Jamaican-born London singer-songwriter Denai Moore posted a new video for her powerful song, “I Swore”, from off her EP of the same title. It’s a soulful and sullen ballad about hurting those closest to us: “And I swear I’ve lost myself a thousand times / A thousand times / I swore at my mother for the first time / And I don’t know what to believe in / We say words without no meaning / To each other / And I swear I’ve lost my way a thousand times … / Cut it off before it lingers / And rust the veins beneath my fingers / And I always suffer.” You can follow Denai Moore at facebook and twitter. – David D. Robbins Jr.
London soul singer Rainy Milo posted a slinky negligee of a new song called, “Rate You”, via her soundcloud page. The song was written by and sung by Milo, produced by Bunx Dadda and mixed by Daje. The song is a beauty, forming around a soulful chorus about sentimentalizing love: “It’s easy to rate you / Rate you / Now that you are gone / Gone / Romanticizing you, now that you are gone.” This song’s silky elegant composition (i.e., honeyed vocals poured atop a honey-smooth beat) reminds me of the more seductive Esthero tracks from back in the day of “Breath From Another” (1998) — like “Anywayz”. Follow Rainy Milo at facebook and twitter. – David D. Robbins Jr.
As in years past, picking my favorite EPs is the most pleasurable part of creating these year-end lists. Inevitably, the EPs are generally more interesting and stronger. I guess brevity is the soul of wit. Short and concise often allows an artist to push everything they are to the forefront, without feeling the need to fill out songs for the sake of calling a record an LP. This year is another strong group. It was tough to narrow it down, but below are my 10 favorite EPs of 2014. – David D. Robbins Jr.
Click here to read TBB’s Top 10 EPs list
The past years have seen a number of musical trends. When I first started this blog, I began to notice how influential the push of music bloggers can be. Bands like the XX were largely finding open doors because of this well before sites like Rolling Stone and Pitchfork latched on. One year, it was a kind of lo-fi neo-soul that made a comeback through The Weeknd, Frank Ocean and How to Dress Well. Then there was a year where female DIY artists seemed to be everywhere, like Micachu and Grimes. Then rap mixtapes were getting hot, introducing us to artists like Kendrick Lamar and Chance the Rapper. My favorite trend of the past five years was in 2011, when albums like PJ Harvey’s “Let England Shake”, Bill Callahan’s “Apocalypse” and Radiohead’s “King of Limbs” were taking nations to task for being institutions of war. However, this year might be the season where clear focus drifted and no singular trend stood out. But still, good music abounds. As much as I dislike ranking and giving stars to music (because music deserves more complexity than that) — below I’ve listed 39 of my favorite tracks with links to hear them (just right click and open a new tab) — followed by my Top 11 selections. I tried to limit too many duplicate artists. Enjoy! — David D. Robbins Jr.
St. Vincent has come into her own this year, artistically and aesthetically — as well as musically. Her recent live gigs, perhaps inspired by touring with David Bryne, are as much art and stagecraft as they are musical. Annie Clark has a new video for “Birth In Reverse”, a song off her self-titled 2014 release, further showcasing her design/art style. Video directed by Willo Perron. Note: Images above are screened captures from the video. – David D. Robbins Jr.
Welcome back, brotha. Welcome back. Everyone’s waking up to the midnight bomb drop that is D’Angelo’s first official record since releasing “Voodoo” almost 15 years ago. The magnificent “Voodoo” is a record that serves as a marker for just how good music can be, let alone modern black music. In the last three decades, we’ve had at least three perfect soul records: Prince’s gargantuan masterpiece, “Sign o’ the Times” (1987), Erykah Badu’s “Mama’s Gun” (2000) and “Voodoo” (2000). (Maybe throw in Curtis Mayfield’s under-appreciated 1997 record, “New World Order”.) Needless to say, it’s a lot of pressure for D’Angelo to live up to, following the now-famous 2008 Spin article (“D’Angelo: What the Hell Happened?”), which talked about the premature demise of the man, crushed by drinking and straining under the stress of keeping up the ripped-ab image swooned over by ladies who screamed for the singer to rip off his t-shirt and bare the famous abs they drooled over in the video for “Untitled (How Does it Feel)”. D’Angelo even sings about fake friends and fans in a new track, “Back to the Future (Part I)”: “I been wonderin’ / If I can ever again / So if you’re wonderin’ / About the shape I’m in / I hope it ain’t my abdomen / That you’re referring to.”