The soulful Jessie Ware just posted a stylish new video for her song “Champagne Kisses” from off her 2014 release, “Tough Love”. The video was directed by Christopher Sweeney. You can follow Jessie Ware at facebook and twitter. Note: Images are screen captures from the video. – David D. Robbins Jr.
There’s some so charming about the impassioned, breaking vocals of Chicago’s Jimmy Whispers, on his beautiful, short-but-sweet, new romantic track “Heart Don’t Know”: “Baby, when I come back, when I come back / I need you / Tell me all the things I need to know / Ohhh / I don’t need to know / Ohhh.” The song is simple enough, with a consistent, repeated organ rhythm that comes back full circle to the chorus, wrapped in a heartfelt elegance. There’s a loneliness in the vocals, which are slightly muted behind the instrumentation, imbuing the voice with a kind of fragility or shyness. But there’s also a steadiness to the pace that gives this love song a steadfast persistence too. “Heart Don’t Know” is featured on the upcoming release, Summer In Pain, out via Moniker Records where it’s available for pre-order. Jimmy Whispers is scheduled to open for Ariel Pink on February 17th in Chicago at Thalia Hall. Follow Jimmy Whispers at facebook. You can listen to the title track on bandcamp. Note: All lyrics are unofficial. – David D. Robbins Jr.
Back in 2009, I called Braids a ‘Band to Watch’. I first heard a song of theirs called “Lemonade” and thought it was one of the best tracks I’d listened to in years. I eventually talked with keyboardist KTLee (aka Katie Lee), who has since left the band, and she sent me a bunch of MP3 demos they were working on. They were just as wonderful, largely resting on the endless talents of lead singer Raphaelle Standell-Preston’s passionate vocals. Since then the band released their LP Native Speaker (2011), which ended up containing some of the tracks Lee sent me, in a different format. Then the band followed that record up with Flourish//Perish in 2013. This new track, “Miniskirt”, shows the band in full flower, with a more digital and soulful edge. Gone are the muddied, obscured vocals. The instrumentation is cleaner too. There’s no hiding in this track, that’s a beautiful mix of pinging electronics, keyboard and fragile, melodic vocals. “Miniskirt” is about as feminist a track as it gets, dealing with a kind of slut-shaming, aggressive men, familial dysfunction, and the thought that a woman deserves sexual attention simply because of what she wears: “I am not a man hater / I enjoy them like cake / But in my position / I’m the slut / I’m the bitch / I’m the whore / The one you hate / And there’s a name for this kind of man / A soft one at that / Womanizer / Casanova / Lothario.” It’s a great track, that takes off during the second half, the strength of the music keeping the song from being didactic. The song is off the Braids upcoming third release, Deep In The Iris, out April 28th via Arbutus Records and Flemish Eye. Follow the band at facebook. Pre-order the record here. The Montreal, Quebec-based band currently includes: Standell-Preston, Austin Tufts and Taylor Smith. Click here to read more archived Their Bated Breath posts about Braids. – David D. Robbins Jr.
I’ve been hearing Liz Phair’s influence in so much music lately, whether it’s Courtney Barnett, Girlpool, or this latest Speedy Ortiz track, “Raising The Skate”. Granted, some of that is likely incidental, considering Sadie Dupuis can’t help that her voice is a dead-ringer for the Exile In Guyville singer-songwriter. “Raising The Skate” is a song from off the forthcoming album Foil Deer, out April 21 via Carpark Records. – David D. Robbins Jr.
The Grammys? Meh.
Even as a music writer, I’ve generally been lukewarm about The Grammys. Okay, so I’ve despised the post-Michael Jackson Grammys, but have backed off in recent years, down to a milder meh. It becomes weary every year, looking over the list of nominees only to see, yet again, Metallica listed under best metal band, Aerosmith the best rock band, and a shortlist of pop pap artists du jour. (Okay, so Aerosmith wasn’t listed this year, but Metallica was — for “Best Music Film”. Has anyone listened to them since … And Justice For All?) It shouldn’t be a big yawn, because unlike The Oscars, the Grammys actually have entertainment for a TV audience beyond looking at dresses, listening for presentation flubs, and giddily awaiting non-scripted moments. You get performances. It’s not like Michael Fassbender is ever going to stand onstage and give a line-reading between Oscar announcements. But The Grammys rarely inspires me because I’ve felt for so long it never represented artists I listened to. I don’t mean to say that because I don’t listen to Lady Gaga, Beyoncé (hey, I can dig “Halo”, okay) and Taylor Swift that those artists shouldn’t be there. It doesn’t mean I’m upset about an artist not winning. In the scheme of things, it’s not like I’m up for an award, so who cares, right? But rather my taste for fringe independent artists isn’t in the Grammy wheelhouse — so its disappointing those musicians go unrecognized in its format.