Massive Attack and Tricky. Two things that go together better than bread and butter. Massive Attack announced it’s releasing it’s first new music since 2010’s Heligoland. The new EP is called Ritual Spirit, which will feature four tracks and collaborations with Young Fathers, Roots Manuva, Azekel and Tricky. The latter can be heard singing on the band’s single release, “Take It There”, which also has an accompanying video you can watch and listen to below. The video stars actor John Hawkes of 2010’s “Winter’s Bone”. It’s a dark track with heavy, ominous keyboard, and overlapping lyricism from a venomous Tricky and Robert Del Naja. Follow Massive Attack on twitter and facebook. — David D. Robbins Jr.
A rule-breaking rock star. Brixton’s native boy. The glam girl of Ziggy Stardust. The Thin White Duke. Fame-craver and shy Davey Jones. The Man Who Fell to Earth. Space drifter. Major Tom. Prince of Spiders. Cocaine cowboy of a-lad-insane. Blue Jean. The Goblin King. An old-fashioned gentleman. An art connoisseur. Actor. (As he credits himself on the record Hunky Dory.) The first white performer to play the show Soul Train. A conceptual chameleon who had a gift for fusing and adapting a multitude of musical styles and fashion (kabuki, Andy Warhol) — the latter a way to perhaps ease stage fright. Ultimately, David Bowie was a true thinking artist. He grew up on Fats Domino and Little Richard, musicals, admired Lou Reed, Iggy Pop & The Stooges, musician Vince Taylor, Japanese director Nagisa Oshima, Brian Eno, writers William Burroughs, Mishima, and Nabokov and later grew to champion or promote other artists as varied as Luther Vandross, Trent Reznor, Bing Crosby, bassist Meshell Ndegeocello, actresses Tilda Swinton, Marion Cotillard, Moby and Arcade Fire.
Here’s my quick list compiling 25 of my favorite records of 2015. Since I blog about music it’s inevitable that people offer me suggestions and even critique my taste, both of which are encouraged. So, in return, I have one request for everyone else for 2016: Try and listen to something new. For that matter, read something new or drive someplace you’ve never been or watch a film you normally wouldn’t. I’ve noticed over the past few years just how limited most people’s experiences are, including when it comes to their knowledge of music. It’s not money, time or access — it’s largely intellectual laziness or at least a kind of blind comfort in the familiar. People tend to listen to the same reassuring songs year after year and the same Spotify playlists where they’ve collected the 20 songs they listen to in rotation — essentially stunting what could someday become a real passion for something new. Hopefully, amid the usual suspects, my list offers you an unfamiliar voice or an untraveled avenue …
Luckily, I’m one of those bloggers who seems to have great music trailing in his wake. It follows me. In this case, Boston artist Kwame wrote me an e-mail, sending along news of an upcoming EP, hey, mr. dreamer., which he’s releasing on Dec. 5. Hopefully it contains more tracks like “don’t seem to know” on it, seemingly partly inspired by the ennui of a segment of “Alice In Wonderland”. It’s hard to really describe the vibe of this track. I suppose Kwame fits in there somewhere with Tom Krell (aka How To Dress Well) and that ambient, experimental side of R&B that’s emerged only in the last decade. It’s Kwame’s fascination with quietness and pathos that’s so impressive. It’s a kind of softness that finds its way into “don’t seem to know”, a track with a style perfectly fit to lyrics about somnambulism, finding purpose and searching for whatever it is out there — destiny. The combination of his gold-hued vocal overlapping and lyrical redolence is nothing short of masterful. There’s something august and holy about the song’s best part, something like a spiritual translucence: “My god, I’ve been up too long / Couldn’t be more tired / But I don’t feel like sleeping / Good lord, been dreaming since my birth / A hand is on my shoulder / It’s time for me to wake up to whatever this is.” Follow Kwame on facebook and listen to more of his music at soundcloud. Note: Lyrics are unofficial. — David D. Robbins Jr.
“Can you feel it? / When you all alone / In yo chromosomes / Hummin thru ya bones” — asks The Village songstress Jean Deaux on her soulful track, “Act Right (Saturn’s Return)”, a track produced by Chicago’s THEMpeople as one of three songs on an EP called “Outer Body”. This astronomical jam runs through lyrics about sex, space, liquor, Shakespeare and being panty-less. One of the better verses finds Deaux offering intoxicants and spouting about her sexual proclivities: “I got that bomb / And you fishin’ to be subatomic / Would you like a gin and tonic? / Or maybe some skin and chronic / Take you to the philharmonic / Make you sing the highest octave …” Follow her on twitter. — David D. Robbins Jr.