::GET FAMILIAR:: BOOMscat

Friday, April 18, 2014
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::GET FAMILIAR:: BOOMscat
By Daniel Harris




In today's cookie cutter music scene, originality is a refreshing element. For any artists to go against the grain of what is acceptable and popular, essentially jeopardizing mainstream notoriety to preserve their art, is very welcoming. For BOOMscat, originality is really all that matters.

The group, known officially as The Peace and Body Roll Duo: BOOMscat, has taken a very familiar and popular genre (R&B) and stripped it down to its bare bones. Asha Santee's minimalist approach to her arrangements and compositions provide the perfect foundation for Jennifer "Patience" Rowe's powerful voice. The simplicity of their sound allows the audience to experience the full texture and passion of their lyrics. 

Their latest live release, The West Wing Project, exemplifies their unique style. From the first track, Morethananything, Asha's melodic arrangement draws the audience into Jennifer's transparent and impassioned lyrics and helps to set to the tone for the over all experience of the EP. 

The duo self-describes themselves as "duo of women changing lives one note at a time." We can assure you that if these ladies keep their present formula to R&B, lives will continue to be changed.

Get even more familiar with The Peace and Body Roll Duo: BOOMscat and follow them on Twitter and like them on Facebook

If you are looking for an opportunity to hear them live, BOOMscat will be one of our featured guests at Ear Candy Live, April 29th at Teavolve. Visit our Facebook page for more information!
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::BEHIND THE SCENES:: HOLYCHILD at Rock & Roll Hotel

Monday, April 7, 2014
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::BEHIND THE SCENES:: HOLYCHILD At Rock & Roll Hotel
Post by Kike Aluko
Photos & video by Broady Brown


We can't get enough of HOLYCHILD here at Gypsy Soul, an up & coming brat pop band that got their start right here at George Washington University in DC. They were kind enough to let us talk with them after their set at the Rock & Roll Hotel this Saturday where they gave us some more insight on their band, their inspirations, and what this thing called "brat pop" is. Check out the awesome interview below, and be sure to stay on the lookout for this group. With SXSW and CMJ already under their belt, they are going places! Many thanks to Seth & Beth on HOLYCHILD'S team for the interview access!





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::GET FAMILIAR:: COMMERCIAL FAVORITES

Friday, April 4, 2014
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::GET FAMILIAR:: COMMERCIAL FAVORITES
by Daniel Harris




For music lovers, there is no limit to the lengths we will go to discover new (or new to us) music. I am often asked where I find some of the artists that I am into. Most of the time, it's using the related or similar artist feature on some of my favorite streaming radio apps. However, on a few occasions, I find some of the best artists while watching commercials.

Generally, they are a two and a half minute interruption to whatever it is I was watching. But I have found that in the midst of being sold on sneakers and dog food, there are some music gems driving that advertisement. Here are five commercials with artists I feel you all should be familiar with.

1. "Blake and Drain." While advertising the GOAT's spectacular line of sneakers (bias opinion very much intended), Jordan's "Blake and Drain" commercial featured an R&B classic by James and Bobby Purify called "I'm Your Puppet." In 1966, this song reached number 6 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart. While the Motown music machine was in full swing durning that time, James and Bobby's uniquely soulful sound still managed to find its place in music.


2. "Southern Comfort|Shampoo|Whatever's Comfortable" It's not easy to be a man, in a hair salon, getting a shampoo. Somehow though, this cowboy boot wearing gentleman and his awesome mustache manage to pull it off. Soul legend Lou Johnson's "The Beat" is the perfect song to drive absolute comfort. While it didn't receive as much commercial success as some of Lou Johnson's other songs, The Beat still hold its own among a plethora of soul songs.

3. "Find Your Travel Companion" Not a particularly memorable ad, Expedia.com's "Find Your Travel Companion" used a song by Electric Guest called "Waves." Combing elements of soft rock, soul, funk and pop, Electric Guest deliver a sound that is truly unforgettable.




4.
"Plastic Perfection" I honestly believe that if the good folks over at Apple weren't cranking out some of the best technology we've ever seen, (Yes, more bias!) they would all be incredible DJs. It's nothing new for Apple to use sort of obscure and fresh talent to promote their products. The iPhone 5c "Plastic Perfection" commercial featured a smooth, near funk driven tune by Sleigh Bells called "Rill Rill". As an experimental pop duo, Derek Miller and Alexis Krauss  aren't afraid to deliver a unique sound, very different from what is presented in today's pop music.



