Coffee Rhetoric: Music
Showing posts with label Music. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Music. Show all posts

October 17, 2012

Cruising with Nadia Washington

Keeping track of Golliwogs, political grandstanding, bigoted homecoming pep rallies, bus brawls, and other foolery gets overwhelming. I'm currently decompressing with an exciting and welcome talent someone recently introduced me to a day or so ago, and can't get enough so I'm passing the wonderfulness forward... Nadia Washington ...

September 28, 2012

Ear Bug: Lianne La Havas - Au Cinéma

My favorite songs by Lianne La Havas. It's often on repeat on my Spotify list. This and her Jill Scott cover of "He Loves Me (Lyzel in E Flat)"... and anytime an artist can do a Jill Scott song justice, that's always a bonus.

It's the start of the weekend... Enjoy!

August 03, 2012

Friday's Ear-bug: Andreya Triana, Live at Cafe Oto, London

The drums, the bass, and of course... Andreya. Good music to play in the background while writing, driving, prepping to go out, sipping wine or anytime. I've yet to come across an Andreya Triana song I don't enjoy listening to or playing in the background while I'm feeling reflective about something or other; this includes her collaborations with Bonobo and Flying Lotus as well. This happens to be one of my favorite live performances by her, to watch.

 Ride safely and have a great weekend...

July 30, 2012

Ear-bug: Martina Topley-Bird

Triumph. I continue to mull over certain people, places, and things (expunging the last remnants of any and all toxic energy from memory) and "Too Tough to Die" continues to play in my head [since Saturday, in fact]. So I am passing it  forth. I've always loved the electric energy of this song...

May 03, 2012

Coffee Buzz: Introducing, Howa.rd

Every now and again, I run into talent that incites me to chorus and prompts me to wonder why that person isn’t famous or signed to some sort of lucrative contract yet.  While building at the monthly networking event, Tastemakers Soul Hartford, I had the opportunity to see an up-and-coming singer called Howa.rd perform; and his musical prowess commanded attention.  Interest piqued, I tracked down his album “The 1st” online, and found that I’d listened to the entire playlist while working, and without feeling the urge to skip past any tracks.  The music was a stellar amalgamation of horns, drums, and bass over syncopated rhythms… and none of it skimped on soul; which made for a delectable stew.  If you appreciate the likes of D’Angelo, Eric Roberson and/or Raheem DeVaughn, then what Howa.rd is serving will definitely sate your musical palate.
Howa.rd‘s talent isn’t merely incidental however, having been born to a musician mother;  
“My mother was a music major possessing a crazy angelic soprano voice that you couldn’t help but fall in love with.  I remember as a youngster, she was a music and choir director for several churches around town. Being that my mom was a single parent with two kids, I went to a lot of choir rehearsals.  Watching and singing along, I started developing my voice.”  He recalls. “I picked up on song structures and started mimicking them at home.  Soon I developed of completely rewriting my own versions of my favorite songs.  The lyrics started there.” 
Howa.rd would later go on to college where he honed his producing skills and began writing and arranging music for choirs, bands, and stage productions. 

Born in Detroit and raised in Nashville, Howa.rd developed musical tastes that spanned the spectrum; having listened to everything from soul, gospel, folk, blues, jazz and country; to pop and rock… the latter genres, a result of watching MTV.
 “Pop and rock music quickly invaded my home on the daily… let’s not forget the mighty emergence of hip-hop. I soon realized my musical tastes were crazy vast. “
When asked if he gleaned any inspiration from current singers/songwriters, he excitedly suggested that I brace myself as he, unsurprisingly, listed the likes of Stevie [Wonder], Bill Withers, Marvin Gaye, Ray Charles, Prince and D’Angelo amongst his musical inspirations… 
“I call that my Mount Rushmore, but I’m also inspired by Lenny Kravitz, Phil Collins, Billy Joel, Michael McDonald, and the great Hall & Oates.” He continued.   
The list was pretty extensive if impressive, and didn't stop there. “Sorry, you asked,” he reminded me.  And indeed I did. As someone who’s equally as passionate about literary giants, I totally get it.   

And while Howa.rd’s list of musical influences is at least a mile long, he’s pretty succinct about who he hopes to be able to actually work with if presented with the opportunity…  “Give me Esperanza Spaulding, Andre 3000, The Roots, Lalah Hathaway, Mint Condition, and lastly to throw you a curveball, I’d say Daughtry.” Right on the cusp of happening if he keeps producing and writing quality music.

