Coffee Rhetoric: ear candy
Showing posts with label ear candy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ear candy. Show all posts

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...

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!

April 19, 2011

Coffee Buzz: Arranka!

Dani Arranka (center) w/ party revelers
Anytime I've asked friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and even my sister if they've any idea who local talent, Dani Arranka is, I'm generally met with the same incredulous answer: "You don't know who DANI ARRANKA is??? EVERYONE knows Dani!" to which I reply somewhat furtively and regretfully, "I don't. Perhaps I'm the only one..." I know and have worked with Dani's sister and at her suggestion, have watched his Polo Club performances via YouTube in the past, so I've heard of him and his work  but wasn't acquainted with him socially, but I still felt like I was amongst those in-the-know via osmosis but alas, this simply did not suffice. My one brief encounter involved my recognizing and stopping him at Dish in downtown Hartford last year, during which I was on a date and Lady Gaga just happened to be in town at the Excel Center. He was amongst the daring Little Monsters milling about, dressed in their Avant-Garde and fiercest finest, and I recall him being gracious and very receptive to me... a stranger... intercepting his flow, despite not having any idea who I was. Beyond that interlude, I was determined to find out more about Dani Arranka... and so I hopped on an opportunity to attend his Born Day Party/Music Video premiere at Real Artways this past Saturday... accompanying a friend and local socialite who'd gotten the Facebook invite to show up and look fierce and by extension I took this to mean I also got an invitation, so off I went!
Dani Arranka gets the crowd hyped
As expected, Dani's supporters, friends, family, and even Hartford Mayor, Pedro Segarra turned out to wish Dani Happy Birthday and view what was seemingly the long-awaited premiere of his music video to the infectious, electro-dance-pop song, Be Like Me. The tune is a manifesto for those who are "confident, driven, and fashion forward with that 'I don't care' attitude" Dani explained. Watching Dani float around the gallery in a stylish, flowy green dress ... Euro-kissing and greeting his guests appreciatively, it suddenly became clear just who Dani Arranka is... The quintessential, post-modern performance artist who's an amalgamation of Pete Burns  (pre-plastic surgery), Gaga, Lady Miss Kier, and just a dash of Madonna, mixed with a heaping helping of his own sound and method of style. He definitely lives up to Arrancar! Which loosely translates to"starting" in Spanish... or perhaps to "take off"... and he's definitely slated to take flight... particularly since the likes of RuPaul's Drag Race personalities are jamming to his tune during their performances. Definitely an illustration and true testament to just how dynamic and diverse Hartford's arts and entertainment community is. The Be Like Me music video is a visual tour de force co-directed and edited by Wameng Lor along with photography studio, The Terrible Child (who got their feet wet directing for the first time in this instance). "I thought to myself, it would be interesting to have the video be a 70's horror inspired video about a high fashion cult who kidnaps me, because they believe if they eat me, they will turn into me. Which happens at the end of the video with the main girl. Wameng Lor and The Terrible Child are amazing visionaries!" Dani Arranka explains.  Just see it for yourself and make sure to peruse YouTube for more of Dani Arranka's work!

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.

October 23, 2010

I'm Blocked: Weekend Ear Candy Edition


I've been afflicted with a horrible case of Writer's Block, much to my chagrin. In the interim, while I parse the reasons why I'm letting minor distractions cause me to lose focus, I've really been enjoying Nina Sky's new haute fashion upgrade and the latest single off of their 8-track EP (which includes a reggae tinged cover of The Cure's 'Love Song by the way). It has an Old-School, Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam sound to it. I've also been silently crying broke tears of despair, because of this Etsy user's page, as I would like to order one of each of everything. ...
PeaceImages' 'Nuba' ring
Anyway, give me a minute or two... 

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... 

January 10, 2010

Sunday Ear Candy

... Just 'cuz. And for much needed inspiration. I listened to this song EVERY MORNING, during my collegiate life.

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.

September 06, 2009

Sunday Ear Candy and a thought.

Some things in life don't come through. No skin off, this round. The beat plays on. My chi is as calm as a traquil Mediterranean breeze.
Here's my latest soundtrack.