5. "Southern Comfort|Dance|Whatever's Comfortable" Dancing is probably one of the freest forms of expression in our human culture. However, many are held back by the fear of not having proper skills and looking silly. Not this guy! In fact, he is so comfortable, he gives us six incredible shots of him workin' it out! Marcos Valle, Brazilian pop legend, revolutionized the bossa nova genre by fusing elements of jazz, funk and soul into an already interesting style of music. His 1983 hit "Estrelar" is the perfect backdrop to this guy's killer moves.

What about you? Do you have any commercials that have opened you up to new (or new to you) artists? Help us all to get familiar by sharing them in the comment box below.
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::GET FAMILIAR:: Hawk House

Friday, March 28, 2014
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::GET FAMILIAR:: HAWK HOUSE
by Daniel Harris



Hip Hop is huge business for the music industry. In each generation, there has been a number of artists who refuse to follow the trends and flavors of the month. As rap began to go mainstream in the 80s and early 90s, groups like NWA, Public Enemy and the Native Tongues collective decided they're good where they were. When ice rap came about in the early 2000s, The Roots, Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def) and Talib Kweli said they'd never do what they do. As the current Hip Hop climate is comprised of molly poppers and swag rappers, Hawk House is determined to give the people something very different.

In the spirit of those Hip Hop pioneers, the group, comprised of brothers/MCs Sam and Eman and vocalist Demae, strives to return their listeners to dope lyrics and near simple production. (Most of which is handled by producer and DJ Eric Lau) Sam and Eman's chill, laid back flow combined with Demae's soulful voice, meld perfectly!

Last year, Hawk House released A Little More Elbow Room and was (self) described as a "journey through lyrics, melodies and vocals." Truthfully, that description is not a stretch and this journey is one that lends itself to being traveled over and over. It has been said that Hawk House is "the most interesting thing to happen to UK rap since Estelle." It can really be argued that once more people get familiar with this trio, they will be the best thing that has happened to Hip Hop!

Get even more familiar with Hawk House and download their album A Little More Elbow Room.
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::RECAP:: MARSHA AMBROSIUS LIVE AT THE BALTIMORE SOUNDSTAGE

Monday, March 24, 2014
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::RECAP:: MARSHA AMBROSIUS LIVE AT THE BALTIMORE SOUNDSTAGE
Post by Daniel Harris
Photos by LaVan Anderson



It has been 12 years since "The Songstress" aka Marsha Ambrosius released her first album as one half of the soulful duo Floetry. But as each and every concert goer found out this past Friday at the Baltimore Soundstage, there is no stopping Marsha Ambrosius!

The Baltimore Soundstage once again proved that it is a premier venue and the perfect host for Marsha's Friends and Lovers Tour. With incredible sight lines at every angle in the venue and great sound, the soundstage was an amazing way to take in the evening's artists. Before Marsha Ambrosius took the stage, her tour provided an opportunity for Baltimore to get familiar with a few up and coming artists.

First to take the stage was Motown recording group Mprynt. When you are an R&B group on the Motown label, there is a lot to live up to. Although there were some signs that they were fairly new to performing on this level, this group of four managed and represented the Motown name very well. After covering artists like Jay Z, Tupac and Blackstreet, Mprynt performed "Don't Hurt Me." A decently put together tune, was a good way for the crowd to get a sense of who this group is and their potential to be successful in the music business.

Next to perform was Jade Alston. From her first song "Good Times", it was very clear that Jade was a unique artist. Jade's blend of R&B, soul, alternative and folk was a true testament that music really knows no boundaries. After being diagnosed with a serious heart condition, Jade Alston purposed to do the music that she loved and that spoke to her most. Her sound is a very polished one, which is the perfect vehicle to drive her very open and straightforward lyrics.

Both Jay Hayden and GoGo Morrow are no strangers to the big stage and their respective
performances made that very evident. Both Jay and GoGo gave great energy and connected very well with the audience. Sharing the stage with artists like Deborah Cox, Tank and Eric Roberson, Hayden's laid back acoustic set gave the audience a great opportunity to see why he has been able to share the stage with so many talented artists. GoGo Morrow, former background singer and dancer for Lady Gaga, gave the crowd a high energy performance that was the perfect lead in to Marsha Ambrosius.


The anticipation for Marsha reached it's highest point yet and just as it was about to boil over, she took the stage to an eruption of cheers. Marsha Ambrosius knows how to give a great performance. The sold out venue was not only treated to Marsha's incredible vocal ability but also some very candid moments. Each time she chose to reflect on some moment of her love life, there was the sense that it was much more than a show. It was a way for her to really work some things out and share her experiences.

