Pick ‘n’ Mix – Fractures / It’s Alright

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Ohhh we do like a bit of Fractures. This one’s the vid for the soulful aussie man’s latest r’n’b treat, ‘It’s Alright’. It’s a lot better than just ‘alright’ though, it’s ruddy gorgeous. Enjoy

YHM x

 

 

Jasper’s Purchase Of The Week – Prince / Art Official Age

Prince – Art Offcial Age (NOT Plectrum Electrum)

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WOOOOOHHHHHHHOOOOOOO Prince is back everybody!! YAAAAAYYYYYYYY!!!! Just to be clear though, and before you start telling me he’s never really been away, when I say he’s ‘back’ I don’t mean he’d actually physically gone anywhere. I’m well aware of the fact he’s been releasing albums every few years for the last 30 odd years, and been touring recently etc. What I mean by ‘back’ is that he’s back making music that if it’s not right up there with his best, it’s bloody close. Cos let’s face it, what’s he’s put out over the last 10-15 years, even his most ardent fans have to admit, has been a bit patchy. There’s been flashes of genius of course, you can’t lose it completely, but the listener’s generally had to wade through a fair amount of mediocrity and aimless noodling to find it.

Anyway, enough of the negatives, it’s time to celebrate this massive return to form, cos Prince is back right where he belongs, the king of r’n’b has regained his crown at a time when the genre probably at it’s strongest for a long old time. It may even be that it’s the competition that’s brought the best out of him again? After all, you’ve had the likes of Frank Ocean, Drake, The Weeknd, James Blake, FKA Twigs and more, releasing innovative, experimental, top quality records along with a whole avalanche of ridiculously promising newcomers to the genre, that are yet to release their debuts too. Whatever it is, Art Official Age, firmly re-establishes the Purple one at the top of the tree. There’s the perfect blend of nostalgia and current sounds on offer here to make the album appeal to fans of the good old days, whilst still being relevant to today’s burgeoning scene, with a perfect blend of inventive funk, soul & r’n’b slow jams, and of course the man’s trademark falsetto. It’s just bloody brilliant and you need it in your life.

N.B. Now if you’re wondering why in the title I’ve written ‘not PlectrumElectrum‘ it’s because, I’m trying to shy away from the fact that Prince has slightly shot himself in the foot this week, cos while Art Official Age is a great album from start to finish, you may have also noticed that he’s also released a second album this week, but that this second one is with his live backing band 3rdEyeGirl- PlectrumElectrum. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a bad album, it’s just it’s the Prince from the last 10-15 years I mentioned earlier, not the one who’s gloriously returned to form. It does have some moments of genius, like ‘Whitecaps’, but it’s essentially it’s a live album with lots of big funk jams & self indulgent noodly solos, i.e. for fans only. So once you’ve had a little listen to Art Official Age, if you just can’t get enough, then by all means get stuck into PlectrumElectrum too. But If I was you, I’d maybe check out some of the bad boys in the ‘Best Of The Rest’ section below first. Just some friendly advice from your old friend Jasper…

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BEST OF THE REST

Electric Youth - Innerworld

You know who Electric Youth are already. Even if you don’t know who they are you actually do. Well if you’ve seen ‘Drive’ you do anyways. And if you have seen ‘Drive’, you no doubt loved the soundtrack (see where I’m going with this??). And if you loved the soundtrack, you’ll remember a mute Ryan Gosling pretending to be in ‘Grease’, cruising round a dry river bed in LA to this Canadian duo’s track ‘A Real Hero’. AHHHHHHHHHH now you get it don’t ya!! Not a bad start for a new band that, having your debut track soundtrack one of the most iconic scenes in the coolest film in recent memory. It may have taken Electric Youth a bit of a while to follow that track up with the rest of their debut album, but I can tell you it was well worth the wait. A must buy for fans of Mint Julep, School Of Seven Bells, Ballet School, or anyone with a bit of a penchant for ethereal vocals over nu-gazy, supercool synths.

SBTRKT - Wonder Where We Land

Been waiting for this record pretty eagerly for the last couple of months, when it’s release date was finally set in stone. As anyone who reads this blog regularly (hopefully there’s a few of you), I’ve been a pretty massive fan of the whole new minimal synth based r’n’b movement of the last few years, and as such was a pretty big fan of London producer SBTRKT’s self titled debut. And being one of the pioneers of the sub genre, I was pretty keen to see what he’d do to keep ahead of all the new artists who he’d so obviously influenced and that are now snapping at his heels. So what has he done I hear you ask? Well first, he assembled a supporting cast of uber cool guest vocalists, like Jessie Ware, Ezra Koenig, Chairlift’s Caroline Polachek, Warpaint & long time collaborator Sampha to name but a few. He then crafted an album’s worth of ultra slick tracks that somehow allow each artist to work their own magic but yet still allow his own identity to shine through brightest. It’s an impressive feat, it really is.

Jamie T - Carry On The Grudge

Who remembers Jamie T? I have to be honest, I’d completely forgotten he even existed until last week. Is that ultra harsh? Maybe it is. Thing is, when I heard last week that he was back with a new album, after a bit of googling and youtubing, all it triggered was nothing but the memories of annoyingly heavy accented rap/ ska/ punk from his mid naughties heyday. Does anyone really need another album of that I thought, and I very nearly didn’t even give his return, Carry On The Grudge, a listen because of it. But that would have been my loss, and quite a big loss too. Because being the open minded man that I am, I did give it a go, and it’s actually really really good. Getting older obviously suits this guy, cos with age, his vocal style has matured drastically, going from being some kind of quasi Mike Skinner/ Joe Strummer hybrid and coming off as a wannabe, he now sounds entirely his own man. Musically he’s matured now too, finding a perfect blend between ska, punk and pop, that’s ridiculously hooky, allowing his wit and attitude to shine through now without seeming too try hard. He even pulls off heartfelt at times here too, something I would never have believed him capable of. All in all the record has the feeling of someone no longer bowing to expectations of what he should be, and just being the artist he wants to be. If the time out helped Jamie T create an album this good, then maybe he should disappear for another 5 years before his next record, cos if it improves him further he’ll soon turn into one of the best acts around.

Hooray For Earth - Racy

A couple of years back Hooray For Earth burst onto the indie synth pop scene with their debut album True Loves and it was all energetic, fun, and stuff, coming across like a kind of dreamier Foster The People, or a not quite as wacky Yeasayer. And there were some real belters on there, with big synth hooks, a few sing-a-long choruses and some driving beats. Two years on and they’ve come up with their follow up, Racy, which is effectively more of the same. Which is a good thing.

J x