with subtle inflections adding meaning and feeling to every word. Zmei3‘s Grammy-winning producer Ian Brennan says that “Turcas is poised to take her place amongst rarified vocalists like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Umm Kulthum, and Yma Sumac, singers whose virtuosic gifts transcend language to such a degree that they even become symbols of an entire culture or region.”
As we mentioned back in March with the premiere of “Fire Makes”, Brooklyn indie rock band the Loom is releasing the sophomore album, Here in the Deadlights, on April 22nd via Crossbill/Stereocilia. It was a long hard road getting to this point for the band as frontman John Fanning went through an emotional storm in his personal life that had him examining everything, including his music, as he rebuilt his life. While that process was painful and difficult, it afforded Fanning the opportunity of a rebirth, something he channeled into the Loom’s new music. The Loom has always been interested in repetition and grooves, things that are the primary concern of electronic music and it’s interesting how Fanning and the Loom are able to borrow dance music aesthetic elements and make them seem completely organic to indie rock. Here in the Deadlights is the first of two records that the band has ready to release as they have found so much creative inspiration drawing from the drama inherent in every day life.
At a time when little shocks or surprises comes Rïcïnn and the track “Uma” from the forthcoming LP Lïan. There could be no better track to introduce the world to this artist’s astonishingly beautiful album, a record destined to become one of 2016’s best. As a child Rïcïnn created her own language, believing that her musical utterances possessed healing properties. Perhaps it does. Standing on the outside of this nomenclature one can only feel the power of Rïcïnn’s expression and it is never less than deeply moving.
North Carolina is close to Atlanta geographically, but not musically as its hip-hop shares far more in common with New York rap. Charlotte’s Rapper Shane is heavily influenced by ‘90s hip-hop, including Wu-Tang Clan, Jay Z and Nas. “Started” may as well be Rapper Shane’s manifesto as it feels like a statement of purpose, as he announces that “it ain’t over now / I’m just getting started”. In a way he is just getting started as Rapper Shane. given that he previously worked under the moniker Stranger Day. Shane‘s got a super confident flow bristling with energy and passion, rather like Nas. Meanwhile, the song’s groovy slow jam beats just kill with incredible production from Ducko McFli.