Get your head right, now

music web

You know, I thought that the (Neo) Soul movement was dead. Ok, maybe not dead, just in cryogenic sleep until it’s needed. Kind of like the period between one flood of African American inspired/themed/starred/targeted movies (including the Blackploitation ones of the ’70’s) to the next. This is usually every 8 to 10 years seems like. But that’s for another time, right now, it’s about the music. Like I said, I figured the Soul movement was sleep until needed. Really, it’s always needed. R&B sucks and does NOT deserve the name. It’s either Rap and Bullshit or Booty and Pop with Booty thrown in some more. It’s RE-diculous (yes, I meant to spell it like that). Radio is mostly crap, and it wasn’t always like that. Because of which, I don’t really listen to it anymore. It’s good because I am spared the same song every 15 minutes, but presumably miss out on a gem that gets squeezed in at the midnight hour. Who am I kidding, that last part doesn’t happen any more, either. And before I go off on ANOTHER tangent, let me get to the heart of the subject.

So (Neo)Soul, apparently, is always needed to balance out the BS. And also, apparently, it hasn’t gone anywhere but perhaps under the radar, which is where I shamefully barely look anymore. but that has changed, dear friends. I’ve been holding on to this site for a while now, but I need to share it with you. I’ve already given you Honeysoul.com and it’s still a great place to go, but I have an equally impressive site for you to peruse. It’s called:

Neo Soul Cafe – the music that gets your head right

Truer words were never spoken. This is a great site for (Neo)Soul music lovers. It’s nicely laid out, too. The main focus, however, is the music as it should be. The site is the baby for the seemingly lovely Dallas, Texas based DJ Frances Jaye. Upon entering the site, you are greeted with all of your options for checking out said site. You will need Flash to check out stuff, but i’m pretty sure you already have it. At the top of the page, are links to other pages of interest on the site like Art, Photos, Events, Links to other site worth checking out (mainly Music Labels), and Music (links to Artist pages/sites). There’s also a Guestbook and an About page where I gleamed some info off of. Please check them all out, but the glue for the site is in the Lounge, which is the first button at the top. This brings up a pop up and where most of the action takes place. The lounge is where there is a 24 hour music player running, called the Cafe (hence the name). All you have to do is choose your stream (Windows Media, Itunes, or Quicktime, winamp, and connection type of whichever you choose) and let the musical goodness wash over you. The music is GREAT. You could hear anything from Amel Larrieux to Wayna (not Boyz II men one) and everything in between. All work safe….provided your work will let you stream music at all. Oh, and for you Hip Hoppers out there, there is a Hop Hop Lounge that you can listen to also. It is the same as the Cafe, but playing more hip Hop like Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Digable Planets, and many others you may or may not know. Cool thing about both players is that it is a good quality stream so it sounds great. Even more, the artist, track and album name is there and you can click the album art to buy it from Amazon or Itunes.

And if that isn’t enough, every Sunday night from 7 – 9 Central Time(8 -10 Eastern), the one Frances Jaye jumps on the boards for a two hour set called,”Neo Soul Cafe Live”. At least I think she still does as I haven’t had a chance to catch the stream live. And she seems to like Roy Ayers. I ain’t mad at her. So how do I know this? Well, i’m glad you asked. Guess what, the “live” sets are downloadable from the lounge under “Podcasts”(click audio) and you can subscribe to it just as easily. Think is, I hadn’t seen a new one the Hip Hop mixtape back in May. Don’t let that discourage you, though. Here’s what got to me a bit more. On the first show I downloaded and listened to, it took a little over 30 minutes before I heard something I remotely knew (a Floetry song, if you’re interested), but I was groovin’ the whole way. I was excited about the fact that there was all of this music from people that I hadn’t heard about, but at the same time, I was put off because I can’t believe I didn’t know about these people. I heard names like Candy West, Geno Young, Eric Roberson, and W. Ellington Felton, who also has a group with Raheem Devaughn called CrossRhodes. Now I also heard songs from Van Hunt, Frank Mccomb, Hill St. Soul, and Ne-yo. And i’m so sick of hearing his song, but I feel the need to check out his album anyway. That and the aforementioned Raheem Devaughn for some reason. Just to rattle off a couple more names, there was stuff by Carmen Rogers, Geno Young, Goapele, and YahZarah.

