Friday, November 21, 2014

Dangerous (feat. Sam Martin) - David Guetta

Song: Dangerous (feat. Sam Martin)
Artist: David Guetta
Album: Listen

I think the Club-Pop bubble is about to burst.

David Guetta has just released his sixth album Listen and while it's not exactly more of the same from the king of the drop, it's not all that inspired either.

BUT, I really really like current single "Dangerous" featuring vocals by Sam Martin.  Check it out.  Good weekend song.



Thursday, November 20, 2014

Beg For It - Iggy Izalea

Song: Beg For It (feat. Mø)
Artist: Iggy Azalea
Album: Reclassified

Iggy Azalea's had quite the year eh?

"Work" remains her biggest triumph, but "Fancy" sure caught fire, unquestionably supported by Charli XCX's monster hook chorus.  (Don't believe me?  Check out the original.)

Without any other big singles on the album post the okay "Black Widow," Iggy's going down the re-release path though instead of an E.P. or just tacked-on new bonus tracks, her album The New Classic has been... "rehauled" (?) as Reclassified, with five new tracks and missing a whole bunch.  Apparently this will be the album moving forward.  Okay?

So first up is "Beg For It" a literal carbon-copy of "Fancy" complete with Charli XCX-written hooky chorus.  But they replace Charli with Mø just to make it different enough.

Jennifer Hudson and Ellie Goulding are on the revised Reclassified, nothing all that inspired.  I've gone from cheerleader to semi-detractor with this girl.  What happened?

Just listen to "Work" again.

Beg For It

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Garota - Erlend Øye

Song: Garota
Artist: Erlend Øye
Album: Legao

Never got into Kings of Convenience, Norwegian composer, musician, producer, & singer-songwriter Erlend Øye's early 00s downtempo band that released five album throughout that decade and helped put the man on the indie map.  I liked his more electronic-tinged solo album Unrest from '03, but really dug his other project The Whitest Boy Alive, and their two album of mid-tempo electronica that came out in '06 & '09.  The man's been pretty quiet for the last five or so years, aside from some production work for Norwegian indie band Kakkmaddafakka, until last year when he started releasing singles for his second solo album Legao, which came out in October of this year.

Legao is a much less electronic affair than Unrest, delving more into organic folk-tinged reggae.  It's an odd little record but a great little laid-back mood piece.  And there is something still very charming and enchanting about Erlend's voice.

Just... nice.



Bad Guy Now

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Midnight Train - Bryan Ferry

Song: Midnight Train
Artist: Bryan Ferry
Album: Avonmore

We last heard from Bryan Ferry earlier this year after lending his voice to Todd Terje's debut album on the track "Johnny and Mary," which I didn't realize was actually a Robert Palmer cover.  That followed 2012's The Jazz Age, which was a commercial disappointment until Baz Luhrmann used a track in The Great Gatsby, which led to a further collaboration with the Bryan Ferry Orchestra.  I was quite the fan of Olympia, Ferry's last album of original material and was happily surprised to hear he was coming back with his fourteenth solo album, Avonmore.

Avonmore isn't as punchy as Olympia, but it has Ferry's trademark sexy, jazzy, evocative sound that made him, along with his band Roxy Music, fixtures of the music scene for decades.  If you're a fan, I highly recommend it.

The album includes the "Johnny and Mary" cover as well as, oddly, a cover of Stephen Sondheim's "Send in the Clowns."  I can't say I'm familiar with Sondheim's version, though Ferry's take fits right in with his sound and on record.  I've always found Sondheim's music rather annoying so this is quite the feat.  Beyond the covers there are some new Ferry classics to these ears, including opener "Loop De Li," "Midnight Train," "Soldier of Fortune" with Johnny Marr, as well as "One Night Stand," which comes late in the album and features heavy female back up singing.


