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Good Music 4 The Low-Low | Economical Edition

07/12/2010

In today’s world of financial stress, the last thing in the world a true music lover really wants is to plunk down their hard-earned dinero for an LP that turns out later to have a “Bad Ratio“.
By the term “bad ratio“, I’m referring to the recent phenomenon of highly anticipated/heavily publicized/aggressively marketed albums that mainstream media outlets convince the masses will change their musical lives but when they are officially released, said album turns out to not be anywhere near as incredible as the marketing plan for it indicated and have in fact a relatively low amount of songs actually worth listening to more than once.  It’s incredible to me that we can STILL be easily lead to pay $13.99 (or more) for an LP that boasts 14 tracks but only 4 tracks are actually worth listening to more than once. The other 10 tracks,  your ears could have been just fine without ever hearing in this or even another life. And yes TML, I’m looking at you…

In this time and age, for an LP to have a ratio like this and the “Industry Powers That Be” still consider it a succesful project (based on how much it sells) is just a bad look and speaks volumes (the width and depth of “War & Peace“) to me about the abilities or lack thereof of all those involved in distributing it to the masses and convincing them that it’s “Good Music” and worth every penny you just spent on it.
In the same token, it also speaks a complete set of encyclopedia Britannica’s on those masses that purchased it as well but that’s another discussion altogether.

So in an effort to try an counteract this flim-flam/bamboozle (no Plymouth Rock) we’ve been getting musically, I put together another of these “Good Music Roundup” posts to feature up and coming musicians that TSR can honestly say are giving listeners music that is worth much more than the amount of cash being requested.

Reason? Simple. The ratio of “Good, Re-playable  Songs simply outweighs the “Skippable Material“.

*steps down off soapbox, kicks it to the side for later rant, inserts digression here*


I’m an admitted stan of 90’s R&B music. There was a veritable cornucopia of groups to choose from during the time period but unless you count Boyz II Men, probably none stood out during those years as much as Jodeci.  Before KC-i & JoJo branched off, DeVante began having life related issues, and Mr. Dalvin disappeared from sight (save for his Met.A.Mor.Phic #albumfail) they were at their peak of success. Fast forward to 2010, despite the group not being on the scene anymore, their music still stands the test of time. So when I caught wind of Tess a.k.a. TessBoogie‘s music on BlipFM and her reworking of some of these classic tracks entitled “TESS Goes Jodeci“, I was immediately  intrigued.
Her first offering, “Love You For Life breathes new life into the quartet’s staple ballad by updating the original track with a much more uptempo beat. As a purist of 90’s soul, I would normally look down upon such tampering with songs that I musically hinge High School memories on but Ms. Tess does this song justice as she lets the words of the track remain true to the former but adds her own flair by coloring outside of the lines a bit with her range all while still keeping those patented Jodeci inflections intact. The rest of TGJ is within these same confines and she turns in a solid performance through out the disc, with “Stay“, “Forever My Baby” and my favorite “Feenin
being sure standouts as well. For any Jodeci enthusiast, this disc should make a welcome addition. 

Purchase: Tess “TESS Goes Jodeci” @ iTunes

 

I could tell you a good many things about some of the submissions that I come across but regardless of how many posts I may write, I don’t think I could ever write everything that comes to my mind when I hear music that I genuinely enjoy from start to finish. One such gem comes from Soulganic on their sophomore release, “From The Storm To The Sun“.
They came to my attention via Gmail as I sat at the day job and I quickly checked out their Bandcamp page for a quick preview until I could give it a more thorough listening later on my evening commute.
Upon hearing the opening notes, drums and maracas of
 
that idea went completely out of the window as I continued listening to each track while manipulating a spreadsheet.  
The Charlotte, N.C. based quartet pride themselves on having a DIY Ethic toward their sound as they literally have a hand in every aspect of the creation process from songwriting and producing, to performing and final mix-down.
Which is quite evident in the live, organic sonics they deliver with FTSTTS and a major part of the reason they received “Best New Band” nods from Creative Loafing here in the QC back in 2006. The strong yet subtle lead vocals from Anthony Rodriguez are perfectly matched with the ethnic/urban soundscape they collectively produce yet the music itself, especially those infectious Conga drums, are never drowned out by the combination as evidenced in

I enjoyed it immensely and transferred the LP to my phone for later listening. Months later it’s still there and during those times when other music has become bland & drab but my head is still boppin’ around, people usually ask me two questions: “Who are you listening to?” and “What do they sound like?” To the latter, I always find myself responding, “Live, Eclectic & Real“.

Purchase:  Soulganic “From The Storm To The Sun” @ Bandcamp
Side note: Soulganic’s first LP “All Directions Forward” is available @ iTunes too.

 

Tone Trezure is a name I’ve been familiar with for a little while now. Some of you have never heard the name before but have heard her music unknowingly. Those that check the credits on songs will have seen the name before but can’t quite place from where. And some will instantly will know her as the “Voice That Sounds Like A Soul Sample“.
Even her @FlyGirlTONE Twitter page Bio states: “It ain’t a sample, that’s me!” And in all honesty she really does,  as evidenced on one of my favorite Jay Elect cuts
Victory Is In My Clutches
No, your ears don’t deceive. The unique tonal quality of her voice along with just a tad of EQ manipulation is quite impressive and is more than likely part of the origin behind her stage name. I have to be honest and admit that I too thought it was sampled and searched in every corner of the Internets attempting to find the original. While I did find out the original sampled song is Ernie Hines‘ “Electrified Love” and the intro came from Garland Green‘s “Don’t Think That I’m A Violent Guy“, for the life of me I couldn’t find out where the sample for the hook came from. It was months later before a random Google search lead me to Ms. Givens Twitter page and her signature sound. While checking my Twitter timeline a month or so ago, I noticed she was tweeting a link to some of her music, so I of course clicked it to find her “My Destiny” EP.
I gave one of the Mr. Porter produced tracks, “Come With Me“, a spin

Definitely feeling that one but not to be outdone on the production side of things, Tone also produces as well.