**(Blogger’s note: “Lowpoint”, “Whatchyoo Think About That”, and "I Want Me Back" are personal favorites).
“God made me musical. Music is my passion. I live and breathe it and I’ll be doing it until I die and see God.”
Let's hope he keeps up the momentum.
“The 1st” can be downloaded for free at For updates, "Like" Howa.rd’s Facebook Artist page and follow him on tumblr:

March 14, 2012

These and Those: Spring Has Sprung an Early Leak

This winter seemed to fly by with relative ease (save for the Halloween Nor'easter and subsequent CT Light & Power clusterfuck that ensued). It's been relatively mild and there were virtually no blizzards or ice storms to speak of. None of this bothered me. Spring seemed to hover in the air, never really departing, but merely looking over our shoulders, lightly breathing on our necks. And so now it's March, we've lost an hour and today was the temperature reached 70 degrees.
Something about spring or the mere idea of it looming in the air, improves my mood... even when I'm in the throes of brooding and feeling especially anti-social.

Needless to say, this song by Flying Lotus feat. Andreya Triana-- (who I'm a huge fan of), is definitely a nice complement to the weather...

January 26, 2012

He's Back! I Hope...

Much to many people's surprised delight, a video of singer-songwriter, D'Angelo performing in Stockholm... apparently today... surfaced and spread across the Internet, creating the equivalent of a social media fist-pump.

After the release of his second album, Voodoo in 2000 (the album that served as my soundtrack during college, and I still listen to 'til this day)- D'Angelo seemed to fall off the radar, much to everyone's disappointment. There were no interviews and no evidence of any performances or new material for a full-album or EP, beyond the collaborative projects he did with other artists... most notably,  Raphael Saadiq and Femi Kuti with Macy Gray for the remake of Fela Kuti's "Water Get No Enemy." Subsequent press found the talented artist plagued by substance abuse and legal issues. Needless to say, I'm beyond excited to see some recent progress from the singer as I'm a huge fan and hopefully this appearance in Stockholm is indicative of there being a new album on the horizon.

In the interim, check out his body of work from previous albums and peep his Stockholm performance below...

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December 19, 2011

The Music Lives On...

I've been out of commission for the past week or so, stricken down by a nasty sinus cold-possible flu-combo. I'm hoping I've met my sick-quota for the year considering it literally came on the heels of a simple cold I'd managed to kick in three days, and hung on to my not-so-immune system for dear life. Everything hurt... body, head, my sinuses and throat were on fire, and my gums were sore. All I could do was sort of just lay there and breath out of my mouth. I couldn't taste or smell.
Needless to say, the worst is over and I've convalesced as best as I can save for an annoying dry cough and slight (and lingering) stuffiness. I've much catching up to do as far as writing goes.

My feeling better from being sick notwithstanding, it was with a heavy heart that I read about the passing of Cape Verdean Morna singer, Cesaria Evora. Referred to as "The Barefoot Diva," Cesaria's music has left an indelible mark on my heart because her 1995 album "Cesaria" was a morning staple for me while I was away at college. It was one of only three albums I favored and listened to every morning and evening as I was winding down alone, in my dorm room- (D'Angelo's "Voodoo" album and Sweetback's 1996 self-titled album were the other two).  "Cesaria" got me through some stressful times as I learned to re-adapt and cope in rural Wisconsin. It was almost as if Billie Holiday were lulling me to a mild calm in Cape Verdean creole... the music had a similar effect to the jazz siren.

Cesaria's music will continue to live on and I will continue to soothe my soul and listen. Here's hoping that another generation happens upon her work. It takes a special type of music fan to truly enjoy and appreciate her...

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December 09, 2011

Lose It!

Photo by Charles Quiles
I really admire anybody who is unapologetic about being who they are, especially in the name of the arts. It seems that the concept of living and letting live is increasingly becoming extinct in this current climate of bullying, homophobia, race baiting, and woman bashing. It's enough to make me want to lose it...

Like the otherworldly unicorn that he is, enter fearless performance artist, visionary, and singer/songwriter Dani Arranka. This past spring, I wrote about Dani after attending his Born Day party and music video premiere for his catchy tune, Be Like Me. Fabulous and confident about who he is, but never arrogant or ungracious, Dani's popularity was undeniable then, as I watched the packed venue lose their shit when he performed. I definitely see the appeal. There's an intangible quality about his carefully cultivated persona... The French call it a certain je ne sais quoi. Now a New York transplant, Dani Arranka is poised to take over the club scene and capture the hearts of the NYC underground with his sexy new song, Lose It.

