AUDIO: Kaigen21Meiso’s “Root Is The New Leaf”

When you have K-The-I??? involved, it has to be good, and here is a track he produced for the project known as Kaigen21Meiso, an album called Root Is The New Leaf, released a few weeks ago. Kaigen21Meiso – Root Is The New Leaf (prod. by K-The-I???) by Kaigen

VIDEO: Savage Skulls & Douster featuring Robyn’s “Bad Gal”

Locally, Robyn was the one soulful white singer that would be played religiously on the radio even though she wasn’t producing hits. 16 years later, she has made a comeback of sorts, at least to American ears, but she shows why she continues to push her talents on the world.

This one is from the Mad Decent camp, so get ready and bust it out malanguats.

SOME STUFFS: April showers bring Jeniferever flowers

This is the official artwork for the forthcoming third album by Jeniferever. Monotreme will be releasing Silesia on April 19th, and if “Waifs & Strays” is a hint of what’s on it, it will be worth the wait. (My review of their last album, Spring Tides, can be found in The Run-Off Groove #233.) Jeniferever ‘Waifs & Strays’ by Monotreme Records

BANDCAMP SUGGESTIONS: Edison’s “People Are Bad Animals”

Photobucket Producer Edison has been making music for awhile, but now he’s about to reveal a new project for all to hear. The album is being released by
Egadz through, and when you hear Edison’s music, you’ll understand why they’re working together on this one. People Are Bad Animals is the name of the new Edison album, and anyone who loves beat craftsmanship will love what he does here with textures, atmospherics, and overall feel of his songs.

People Are Bad Animals will be made available in full for download on February 8th, but you can stream the tracks with the player below.

REVIEW: Fops’ “Yeth Yeth Yeth”

Photobucket Sometimes all you need is 11 songs in 35 minutes to make a point, then get the hell out of the studio and damage the world. This is what Fops do on their debut album, Yeth Yeth Yeth (Monotreme), but the musicians involved are not new to the scene. They are a duo consisting of vocalist Dee Kesler and lyricist Chadwick Donald Bidwell, and together they create a sound that could be like a cross between Velvet Underground, Let’s Active, Siouxsie & The Banshees, Joy Division, and anything dark, gloomy, and gothy that will make you want to squeeze into a latex outfit, walk to your local graveyard, and light your favorite incense as you move your body in egocentric figure 8’s. That may sound funny, but the music is not, and rather than place an alluded stereotype as I did, create your own vibe with it. It has the feel of those dark mood albums of the late 70’s early 80’s but with a sense that a little bit of sunshine will help change their ways. My hope is that Fops will continue to make music that longs for the sunshine, as that will be what makes them strong. Finding the sunshine would only turn them into something different, although I’d probably enjoy that too.

Yeth Yeth Yeth is the first of two albums recorded, a second will be released sometime this year.</iframe

REVIEW: Bones & Tones’ self-titled debut album

Photobucket The sounds of Africa are taken to a new level with the debut album by Bones & Tones, a group featuring Warren Smith (vibraphone & percussion), Jaribu Shahid (bass & percussion), Lloyd Haber (marimba, bells & percussion), and Abdou Mboup (percussion, vocals, and kora). It would loosely be considered jazz only because it’s more organized and structured, so don’t expect the freedoms of indigenous music even though the so-called “world” qualities are in this. What I like about this is that it takes the listener to places as if it’s a walk through history, and one that is meant to allow you to understand and feel the people of these different lands. Some of this is arranged very well to where it might be used for movie soundtracks, or even something like a Super Mario video game. That might sound like I’m giving Bones & Tones a backhand, but I say this with sincerity. Some of it sounds like the perfect video game music, or what you expect to hear when you turn on your Wii. It may sound basic at first but as you begin to listen, it’s its simplicity that helps make it work. I found Shahid’s bass work to be damn good too, especially in “228”, and if the name is familiar, then your taste in jazz would make you enjoy this album just as much as his previous work. Mboup, Haber, and Smith have also worked with everyone from Sam Rivers, Ornette Coleman, and Joe Zawinul to Aretha Franklin and The Talking Heads, so these are people who know very well what they’re doing. Now find out what they’re doing together, in musical unity.

(The debut from Bones & Tones will be released on March 1st.)

REVIEW: Shawn Costantino’s “Waltz For Anne”

Photobucket When you start your album out with a Beatles cover, especially one that sounds nothing like the original, I’m ready to listen. In this case, saxophonist Shawn Costantino does this with a cool version of “Can’t Buy Me Love”, and from that point on the album keeps on getting better. Waltz For Anne isn’t an album that just spotlights the artist, but all of the musicians. Costantino could easily say “I’m going to do my work and just play the sax in everything”, but in the title track you also have guitarist Andrew Synowiec with an incredible electric solo, bassist David Hughes getting deep into the funk that drummer Jens Kuross creates, before paving the way for organist Lincoln Cleary, and overall it has the same kind of feel you might find on some boogaoo Blue Note or Prestige jazz circa 1968/1969. It’s slanky, sweaty, and funky, but then Castantino and friends show that they’re not just retro pioneers, but explorers of moods and emotion on this album.

What I like about Constantino’s playing is that he understands control and limits. I love it when a musician goes beyond the point of no return, but I also like it when someone is reserved. Whether it’s the sax, clarinet,or flutes, he’s capable of working everything into a song but knowing exactly when to place a period in an expression or allowing another band member to carry on with a theme. The songs are arranged very well, his originals are quite good, but also worthy is his cover of James Taylor‘s “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely”, which will definitely please jazz fans who aren’t particularly fond of Taylor’s own work, as it keeps to the original acoustic qualities but making it better. Guitarist Synowiec even gets a song placed within the mix with the album closer, “Bailout”, and if you’re someone who loves some of the guitar work that can be found on mid to late 70’s ECM, listen to him go back and forth with Costantino on “Whatever You Do”. Put it on in the background and create the perfect night for lovers, or at least to kick back in your electric chair to be mesmerized by the recording and musicianship.

While Costantino has performed and recorded with others throughout the years, Waltz For Anne is his first album as a leader. All I have to say to that is “damn, what took you so long?” Sometimes it takes time for things to be aged to its prime, and while Costantino is far from being in his prime, the release of this album shows that this is his time. Yes, that last sentence dabbled in rhyme.


REVIEW: Alekos Galas’ “Mediterranean Breeze”

Photobucket The sounds of the Mediterranean are explored on this new album by Alekos Galas, whose chosen instrument is the bouzouki. On Mediterranean Breeze (Ehos) he mixes up a bit of sounds from his Greek heritage and mixes it up with pop and smooth jazz.

I found the pop sounds and those that steered more to the Greek side of things were very good, and I can easily imaging this to be used for a wide range of things. For smooth jazz fans, the material here is sure to gain him a bit of airplay. While I may not give the smooth jazz repeat airplays, his musicianship within the boundaries of the music help give the mood a nice touch generally not heard, or at least because the bouzouki is not an instrument commonly explored in the genre. While Galas may have have preferred styles on this album, I’d like to be able to hear him in other genres and projects. Job well done.