Midnight Train
Loop De Li
Johnny and Mary

Monday, November 17, 2014

Burning Bridges - Lucinda Williams

Song: Burning Bridges
Artist: Lucinda Williams
Album: Down Where the Spirit Hits the Bone

For her eleventh album Lucinda Williams returns with her most ambitious work, a double-album of deep Southern rock and blistering soulful blues called Down Where the Spirit Hits the Bone.  I tried to get into this when it was released back in September but never made it through.  After being such a fan starting with Car Wheels on a Gravel Road through to '03's A World Without Tears, her last album have left with a case of the "meh's," something that you could argue no Lucinda Williams should ever do.

As I make my way through the vast Down Where the Spirit Hits the Bone I am reminded of that old Lucinda, the one that cuts through you with a phrase and immerses you completely in her Louisiana-soaked Southern heartache.


Burning Bridges

Friday, November 14, 2014

Do it Again - Melissa Etheridge

Song: Do it Again
Artist: Melissa Etheridge
Album: This is M.E.

Last week friend and reader Nick took me to see Melissa Etheridge on her new tour at Town Hall in New York City.  He got us AMAZING seats and while I've never been a huge fan of hers, the concert was an absolute blast.  She puts on a great show, it's obvious that she has genuine affection for her band, and she was pretty adept at mixing popular tunes from her now decades-old career with new music from her twelfth studio album, This is M.E.

While I knew the hits, and her last album, Nick helped me get ready for the show with a solid list of past tracks from her entire career  which I listened to alternately with the new album via Spotify.  I was digging everything, but was really connecting with the new material as well.  At the show, the new tracks "came alive" (snort) even more, the best you can really ask for from a live performance.

I was particularly struck by her performance of This is M.E. track "Do it Again," a track that didn't stand out when I listened to the record, but during the show sounded like a stone-cold classic.  (Sort of like how album track "Rock and Roll Me" from her last record still floors me.)  "Do it Again" was further amped up given the surprise guest back-up singer Angela Hunte, the woman that wrote "Empire State of Mind."  She happened to be very pregnant.  Here she is on the right:

"Do it Again" is a moving, passionate, love proclamation that Melissa just kills.  It's rock track with real soul to it, and her backup singers, along with Angela, just made it soar.  It was a real moment at the show.

I really recommend this record too.  Upbeat rockers like "I Won't Be Alone Tonight," "Take My Number," and "Ain't that Bad" really kick.  More people should be hearing this.


Do it Again
Won't Be Alone Tonight
Take My Number

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Number 1 - Mystery Skulls

Song: Number 1
Artist: Mystery Skulls
Album: Forever

Mystery Skulls are a Dallas, Texas originated, currently L.A. based indie-dance "group" formed by Luis Dubuc in 2011.  Their debut album Forever was recently released on Warner Brothers Records.

The album includes two collaborations with singer Brandy and Nile Rodgers, who brings his trademark guitar groove to singles "Magic" and "Number 1."  They both have a throwback feel to them that's instantly satisfying.

The album is filled with lots of 80s synth and driving beats.  Not revolutionary or particularly notable, but worth a listen for sure.


Number 1

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Uptown Funk (ft. Bruno Mars) - Mark Ronson

Song: Uptown Funk (ft. Bruno Mars)
Artist: Mark Ronson
Album: Uptown Special

First single from Writer/Producer Mark Ronson's upcoming fourth album Uptown Special, due in January of next year.  He collaborates on the track with singer-songwriter Bruno Mars, whom he produced three tracks off his latest Unorthodox Jukebox, including the singles "Locked Out of Heaven" and "Gorilla."

"Uptown Funk" finds the pair diving deep into early 80s Funkadelic, a retro-redux of slap-bass, synths, and they-just-don't-write-'em-like-that-anymore Uptown cool.  It seems just about perfect for Ronson, as well as Bruno... who have both carved careers with more sounds from the past than the present or future.  Ronson's biggest gift is not letting it all sound like a retread, which has been the cornerstone of his career.


Uptown Funk

Monday, November 10, 2014

Ice Princess - Azealia Banks

Song: Ice Princess
Artist: Azealia Banks
Album: Broke With Expensive Taste

Late last week Azealia Banks surprise-released her long-delayed debut album Broke With Expensive Taste. Amidst Twitter feuds and issues with old label Interscope, it was speculated by many that the album would never come out.  Interscope dropped her (or she got out) in July and now we have the album.  And it's one of the best of the year.

