Empty Space | live video
So Far | Official Video
Waves | Official Video | 01.01.16
Eve 6 show (Crowbar) 06.02.16
Living Colour show @ Orpheum 04.02.16
Something So Right | Youtube
FOUR STAR RIOT - Spotify Playlist
New Music 2018
My favorite albums released this year (chronologically)
Album covers link to Spotify
Rhye - Blood
2018 began electronic and moody with Rhye's 2nd album. Slick bass lines, clean beats colored with synths and minimal guitar. Sultry vocal hooks are abundant, and the whole thing sang in headvoice with cool harmonies.
Everything Is Recorded - Everything Is Recorded
More moody electronic music to kick off the year.
Sampha with Curtis Mayfield sampled over trip-hop & UK rap highlights this DEBUT album of songs by 47 year old producer Richard Russell. He's the founder of XL Recordings, the label responsible for so many well-known acts from A-Z. Talk about a late start as an artist, and this after being paralyzed for some time from an illness. Album combines samples of so many genres from 90s house (Soul II Soul) to classic RnB (Mayfield), Sitar and other sounds you'd never think to put together. It was a steady jogging companion while my kiddo was at little league practice a few nights a week
during the month of February
Hands-down my favorite album of the year. Heavy vibes from start to finish. This album soundtracked the last few months of my dad's battle with cancer. Maybe knowing that Damon was releasing this music while his mom was going through the same thing made it feel like there was a connection. The lyrics weave dark and triumphant stories around characters and scenery that seem so familiar. 'Calling Paul The Sufferening' hit home for obvious reasons. All around great writing here. The guitar and drum instrumentation is perfect with a perfect compliment of keys and effects for color. His vocals are so unique, at times with a fast vibrato and hard consonants, making lyrics hard to decipher but such a cool effect. I haven't stopped listening yet, continually on repeat all year. Gonna trek over to Orlando to see them at The Social in January
"This is your time, their time is done"
Unknown Mortal Orchestra - Sex & Food
This one is every bit as good as their last album, Multi-Love. IMO, UMO keeps getting better. This album was the sound of late spring for me. I was still heavy into Freedom when this one came out in April, but got more into it over the next couple months and still in heavy rotation at the end of the year. Fortunately, there are a lot of bands playing psychadelic Prince vibes these days. Ruben and co are tops, one of my favorite current bands for sure. I hope they come to Florida soon or maybe that Shaky Knees fest in May.
Arctic Monkeys, i love most everything they've done since 2006. Dig the futuristic visuals and sci-fi stories woven into the lyrics here. The album may not be big on guitar riffs, but they're there aside vintage keys playing orchestral lines, and drum parts accenting meter and time changes throughout. The bass lines are super melodic, flowing along with AT's vocals. Feels like a Last Shadow Puppets record, definitely a different direction for AM, and an intriguing listen for sure. Every time I heard the line "Mark speaking, how may I direct your call?" All I could think of was "Oh, Hi Mark".. So stupid, I know. But this came out around the time I saw the film Distaster Artist, so they connected in my little brain.
Four stars out of five.
"Funky music playing in my headddd! If it stops I'm counting on you. This next one's called Freebird II" --wtf? cracks me up every time. First of all, I still kick myself for missing their NWB show a couple years ago. Can't remember why I didn't go, probably a little league game that night. But also, I didn't like their previous two records as much as I love this one. Its a perfect rock album, tons of attitude and more focused energy than their previous efforts. Being produced by Danger Mouse probably helped.
Reminds me of The Clash, not in style but attitude.
Can't believe Gasparilla got FJM and Spoon at GMF in the same year! That was an incredble show, punctuated by Perfect Husband. He played Mr. Tillman from the new album in middle of his set. I listened to this album a bunch while driving with my family around the eastern US. He really is a brilliant songwriter, maybe overhyped, and equally disliked for it. Who cares? Its great music. This album is not nearly as grandiouso as Pure Comedy was. Its a more intimate small-studio sound lke the first two. All the witty lines are there, classic voice, drum room sound and guitar production are equally great.