Now, in case you didn’t know about who those l just mentioned, there is also a video component that is apparently is on television in certain markets called, what else, the Neo Soul Cafe. From what I read, it’s been on TV for a couple of years now? And it’s also viewable(under shows), downloadable and can be subscribed to from the Lounge (under podcasts. click video). There, you can find music videos and interviews with artists such as the last ones mentioned. It’s a good show. Check it out. As a matter of fact, stop reading this and just go there now. You should have done that well before now…unless you have. If you haven’t…go! I’ve had it as a link on the left for a while now, so maybe i’m preaching to the choir.

Oh, just go! Yes, it’s on Myspace.
Frances Jaye has one on there under her name also.

P.S.
I know I was a little light on the artist links I would normally put in, but i’m sleepy and may put them in later. By the way, did anyone know that “Over There” star, former Power Ranger, “Half and Half” and”ER” guester, Keith Robinson could sing?

Sample Moment #2

music sample moment

Yep, it’s been a while,
but you’ll forgive me. I have lot’s of material, but i’m lazy. Which I
guess that’s why i’m going to make this one easy on everyone (read:
me). But all is not lost, I am generous. This time, i’m going to give
you 2 moments in one and they are both easy so let’s get into it…

You’ve been waitin’ and debatin’
For oh so long,
Just starvin like Marvin for a
“SAMPLE MOMENT

If you’re like me with this, you know your favorite Rap/Hip Hop song is probably comprised of a sample or two. Also, you would love to know what they are because, in a lot of cases, the source material is as good or better than the song using it. This is what Sample Moment is about. Diggin’ into the song to find what made it the hotness you know it as. As time goes by, I may get alittle more in depth with it, but for now, let’s just find these gems, shall we?

Now, the first moment had Ashanti allFoolish‘ and Musiq thinking ‘Ifiwouldknew‘ (I liked the original, ‘Girl Next Door‘ that this was the remix for), but where it is really notable is in the words:

“I, Poppa, Freaks all the the Honies…”

Need I go on? Didn’t think so. Yep, the groundwork to one version of Biggie’s(R.I.P) ‘One More Chance‘ comes from none other than ‘Stay with Me‘ from the group Debarge‘s 1983 album, ‘In a Special Way‘. If the title sounds familiar it should because it was also a hit back in the day (along with a few others on that album), but we’ll save that for later. I guess I should note that rapper Big L (R.I.P) used it once, and Funkmaster Flex used it twice among others. I’m kind going for the more popular uses. Yea, it easy and cheap, but that hasn’t stopped them from using it now, has it?

Alright, next on the list is a more recent than you think. I shouldn’t tell you the name of the “offending song” because it would totally give it away (YEEAAAHHH!), but there is no way around it. So let me run it like this. The year, 2002. The artist, Michael Sterling. He came out with an album called ‘Right Now’ and on this album there was a song that became a MEGA hit two years later in the hands of someone who already had a handful at the time he “crafted” (very loosely said) the song in question. Hell, it was said on the beginning of the song,”We had to do it again. Had to do it.” and I don’t think they were talking about the people featured on the song, but who knows. Alright, if you don’t know what i’m talking about, then apparently you’ve been under a rock for the past couple of years. Either that or my clues are terrible. Most of you are already replaying the song in your heads, so without further ado we have: Ursher(hey, that how he said it)… Lil Jon… Ludacris!!
in 2004’s SMAASH hit, ‘Lover’s and Friends‘from Lil Jon’s ‘Crunk Juice‘ album. Originally done, as I said, by Michael Sterling. Lil Jon took almost everything off of the original song except for the vocals and I wouldn’t be surprised if he wrote the ones that were used! Believe it.