Marsha is a very clever and truly ingenious artist. How she effortlessly transitions from "Late Night, Early Morning" to Prince's "The Beautiful Ones" was classic! Her self produced take on the Sade classic "Stronger than Pride" perfectly blends the smooth Sade's familiar smooth sound with heavy Hip Hop influence. (Jeru the Damaja's "Come Clean" being the base of her interpretation) 17 years removed from it first being penned and 9 years since recording it, "Butterflies" is still a crowd favorite. With both Marsha and the sold out crowd singing, it became one huge chorus singing those very memorable and relatable lyrics.

If an opportunity presents itself to check out the Friends and Lovers Tour, it would be foolish to pass it up.

Our thanks to the Baltimore Soundstage for the media access and photographer LaVan Anderson for the wonderful photos.
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::GET FAMILIAR:: #DiscoveredatSXSW Edition

Friday, March 21, 2014
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::GET FAMILIAR:: #DISCOVEREDATSXSW EDITION
by Kike Aluko



One of the best things about the SXSW Music Festival is the opportunity to find new great artists that you've never heard of before.

CHECK THIS OUT for a more in-depth summary of event highlights from the whole week.

For this week's edition of Get Familiar Fridays, I bring to you my Top 5 favorite discoveries from SXSW 2014:

1. Artist Name: Mø
    Genre: Electronic / Pop
    Artist Origin: Denmark
    Why I Like Her: Spice Girls. Enough said.


2. Artist Name: The Kite Street Tangle
    Genre: Electronic / Alternative
    Artist Origin: Australia
    Why I Like Him: His smooth Sampha vibe.



3. Artist Name: Chet Faker
    Genre: Electronic / Soul / Jazz
    Artist Origin: Australia
    Why I Like Him: Blackstreet. Again, enough said.



4. Artist Name: HOLYCHILD
    Genre: Brat Pop
    Artist Origin: George Washington University, Washington, DC
    Why I Like Them: This self made duo formed right in our backyard at George Washington
    University & their music really does a lot for my inner teenage girl's ears (I fully expect to hear one of their
    songs perfectly placed in a teenybopper movie very soon).



5. Artist Name: Mia Dyson
    Genre: Blues
    Artist Origin: Australia
    Why I Like Her: Strong & beautiful voice that sounds GREAT, especially when paired with male
    harmonies live.



For my full list of SXSW 2014 favorites, check out my Spotify playlist below. Hope you enjoy!

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::RECAP:: SXSW 2014

Wednesday, March 19, 2014
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::RECAP:: SXSW 2014
by Kike Aluko

I had the AMAZING opportunity to attend South by Southwest (SXSW) 2014 in Austin, TX for the first time last week, and boy was it an awesome experience!! With hundreds and possibly thousands of events to choose from throughout the week (many of them free), it was an overwhelmingly exciting event to be a part of. Here are some of the highlights:

Wednesday, March 12, 2014 started with PledgeMusic's #PMAVillage event at The Blackheart where I saw up & coming brat pop duo (formed at DC's own George Washington University) HolyChild and Danish star Mø perform their hearts out. That evening was Haggar Clothing's "Slacks are Back" event at Clive Bar, where I saw the beautifully talented Emily King perform, along with Aloe Blacc who closed out the show. 

                                   HolyChild                                                      Aloe Blacc

Most of Thursday, March 13 was spent at the Hype Hotel where (among others) Australian artist Chet Faker and Baltimore's own Future Islands (pictured right) performed. Chet Faker's electronically smooth cover of Blackstreet's "No Diggity" was featured in a 2013 Super Bowl commercial. That evening I hopped over to Seth Meyers' food truck for some free Shake Shack to top the night off right.

Friday, March 14 was jam packed, starting with Universal Music Group's showcase at Palm Door where I saw Swedish band Little Dragon perform quite a few hits. After that I made a quick pit stop at the Pandora Discovery Den inside The Gatsby to pick up some free makeup thanks to Revlon. Then I headed to the super popular & exclusive Fader Fort presented by Converse to participate in lots of fun & interactive promotions including photo & video booths, signature walls, and Converse Red Light Radio sessions. 

Elle King
After getting my fill of the Fader Fort fun, I passed by Kelis's food truck (she's apparently a certified chef!) to grab some more free bites. She was cleverly promoting her upcoming album, titled Food, and I kept wishing I would get a milkshake to go with the duck confit sliders I got that perfectly hit the spot after a full day. In the evening I headed over to the SoundExchange Sessions at Stubb's BBQ where I saw a variety of performances including Wild Cub, American Authors, London Grammar, Young the Giant, and Elle King (who is Rob Schneider's daughter and has a surprisingly powerful voice that she used to cover R. Kelly's "Ignition Remix!")