"I also wanna vanquish evil but my Mojo's gone" - Date NIght
Gorillaz - The Now Now
I listened to this a lot while road-tripping through Chicago, NYC, DC and back this summer. Damon Albarn is my favorite living musician, period. Blur AND Gorillaz, c'mon? This album showcases the melancholy sound he's so good at delivering. Feels like its from the same place as his awesome solo album, Everyday Robots from a few years ago. Its not as strong as Demon Days or Plastic Beach, but there's less rap &hip hop here than on last year's Humanz, save the stellar Snoop Dogg track 'Hollywood'. I know there are other people involved in Gorillaz, but 2-D is one prolific mofo. Im listening now to the new Good Bad & the Queen album that came out last week. Hope he does another solo album or another Blur record soon
Blood Orange - Negro Swan
My dad died on August 24th, same day this album came out. I'll never forget that night at my parents' house when he passed. I think I'm still a little fucked-up about it. I know it will get easier, but I spend a lot of time looking at old photos these days. Anyways, I love Blood Orange. I've been a fan from the start, since Coastal Grooves and that first Solange record he made. I remember the drummer in my band showing me Lightspeed Champion on an iPod one night out front of MacDintons like 10 years ago. Dev's a modern-day Prince with an indie-rock lean, though heading more toward r'n'b in his last couple records. Still always with the cool guitar parts, killer beats, pop melodies and soulful harmonies. He references black and LGBT experiences a lot in the interludes. I don't identify with either of those, but I empathize and support both and I try to be accepting of everyone's differences in life. This album probably wasn't intended for a white guy in full mid-life crisis mode, but it goes to show the power of music, that it can reach us in a way no other language can.
Jungle - For Ever
Feel good UK house music, retro 90s sounds, synth bass and solid dance beats. Most of the songs have soulful vocal hooks and cool bass & drums. Not mainstream pop, but similar ingredients with better lyrics. I wish pop music on the radio sounded like this. I felt good whenever I was listening to it, driving around or jogging. It was a welcome change for fall even though it was still hot as shit here in Florida.
Prince - Piano & A Microphone (1983)
Prince's catalog, I'm pretty well-versed. I've got so many bootlegs that I bought at record stores in the eighties or downloaded back in the early days of file sharing. But I was surprised by this recording, can't believe I'd never heard of it. 9 tracks including an early version of Purple Rain and a Joni Mitchell cover. The '17 Days' version on here is the shit! That song is one of my favorite b-sides. You can hear the beginnings of him writing 'Strange Relationship' in Mary Dont You Weep, before it then shows up as its own on the next track. That song was finally released 4 years later on my all-time favorite album Sign O' The Times. Ive heard a bunch of early versions of it on bootlegs, but none as early as this one. Supposedly this album was recorded in one-take at Prince's house, just him and a piano. And he was suffering from a cold. So even when he was sick, he was better than everyone else? Its hard to believe the foot stomping rhythm was done live. The timing, overall performance, and recording are all perfect. I suspect there were some overdubs done later. Who knows? Maybe not. I guess if anyone could've played like that while improvising and riffing and battling a cold, it was Prince.
I'll be honest, by October I was feeling like there wasn't a lot of new music out that I was into. I kept waiting for something new to come along that was better than what I was listening to. This one came closest. His delivery is unique. The instrumentation, pure rock n roll. I was listening to this one in October a bit according to my Spotify settings. I'm not sure I've heard the whole album, but I def like the first half. And plus that Pretty Pimpin song is always showing up in my daily mix and I never skip it. He's coming to Orlando in March. Doubt I'll make it, I'd go if he came to Tampa. The other new albums I was into this month were the Thom Yorke Suspiria soundtrack, Little Dragon EP & the new one by BRONCHO. Going to see them this week.
I've been digging back into older stuff this month, classic rock and soul, waiting for my wave to come back in. So I took some time to write about the new music that moved me through 2018. Should add Soccer Mommy and Snail Mail which came out around the same time earlier in the year. Those are both great albums I was into. Thanks for reading and listening. Hope you found something here that you're into too, or maybe discovered something new. Peace.