REVIEW: Eliane Amherd’s “Skylines”

The new album from vocalist Eliane Amherd continues to show incredible promise for someone who displays incredible talent, not only in her voice but what she selects for her new album, Skylines (self-released). It’s partly jazzy but it’s rich with pop tendencies, soulful vibes and occasional reggae grooves, showing the kind of diversity that a lot of modern singers are often afraid to do. It would be too easy to compare her to Norah Jones but that’s due to the shared vocal harmony and charm but Amberd is her own person, whether it’s the Herbie Hancock-esque “”Counting Grains Of Sand” or her cover of Janet Jackson’s “What Have You Done For Me Lately”. She is someone who is letting people know what she is about and if you liked her previous album, the songs here are saying “I have much more to give and share, please stick around.” Glad she has returned with this new effort.

VIDEO: James Apollo’s “Ho, Ho, Ho Hum”

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The press release for this song suits my opinion accurately: “There’s a certain artificiality that comes with much Christmas music, due in large part to the over-commercialization of the holiday.” This is why I like songs such as Puff Tube’s “Let’s Shave Rudoloph”. Thus, I’ve discovered a Christmas song that doesn’t feel artificial nor forced, and it’s done by an artist named James Apollo. His song is called “Ho Ho, Ho Hum”, which may make some go “I don’t want to listen to it if it’s just ho hum” but boring it is not. It takes the reality of being lonely during the holidays and gives it a positive perspective.

SOME STUFFS: Audio Fidelity to release remasters of George Benson and “Super Session”

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They are cherished albums in the world of jazz and blues rock respectively, and despite how many copies you have seen of this around everywhere, you definitely haven’t heard them like this. Audio Fidelity are releasing audiophile hybrid SACD remasters of George Benson’s Breezin’ and the Mike Bloomfield/Al Kooper/Stephen Stills album known to many as Super Session.

Benson’s 1975 album is the one that helped moved him to the pop charts with his renditions of “This Masquerade” and the title track, a song that you could pretty much hear everywhere on the radio. The 5.1 mix was done by Doug Sax.

Super Session is an album that has carried a reputation for the guitarists that are on it, along with their performances of each song. In hip-hop circles, many will recognize “Season Of The Witch” as being sampled by The Pharcyde. The 5.1 mix was done by Bob Ludwig. For both CD’s, the stereo mixes were both mastered by Steve Hoffman, so you should know very well how this will sound. How will it compare to the MFSL audio pressing? Just wait and see/hear. Both SACD’s are scheduled for release on August 5th.

RECORD CRACK: Quantic & Alice Russell to release teardrop-shaped vinyl for new single

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You may want to pick this up even if you do not like the artists and/or music, but more value if you do. Quantic & Alice Russell are still hard at work promoting their album Look Around The Corner (Tru-Thoughts), and the third single will be released on July 16th, called “I’d Cry” b/w “Here Again”. The song has the both of them joined by Combo Bárbaro, and in honor of the song, the record is being pressed as a tearshop-shaped record, in translucent blue. You can pre-order your copy from the UK by heading to Etch Shop.

(A video for the acoustic version of the song was posted here last year in April, which you may view by clicking here.)

SOME STUFFS: U.S. tour dates announced for The Cat Empire

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Look into the eyes of The Cat Empire. LOOK INTO THE EYES OF THE C…

Okay, maybe that’s not a good way to start this, so let’s try again.

From Melbourne, Australia comes The Cat Empire, and they will be coming across the Pacific to play North America in June and July in support of their Steal The Light album, to be released on May 17th by the band on their own Two Shoes label. If the summer is going to be a hot one, make it hotter with these Aussies.

June 27… Washington, DC (Fillmore)
June 28… Philadelphia, PA (World Cafe Live)
June 29… New York, NY (Best Buy Theatre)
June 30… Boston, MA (House of Blues)
July 9… Cleveland, OH (Beachland Ballroom)
July 10… Chicago, IL (House of Blues)
July 11… Minneapolis, MN (Cedar Culture Center)
July 23… Seattle, WA (Neumos)
July 24… Portland, OR (Doug Fir Lounge)

These dates are part of a world tour that will also bring them through Europe, where they will be joined by fellow Austraians, FLAP!. Australian shows will feature Hiatus Kaiyote, so those shows should be a blast. For a look at those dates, head to for more information.

REVIEW: Justin Horn’s “Hornology”

Photobucket With an album cover that is homage to Stevie Wonder’s Music Of My Mind, I wanted to know what kind of music could be found in Justin Horn‘s mind, and he displays this in Hornology (Rotato).

The Hornology in this case is the -ology of his name, and this is represented by his vocal talents, where he brings jazz and pop, along with hints of soul. I think in a better world, tracks liks “By Your Side” and “That Way” would be radio hits, with the latter featuring vocalst Ameerah Tatum, who has done her share of background vocals on a number of albums in the last few years. His take on Wayne Shorter’s “Footprints” is a nice one and is sure to turn heads towards Horn’s way.

If there is one gripe, it’s a minor one, and that’s how he enunciates words down to a tee, but Johnny Mathis was never this funky. As much as I hate Auto-Tune, he adds the effect to “You Can’t Get My Love” and manages to do it better than most pop artists are these days. The point is, it’s easy to pinpoint certain things and say “I hate it” but what I try to do is go through it and figure out what I like about it. The enunciation is his style, and there’s a lot worse things to talk about than my preferences. “You Can’t Get My Love” could lead to him getting greater airplay, or at least if someone is turning the radio and it surpasses an NPR channel or jazz radio, someone will go “turn that back, what is this?” I heard the Auto-Tube bubbles and was like “oh no, really?” but oddly enough, it works for me. This is his Hornology, take it or leave it. I’m deciding to take it.