The Kite String Tangle
On Saturday, March 15, I ended my SXSW experience on a high note at the biggest showcase of Australian music in the USA: The Aussie BBQ hosted by Sounds Australia at Maggie Mae's. In addition to a great huge selection of free food including burgers, nachos, enchiladas & more, I saw shows by two artists that I really enjoyed: up & coming Electronic artist The Kite String Tangle and blues singer-songwriter Mia Dyson.

Overall, the SXSW experience is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED between the free food, free events, live shows, and so much more. It's so great to be surrounded by people who love music & who are willing to help you jam to the shows the best you can. It's a wonderful way to discover new up & coming artists that you haven't heard before, and the best part is how accessible & willing to talk those artists are. There is never a shortage of opportunities to have a fun time grooving to some great live music. So much so that I definitely plan to make a return trip to Austin again!

For a list of my favorite discoveries from SXSW 2014, click HERE.

Before ending this post, I must acknowledge the tragic car accident that happened in the early morning of March 13, 2014. We must keep all those affected in our thoughts and prayers, and monetary donations to support relief services can be made to the SXSW Cares Fund.
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::GET FAMILIAR:: HAILE SUPREME

Friday, March 14, 2014
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::GET FAMILIAR:: HAILE SUPREME
by Daniel Harris


Insightful, wise and passionate. These three words can be used to effective describe the work and music of Haile Supreme. While many of his contemporaries have chosen to water (and dumb) down their content, Supreme meets the challenge of blending savvy lyrical content with an original, edgy sound.

Relatively new to the live performance scene, Haile Supreme is a talented singer/songwriter with a style that is both eclectic and unique. But when you share a name with an Ethiopian emperor and huge figure in Rastafarian culture, being unique is almost a prerequisite.

Supreme's sound just isn't about experimental production. He embeds thoughtful and very introspective lyrical content within his music. On his latest release, Liquid Temple, Haile Supreme touches on a variety of topics including insightful teachings from his mother to being a spectator to violence.  It is this very distinct blend that sets Haile Supreme apart from the rest of the pack.

Get even more familiar with Haile Supreme and download is latest album, Liquid Temple.
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::GET FAMILIAR:: EGO ELLA MAY

Friday, March 7, 2014
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::GET FAMILIAR:: EGO ELLA MAY
by Daniel Harris



Creativity, imagination and balance are elements that have seemingly been washed away in music's mainstream. It is a difficult sight to see when this current formula and system of industry success gets repeated over and over, producing more of the same. There is hope though. Ego Ella May is hope.

With her infectious and inventive sound, Ego Ella May is making her mark on music in a huge way. Born and bred in London, this singer, songwriter, producer and self-taught guitarist is not boxed in by the music industry's formula. Being influenced by a vast variety of musical styles like Electro, Jazz, R&B and Soul, Ego Ella May destroys the system and creates in a space free of limits and void of preconceived notions.

Breathing Underwater, Ego Ella May's latest release, is like listening to the future. A future where that formula of industry success is rewritten and artists are left alone to be as expressive and innovative as possible. This 7 track offering blends her effortless vocal ability, with non-watered down lyrics and imaginative productions creating a unique sound that she has dubbed "Future Soul."

Breathing Underwater and Ego Ella May's musical and lyrical versatility are all testaments that the future of soul is in very good hands.

Get even more familiar with Ego Ella May and watch her video for "Love Hard."


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::RECAP:: Mayer Hawthorne & Quadron Live at 9:30 Club

Thursday, March 6, 2014
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::RECAP:: MAYER HAWTHORNE & QUADRON LIVE AT 9:30 CLUB
Post and photos by Kike Aluko

A snow day in DC didn't stop the show from going on at the 9:30 Club on March 3, 2014. After trekking through the freezing cold weather, the audience was welcomed into the venue with beats provided by DJ Kurse who was spinning an eclectic mix of funky grooves to start the night off right with Mos Def, Common, The Roots, Dennis Edwards, Mary Jane Girls, 2Pac and more.

Quadron & Mayer Hawthorne were the perfect combination to bring out a hugely diverse crowd, filled with a range of ethnicities, styles, and ages, from people watching alone to couples, pairs and groups of friends. As Quadron started off the show, lead singer Coco O's beautiful, strong & clear voice hit all of her notes effortlessly as she moved up & down through her songs. "Favorite Star" started the set off strong, followed by crowd favorite "Sea Salt," drawing cheers as soon as the first chord struck.

