Thursday, April 26, 2018

Album Review: Mansa Obi - Mansa

Mansa Obi
** out of *****

(While Jazzfest starts tomorrow, and RtBE thinks it is the best festival in the country, New Orleans is more than tuba's and second lines. As the fest arrives we wanted to take some time to review smaller various bandcamp finds from the city, as the town just pulsates music culture and art.)

The producer rapper from New Orleans Mansa Obi's second release Mansa is a mix of digital beats that ebb and flow around Obi's direct rhyming.

After a cosmic brief album opener the disk gets rolling around "Sin City '99" easing in with strings, a breathy sample over a hook up jam with the line "Good pussy run the world/and she has it" devolving into a full on bumping banger. Another fun number is "Crush Like Yea Pt 3.0" which has one of the best sonic palettes on the album using ripe keyboards and drums to float effortlessly.

"Clean Macking" uses rain sound effects mixing thin keyboard sounds and a grooving tempo which is all about getting the money with some auto tuned singing. The term contradiction is used a few times on the album and that comes through on the longest song here. "$2500" uses claps and blast beats excessively but instead of a full on dance track they are paired with a laid back r&b smooth groove; this odd mismatch of beats is unsettling yet engaging. 

Mansa is basically an EP elongated with poetic mini interludes ("Soul Cannibal" Vanity Mirror") the album runs quickly but still manages to cram lots of hip styles into the eardrums as Obi seems more confident in his production as opposed to his singing/rhyming; there are breaks of mysticism and lyrical passages, but none that stick around long. Things can also feel like demo tracks at times with a song like "Hallelujah" is somewhere between interlude and finished product. Either which way Mansa Obi is one to watch and listen for as he grows.

Support the artist, buy the album on bandcamp or stream it below:

Album Review: Boyish Charm - Reaching For Love EP

Boyish Charm 
Reaching For Love EP
**and1/2 out of *****

(While Jazzfest starts tomorrow, and RtBE thinks it is the best festival in the country, New Orleans is more than tuba's and second lines. As the fest arrives we wanted to take some time to review smaller various bandcamp finds from the city, as the town just pulsates music culture and art. This is the first.)

Boyish Charm plays with early 80's new wave textures on their newest EP Reaching For Love. The duo from New Orleans, hit all of the genres touch points with dramatic vocals, layers of keyboards/effects, digital drum fills and a weepy nostalgic sense of love lost. 

"Crystal Blue" kicks things off in winning fashion as keyboards rise and fall like the tide around confident vocals all supported by a surprisingly rich bass and drum work for this genre of music. Following up is "Sun Kissed Lips" which uses digital laser like keys to off set the modern rock tendencies; you can practically see the smoke machines and neon lights coloring this track. 

The album center piece is "Shimmer Me Pink" with it's Berlin inspired "Take My Breath Away" bass line, programmed drums and lyrical content. It would have been right at home in 1982 yet it isn't as strong as the album eyeopeners dragging a bit while "Your Hand" is more experimental containing choppy textures moving from ominous to sweet in lyrics and sounds as the keyboards amp up the feedback to keep the horror lurking underneath. Album closer "Sledgehammered by Desire" wrestles with that pretty/ugly motif as well as but in more questioning ways, using chimes and layered guitar work to shine through.

Comparisons can be made to any of the new wave early 80's artists like Morrisey, Depeche Mode, all are mined for inspiration and any fan of the genre will find things to enjoy on this EP from the New Orleans duo. Boyish Charm look backward to that shimmering early 80's sound while making music through the wires of  today.
Support the artist, buy the album on bandcamp or stream it below:

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Big Sam's Funky Nation New Song and Interview on Glide

With Jazzfest only two days away the excitement is peaking. Coincidentally @glidemagazine posted an interview and new song from NOLA staple, Big Sam's Funky Nation.

That song "Porkchop" can be seen below and the full interview including his up coming tour dates can be read here. The tune is a mix of P-Funk electro bass, Nola trumpet, and heaping helping of bounce, it is sure to be a hit in the Crescent City.

We dig Big Sam having seen him up here in NYC and down in NOLA and hope to catch him again when he plays the fairgrounds on May 3rd. He will also be releasing a new LP and we hope to review that as well in the near future.

To get in the mood for Jazzfest here are a few more Big Sam numbers to get you grooving and ready for the best festival in the country. 

Artists Jazz Fest Memories on Glide

Over on Glide, Leslie Michele Derrough posted this excellent piece interviewing past artists about their feelings on playing Jazz Fest as the festival is so close to starting (it begins on Friday).
She talks with a wide range of past artists and highlights some of our favorites as 'must see's' (Look for more on Big Sam here on RtBE later today). Leslie does a hell of a job giving an over/preview of the festival and as always her pictures are fantsatic.

