Tag Archives: R&B
It’s hard for me to describe Har Mar Superstar in any sort of succinct manner. He’s a chubby, long-haired dude from Minnesota who likes to take off his clothes during shows and sing R&B. But there’s so much more than that. Har Mar (aka Sean Tillman) has one of the most powerful R&B (or music in general) voices I’ve heard in a very long time. He’s got the retro sound down pat and he knows how to have fun with it. But it’s the voice that really gets to me. From the first heart-wrenching scream of “Lady you shot me!” at the beginning of the song, through the up tempo beats and back to the sultry sound of heartbreak, Har Mar Superstar wipes away all the goofy gimmicks and really lives up to the last word of his alias. For a truly powerful taste of R&B with a hint of soul, check out his latest album Bye Bye 17, which came out last month and listen to the single above.
Last year, the Haim sisters released an amazing debut: Forever featuring the three harmonizing to folk guitar and snappy drums with a unique 80s R&B twist. This fall they released a new single, “Don’t Save Me.” Now, several weeks later they’re back with their best yet, “Send Me Down.” It’s got a fuller sound then their earlier releases and it feels like they’re learned how to take full advantage of the sound space available. The three fight back chanting “enough is enough” against the beat of a drumline. Horns blair in the background sounding the warning of a dangerous relationship approaching. Hands clap a desperate beat. In short, this song has presence. If you like a good harmony or the worldly sounds of Graceland, give it a listen below.
HAIM – Send Me Down
Ware’s back putting her electro-RnB spin on the classic “If You Love Me” by Brownstone. After releasing her amazing breakthrough, Devotion, this makes for a great follow up single. The video above features Jessie Ware in a psychedelic haze of smoke twisting and turning to the beat of Japanese group BenZel. The real treat is Jessie, who uses her powerfull voice to guide the song’s airy synths and crisp drum beats. She slides from highs to raspy lows begging for something to hold onto in her relationship, something to make it concrete. The song manages to keep its R&B origins, and have a unique sound of it’s own. Check it out above
Yet again, How to Dress Well points towards his upcoming album being his best work to date. Yesterday, he released his second single off the upcoming Total Loss called “Cold Nites.” It’s got the classic How to Dress Well sound: Krell eeks out a soulful falsetto amid waves and waves of echoes and reverb and is soon accompanied by a strong drum making for an intense chorus. Not many know how to bring out the passion in a song like Krell, who takes full advantage of his orchestra of ethereal R&B sounds. And “Cold Nites” couldn’t be a more appropriate title as Krell explains,
“Love is a miracle. Like, as far as I can tell, it almost shouldn’t be possible, but it transpires sort of in spite of the the world. ’Cold Nites’ comes out of experiences I’ve had w respect to the will to preserve love across long distances, thru challenging times, amidst life’s changes— this will to love can give us the most beautiful stability and a sense of truly living, but can also lead us into totally spiritually rending compromises, split between worlds.”
I know it seems like I’m nothing but a huge fanboy for How to Dress Well, and maybe I am. But there’s a reason the Just Once EP remains my favorite EP of all time. How to Dress Well is one of the few bands that can bottle up real emotion (not the corny half-hearted pop that floods most of the radio) and then unleash it in torrents of raw passion and drive that force you to just stop and listen.
How to Dress Well – Cold Nites
Frankie Ocean is back at it again. If you are familiar with Frank Ocean, the R&B Odd Future affiliate, then this recent internet single entitled “Pyramids” should be no surprise from his other work. Filled with his signature smooth soulful vocals and interesting spacey lyrics, Frank Ocean has been one of the big buzzing modern R&B artists after releasing his huge mixtape Nostalgia / Ultra last year. Now gearing up for his debut album, Channel Orange, Mr. Ocean gave the fans this song, “Pyramids”, which tells the story of Cleopatra, the ancient Egyptian Pharaoh, who turns out to be a stripper prostitute in modern times working in a Las Vegas Pyramid-shaped strip club. The song draws in some Electronic Dance Music influences and as well as building upon Ocean’s style to give listeners a possible preview of what is to come on the album which is set to be released on July 17. In the meantime, listen to and download the track below, decode the lyrics on RapGenius, and check out Frank’s newly announced US tour dates after the jump. -D. Gold
“You were hopin’ for the days when you could say safely I have my place, I have my home, I have my future/But we never really plan for the worst of things do we?”
It’s hard to make a touching and emotional song with constant use of reversed tracks, but if there’s one person who can pull it off, it’s Tom Krell. On his latest single, “Ocean Floor For Everything” Krell, stage name How to Dress Well, takes his heartbreaking R&B to the next level. Using just his voice accompanied by some well placed pianos and drums, Krell creates an environment of depth and despair; a relationship that that can’t move forward. It’s a song of sinking down to the bottom of the ocean and looking up, looking back to where he started sinking as the light reflects off the ocean waters. It’s a beautiful and ghostly track. Total Loss, his second full length is due this fall. If you’re looking for the best moody falsetto R&B around, look no further, you’ll be listening to this one on repeat for a while.
How to Dress Well – Ocean Floor For Everything
6/5 New York, NY – TBD
6/7 Toronto, ONT – The Drake
6/8 Montreal, QC – Il Motore
6/9 Brooklyn, NY – Public Assembly
6/13 Vancouver, BC – Waldorf Hotel
6/14 Portland, OR – Holocene
6/15 San Francisco, CA – Rickshaw Stop
6/16 Los Angeles, CA – The Echo
6/23 Calgary, AB – Sled Island Festival
The Weeknd is back with another mixtape, this time called Echoes of Silence. If you are still unfamiliar with Abel Tesfaye’s work, you should download and listen to his debut work House of Balloons immediately. Possibly one of the best new artists of the year, the Weeknd blends electronic-infused R&B with the gaudy side of late nights, heavy drug use and beautiful women. Echoes is no exception. This time around, the Weeknd works a heavy Michael Jackson cover of “Dirty Diana” along with ballads like “XO / The Host” and a simple stripped down closer bearing the mixtape’s title “Echoes of Silence.” Although I need to give the mixtape a few more listens, I can tell this one is good. If you are interested, STREAM the album here or DOWNLOAD it here or Listen to a track below. – D. Gold
The Weeknd - XO / The Host
Of all the albums I listened to this summer The Weeknd’s House of Balloons is easily my most played. So it’s with immense joy that I share the news of his second mixtape Thursday released late last night. Grab it for free at his website. Looks like I have some new music to listen to…
The Weeknd, the stage name for Toronto’s R&B singer Abel Tesfaye, released this free album, House of Balloons, back in March. I know I’m a little late onto this one, but I have really enjoyed it. I’m not usually a go-to fan of R&B, but this album merges electronica and classic R&B sexiness to formulate a huge sound which I like. Receiving pretty good reviews from OkayPlayer and Pitchfork, I gave it a download and I was pretty impressed by its uniqueness, given its genre of R&B. Below are a few songs off the album. If you like’em and are looking for something interesting to listen to, Download the free album from his website, the-weeknd.com. – D. Gold
The Weeknd – The Morning
The Weeknd – Loft Music