The band then moved to an insanely gorgeous cover of Lauryn Hill's "Ex-Factor," revealing Coco's chillingly familiar experience dealing with feelings of loves lost. Quadron continued their set with two of my personal favorites, "Neverland" and "It's Gonna Get You" and dedicated the last song, "Pressure," to an audience member who had already seen them in Boston and NYC! Coco BLEW the house down with a voice that's out of this world!

After Quadron left the stage, DJ Kurse came back to keep us company for a while again until Mayer Hawthorne came on asking the audience if we were ready to have the "greatest night of our entire life" and kicked it off with "Backseat Lover" followed by "Reach Out Richard." With a stage set reminiscent of a 90s Prom, people were GETTING IT & dancing nonstop everywhere I looked, from the floor to the balcony. "Wine Glass Woman" & "Designer Drug" came next, which, combined with the heavy drum sequences and a seamless mashup of the latter with BBD's "Poison," definitely made the show feel like an awesomely fun rave party.


Mayer Hawthorne then took it back to some of his older jams with "No Strings" and "Green Eyed Love." Bringing it back to his most recent album, the band gave us a little tease of the beat behind Bob Marley's "Get Up Stand Up" before transitioning to "Allie Jones." Next came one of my favorites, "Crime," before he slowed it down with "Get To Know You." Then Mayer Hawthorne took a set break for "Picture Time" where he took a picture with everyone in the audience and then struck some hilariously crazy poses for us to capture!

After giving us a dedicated time to snap photos of him, he then declared that "Picture Time is officially over" and told us to put our electronics away so we could actually experience the show through our own eyes and not our camera lenses. Clearly it was only a matter of minutes before myself and the rest of the audience members disobeyed him -- we couldn't resist our phones! Next he introduced the band (who's electric guitarist was crazy good) with "Do It," officially confirming that there is truth to the rumors about Mayer Hawthorne also secretly being behind the incognito band Tuxedo. Then came another great mashup of "Walk This Way," leading into "The Walk." The pre-encore set wrapped up with two of my personal favorites, "The Stars Are Ours" and "Corsican Rose."

After a brief break from the stage, Mayer Hawthorne returned for his encore with yet another wonderful mashup leading with Barry White's "Playing Your Game" and finally ending with "Her Favorite Song." With Quadron & Mayer Hawthorne's unique combination of funk, soul, pop, and rock that gave the audience a brief escape to dance the night away, this show was definitely worth venturing out into the Winter Storm for!

Our special thanks to Jeff Klein for the media access.
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::GET FAMILIAR:: SHI WISDOM

Friday, February 28, 2014
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::GET FAMILIAR:: SHI WISDOM
by Gypsy



Intervention [EP] cover art


The first time I even became aware of Shi Wisdom was at an event in New York City called Date Night, produced by the lovely Keya Maeesha. She sang this song called "Penny" and I was hooked.




Her voice was beautiful, she was beautiful and confident and the complexities of the songs performed by her and her two background singers were more intricate than many of the mainstream artists the masses pay $30+ to croon. It was a few months ago, but I can remember the set clearly.


Recently I received an email this past Tuesday morning alerting me to a new EP called Intervention Shi Wisdom had dropped and of course I had to check it out. The four track offering is vibrant as well as chill, with Shi's voice smoothly caressing each production. I seriously dug each track but the one that I loved the most was "Magic". Listening I closed my eyes and was transported to a hot, summer night, exploring the streets in a freshly washed and detailed car (yeah it was that deep).  Eyes closed, I couldn't help but do a mini body roll, shoulder bop and if I was on my feet I have no doubt a fancy two step would have cut my invisible rug. Take a listen.





Please make sure to go check out this short but incredible EP from Shi Wisdom, an artist you should most certainly get familiar with! And if you dig make sure you support. Give that $5 to Shi Wisdom instead of Starbucks, your ears and your waistline will thank you!



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::HEADPHONE JUNKIE:: YASIIN BEY AND MARVIN GAYE ARE AMERIGO GAZAWAY'S NEWEST "SOUL MATES"

Wednesday, February 26, 2014
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::HEADPHONE JUNKIE:: YASIIN BEY AND MARVIN GAYE ARE AMERIGO GAZAWAY'S NEWEST "SOUL MATES"
by Daniel Harris




Producer and Nashville native Amerigo Gazaway first made waves in 2011 when he fused the music of Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti with Hip Hop legends De La Soul. Fela Soul received critical acclaim from Roots' drummer Questlove and was declared a "virtual web hit" by MTV. Three years removed from the success of Fela Soul, Amerigo Gazaway is back once more with another installment to his "Soul Mates" series.