I Google+'ed the song to a friend and she immediately fell in love, re-tweeting it on her Twitter timeline. The syncopated beat is indeed, infectious. I picture a packed club, with sweaty revelers touching themselves on the dance floor and thrusting their pelvises in slow motion when I listen to it (I have an active imagination, OK?). The behind-the-scenes promo video/photo shoot, directed by photographer Charles Quiles, shows Dani playfully frolicking with sultry Argentinean male supermodel, Alejandro Salgueiro. And it's hot. It definitely conveys the tone of the song. "Lose It is being remixed for the club scene soon!!" Dani said enthusiastically via email. "Lacorey produced the track, along with all my others!" 

I definitely look forward to hearing a remixed version of the track. In the meantime, lose your chonies listening to --> Lose It and be jealous as you peep the panty leche inducing promo video, featuring Alejandro...

July 01, 2011

Friday Ear Candy: Jill Scott - Le BOOM vent suite

Ms. Jilly from Philly! I really am coveting Jill Scott's new album, The Light of The Sun There is absolutely nothing this woman sings or waxes poetic about that I don't enjoy listening to, as I own most of her art and this is no exception. She never ceases to convey... emote what a woman is feeling. I really need to get this... STAT!

January 11, 2011


Urged on by friends who seemed overly excited by Nicki Minaj's fervid verse, I listened to Kanye West's all-star collaboration on the track, "Monster." Notoriously particular about the music and artists I listen and pay attention to,  I found myself nodding along in spite of my reluctance.  I'm not a hardcore Kanye West fan (I'll never forgive him for bestowing fame and fortune on the mute femme-bot known as Amber Rose)- or detractor (I think he's talented, enjoy some of his work, and even defended him during Taylor Swift-gate, when he Mic-snatched the annoying and saccharine country singer and did the infamous shrug seen 'round the world, elevating his douchery to epic proportions)- but in keeping with his current Avant-garde projects, controversial album art for his latest (and awesome) offering, My Dark Twisted Fantasy, and modernistic fashion choices, I found the dark, macabre lyrical quips right on track in keeping with this re-branded,  douchier more artistic than usual version of Kanye. I also found myself more impressed by Nicki Minaj's contribution to the song as well. She proved to be more than a one-trick pony with a dubiously luscious ass. She held her own, and then some, on an all-male track, and seemed to deviate from her whole "Harajuku Barbie" schtick, showing the breadth of her lyrical skills. Plus Jay-Z helped bring up the rear with his talk of vanquishing bitter vampires, ungrateful interlopers and such. In fact, Monster is heavy with horror movie tropes. I was in. I couldn't wait see the video... 
Um, so then I saw the video... *insert blank stare here* ... While I'm not sure what the inspiration was, I was a bit taken aback by the visuals. The video begins with a dead-eyed, limp model hanging by her neck, from a chain... Then the subsequent wide shot shows several other dead models hanging from chains in little else but their underwear, flanking rapper Rick Ross as he casually sits amongst their dead carcasses, puffing on a cigar... Next up? Kanye West... lying in bed... next to two dead models with broken necks, their eyes open but vacantly staring off... The video just goes downhill for me from that point on... 