Now I wish I could do this spot as a podcast because I would love to play some of the original stuff I come across as a comparison to the sample version. Unfortunately, I don’t have that kind of money for licensing, but there may be a way to do this in a way that I won’t get sued for. Stay tuned for that. Hope you’ve enjoyed this as much as I have. Questions, comments, suggestions, holla at me or put them out here on the comments. Incidently, you can hear a snippet of Micheal Sterling’s version from the link on his name or here.

(not so) New Music Lookout #4

music

Ok, this one is a little different because while this artist is new for where I found him, but not new to the scene. His name is Ola Onabule. A London, England (do you sense a theme here?) born Nigerian with a smoking voice. I put him somewhere between Marvin Gaye and Micheal Macdonald.  He has a four octave range (which means he can hit a good range of notes) and apparently, has five albums under his belt starting from 1999 to 2004. He appears to have opened for a number of people like Patti Labelle and Natalie Cole and has written Arias for the Royal Opera House.

     Ok, so why am I talking about him when he doesn’t seem to have had an album since 2004? Well, recently, I’ve been listening to a podcast that hd played one of his songs that he recently had put on the Podsafe music network (we’ll talk about that some other time). The song was called ‘Soul Town’ and it looks like it was on his last album, ‘in Emergency Brake Silence’ from 2004. you should take a listen to it and the other song that is there. Go here to do so:

Ola Onabule page on PMN

or go directly to his website and check out that and his other stuff: Olamusic.com

I think you’ll like his stuff.

Oh, and i think he’s on Myspace….addicts.

New Music Lookout #3

music

I was looking in Sunday Best Buy circular the other day when I noticed a new album coming from an artist named Corrinne Bailey Rae. Since I hadn’t heard of her before and couldn’t tell what kind of stuff she did, I just figured her for some new jack and filed it away to check into later. Well, later came Thursday morning while I was talking to a Daywalker on the shift coming in to work. My co-worker said that she supposedly has a singing style like Norah Jones. He was asking me about her, which pulled her file up to be investigated. When I got home, I snooped around like Dre and didn’t find much. Ok, that’s not entirely true because what I found is enough to last me until I check out the album. I came across her Website and it has, like many other artist sites, music playing. And I must say the girl is kinda nice. At first it threw me off because I thought, judging by her voice, she was like 16 or 17. Turns out she is a 26 year old British singer whose been kinda hot over the pond for a little bit. Also, while I can see what my co-worker was talking about, she sounds more like Macy Gray without the raspiness. Incidently, this might be her second album? I’m not sure but I saw something like that in my investigation.

So here is your homework, check her out for yourself. I think you might like her if you hadn’t already heard of her.

Go for it:

The Official Site

Blogger’s Friend, Wikipedia

MSN Music

AOL Music (there is a link to a concert she did and her videos to the right)

Videos at Videocure (Check out ‘Like a Star’, it’s nice)

and just when I thought she and/or someone in her camp had sense, Myspace, for the junkies.

AllofMP3 are belong to…

music web

     Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or just don’t follow tech news, there has been a site that’s been talked about frequently lately. It’s called AllofMP3.com. It’s a Russian based MP3 music selling site similiar to Itunes but more like sites like Emusic.com in that it sells songs in standard, presumably non DRM ridden, MP3’s instead of AAC like Itunes. And that you don’t need an Ipod to listen to them. It’s a well done site if you check it out. The reason that it is in the news, is not because it sells songs and whole albums in MP3 form, it is because it sells them for cheap. I’m talking WAY too cheap to be legal cheap. This is NOT why i’m telling you about this, but if you choose to check it out, that’s on you. Be warned, that it’s not the fact that the site is selling music, it’s the legality of which it does it that is in question.

     You can bet that the Recording Industry Association of America(RIAA) is trying to shut them down, but as I said, it’s in Russia. That won’t stop them from trying though. Also, more recently, it’s been said that supposedly artists aren’t getting anything from the site as far as payment. As you know, when music gets bought in stores or wherever, part of the money SUPPOSED to go to the artist (as royalties). Well, it goes to the Label and they give a tiny bit to the artist. So if the Labels aren’t getting their money, the artists they aren’t happy. But’s that’s also not why i’m telling you about the site. The whole recording arists get fucked thing is old news.