In his latest release, Yasiin Gaye: The Departure (Side One), Amerigo Gazaway masterfully blends the music of Marvin Gaye and Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def). Both iconic figures in the respective genres, Yasiin Gaye is an ingenious tribute to Marvin and Yasiin's contributions to music. Considering this album as just another "mash-up" would be a mistake and a disservice.

Gazaway strikes a beautiful balance that goes way beyond mashing two different beats together. It is much more than that, much deeper. Gazaway gives this album solid structure that is built on a frame of anatomized samples of Marvin Gaye's classic and soulful Motown sound and methodically weaves in Yasiin Bey's clever wordplay. Each track on Yasiin Gaye is crafted in such a way as to not give too much Hip Hop or too much classic Soul.

Music is often viewed as groups of separate entities. Even when the roots of some styles can be traced back to having the same origin, archaic notions of contradiction still exist. With Yasiin Gaye, Amerigo Gazaway bridges two quintessential genres, creating a true departure from these mundane views.

Yasiin Gaye: The Departure (Side One) is available NOW for download.
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::RECAP::The Kin: Jameson and Jokes at The Jammin' Java

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::RECAP:: The Kin: Jameson and Jokes at The Jammin' Java



Sinfully blissed harmonies, soul-piercing percussion, a few spontaneous musical stick-ups and you’ve got The Kin.  Now add to that a bottle of Jameson, a former chauffeur for a “madam’s service”, and the humping of Conan O’ Brien's leg and well, you’ve still got The Kin.  Originally from Adelaide, Australia, The Kin has come quite a long way from “The Land Down Under”, both literally and figuratively. I was given an opportunity to catch up with the trio on their tour bus tucked behind the Jammin’ Java in Vienna, Virginia before their sold out show on Monday night. They recently toured with P!nk and are now headlining the Get On It tour with  featured acts Finish Ticket and Oh Honey, who opened the show with pretty impressive covers of songs like TLC's "No Scrubs." The Kin’s energy off stage was palpable leaving me only to wonder about the magic that would transcend once they channeled that dynamism into melodies. Needless to say, I was in for an amazing experience.

Initially a duo consisting of brothers Isaac (vocals and keyboards) and Thorald Koren (vocals, guitar, and keyboards), their musical union was made even more complete with the addition of New York percussionist Shakerleg (he plays completely by hand, no sticks!) who says he finally joined the band after six years of the Koren brothers pursuing his talents. “I was in the subway, playing for ten years. These guys came by six years later and we knew of each other, back and forth opening for different bands throughout New York…And then they asked me to play with them, I said no. Then they asked me again, they gave me a CD and I listened to the CD at home. I liked it; I thought they’d improved. I added my genius to them and now I’ve actually taken this band from zero to hero.” The camaraderie between the guys is quite clear as they erupt in laughter after Shaker’s honest yet facetiously laced tale of how The Kin went from being a duo to a trio. The band is known for their concept of the“musical robbery”. The idea is one that was uniquely, yet somewhat simplistically formed, Thorald explains: “We love bank robbery movies and shit”. Isaac chimes in, “We wanted to break down the traditional walls of listening. People come to the venue, and they have their expectations. They have their ‘I’m a musician’, ‘I’m a critic’, ‘I’m a fan’”.  



With musical influences ranging from Martin Sexton and Joni Mitchell, to Donny Hathaway and Brian McKnight, versatility and a universal love of music is apparent from the trio. Their most recent EP is titled Get On It and is available for download here. The band took the stage--and the floor-- as they performed to and through the crowd with songs like "Mary", "Boy You're A Pretty Girl", "Everything's Changing", and the EP's title track "Get On It". The group's performance embodied something that music tends to lack today: a presence of passion. Experiencing The Kin live for the first time, I went in without expectations and left with a renewed musical spirit. Dare I say, my ears were indeed musically robbed, and it's a robbery I'd gladly welcome any time.


Aside from the fact that these guys put on a robust show, they remained for hours on end to show each and every friend of their music a bit of appreciation; signing autographs, taking photos, sharing life stories, you name it. But the best part of it all was the organic quality. It won't be long before it's nearly impossible for them to greet each and every fan after each and every show, although I wouldn't put it past them to try. With Isaac and Thorald's smooth harmonies and the heart thumping beats of Shakerleger's drumming, a sold out Madison Square Garden will one day be a dream realized for this trio. Be sure to look out for more from The Kin at TheKin.com and follow them on Twitter for updates.
 
