With a bouzouki placed front and center on its cover, III is undoubtedly a Greek album. Combined of “two brothers, a seducing female vocalist, a crowd-engaging MC, and three virtuosi on the bouzouki, saxophone, and electric guitar”, the Athens band Imam Baildi take the music of Greece in inventive and undeniably fun directions with III. From the opening spy film soundtrack number “The Rider” to the swanky hip-hop of “Mistirio”, III is true world music: rooted in the unique traditions of a specific culture while being unafraid to embrace a wide range of styles from all across the globe.
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Based in Brooklyn but hailing from Makaha, Hawaii, Meghann Wright will soon release her debut full-length LP, Nothing Left to Lose, which will no doubt bring some additional heat to the summer months. As tunes like “Black Kiss” evince (stream the track below), Wright is adept at a brand of bluesy rock that’s confident in its strut and sultry in its disposition. As Bitch Magazine aptly puts it, Wright’s “got a point to make”, and when that point is made with boot-stompin’ rhythms and tasty, bluesy guitar solos, folks are no doubt bound to hear her out.
From 19 June through 8 August, Wright will join the lengthy lineup of 2015’s Warped Tour, where she will feature as an Acoustic Basement artist.
With an electric, Strokes-esque vibe, “City of Culture” finds the Irish post-punk outfit Slow Riot building up the momentum they’ve already capitalized on in the past year. Having supported acts like the Twilight Sad and caught the attention of punk photographer Steve Gullick, the trio is set to release a new EP, Cathedral, later this year. Below you can stream “City of Culture”, which features on the EP.
If BIlly Joel had fallen in love with soul instead of rock ‘n’ roll before becoming the genre’s resident piano man, he might have ended up sounding something like New York City singer Chris London. With vocals that bring Michael Jackson to mind, London lets his tenor soar on his new single “Stare”, which displays a strong know-how of dynamic building on London’s part. Beginning as a tender piano and voice tune, “Stare” then develops into a powerhouse of a bridge, with a Brian May-esque guitar solo and chanted vocals heightening the personal drama of the song. It’s easy to imagine London belting this one out at a late night New York barroom, hunched over the piano with a few gin and tonics (that’s right, not “tonic and gin”) in his system.
Singer-songwriter Daniel Pearson’s music is so imbued with the rust and dust of the grittier side of America that it comes as a surprise that he’s from Yorkshire, not Alabama. But times are as hard in Northern England as it is in the American South, and the poetry and sadness of Pearson’s work is reflected vividly on his past wok, including 2010’s Satellites and 2012’s PopMatters-approved Mercury State. His third album Alone, Together comes out this summer, and as you can hear on the forlorn “As Deep as Love”, he’s a level of minimal majesty similar to that of Jason Isbell, his tenor voice and forlorn lyrics countered by echoes of distorted guitar.