Listen, I'm no prude. I'm known for seeking out obscure, off the cuff Art House/Experimental films that would cause the vast majority of the population to doubt my mental stability. I'm a fan of Richard Kern and Catherine Breillat. I've watched and grimaced my way through several films from the Torture Porn genre, so this is not a holier-than-thou rant arguing about the perverse nature of pop-art and rap videos. I'm all for seeing a little cutting edge perversion in art, and any rumblings disclaiming that admission would be b.s. because I suspect we all harbor curiosities when it comes to exploring perverse behaviors that're within some semblance of reason. However, there's imagery and ideas that are even twisted enough to make me squirm... which is a difficult feat...
During many aspects of the video, there seemed to be no discernible message connecting the dead, decapitated women with the crux of the song other than for shock value... and therein lies my issue. While I still enjoy listening to Monster, watching Kanye West lying in bed with two dead, broken necked models, as he re-positions them to touch one another reeks of necrophilia and it just makes it difficult for me to remember that I enjoy the song. There is a LOT going on in this video and none of it is particularly enjoyable to watch... including Jay-Z rapping his verse as yet another dead model lays splayed on a leather couch behind him. The visions of decapitated model heads and entrails offered no further hope or high expectations for the duration of the music video. I was over it by the time the Nicki Minaj, Dominatrix vs Nicki Minaj, Barbie (tied up in a chair) scene came up. 
Duncan Quinn ad
This video expounds on this disturbing trend of women featured in compromising situations... namely dead and dismembered ... or as zombies. It sort of reminded me of this movie I wrote about a while ago, that shook my core and prompted me to make haste and return it to Netflix. And in likening Monster's video to Dead Girl, perhaps the most chilling aspect or the one thing that bothers me about it rather, is the apathetic way in which Kanye, Jay-Z, & Rick Ross drift amongst the carnage of limp and dismembered female parts. While I understand the nature of the song itself and perhaps the video is a metaphor for... for... something... It always unnerves me when the female aesthetic goes beyond the usual titillating pictorial of T & A (which can also become problematic when done horribly wrong) - and manifests into something way more sinister and malevolent. And so enter the birth of films like this, this, and videos like this to counteract that victimization, much to the chagrin of many men, who are quick to deem it man-hating propaganda ... I'm just speculating.  Seeing women as tortured, mutilated corpses within the context of a music video is unusual and dare I say trumps the disturbing nature of Eminem's Stan video, where its antagonist places his pregnant girlfriend in the trunk of his car. Are women, hanging by their broken necks from a ceiling not hateful, misogynistic visuals? I suppose dousing some video vixen with a bottle of high-end champagne or swiping a credit card down the crack of her gyrating ass isn't humiliating enough.  Please weigh in.

November 17, 2010

Wednesday Ear Candy: Sick Day Edition

At the beginning of the week, I could feel my body begin to buckle. I was walking around feeling like a pre-menstrual and during some instances, bloated hulk... and then those blasted sinuses of mine began to torture me. Try as I might, I could not win the good fight and they finally took me down yesterday, at one of the most inopportune times too. Nothing worse than trying to sell yourself (legally) during a meeting, with drippage working its way down your nostrils. So here I lay ... okay I'm half sitting... actually I'm leaning on my side... home for the day... just me, my neti pot and as many cups of hot, black coffee I can slurp down...  catching up on online news, and what latest offerings my favorite musical artists have brought down the pipeline this year ... I think I need my own private (male) nurse... that, a stiff shot of brandy, or septoplasty.

September 22, 2010

Ear Candy: Music Soothes All

As I sit here in an uncomfortable state, wracked by the unbearable pain and discomfort only a monthly haunt can inflict and nary a stiff drink to help dull the pain (Midol be damned), suddenly the throbbing pressure starts to subside as I listen to every track off of soul singer and songwriter Eric Roberson's latest offering, Music Fan First.  
In an attempt to remedy my non-stop humming of his incredibly melodic and haunting single "Still," I decided enough was enough and ordered the CD... and I haven't regretted the decision yet. Make no mistake about it, Eric has been around for quite awhile, collaborating with several (Neo)Soul notables such as, Jill Scott, Lalah Hathaway, and Musiq [Soulchild]. Seventeen tracks full, Music Fan First is the intersection where the jazz and soul music of yore meets the contemporary, up-tempo (yet intelligent), hip-hop inflected beats of today's worthwhile R&B (please defer to the likes of Dwele, Raheem DeVaughn, Aloe Blacc et al  of the like)
(c)Coffee Rhetoric
Copping this jawn was looong overdue, as it's definitely an easy and pleasurable listen all the way through, complete with collaborations that work. In addition to Still, other notable tracks are The Hunger, The Power That Kisses Hold, & the jazz heavy How Could She Do It. Eric Roberson is a breath of fresh air blowing in, out, and around what passes for Soul music ... always and forever. 
If I recommend a CD or musical artist that has incited me to chorus, that means it moves mountains... which further means I'd like to think my word is born. Get into it (provided you haven't already), because I know where your live, sleep, and eat ...

March 07, 2010

Sunday Ear Candy

Tomorrow I'm up and at it, for another session of major grinding. This song definitely comes to mind... 

November 08, 2009

Sunday Ear Candy

Oldie but, still a goodie. I love this song and it puts me in a creative sense of mind.