Pete Philly – Ocean

Seem to be flowing through the acts I wanted to see but missed at The Great Escape this year at the moment – this time it’s Pete Philly, with a track called “Ocean”.

Pete Philly – Ocean

Pete Philly - One

Pete Philly - One (2011)

The production reminds me of D’Angelo, with the vocals more 90s hip-hop in influence, and the smooth and dulcet-toned neo-soul melody I’m expecting seems to superimpose itself over the beats in my head – though not in the track itself.

This could slot itself into contemporary R&B fairly easily – it’s the standout, for me, from the tracks on his soundcloud and actually quite different to most of them, other than possibly “Caterpillar” and “Game” which have a similarly 90s neo-soul style and “Let It Go” which is reminiscent of John Legend.

For something with a more bluesy edge, try “Mirror”:

Pete Philly – Mirror

The latest from the Netherlands-based producer are the Open Loops Project, available to download for free from his site, and the full album ‘One’, which is where these tracks are from.

Out on PIAS, and available via his facebook page, here.

AlunaGeorge – We Are Chosen

AlunaGeorge are a bit of a precursor to the full Great Escape rundown that’s coming (mostly because I’m still trying to cut it down – 58 bands I want to see so far!) – hearing this track was one of those times when I had to go and buy immediately.

AlunaGeorge – We Are Chosen [amzn]

AlunaGeorge - We Are Chosen

AlunaGeorge - Analyser/We Are Chosen (2011)

It starts off a little trippy – reminded me of My Toys Like Me and also a beats’d up CocoRosie – but then hits more of a UK garage sound later on in the track, and this isn’t their only trick. Check out EP title track You Know You Like It [amzn] for a more R&B vibe.

Oddly enough, the band are vocalist Aluna Francis and producer George Reid (AlunaGeorge) – and their 4-track EP was released on Tri Angle Records this April.

I missed out on the EP by a couple of weeks and they were Guardian New Band of the Day back in March – but this track was a single released on Sweet Recordings in May 2011, discovered via The Great Escape‘s official Spotify Playlist.

One for my list, for sure.


Some Friday R&B Mixes

Rarely post links to mixes but this is my first Friday without the folks at Tonic – so I wanted to pick up a few R&B Mixes, including the one that’s keeping me dancing this evening.

Friday R&B Mixes - Various (2011/2012)

Without the R&B Fridays pickings I’ve gotten so used to (although there was talk of changing up the theme in the few weeks running up to my leaving), I thought I’d dig out some alternative options.

First up, Brenmar’s new one: Slow Grind, Deep Hustle no. 2, via the ever-reliable Dummy Magazine.

Just released yesterday, it includes a mix of new and classic tracks from Jon B, Brandy, 702, Trey Songz – 17 in all.

Full tracklist available here.

Second Friday Mix is a Timbaland medly that came through Matt a few months back: Hardfur(?)’s Mix 007: Timbaland. I’ll be playing these back to back this evening – Aaliyah, Jay-Z, Ginuwine, Missy Elliot, 34 tracks to get your Friday going.

Third mix is from Ghetteaux – if the embed below isn’t there anymore check out the soundcloud root. Updates from time to time with old ones removed.

More new than classic in these, featuring tracks from Lloyd, Rick Ross, The-Dream, Drake, Tyga – pretty much current R&B hip-hop royalty. R&B is as good as it used to be and they do make ’em like they used to. Discuss.

And the one that started it all for me – no embed for this one I’m afraid – Dummy Mix 84 // Brenmar. Until this point, I was all about making my own R&B playlists, but Brenmar changed my mind. Mya, Bobby Valentino, Nivea, Montell Jordan and more.

Back to the indie next time.


Frank Ocean – Thinking About You

Frank Ocean - nostalgia, ULTRA (2011)

This sounds like it should be Canadian hip-hop man of 2011 Drake – but it’s New Orleans-born Frank Ocean, who’s just been nominated in the BBC’s Sound of 2012 poll alongside the likes of Friends and Michael Kiwanuka.

Soulful R&B that’s the opposite of hip-hop collective Odd Future he joined in 2011, he’s been writing for artists as massive as John Legend and Beyoncé. He released a mixtape in Feb 2011 titled nostalgia,ULTRA on his Tumblr, independently of his label Island Def Jam.

Here’s an edit of the track by another current love of mine whose debut release is among my top albums of 2011 – SBTRKT.

Frank Ocean – Thinking About You

Beyoncé – Countdown

Beyoncé – 4 (2011)

It’s becoming a bit of an annual tradition for me to post an NYE party track, something that’ll get folks singing along and dancing as we count in the New Year. In 2009 it was Pitbull, in 2010 it was Gyptian, and this year…it’s my favourite belter of an R&B track from 2011.

Not only does it have a killer intro worthy of a click here, it also has an outro countdown – so you can even play it as the final track to close the year. You don’t have to party like it’s one specific year… 1999, say…this is an all-purpose track that’ll do you for any year:

Beyoncé – Countdown

It’s managed to overtake I Care as my favourite track from this year’s 4, and it makes me happy every time I hear it. Dancing or no dancing.

Here’s to a fantastic 2012 for you all – HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Party like it’s any year you want.

Elle Varner – Only Wanna Give It To You

Elle Varner - Only Wanna Give It To You (2011)

First time I heard this track, the first song that came to mind was Michael Jackson’s “In the Closet”

♪ Something about you baby..that’s makes me want to give it to you ♪

Another song posted that unwittingly features J. Cole this one is via Sarah and made me want Summer back:

Elle Varner – Only Wanna Give It To You

Signed to J Records right now and based in New York, this R&B revival doesn’t seem like it’s going to be stalling any time soon – and I’m definitely not complaining!

Debut album due out very soon according to her blurb on MBK Entertainment, and some tracks up there too which seem to be more pop/singer-songwritery – waiting to see where she goes with the album.

Hopefully this way.

J. Cole – Work Out

J. Cole - Cole World: The Sideline Story (2011)

Two more to go in the R&B series before I remind you again we treat all genres fairly here ;).

Another one from Matt – I JUST found his (J. Cole’s – not Matt’s) new album “Cole World: The Sideline Story” on Spotify, released 27 September under Roc Nation.

J. Cole – Work Out

Listening through in full for the first time right now.

The first artist signed to Jay-Z’s label, he also featured on one of my favourite current R&B tracks, All I Want Is You (Miguel ft. J. Cole) and has supported Drake, Rihanna & Tinie Tempah on tour.

It’s the hook that makes this song for me – so simple, so instantly recognisable. Track samples Kanye West’s work out parody, “The New Workout Plan” and also pays homage to 80s masterpiece, Paula Abdul’s “Straight Up”.

I reckon we need a playlist…

Trey Songz – Unusual ft. Drake

Trey Songz - Passion, Pain & Pleasure (2010)

I’m seriously missing my regular R&B fix now Matt’s left. This was one of his – found through a mix of his on soundcloud under the guise of Ghetteux.

Trey Songz – Unusual ft. Drake

It’s from his fourth and 2010 album, “Passion, Pain & Pleasure” (Atlantic) and is up there for me as a more current, even more smooth equivalent to Usher – Caught up.

He toured with Monica last year to promote it and this track features Drake (hands up who else didn’t know his career started on Degrassi: The Next Generation??!), who also currently features in 3 of the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop top 10.

I’m building a list of recent R&B albums I NEED to buy. This is one of them – some of sounds like it could have been produced by R. Kelly. What more could you need?

Beyoncé – I Care

Beyoncé – 4 (2011)

This woman is a living legend. I made the mistake of offering her up as a “guilty pleasure” to go on our board at work and was shot down straight away with the words “Beyoncé is not a guilty pleasure”. Unintentional insult withdrawn.

I love her latest album – from the girl-power tunes in “Best Thing I Never Had” and floor-filler “Run The World (Girls)”  to Gloria Estefan homage (;)) “End of Time” and this one:

Beyoncé – I Care

Such a hairbrush in front of mirror moment every time this track comes on – with non-guitar guitar solo worthy of Slash himself. Genius.

I know a lot of folks were excited about Rhianna’s series of gigs at the o2 last week, and I’m sure they were good, but this is one artist I would love to see live.

If you haven’t yet seen this routine from this year’s Billboard Awards, check it out – stunning.