Tag Archives: soul
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.
A powerful voice that could be compared to many of the great new soul singers popping up as of late, including Adele, Aussie singer Meg Mac knows how to make a song with a message. Her single “Known Better” starts off simple enough with faint piano and Meg’s voice piercing through, “I didn’t think that I’d be, back here so soon, I should’ve known better,” contemplating her return as drums pound their way into the song like thunder. While the song starts like a typical love song, Meg Mac the victim returning to a bad relationship, it’s actually quite the opposite. A lover wants to reunite, maybe start things over again. Despite his efforts, Mac can’t start again or even leave things alone. She’s a girl with bad intentions and she knows it. The best she can hope to do is wake him up, warn him that there’s nothing good for him if he stays. It’s a sad tale, but coming from Meg Mac’s sultry voice, it’s one that I want to hear over and over again. Check it out below.
Meg Mac – Known Better
You probably know The Heavy for their song “How You Like Me Now” which is a little overplayed in commercials these days. But The Heavy are much more than a one hit wonder. They’re a hard-hitting rock n’ roll band with some great tunes under their belt. And now, the British rockers are set to release their second full length The Glorious Dead on August 21st. The first single off the album, “What Makes a Good Man?” seems to blend the modern rock sounds of The Black Keys with some old-fashioned southern soul. Needless to say, it’s a fantastic blend. The Heavy are meant for some great things and I could see this new album turning them into a mainstay of modern rock. Maybe even one of it’s saving graces. Check out the tune below.
The Heavy – What Makes a Good Man?
Willis Earl Beal is a mysterious musician, unknown to almost all, but only by choice. If the tale is true, Willis, a Chicago native, never promoted himself, other than subliminal posters and demos that he personally placed around his city looking for unsuspecting fans in his own very grassroots campaign. In a time where bands are made on the internet through myspace, bandcamp and facebook self-promotion, Beal worked his way up via asking people to call him in return for him singing a personal song or write him for a personalized drawing. Somehow this technique caught the ears of some XL Records execs and signed him up. Without any major public performances or published music to date, Beal has caught some buzz, with only a few youtube videos (released by his record label). Sounding like a modern Eliott Smith in his song, “Evening’s Kiss”, his lyrics and voice are emotional and poetic, but yet this is not his only style. This man has soul and can really sing. Check him out for yourself and read the Pigeons and Planes’ Interview “The Time I Called Willis Earl Beal” for an interesting look into the mind of this rising musician. - D. Gold
Kings Go Forth is a very good band that makes very good music, and their album is called The Outsiders are Back. The vocals recall the soulful flair of Otis Redding, but the real appeal of this group comes from their fresh take on a classic sound, soul. The horn section blares, the drums kick, and the funk flows like water. These guys remind me of Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra, but less political, and less Afro-influenced, more straight-ahead throwback funk-n-soul. I was surprised when I first heard this record; I didn’t know what to expect from a group with a name like Kings Go Forth. I couldn’t make sense at first of such a seemingly random name, being accustomed to the literary, artsy names of so many new bands. But that didn’t really matter, because they kick ass. Check this band out for a breath of fresh air if you’re tired of new indie music, this’ll take you back to some of the great music of the 60’s and 70’s. Listen to the single “I Don’t Love You Know More” below.
Kings Go Forth – I Don’t Love You Know More:
“You aint alone, so why you lonely? “
These days, it’s hard to find bands with “true soul” in their music. A band which moves you and makes you wear your heart on your sleeve. A band that conveys just as much in their tone as in their lyrics. Alabama Shakes is one of those bands. This band, hailing from their namesake knows how to squeeze as much gut-wrenching emotion as possible into every measure of their music. It’s not forced, nor is it gimmicky. This band is about as real as they come. With a singer who reminds me of Janis Joplin in style and sound and a tight backing band to match, this young band is sure to make some headway with their new self-titled EP. Here’s one of my favorites, “You Ain’t Alone,” the closer on the album. I always hear people complaining (myself included) about bands “not being what they used to be” back in the mid 1900s. Well guess again.
Alabama Shakes – You Ain’t Alone
“Why is it So Hard, to Make it in America?”, asks Charles Bradley, a man whose story speaks just as loud as his James Brown-eske voice. Charles Bradley, also known as “The Screaming Eagle of Soul,” was born in Gainesville, Florida in 1948 and has traveling greatly around the country trying to simply make a living. After being fired from jobs around the country from Brooklyn to Alaska, and hitchhiking along the way, Bradley began performing James Brown routines under the alter ego “Black Velvet.” Since seeing the Godfather himself at the Apollo when he was young, he has idolized the King of Soul and impersonated his soulful funky sound. Until one night, after the tragic murder of his nephew by Bradley’s own brother, some music executives from Daptone Records heard him perform at a club in Bedstuy and gave him a recording deal to broadcast his own brand of revivalist soul music from the 1960s. Now at the age of 63, Charles Bradley has finally released his first album, No Time for Dreaming, to rave reviews. Playing alongside the interesting Menahan Street Band, Bradley’s sound is hard to not enjoy. With so much emotion and power, he is the James Brown of today.
For further information, I definitely recommend reading his Wikipedia page, for his life story is an amazing one.
Hit the jump for more music by Charles Bradley.
“The scars of your love,
Remind me of us,
They keep me thinking that we could have had it all”
In this soulful remix of “Crazy,” Adele’s powerful vocal masterpiece “Rolling in the Deep” is laid over Gnarl’s Barkley’s original track by mix masters Divide & Kreate. However, unlike most mash-ups, they avoided a fatal flaw. By omitting the Cee-lo’s vocals, “Crazy in the Deep” truly emphasizes Adele’s vocal strength while putting a refreshing, upbeat tempo to the fervent, yet almost melancholy lyrics. The similarity between Cee-lo’s and Adele’s vocal style is uncanny, for as we were listening it seemed it wasn’t a mash-up at all, but rather an original track. When Adele belts “we could have had it all,” it parallels the famous transition into the chorus of “Crazy” in such a way that gives a compelling homage to the original without having to include anything but its instrumental track. – M. Hoff and L. Jones
Gnarls Barkley vs Adele – Crazy In The Deep: