Archive for July, 2008

Sam Sparro

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008 | News | No Comments
Sam Sparro

I first saw Sam Sparro on Rove a couple of weeks ago wearing some rather swanky, shiny, purple shoes and I superficially thought someone with such taste must be worth a listen. I was therefore not surprised or disappointed to learn his music is indeed as funky as his fashion sense. Sam Sparro’s debut self-titled album is a naughty, neon explosion of new wave, pop, electro and funk held together by one of the best voices I’ve heard belonging to a white guy. Let’s be honest, this album is not exactly profound; the kind of album to get drunk to and perhaps do a bit of glow-stick dancing (not a common pursuit for me of course, but music is about self expression, right?) Sparro set out to create an album of pure escapism and has achieved just that showing shades of Prince, Jamiraquoi, Stevie Wonder and Daft Punk along the way.

Sam Sparro - Cottonmouth
If you’re unlucky enough to have been listening to the radio in the last couple of months you’ve probably already heard Sam Sparro. The mainstream friendly single ‘Black and Gold’ has been receiving huge air-time and provides a welcome blip on an otherwise barren pop landscape. Not since Robyn’s self-titled album reached our airwaves last year, have I so enjoyed such mainstream fodder. Unfortunately, ‘Black and Gold’ will likely be chewed up and repeatedly regurgitated until your ears bleed, but hey, the nature of the beast. On the surface the track appears to be your standard love song, but is actually an ode to the man upstairs and when you learn that Sparro plied his trade by accompanying his father, an accomplished gospel singer, on tour, it’s easy to see where this huge, soulful voice was honed.

Sam Sparro 21st Century Life

Born in Australia, he moved to Los Angeles when he was ten and has drifted between there and England
ever since (no doubt there will be various claims staked on him because of this.) He writes, performs (you’d hope so) produces and arranges all his own music and even goes so far as to contribute his own artwork and the odd, funny behind-the-scenes video to YouTube. Sam Sparro obviously has a very fluorescent future ahead of him but this album is not perfect, there are a couple of tracks that are just too small for his big voice. ‘Waiting for Time’ has tried to take a darker tone, but ends up just dreary in comparison and I couldn’t suppress a snigger on the track ‘Clingwrap’ which actually says “you must have thought I was your snack, cos’ you’re sticking to me like clingwrap”?! That’s not to say he isn’t afraid to tackle the tough issues. Anyone ever afflicted with the dry-horrors will appreciate the concerns of the mock-rap track ‘Cottonmouth.’ In all seriousness though, when Sam Sparro gets it right you won’t be able to turn it off. I have been humming songs like the opening track ‘Too Many Questions’ and second single ‘21st Century Life’ so incessantly that I’ve been getting funny looks on the tram. “I want my music to take people out of their own life and make them feel happy and feel that they are more than they think they are, whatever that is. The world is not as ordinary as people want you to think it is. If the music can make you forget about your stupid job and your bills and your relationship problems for half an hour, I’m happy with that.” Well said Sam, where will you and your shiny shoes take us next…

You can check out more of Sam Sparro at:


Soul Brothers – Martin Luther & Cody Chesnutt

Monday, July 21st, 2008 | News | No Comments
Soul Brothers - Martin Luther & Cody Chesnutt

There isn’t an enormous amount of soul musicians around these days, thankfully though, if you dig around for a while you will find artists like Martin Luther, and Cody Chesnutt.

Martin Luther of Rebel Soul Records plays a sweet mix-up of soul, rock, blues and funk, also often collaborating with underground hip hop artists like The RootsQuestlove. He explains of himself “My music is just soul music, but I attach “rebel” to it because my music is revolutionary. I want you to evolve from your day to day thinking that most music being played on the radio doesn’t encourage or inspire you to do. Therefore my music has some sort of rebellious attitude about it”

Martin Luther – Daily Bread

Cody Chesnutt first came to recognition with suitably titled debut album “The Headphone Masterpiece”. Probably the most refreshing element of his music is his ability to cross so many styles, era’s, and topics , from sweet gospel to modern pop, and everything in between including his alter ego; the voice of male bravado. With at times deliberately simplistic music, Cody’s poetry always manages to carry any tune he creates solidly. Speaking on where he is today “Cody has been living life in its momentary expression as a husband, a father, and a student of God. Life has been his muse, his wife; his child, the earth, wind, and the sun are his text book”.

King of the Game
Cody Chesnutt – Directed by Michel Gondry

You can check out more of Martin Luther at:

and Cody Chesnutt at:

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Roots Manuva – Slime and Reason

Friday, July 18th, 2008 | News | 1 Comment
Roots Manuva - Slime and Reason

Get ready to witness the fitness, as the man of style and substance brings us more of his razor sharp wit and musical mastery. News has just come out that UKhip hop artist Roots Manuva will be releasing his fifth album early September 2008. The man from South London, otherwise known as Rodney Smith, responsible for such gems as “Run come save me” and “Colossal Insight”, has been quiet on the musical front since his last album came out in 2005, “Awfully Deep”.

Roots Manuva – Again and Again

Roots Manuva is an MC with great lyrical skills and abilities, who also produces much of his own material. You can hear new tracks from the album “Slime and Reason” on his official website and watch the new singles “Again and Again’ and “Buff Nuff”, already avaliable on youtube. Both songs have interesting videos that should appeal to fans of both cricket and ice cream.

You can check out more of Roots Manuva at:


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Lyrics Born – Everywhere at Once

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008 | News, Reviews | No Comments
Lyrics Born - Everywhere at Once

Callin’ Out to all fans, that tireless tourer Lyrics Born (who averages 150 shows a year!) is once again gracing Australian shores with his own brand of infectious, funky fun. The road to hip-hop success has obviously not always been an easy one for LB, how many other half Japanese- American, half Italian-American rappers do you know of? But it is this unique perspective that has allowed Lyrics, born Tom Shimura, to come up with the genre-splicing, energy jolt that is his latest solo submission ‘Everywhere at Once.’

The doubters and nay-sayers have only fueled the fires on an album that is well, everywhere at once. Seemlessly shifting from our favourite dance floor bangers such as the opening track ‘Differences’ and the first single ‘I Like It, I Love It,’ to the Rick Jamesish ‘I’m A Phreak,’ to the reggae inspired ‘Top Shelf,’ with sprinklings of sultry R’n’B thrown in for good measure. Here is an album where the production finally lives up to the energy of his stage shows through the use of a live funk band as opposed to his heavily sampled earlier offerings such as his first solo album ‘Later That Day,’ that had glimpses of brilliance but not enough to carry the whole album.

Lyrics Born – I like it, I love it

Lyrics Born is at his best laying his husky growl over smooth, soulful grooves, hence ‘Is It The Skin I’m In,’ and ‘Whispers,’ are major highlights for me. With subject material ranging from his dealings with racism, the grief of losing his best friend to staying true to yourself as in ‘Don’t Change,’ the albums themes are as diverse as the sounds it makes. The album is also well served with back-up vocal talent with appearances from his wife Joyo Velarde and everyone’s favourite cameo man, Chali 2na also supplying the deepest voice in town on the track ‘Hott 2 Deff.’ My only real criticism is the inclusion of a couple of skits that I always find a little self-indulgent and only serve to disrupt what is an otherwise awesome offering. Nevertheless this album is sure to get plenty of air-time at summer social events and will be enjoyed by male and female fans alike.

With shows starting in Byron Bay on the 3rd of August, on to Hobart, Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne then wrapping up in Sydney on the 9th, there is ample opportunity to catch Lyrics Born in full-flight, and with tickets around $40 it should be an affordable blast.

For more information on Lyrics Born and official tour dates check out:


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Beck – Modern Guilt

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008 | News, Reviews | No Comments
Beck - Modern Guilt

I have a sneaking suspicion that Danger Mouse (if that is his real name) is more than one actual person, possibly many fictitious people. I base this wild accusation on the amount of music produced lately with the name attached. Apparently he has produced at least four albums released this year (not counting the latest Gnarls Barkley effort) including the recent Black Keys ‘Attack in release’ and more to the point the new Beck record ‘Modern Guilt’, released 8th of July.                                                  Beck and Dangermouse

Beck’s tenth studio album released on his 38th birthday, will go down in the long line of experimental yet consistent Beck projects, that mostly slip past commercial attention, each time as they change theme and styles, being reborn as a different musical creature. This time the chameleon returns with the definite influence of the also prolific and talented mister Danger Mouse, who adds some of his own finesse and a more than few hand claps.

Opening tracks like “Gamma Ray” and “Orphans” are sure to get a few shoes tapping, and the general modern-jazz-noir artwork should an association with many sophisticated occasions. By the sound of Becks official publicity blurb, he must have had a great time or been a little tired: “and so, 120 nights of no sleep and seeing the dawn try not make an impression, there was some hollow hewn thing there that seemed a little basic”.

Beck Modern Guilt promo

Both artists suit this modern take on 60’s Brit-Rock creating a well rounded effort that should be liked by most fans and as usual gain a few converts to the cause.\

You can check out more of Beck at:

… Yosarrian

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