Below are some videos to get you ready for the two weekend event all chosen from Glide's selected artists playing the Fest, who RtBE are looing forward to seeing as well:

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Album Review: Wreckless Eric - Construction Time & Demolition

Wreckless Eric
Construction Time & Demolition
*** and 1/2 out of *****

Wreckless Eric is pop rock lifer, constantly searching for the next chorus, phrasing and instrumentation to ring true. His most recent release is Construction Time & Demolition which pushes rock and roll boundaries adding horns, feedback and chaos to his knack for a good track.

Not looking back, Wreckless keeps pushing forward. The opening track "Gateway To Europe" feels alive and chaotic in a wet overcast English way as gorgeous horns punctuate the chorus that deals with just getting some wheels to get to the next gig before devolving into a feedback noise rock conclusion; a dynamic track to kick start the record.

Following up "The World Around Me" acts as a breather before the organ comes on to lead the shaking "Flash" which pushes his vocals towards the background but moves with musical vibrancy. The building strumming of "Forget Who You Are" is instantly engaging as Eric and the players build throughout the six and a half minute effort as strings and bass roll in an shimmer out as the track eases to the following number, the retro looking "40 Years".

The production gets ramped up for the swirling tension displayed on "The Two Of Us" and by self producing Eric has captured the chaos and commotion that he currently feels. "Unnatural Act" uses a bright piano with more ooh and ah filled backing vocals as the low end grooves along.

Musical interludes of "Mexican Fenders #1 & #2 are fine breaks but Wreckless and crew are best when they are shamboliclly riding the rock and roll rails like on the blaring "They Don't Mean No Harm" which discusses our current "dark ages of man" with a distortion filled plea to c'mon around layers of backing vocals, fuzz guitars, hand claps and horns before devolving into "Wow & Flutter" which drips with contempt for the ignorant fans around crashing cymbals and percussion. 

These songs are twisted and turn over with grim and grit, they are never straight forward and the production helps them remain unique. Wreckless has describe the sounds here as "a panic attack" and that claustrophobic feel can overwhelm but is also very exciting as in anything can happen at any moment. Wreckless Eric continues to earn his name and provide us with stylish and surprising, never easily digestible, pop rock on Construction Time & Demolition.
Support the artist, buy the album or stream it on bandcamp or below. Catch him live this weekend at the WFMU Record Fair and peep some video:

Monday, April 23, 2018

Dylan Cover #322 Bonnie Raitt "Million Miles"

In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. Today's artists, Bonnie Raitt performing a cover of "Million Miles" 

This month we have a special focus on Artists who will be playing the 2018 Jazzfest in New Orleans. Today we highlight the redheaded blueswoman, Bonnie Raitt who plays on the Main Stage this Saturday, April 28th.   

Thoughts on Dylan's Original:
From the barren blues of Time Out Of Mind comes "Million Miles". While not a standout on that album, the song was prophetic, hinting at the fantastic twelve bar blues variations that would dominate his next two releases. When first heard though it doesn't jump out, just feels like yet ANOTHER solid track from the bard.


Thoughts on Cover Artist:
We have always thought Bonnie Raitt was cool, from the first time we saw her with that red hair and white stripe she just seemed hip. On her music front we never delved deeply into her easy blues style, but have dug everything we have heard from the long running artist.

Thoughts on Cover:
A really nice blues cover with lots of jazzy infusion, playing with textures and instrumentation in a fun unique way. Upon first learning of this cover RtBE expected more of a straight blues take, this is more nuanced, and frankly better than we had hoped. Hopefully Bonnie and company give this one a whirl when she takes the stage in just 6 fricken days!!!  Jazzfest is almost here! So exciting...

Friday, April 20, 2018

Full Show Friday: The Radiators 4/20/11 Great American Music Hall SF, CA

We search the murky back waters of youtube to find full concerts and post them to the site weekly, come back every seven days to help us celebrate Full Show Friday's. These shows are of varying quality and may not be here for long so enjoy them while you can...As always, please support the artist every which way, but especially by seeing them live (if they are still playing)...This week...The Radiators!
Every April we have a special showcase for bands who are playing this years Jazzfest in NOLA. Today we will focus on The Radiators who will be celebrating their 40th year on the Gentilly Stage, Sunday May 6th

Look at this one, EXACTLY seven years ago this show went down. Today RtBE showcases New Orleans own The Radiators from the Great American Music Hall in 2011, on their farewell tour...4/20 indeed.

As things would have it, they regroup to play the closing Sunday celebrating 40 years in action. Not pro shot, but the sound is fantastic. Enjoy: