Jesse Boykins III – Amorous

Jesse Boykins III - The Beauty Created (2008)

I’m a little bit in awe of the 90s revival that seems to be taking place right now. No, I’m not talking 2 Unlimited and Real 2 Real – I mean the genres I lived and loved in high school, at university and edging into the early 2000s the first time around. I’ve already posted about Miguel Jontel (R&B) and Gyptian (Reggae/Dancehall)…and now it’s the turn of some neo-soul.

Admittedly this song is a few years old – part of the 2008 album “The Beauty Created” released on NomaDic MuSic, a label Jesse Boykins III co-owns with New York Giant Sinorice Moss  – but there’s more to come in the third studio album, “Love Apparatus”, due out later this year.

Jesse Boykins III – Amorous

I wouldn’t bat an eyelid if someone told me this was released around the time of early Maxwell or D’Angelo – his voice is beautiful and the understated, effortless smooth is similarly soulful.

He’s from Chicago but is currently based in New York and will be playing at SXSW this week.

There’s quite a lot of music up on his site, including some covers of Aaliyah, Kanye and Corinne Bailey Rae:

And, in a similar but different vein to James BlakeLimit To Your Love (Feist).

Zomes – Clear Shapes

I don’t think everyone will feel the way I do about this track. In fact, I’m pretty sure they won’t.

Zomes – Clear Shapes

Zomes - Zomes (2008)

Sometimes you hear something and don’t just hear it, you feel it. It’s like it resonates at the perfect frequency for your unique pane of glass, but you just can’t explain why it has the effect on you that it does. This is one of those for me.

It’s pretty much the same 7 repeated notes for 2 minutes 33 seconds with varying degrees and permutations of supporting instrumentation…and it’s an instrumental.

Slow and steady, with an air of resilience and a gradually compounding belief fading out into the horizon – this is track 7 on Zomes by Zomes, released on Holy Mountain Records in 2008.

Ralfe Band – Big Head

The Guardian reviewed the album this song comes from back in October 2008 – it’s by Ralfe Band, the heavily folk-influenced Oly Ralfe and Andrew Mitchell along with various contributors, whose second album, Attic Thieves, was released on French label Talitres Records.

Ralfe Band - Attic Thieves (2008)

The review seems to suggest the album is ‘samey’ – a word I hate but that I feel inarticulately summarises the lengthy penultimate sentence of the review into a single adjective.

Although I don’t feel well-placed to comment on that sentiment having only listened to this one song on repeat that I can remember, I do wholeheartedly agree with the reference to this pick as a “fabulous instrumental”:

Ralfe Band – Big Head

For me, it’s the solitary waltz of a lonely carnival clown with a single tear of sadness inked on his pale cheek. Or a  mystical guide attempting to teach a noble yet flawed hero an important lesson before he is able to fulfill his destiny. Or…Guillermo del Toro’s  mythological faun…?

I think I’ll give the full album a listen. Available on Spotify and we7.

Frightened Rabbit – Good Arms vs. Bad Arms

It’s been a while, and it’s a lazy Sunday afternoon, so I’m stepping away from the energy and posting about acoustic songs from two bands/artists who’ve played gigs in London recently, one of which I went to, one of which I missed.

Frightened Rabbit - The Midnight Organ Fight (2008)

The first is by a Glasgow-based band called Frightened Rabbit who undoubtedly draw comparisons to Biffy Clyro – because they’re from Scotland, see? – they’re indie, but they’re a lot more folk, and that’s where this song fits:

Frightened Rabbit – Good Arms vs. Bad Arms

It’s from their 2008 Album, The Midnight Organ Fight, released on FatCat Records and, at least I think, is about a man warning his ex-girlfriend off her new beau.

It’s the wave-like rhythm that drew me in first time, along with Scott Hutchison’s voice – but the more I listen to it, the more the lyrics make me smile.

“Good arms, versus bad arms, will win hands down”
….bit of a good versus evil triumph.

“I might not want you back, but i want to kill him”
…some admission of irrationality – comedy.

and as the song progresses…evolution into a reluctant acknowledgment

“I’m still in love with you (can’t admit it yet)”

They played a set at Islington’s bandstand busking, of which I am a big fan, last week. I unfortunately missed it but would have absolutely loved to see this song performed live. Hoping the video will be up soon – I heard they were good.

Frightened Rabbit’s new album, The Winter of Mixed Drinks, was released in March of this year and is available to stream in full on Spotify.

CALLmeKAT – Do Your Trick

Going from thrashing retro rock to down-tempo, minimal electronica…

CALLmeKAT - Fall Down (2008)

This is a song by Danish female vocalist, Katrine Ottosen, who goes by the name CALLmeKAT – the alternate capitalisations aren’t me, that’s how it’s… *spelt*?

CALLmeKAT – Do Your Trick

This one’s a little bit eerie, menacing even, and I think that’s why I like it. The contrast between the soft, almost vulnerable waver in her voice at times and the accusatory tone of the lyrics is fantastic.

It’s from her album, Fall Down, released on Scandinavian label Playground Music – but I could only find it available for digital download in the UK.

She’s also done a down-tempo, theatrical stealth version of Toxic. Yes, the Britney Spears Toxic.

They could not be more opposite if she sang it backwards.

Those Dancing Days – Those Dancing Days

Those Dancing Days - Those Dancing Days

Those Dancing Days – Those Dancing Days

I hadn’t heard of this band until I went to see Au Revoir Simone at Proud Galleries earlier this year – 5 pretty Swedish high school girls who didn’t look old enough to be allowed into the venue making happy synth pop.

I have to say, they outshone the main event for me. Vibrant, energetic, happy, smiley, upbeat, dance-worthy pop from a bunch of kids who looked like they were thoroughly enjoying themselves vs. too cool for school (or at least for me!) though clearly talented, aloof desirables playing tap your foot quietly to the beat pop.

I couldn’t help but love them.

This is the lead track from their debut album, In Our Space Hero Suits, released in October ’08 and they’re signed to V2 Music Scandinavia.


The Paper Hats – Waltz of Circassian Beauties

Two posts from me today. The first is a find resulting from some gig recommendations from Charlotte LV (thank you Charlotte!).

I’ve fallen in love with instrumental guitar music lately. First Truckers of Husk, then Rick Tomlinson and the associated Otis Taylor and now this:

The Paper Hats – Waltz of Circassian Beauties

The Paper Hats - Deseret Canyon

The Paper Hats - Deseret Canyon

It has such a pensive feel to it – a luscious green mountain pasture at sunrise. But not here – perhaps in Italy, or Spain…or…Mexico. It’s such a simple piece but also dynamic, and I particularly love the section from about 1min 50 where it takes a melancholy and erratic turn for about 40-50s (repeated later on).

The beauty of an instrumental, for me, is the potential for interpretation, for turning it into what it means for you personally, rather than relying on the writer’s expression.

This particular track is on ‘Deseret Canyon’, released in August 2008 but I was only able to find it as an mp3 download on Amazon.