Thank you to Beatrice, Jim Kaminski and the wonderful staff at the Jammin' Java for the access!
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::RECAP:: PJ MORTON MOVES HOWARD THEATRE

Monday, February 24, 2014
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::RECAP:: PJ MORTON MOVES HOWARD THEATRE
Post and photos by Kike Aluko


What a wonderful experience it is to have your expectations not only met, but surpassed, the first time you see an artist in concert! Such was my experience seeing my first PJ Morton concert, February 22, 2014 at The Howard Theatre. The mood of the night was immediately set before the show started with great R&B jams from the likes of Jill Scott, SWV, and Maxwell to get the audience ready for the atmosphere that was to come. The show then started with DC's own natives Black Alley who warmed up the audience with a few originals including "Bad Girl" and "Virgin Suicide," as well as some great covers of Imagine Dragons's "Radioactive" and Pharrell's "Happy," closing their set with their rendition of Beyonce's "Drunk in Love."
After a brief intermission, the time finally came for the unassuming, New Orleans-native keyboardist from Maroon 5 to grace the stage. Opening with "Hard Enough," it was clear that PJ Morton is a master on the keys as evidenced by his quick switching between two keyboards all while maintaining his vocal performance & eye contact with the audience. When he moved to "Heavy" (which features fellow Maroon 5 member Adam Levine), he started a dance party and had the crowd standing up & rocking with him for the rest of the show. Speaking of partying, PJ's lead background singer Josiah "JoJo" Martin is obviously the life of their band's party, with a commanding, fun-loving stage presence and a beautiful voice that is worthy of his own solo projects.

                                  A highlight of the night was when PJ slowed it down with a cover of Bob Marley's classic "Is this Love." Keeping it slow & smooth, a (very talented!) fan's dream came true when he brought her on stage to sing Tweet's verse on "Love You More" -- which she killed so well that she left PJ & his band visibly impressed. Continuing in the slow set, he then performed his hit "Work It Out" during which I overheard another audience member accurately comment that "PJ sings that type of music that makes you want to be in any kind of relationship -- good, bad, or indifferent." PJ's vocals during this gorgeous song were reminiscent of the beautiful & underrated style of Glenn Lewis. He rounded out the slow set by taking us to church with the inspirational & uplifting "Mountains and Molehills."

After the slow set, PJ started wrapping it up with Grammy-nominated "Only One," followed by a heartwarming cover of the Cheers theme song to close out the show. He introduced that final performance as the way he traditionally ends his shows, affectionately calling the audience his extended family. All in all, the night showcased PJ Morton's clear talent at making feel good music that you can groove to -- whether fast or slow -- that's simple, real, & beautiful.
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::GET FAMILIAR:: ANTONIO LONG

Friday, February 21, 2014
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::GET FAMILIAR:: ANTONIO LONG
by Daniel Harris



       

Gospel music is a very unique genre. It has an ability to not only reach the soul of a person, it is also able to reach the spirit of a person. In addition to these spiritual and supernatural properties, Gospel music is an ever changing genre. 

Artists like Sister Rosetta Tharpe, The Hawkins Family and Kirk Franklin all challenged Gospel's status quo and expanded its limits. These artists made it okay for future artists like Antonio Long to spread a message while being creative and expressive.

A native of Baltimore, MD, Antonio Long's blend of Hip-Hop, Jazz and Soul creates a sound that helps him to uplift, encourage and inspire others. Listing artists like Doobie Powell, Lauryn Hill and Stevie Wonder as influences, Antonio is on a path to help redefine how people view Gospel music. 

Long's simple approach to songwriting makes his work and his message very relatable to everyone. Earlier this year, Antonio released his mixtape The Life Project. He successfully blends his positive and enlightening lyrics with the work of producers like J Dilla and Pete Rock. The Life Project is a perfect mix of non-traditional, contemporary sound and truthful, straightforward content to create a sound all his own.

While Gospel has the power to uplift and reach people like no other genre, Antonio Long is one artist that is helping to show Gospel's more creative side. Get even more familiar with Antonio Long by subscribing to his YouTube channel and downloading his mixtape The Life Project, available now for free!



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::HEADPHONE JUNKIE:: CITY HEART, SOUTHERN SOUL BY NOEL GOURDIN

Tuesday, February 18, 2014
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::HEADPHONE JUNKIE:: CITY HEART, SOUTHERN SOUL BY NOEL GOURDIN
by Daniel Harris


What happened to the love song? Has love become such an obscure idea that the music industry cranks out "hits" like "Talk Dirty" or "Lolly" as a reflection of its absence? Love songs present an opportunity to sit back and really appreciate a significant other.

