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Entries categorized as “Album Reviews” 23 results

DJ Mick writesCritical Rotation: “Will This Make Me Good” by Nick Hakim

Twice a month, CHIRP DJ and Features Co-Director Mick takes a deep dive into two albums currently in rotation on CHIRP's charts that he thinks are worth some special attention. If you haven't given these albums a listen in their entirety, let Mick make the case for why you should!

Nick Hakim
Will This Make Me Good
ATO

The DC-based R’nB singer Nick Hakim’s existential and moral curiosities over runneth the pitcher of his mind on his second studio LP, Will This Make Me Good.

Working within the sturdy, if ponderous, architecture of his debut Green Twins, Hakim uses this blueprint of trancy, psychedelic soul and fog-machined, garage R’nB to find new hopeful directions for himself and others in a world that offers no easy resolutions.

Emblematic of his searching ray of sunshine through the clouds of our tempestuous present, is the wet and weary opener “All These Changes,” which tells the story of human civilization being slowly swept off the map by raging wildfires and rising coastlines, to a calming, orchestral, folk-funk flow that lands somewhere between Jethro Tull and Curtis Mayfield.

This is of course a tragic story to begin your album with, but it is ultimately a story of renewal. Unlike the much bleaker, but surprisingly tender, static-submerged, trip-and-scratch, daydream soul of “Vincent Tyler,” which recounts the killing of a titular young man in Hakim’s native DC, who was shot and killed in an alley in 2007, and who may have been saved, had the neighbors checked on the gunshots that they had heard the night before.

As dark as this story is, Hakim doesn’t pass judgment on its subjects. Human curiosity can easily be overcome by a sense of self-preservation, and when one hears gunshots in the distance, it usually not most people’s first instinct to run towards them.

A similarly empathetic and accepting depiction of human nature can be found on the angelic, spiritual jazz and sophic soul that flows upward out of an Alice in Wonderland-like, backwards tumble through a rabbit hole of existential quandaries, all of which surface in the passing of a loved one. On this track Hakim speaks to a friend who has died, asking, “Qadir what’s the deal now?” It’s a question without an answer and appears to be asked without a demand for a response.

Hakim isn’t really requesting replies to quell his curiosities for unknowable things. Rather he realizes that the search for such rejoinders is the source of what little solace that can be had in this world. 

Mick is always writing about something he's heard. Possibly even something you'd like. You can read his stuff over at I Thought I Heard a Sound Blog.

Share June 25, 2020 http://chrp.at/1KRW Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Categorized: Album Reviews

Topics: nick hakim

DJ Mick writesCritical Rotation: “Regresa” by Buscabulla

Twice a month, CHIRP DJ and Features Co-Director Mick takes a deep dive into two albums currently in rotation on CHIRP's charts that he thinks are worth some special attention. If you haven't given these albums a listen in their entirety, let Mick make the case for why you should!

Buscabulla
Regresa
Ribbon Music

Recorded in its entirety at their home in their native Puerto Rico, husband and wife musical duo, Raquel Berrios and Luis Alfredo Del Valle, examine the increasing pressures and dissatisfactions of their home island through richly textured and dreamy disco and gold-tinted, cumbia cupping, motorik soul, on their debut LP as Buscabulla, titled Regresa.

In the wake of Hurricane Maria the harsh realities of c0ontinued colonial rule in the 21st century became writ large for the world to see, with residents forced to survive with limited or no access to electricity and potable water for weeks.

At the same time, supplies spoiled on docks while emergency response workers partied in resort hotels, and the so-called President picked beef with local politicians whose only goals were to provide for their people.

The album title Regresa means “return,” and it is a meditation on the needs of a people and a culture who are prisoners of tyrannical circumstances- trapped in a capitalist nightmare where the only solutions tenable to those in power are those that will enrich them further, and where any benefits that actually reach the needy are incidental at best.

