Sunday, September 19, 2004

A Few Of This Week's Favorite Things

Tears For Fears have just released their new LP Everybody Loves A Happy Ending here in the US (it was out in Europe in June). After a few years apart Curt & Roland have reunited, and after some trepidation about it (as well as having read a few bad reviews) I am happy to report that, IMO, the record doesn't suck. It pretty much picks up where Seeds Of Love left off - super melodic, adult oriented pop. There's plenty of Beatlesque moments, and the production is pretty sweet - lush, and full of nice touches. Ladybird is definitely Beatles inspired, a swoony, summery song with a fabulous chorus and some very George Harrison guitar. I always loved the dynamics of these two singing and writing together, and it's good to hear them again.

Jill Scott has really impressed me with her new album Beautifully Human. It's some class act soul music that hearkens back to the golden days of her hometown Philly's vaunted soul scene. Talk To Me spends it's first 2 minutes bumping to a fantastic hip hop soul groove while Jill asks her distant lover to talk to her - then suddenly it's a swinging, big band jazz tune, all breezy horns and scatting. Not too many singers can try this kind of thing and be successful, and Jill carries it off effortlessly. A great album.

Deceptikon is Zack Wright, out of Portland, Oregon. His album Lost Subject is out now on Merck Records, and if you are a fan of well crafted instrumental hip hop grooves then look no further - this dude's got 'em. He does a deft job of blending samples and beats, and creates jazzy moody soundscapes that never fail to get my head bobbing. Ox Conservatory is one of the more uptempo tunes on the album, riding a funky ass beat, some killer keys and a few beautiful horn samples. Highly recommended.

Ultra Vivid Scene provide this week's flashback track - How Sweet. I have always felt that Kurt Ralske's band was one of the great under appreciated acts of the late '80s / early '90s rock scene. He had great song writing ability, creating catchy pop songs swathed in all manner of cool production sounds. How Sweet is from their second album on 4AD, Rev (the first is Joy 1967-1990 - a great record!) and rocks like T.Rex infused with a even bigger dose of psychedelia. Also of note on this track are the guest musicians - Matthew Sweet on bass and Fred Maher on drums. Kurt's guitar playing is blazing on this track, and the melody is very beguiling. If you ever come across these old albums you must buy them!

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