They were classic tales of incredible highs and the REAL! Let's also remember the tremendous respect for the ladies! Today, soul singer/songwriter Noel Gourdin does his part to bring the love back with his brand new release City Heart, Southern Soul.

Best known for his 2008 hit single "The River", Gourdin's success can be attributed to the positive nature of his lyrics and the respect for women he displays in those lyrics. While that shouldn't be a huge selling point for obvious reasons, with the striking amount of misogyny is today's music, Gourdin has established himself as a dependable escape from this sad reality.

City Heart, Southern Soul is an ode to good, honest music. Gourdin's skillful tenor voice is the best vehicle to convey all the ups and downs found in this album. There isn't one specific sound to this album and truthfully, that is a great thing. Sonically, this album offers something for everyone to enjoy and appreciate.

Two great examples: "Patience" is a 60s soul inspired single that would make Sam Cooke, Wilson Pickett and Jackie Wilson very proud. The sincere lyrics reflect the pretty relateable experience of the patient anxiety of waiting for the next moment and opportunity to reunite with a that special someone. While "Heaven Knows" deals with the heavy issue of infidelity and how to move forward after both parties have been caught in its grips. Its deep, soulful, gospel flavor is a great vehicle for Gourdin's genuine and apologetic lyrics.

 If you are missing the love from today's music; if you are missing good, honest, soulful lyrics, City Heart, Southern Soul should definitely be added to your collection.

If you are in Baltimore on February 21st please join us for a special listening of the album. RSVP HERE for more information and to be entered to win a free album!

Thank you Shanachie Records for the advance album!
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::RECAP:: Tamia Live at the Howard Theatre

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::RECAP:: Tamia Live at the Howard Theatreby Nubian Newbein

She's been in the business for over twenty years, but you'd never be able to tell just by looking at her. Stunning R&B songstress Tamia put on a stellar performance to a sold out crowd (for a second consecutive night) at the Howard Theatre on February 16, 2014.  With Valentine's Day just barely making an exit, the building was filled with lovers galore. Cincinnati, Ohio native Mateo appropriately set the tone of the evening by serenading a lucky lady from the crowd with a song tailor made just for her. With a seamless falsetto and instrumentally inclined, Mateo finished his set with his official single "How Good Is Your Love", which I fell in love with instantly. He's definitely an artist to keep an ear out for.



A consummate professional, the lady of the hour took the stage and voyaged through a musical anthology of timeless hits like "So Into You", "Smile", "Poetry", "Mr. Cool", "Can't Get Enough", "Still", "Stranger In My House", "Beautiful Surprise", and of course the Quincy Jones produced ballad that introduced her to the world "You Put A Move On My Heart". Tamia, who has been married to her retired NBA husband Grant Hill for fifteen years, covered the Anita Baker classic "Been So Long" as a dedication to Baker, who introduced the couple in 1996. Always personable, Tamia took time time to interact with the crowd and even conversed with a couple that was in the audience.




Tamia's latest album may be called Beautiful Surprise, but its no surprise that she still continues to sell out shows--and many times over at that. Her performances set the bar high for artists; no gimmicks, no frivolous antics, just pure, unadulterated talent. 

Thank you to The Howard Theatre for the access!
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::GET FAMILIAR:: HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY

Friday, February 14, 2014
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::GET FAMILIAR:: HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY
by Daniel Harris
Mix by Daniel Harris



This week for Get Familiar Friday, instead of featuring just one artist, we put together a playlist featuring 14 great artists to help you celebrate your Valentine's Day weekend. This list features some favorites and very familiar artists like D'Angelo, KING, Jesse Boykins III and Eric Roberson. However, in sticking with TheSoulcialista's form, we've also added artists that we think you should get to know a little better like Tuexdo, Gwen Bunn, The Luv Bugz and Tinashe.

Enjoy and Happy Valentine's Day!


Playlist


Tuexdo- Get U Home

Justin Timberlake- Strawberry Bubblegum

Jesse Boykins III- B4 The Night Is Thru

KING- Supernatural

The Luv Bugz- There 4 U

Jazzy feat BJ The Chicago Kid- Feel Like Makin Love

Gwen Bunn- Epitome

Tinashe- Just A Taste

BJ The Chicago Kid- Good Luv’n

Vikter Duplix- Pure

Eric Roberson- Weekend Getaway

D’Angelo- Untitled (How Does It Feel)

Robin Thicke- Sex Therapy

Marsha Ambrosius- Late Night Early Mornings


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