Given that it has been quite some time since her debut single "212" hit the scene and got everyone talking about her, which is on the album, as well as other previously released tracks and knowing the record was done over a year ago, you'd think the album would sound a bit stale.  But it doesn't.  It's odd and quirky, yet effortlessly cool, catchy, and surprising in it's variety and at times emotionally impactful.  I'm almost ready to call it a hip-hop classic in the making.

I called her 2012 one-two punch EP and mixtape Fantasea one of the best of that year, and Broke more than fulfills that promise.  "Chasing Time" has turned into one of my favorite tracks of hers, but there's a lot to love on this record.  I'm digging the Morgan Page biting "Ice Princess," as well as the 90s hip-hop-meets-merengue (?!?!) "Gimme a Chance" as well as the laid-back cool of "Wallace."  But it's tracks like "Soda" that show a new depth to Azealia that has me very excited for new music from her.

Very exciting.


Ice Princess
Heavy Metal and Reflective
Chasing Time

Friday, November 07, 2014

Make Luv - Room 5

Song: Make Luv
Artist: Room 5
Album: Music & You

And since it's Friday let's get a bit more upbeat in our Esta Groove...

Room 5 and the album Music & You is a one-off project from Italian house producer and DJ Vito Lucente, better known as Junior Jack. He's gone through several monikers since starting in the early 90s, with Junior Jack apparently his last, with the album Trust It in 2004.  The year prior he released Music & You, a disco-house phantasia that still sounds pretty amazing.  One of my favorite finds from the last year.

I'll be adding tracks and albums to the below playlist in the future so you should totally follow it and get your body movin'.


Make Luv
Music & You
U Got Me

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Survive - Sweet Coffee

Song: Survive
Artist: Sweet Coffee
Album: Face to Face

Sweet Coffee are comprised of Belgian duo Patrick Bruyndonx and Raffaele Brescia.  Started out as a studio band in 2004 but evolved into a live band in 2010.

Face to Face is their fourth album and a superb mix of house, jazz, soul, and some dancehall/reggae.  I've listened to their '07 album Naked City and follow up to Face, Our Moods from 2013.  Face to Face is my definite favorite, good from start to finish.


edit: oh, I've totally repeated myself.

Drops of Rain

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Sweeter Sound - The Rurals

Song: Sweeter Sound
Artist: The Rurals
Albums: Sweeter Sounds

This Devonshire, England collective have been at it for over sixteen years, and have been quite prolific... releasing over eighty E.P.'s and sixteen long-playing albums.  Pretty insane.

The group started in 1994 and have released a consistent stream of jazz-tinged soulful house albums.  If there's one fault, from what I've heard, is that it's more of the same for each record... but this is top shelf background music.  And it reminds me of straight-up jazz in that way.

Their most notable album is probably Sweeter Sounds from 2001, but honestly... if you like the vibe you should peruse their entire catalog.  I've been starting my days at the office with a different album of theirs here and there for weeks.  Really sublime.  And most of their stuff is on Spotify.


Sweeter Sound

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

At Night - Shakedown

Song: At Night
Artist: Shakedown
Album: You Think You Know

I've recently been getting into background-ish house music that sets a groovy mood for parties or even just a nice Saturday afternoon at home.  Recent albums from GusGus & Booka Shade got me into this a bit more and I've recently been going back and discovering great, some decades-old, records that fit this bill.  Mostly instrumental, though some do have vocals.  Think sexy background music.

Let me introduce you to some of this amazing stuff...

Shakedown were a Swiss musical project from brothers Stephan and Sebastian Kohler.  They only released two albums, their first and most notable You Think You Know was released in 2001.  It's best known for the track "At Night," which became a sizable dance hit in 2002.

I'll be building a playlist this week of music in this vein.  For you, Esta Groove...


At Night
Drowsy With Hope