     The reason i’m telling you of this is that Allofmp3.com apparently puts out ‘best album’ (awards) and other charts based on criteria like year, Grammy wins, or whatever. They have fairly recently put out a listing of the Greatest 500 Albums. It’s done by genre and is quite a comprehensive list, too. Some of the stuff you can’t easily find in stores, too. If you go here for no other reason, this is it. Should you choose to buy anything, you are on your own. Just listen out for the knock at the door.

Oh, you might want to read up some of the shenanigans going on with the site and the site itself. Do so.

Peace.

New Album lookout #2/ Where are they now?#2 mashup

music where are they now

This was supposed to be a ‘where are they now‘ but plans changed thanks to a little net surfing. Actually, I came across this checking out a site I will talk about soon. Right now, let’s talk heavies… as in Brand New Heavies. Never heard of them? Shame on you, but i’ll let you walk with me anyway.

The Brand New Heavies (the Heavies for short), starting as a trio, was formed in London, England back in the mid eighties as an instrumental group. The sound was a mix of Retro Funk groove (think James Brown and the like) and Acid Jazz. Shortly thereafter, the Heavies, gained a horn section and a bigger following in the club. Eventually, they got a record deal and a vocalist along with some major buzz. An self titled album was done, and things popped off. Because of this, the group came to the attention of Delicious Vinyl Records here in the States. Somewhere in there, the then vocalist Jay Ella Ruth, ended up not in the group. So, Delicous Vinyl grabbed a young, VERY nice vocalist named N’Dea Davenport. In 1992,The Heavies re-recorded their album with N’dea’s vocal and pushed it out. Again, there was magic, just now on american soil. You may be familiar with the songs ‘Stay This Way‘ or the more poular ‘Never Stop‘ from this album. That same year, the group dabbled in Hip Hop with the album ‘Heavy Rhyme Experience, Vol. 1‘, which mixed the Heavies sound with the time’s hot rappers like Grand Puba, The Pharcyde, and Gangstarr (whose lyricist, Guru, hollered at N’dea to do a song on his ‘Jazzmatazz vol. 1’ album). Two years later (after the group’s platinum selling album, ‘Brother Sister‘), N’dea left the group and went solo which, personally, was a bad call but what can you do. She was replaced with the very talented Siedah Garrett.

Now, I have to say that this was not a bad deal for Siedah or the group, as she has either written, sang or collaborated on many songs you probably know. She started as a back up singer for Quincy Jones and Micheal Jackson and even went on to pen a few little known numbers like, ‘The Secret Garden(Sweet Seduction Suite)‘ and ‘Man in the Mirror‘ for them respectively. She also ended up having 2 solo albums before and during her Heavies gig. Notable song, ‘Refuse to be Loose‘ from the first one. Personally, she will forever be known to me for singing one of my favorite (and life soundtrack candidate) songs, ‘Ever Changing Times‘. I just found out she did another favorite of mine called ‘Sexy‘ for Maysa‘s 1995 self titled album and a few others. The girl is bad, but unfortunately, it didn’t translate into sales for the Heavies 1997 album, ‘Shelter‘. The album was good and had two personal hits with the songs ‘Feels Like Right‘ and the single ‘Sometimes‘. My guess is, people were missing N’dea and I can see it if that were the case. While Siedah is a powerhouse in her own right, N’dea voice is perfect with the group’s sound. N’dea, by the way, did come out with a self titled solo album in 1998. It did alright, I guess. It was R&B with flashes of the sound she had with the Heavies and yielded a hit with the song, ‘Bring it On‘.

