Erykah Badu – But You Caint Use My Phone (Mixtape)
Favorite Track: What’s Yo Phone Number/Telephone – Medley/Ghost of Screw Mix
I recently heard about this mixtape from one of my studio clients last week and I cannot be more grateful. I feel like recently a lot of current R&B artists have lost a lot of originality over time, but Erykah Badu came in hot with this mixtape last year. This mixtape is smooth, clever, fun and the whole idea of being composed in its totality by phone related lyrics a great concept, given that I find this being a recurring theme in R&B more often than not, but I have never seen it being the central theme of a project. I have always loved concept albums that are equipped to be listened to all the way through and in order for maximum enjoyment, and But You Caint Use My Phone by Erykah Badu is a perfect modern example of this.
I really enjoy everything about this album, it is very authentic, well written, contains really good performances, it is mixed very well, it is very creative in all aspects. I want to make an emphasis on about well mixed this album is mixed, the balance is great, the overall sound contains the warmth, intimacy and minimal grittiness that project the vibe of Erykah’s material, and all of the multiple special FXs in the vocals and in the beat plus all the toying around with the stereo image helped keep the performance interesting. All in all, this is a really cool album to check out.
Coldplay – The Blue Room EP
Genre: Alternative Rock
Favorite Track: See You Soon
Remember those times when Coldplay was not lame? To be honest, I almost don’t. It feels like XY came out so long ago. With notable influences from U2 and Radiohead, this is a much more authentic and real sounding Coldplay to what we are used to listening to. The Blue Room EP is Coldplay’s second release ever, and while it only contains 5 songs, it has some of the band’s absolute best work. Here we encounter Coldplay as its most intimate self, as well as a very warm and hazy Coldplay, I believe that this by far the best fit for them in terms of sound. This EP contains cuts such as High Speed and Don’t Panic that made it in their first full-length release, Parachutes, but with different performances that are very much worth listening too.
The highlight of this EP definitely the beautiful ballad See You Soon. It’s a very simple song with very few elements that were all executed exceptionally well. The guitar part is in my opinion, the most fragile and beautiful guitar performance I have heard in a Coldplay song while Chris Martin’s vocals are so pure, up close, and honest. My interpretation of the song is that it is a heartfelt letter to one’s unfaithful lover.
This is definitely the best Coldplay release there has been, showcases so much room for potential, it’s sad that this didn’t last for much longer, but wow this EP is just breathtaking.
Ween – Chocolate And Cheese
Genre: Psychedelic Rock
Favorite Track: A Tear For Eddie
Ween is by far one of the most abstract and multi-stylistic acts I have ever heard. Ween was formed in New Hope, PA in 1984 by Aaron Freeman (Gene Ween) and Mickey Melchiondo (Dean Ween) while both of them were in middle school. The name “Ween” is said to be a blend of the words “wuss” and “penis”, words that to me, describe the band’s personality flawlessly. The duo started out with a handful of virtuosic four-track bedroom recordings of multiple styles performed entirely by Gene and Dean Ween. During the Chocolate and Cheese period, Ween left the 4-track recording approach and decided to do full band studio sessions with some studio musicians to give everything more of a live feel, and it absolutely rocked.
While Ween’s recordings vary a lot in style, they all have one thing in common, and that is that they are all very visual and the lyrics are almost always nonsensical and silly, which showcases their “No F***ks” personality. Chocolate and Cheese features songs such as 70’s psych rock influenced “Voodoo Lady”; “A Tear For Eddie” which is Dean Weens tribute to one of his favorite guitarists, Eddie Hazel from Parliament-Funkadelic (who’s 8 minute composition “Maggot Brain” serves as inspiration for nearly half of Dean Ween’s solos), backed by his rendition of what would be elevator music; grotesque cuts such “Spinal Meningitis (Got Me Down) and “HIV Song”, and much more.
Ween is, in my opinion, the ultimate psychedelic rock band. If you are looking to listen to a really cool trippy album, look no further.
Hop Along – Painted Shut
Genre: Indie Rock
Favorite Track: The Knock
Hop Along is a current Indie Rock band from Philadelphia which characterizes itself from its very rhythmic, aggressive guitar stabs and licks, in addition to Frances Quinlan’s highly eccentric vocals. It feels to me as if Indie and Garage Rock had a baby. This album is a hidden gem that has been around since last year. Hop Along’s sound prides itself to be very high energy and of emotional impact.
Frances Quinlan is my favorite female rock vocalist at the moment, with Painted Shut, she proves herself to have very wide ranges both in terms of pitch and dynamics, and that she also uses these ranges very well. She can start out nice and quiet and all of the sudden you feel these strong guitar stabs coming your way in addition to here voice raising to shouting level and the result is just beautiful. It feels like she is pouring her soul out right in front of you.
This album mostly contains upbeat indie songs and some strong acoustic ballads. I highly recommend listening to this if you are looking for some great current Indie Rock.
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