You Mean” is one that really showcases her beatmaking chops as well as her vocal and songwriting abilities. Plus she’s even been known to spit a rhyme or three as well. Which isn’t surprising, as she hails from Flint, Michigan and keeps company with Kon Artis (a.k.a. the same Mr. Porter) of D-12 fame.
A quick Google gave me more info on this music phenom and I’ll let you check her OurStage profile for more in-depth into her musical roots but from the list of credits (Snoop Dogg, Bilal Oliver, Little Brother & Pharoah Monch to name a few) and accolades listed in the bio there, it came as no surprise that she would eventually find a way to display this talent in a more long-playing format sooner or later. What IS surprising is that she’s been under the radar all this time. But after this EP, I’m willing to bet she won’t be any longer.

Purchase: Tone Trezure “My Destiny” @ Bandcamp

 

Twitter is amazing at times in its way of allowing you to tap into good music you normally would overlook if it were sitting on a shelf in a Music store waiting for you to happen across it. Such is the case with jd Green. If I hadn’t been looking at my followers and saw her name at the top of the list and if she hadn’t engaged me in conversation, I may have been slow to get into this LP. But those things did happen and I’m now more than aware of the quirky yet funky, undercover genius her “Diurnal Movements” LP holds for its listeners as she graciously allowed TSR and a few select others a preview of her vision via Soundcloud a few weeks in advance of official release.
From the first track you are made well aware of Green’s musical roots, as her penchant and love for Scat Singing invite you to continue listening.   
I’ve had ample time to digest the entire album and as a whole it is just a veritable sensory overload of  lilting vocals, rhythmic scats and dynamic, thought-provoking verses such as the ones in
There are also lighter tracks, like our favorite where jd Green seems to channel some of the most memorable riffs and lines of music from yesteryear into one cohesive love song as evidenced in “Last Night” feat. Smoke E. Digglera

Please tell me that besides the obvious Rude Boys “Written All Over Your Face” reference you also heard a few familiar riffs and melodies within this song? And why yes…that is the same Smoke E. from the now defunct but memory invoking Playa (“Cheers 2 U” & “Don’t Stop The Music” ring any bells?)
Those and other Diurnal gems are packaged on this disc for your listening pleasure. Don’t let the sun set on another one before you scoop this up.

Purchase: jd Green “Diurnal Movements” @ Bandcamp

 

There is something to be said for a beautiful woman with a beautiful personality. It’s a rarity to find in this day and age and when you add a beautiful voice to that mix as well…the whole package can be as blinding as the first ray of morning Sunshine. Avery*Sunshine to be specific.
I’ve been checking this LP out for a good while now as well as her Twitter, ReverbNation & Bookface pages and I have to admit, Avery is as pleasant to converse with via Social Networking as she is to listen to on her self titled LP.
It’s a mixture of Gospel & Soul with hints of Jazz and even a little vibraphone (courtesy of the legendary Roy Ayers himself) dispersed throughout as well for good measure. Avery’s selections take you through a myriad of situations and emotions; from praising the Almighty for his goodness despite the troubles of the world as she does in “Blessing Me her moving rendition of (if I don’t miss my guess) Bishop Larry Trotter‘s “The Lord Is Blessing Me“.
She also touches on other subjects such as coming to grips with the dark side of one’s personality on the introspective “Ugly Part Of Me” and battling with vulnerability and the need for positive relationships as showcased on the just as soul stirring “Need You Now Cop this and let Ms. Sunshine’s LP shine brightly for you too.

Purchase: Avery Sunshine “Avery*Sunshine” @ iTunes

 

Tim Dillinger has been featured on TSR before as a solo artist a couple of years back, right when he was at the beginning of his re-location to NYC. Since that move, he has continued to make music and has now gained even more of a following via Bookface & Twitter.
Since our last conversation Tim has been quite busy as he and his friends Kare Alford and David Sosa have formed a trio; aptly naming themselves SOULKISS which may be an understatement when describing their sound as their rendition of the Nona Hendryx written and LaBelle performed “Good Intentions
is just as commanding a performance as the original.
It takes powerful voices to even attempt to cover a track that those Divas have sung the mess out of already, let alone pull it off as flawlessly as SOULKISS does. If that alone doesn’t impress you, how about the fact that they have been selling out almost every live venue they’ve stepped on the stage at for the past year and a half now, with no signs of stopping any time soon except to finish recording a yet untitled LP.  Tim told me that their album is forthcoming, so in the meantime we’ll have to be content with this one track for now. Ah well, we wouldn’t want them to rush greatness would we? (hint, hint)
So until then, I’ve added this lead single to the “Good Music” folder on the hard drive. Make sure to get yourself a copy and do the same.

Purchase: SOULKISS “Good Intentions” @ iTunes

So there you have it. Quality music from great artists that may not be well-known, household names as of yet but if they continue to create music of this quality that’s actually worth purchasing, it won’t be very long before they are…

Later,
Square

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