Tom, Glad to read the Nellee Hooper Love. Dude owned serious real estate in my 90′s mixtapes.
I am as excited about these two as I am about any act in dance/electronic music at the moment. They seem deeply rooted in garage, dubstep (the non bro-step kind–not that there’s anything wrong with that) and 90s house. It’s a great foundation to start from and I think they’re just going to get better and better as they mature. The remix of Jessie Ware’s Running was one of my favorite tracks of 2012 and I still play the shit out of it.
“Drake is sad even when he parties. Mouse parties even when he’s sad. There’s a world of difference there.”
Good Shit man lol
Nice review. Solange is sorta like the head cheerleader’s much younger little sister who decided it’s pointless to try and follow in her sister’s footsteps and instead decides to hang with the goth kids and figure it out on her own. You can look at it two ways: (1) cynical. She knows that it’s pointless to even try (and to some extent, she somewhat did with her first album), and thus, recognizes she has a different angle to exploit, or (2) original. Despite her first album, she could have used familiar influences to push a solo career (Solange is infinitely more talented than Ashley Simpson, and yet……), but she decided that that would be boring and uninspiring and decided that besides being more commercially viable, a different path from big sis would also be more interesting for her personally.
I like Solange and I like to think she’s all the later. I remember that girl that hung with the goth kids. By senior year she figured out her place in the world existed somewhere between prom queen and goth outcast, and you could forgive any false pretenses or contrivances along the way because despite it all, she was just more interesting to watch than her more accomplished and admired sister.
And then in college, shit just got real……….
I’ve just done a quick scan, and I am eminently pleased to see the lack of any “I used to like Radiohead…….when they were a rock band” blah blah blah….i.e. The Bends > everything else. THOSE PEOPLE deserve a swift, hard kick in the balls.
All that said, putting Pablo Honey anywhere but last is not much better. I think Thom would respond more warmly to “Play Freebird!!!!” than to a request to play ANY song from that album.
Came a little late to this one (3 days..gasp!). But when I found out they had a new album on the Guardian, I “dove” right in and was pretty blown away (as blown away as one can be on work computer speakers mind you). A few hours later I thought, “wonder what the Stereogum crew had to say about the album; I then said to myself “Tom HAS to be the one reviewing this album,” AND I wasn’t disappointed.
I’m 35, have a kid and a very square job, so it’s a little bittersweet when albums like this come out, because the absence of 3-4 hours to just sit and absorb an album like this one (that requires you do so) is a sad reminder of my youth slipping away (because once upon a time, time was ALL I had). But enough old man laments, tonight 11:00 to 2:00 am is mine!
You guys ALL rock.
Thanks for sharing this Tom. It’s fascinating and a little worrisome. While we all would like to think these musicians who make music that touches our lives all do so 100% for love for the art, I fear that we’re nearing a critical breaking point where the inability to make a living is going to seriously deter a lot of great talent from pursuing their dreams.
I think anyone whose goal in life is to become an artist sort of accepts the social contract that says “I will be pretty damn poor until I make it.” But shit, what if even when you “make it” you are unable to obtain the same quality of living as your buddy from undergrad who teaches English at a local high school (for starters, ALL teachers have HEALTH CARE). Chris Bear isn’t lamenting that fact he doesn’t make as much as bankers from Goldman Sachs, he’s talking about members of a band who have a song in a goddamn VW commerical and sold out Radio City not having health insurance. And once you throw children and a spouse into the mix, that becomes even MORE problematic (it’s one thing to eat Raman Noodles yourself, it’s another when you have to feed them to your son).
Perhaps some of this is hyperbole and sensationalism. Nevertheless, I worry. Despite the stereotypes, creative musicians tend to be very bright people, and if they can’t even make a solid living when they are objectively successful, at some point in the future, there will be a significant talent drain.
Kinda sad that Cheerleader didn’t make it, but that’s probably just personal taste.
Love the Lisa Stansfield comparison. This album definitely has a connection with those 80′s blue-eyed soul albums that were unique to the UK. I would throw in Style Council and the Mod-father himself, as well as a few Swing Out Sister joints; and of course, Soul II Soul is the Seminal UK R&B offering of that era.
I am sure there’s a very interesting piece waiting to be written comparing the outgrowth of the US’S R&B/Soul scene in the late 80′s and early 90s, which was very New Jack Swing focused, against the British scene, which seemed more rooted in traditional Soul and perhaps more reggae influenced. The two evolved in very distinct fashions, and by the mid-90s, the UK scene was much more dance/electro influenced(Massive Attack, trip-hop, and eventually garage/two-step, etc.) , while US R&B became obsessed with wanting to be Hip-hop (Jodeci, H-town, Silk, etc.) and I believe in response to that hip-hop embrace, we got the Neo-Soul Movement.
Today, music is just more global, but tracing those roots seems like it would be a great read. Really enjoyed this column, and I LOVE Jessie’s album.