Through all this anxiety, doubt, and anger, comes a beautifully introspective album that refuses to submit to the survival position offered to the people of Puerto Rico.

Soundscapes of triumphant joy echo out from the syncopated funk of “NTE,” the infectiously bright and smooth R’nB of “Ta Que Tiembla,” the unwavering, hiccupy glisten of "Club Tú y Yo," and the deep bassy charm and star-fire sparkle of the lovingly warm tribute to Nydia Caro, simply titled “Nydia.”

Every song on Regresa will find it’s way into your heart, if only you are open to the experience.

Mick is always writing about something he's heard. Possibly even something you'd like. You can read his stuff over at I Thought I Heard a Sound Blog.

Share June 25, 2020 http://chrp.at/1KRF Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Categorized: Album Reviews

Topics: buscabulla

DJ Mick writesNo Holiday: A Tribute to Kim Shattuck and The Muffs

written by CHIRP Radio DJ and Features Co-Drector Mick Reed

The Muffs
No Holiday
Omnivore Records

There is no reprieve from death. Dying is the one big thing everyone has to do. There is no calling in sick. No going on vacation and waiting it out. No Holiday.

The Muffs tackled a lot of dark subject matter over their long and circuitous career. Depression, inadequacy, alienation, and deep pits of loneliness, but death really never seemed at the forefront of lead songwriter and vocalist Kim Shattuck’s mind. She, bassist Ronnie Barnett, and ex-Redd Cross drummer Roy McDonald just seemed too busy living.

Even when life was hard, they never really shied away from its harsh, indifferent light. But the tears in their sides and sharp stones under their feet, were laughed off as just part of what made this bumpy ride we’re all on more interesting. Rough terrain never seemed to phase them.

And undoubtedly, the Muffs would hit some rough terrain before the close of the decade. Kim died on October 2, 2019. She was only 56.

Keep Reading…

Share March 18, 2020 http://chrp.at/1Kms Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Categorized: Rediscovering Our Record Collections, Album Reviews

Topics: kim shattuck, the muffs

Josh Friedberg: Music Historian's Corner writesAlbum Review: “Ella in London” by Ella Fitzgerald

by Josh Friedberg

No one swung a song like Ella Fitzgerald. The “First Lady of Song” earned her reputation as a “musician’s singer” because of her unparalleled facility with scat singing and her relentless rhythmic attack on songs like “Blue Skies” and “How High the Moon.” She could, of course, also sing with a sweet, lovely tone that could make you melt on a ballad.

But by the mid-1970s, her voice had lost some of its legendary pristine clarity. But she could still swing like nobody else. And on Ella in London, recorded live at Ronnie Scott’s nightclub in 1974, the adoring audience and the first-class material spur Ella on to create an exceptionally enjoyable live album—on par with the more well-known Mack the Knife: Ella in Berlin from 1960, and perhaps even more consistently surprising than that classic.

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Share July 10, 2018 http://chrp.at/1L6d Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Categorized: Album Reviews

Topics: ella fitzgerald

Craig Reptile: Your Sunday Sonic Sundowner writesThe Final World From Ultimate Painting

by Craig Bechtel

Someone (not me!) should do a study on the commonalities in bands that break up before releasing their final album, and now we can add to that pool of relevant research subjects Ultimate Painting, the London-based duo comprised of Jack Cooper (Mazes) and James Hoare (Veronica Falls).

Originally, UP! was scheduled for an April release, but Cooper announced on February 12 that the group was breaking up and he had asked their current label, Bella Union (run by Simon Raymonde of Cocteau Twins fame) to not release it. 

When announcing their “irreconcilable breakdown,” Cooper indicated that his partnership with Hoare (both of whom are songwriters, vocalists and guitarists), was always “a very fragile thing” and even on their three original releases, that delicate sense of fragility was an intangible, ineffable through-line that made all of their music something wonderful to hear.

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Share March 1, 2018 http://chrp.at/1Kuk Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Categorized: Album Reviews

Topics: ultimate painting

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