So, here we are asking, “now what”? The Heavies hadn’t had an album since ’97 unless you count the import album, ‘We Won’t Stop’, which is possibly vocal less, or ‘All About the Funk’ earlier this year. I don’t know about either of those. But what I know is that there is a brand new Heavies album(could be June 27th) coming out soon called ‘Get Used To It’ that is featuring N’dea on vocals….as it should be. And that, my friends, is where it’s at. I’ve heard a song off of the album and it sounds good. If you want to hear it, go here. Doth endeth the lesson.

Incidently, there was Brand New Heavies Greatest hits album back in 2000 that had a new song featuring N’dea on vocals. Coincidentely, it was called, ‘Finish What You Started’

(EDIT) See, not doing my job properly. I forgot to mention their websites:

N’Dea Davenport.Net, Siedah Garrett

Wikipedia: Brand New Heavies, N’Dea Davenport, Siedah Garrett

and, of course, for you Myspace junkies, The BrandNewHeavies.Net and N’Dea Davenport
and Delicious Vinyl Records.

Check out their videos on Singingfool.com and YouTube

Beat Street breakdown

music

I was just reading the latest Mobile Entertainment magazine (still on stands until June 15th) and in it, along with WAY too much Ipod stuff, was a quick breakdown on XM versus Sirius satellite radio. This is timely because I was asked for such a breakdown by a dear friend of mine who is looking into getting satellite radio. I trtied to find people that I knew who had each service, but I couldn’t pin down anyone I knew or anyone who had Sirius. But where there’s an internet connection, there is a way. Unfortunately, I could not find the article I was reading on the magzine’s site, but I can recap for those not wanting to preuse the issue.

It goes like this:

Price: Draw

Hardware: XM (Both XM and Sirius now offer portable tuners in addition to the standard players that you would need to buy. You can’t use one’s tuner with the other’s, either. Sirius’s most portable player, the XACT XTR1 only allows recorded streams to be carted around. XM’s 2 portable tuners allow varying degrees of Tivo-like recording on the fly and mp3 playback. One of which is called the Pioneer Inno. XM is currently getting sued for it.)

Music: Draw (Depending on what you like and whether you care to hear XY celebrity (like Snoop or Isaac Hayes) or DJ hosted their or show or in a couple of cases channels you can find a good selection of the major genres and oldie companions of them.)

Sports: Toss up (If you like NASCAR, XM is for you (until 2007). Right now, NFL, MLB, and hockey are split between the two, but will change soon. XM also has golf and baseball exclusively. Outside of the split stuff, Sirius has the NBA and NCAA football and basketball . XM , finally, has the Big Ten, ACC, and PAC-10, football and basketball.)

Talk Radio: Sirius (Really, from what I see, it depends on who you want to hear. Sirius has Howard Stern, Martha Stewart, NPR, and a channel with a block of podcasts that sits near Stern’s two channels, just to name a few. XM has Oprah, Air America, Ellen Degeneres, and whatnot. Take your pick.)

Other Content: Sirius (Supposedly because of Canadian radio and the BBC. Both Sirius and XM do weather and traffic for limited areas (probably major cities). XM has St. Louis, though, and divides their channels up better.)

Support: Sirius (Excellent 24 hour Tech support. XM 20 hours a day except for the 12 on Sunday)

Overall: Draw. (Go figure)

That being that, I did find a few other places with the majority of the same info. Instead of reading them off, i’ll list them here.

Howstuffworks – Great site for questions on, well, look at the site name. The article starts from how Satellite radio works and goes from there.

CNET’s quick guide to satellite radio – It’s a little out of date, but still informative. They also have reviews on satellite hardware in their reviews section. Check it out.

Mad dog in the fog – A blog with a graph of total subscribers of each service as of 3/4/2006.

Radiosatellite.org – Saved the best for last like Vanessa Williams. This site has a side by side comparison of the two services down to where they are located. It is nicely done because it really breaks down the services and has links to each one’s station listings, samples or each, equipment and so on. Go here first. really.

You could go the each one’s site to check them out, but the last link I gave is comprehensive. I should also point out that each service provides internet streams through their respective sites with free subscription. You can also listen to the XM streams over the net without subscribing for a charge.

That’s all I got people. Go forth.