2013 November

Here With Me by Susie Suh & Robert Koch

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When I first heard this song, I was immediately drawn in by Susie voice. It’s very haunting and feathery in a way that I’ve never really heard before. During my first listen I only ended up catching the last minute of the song, so I kindly asked if we could play the song again. I must say, I was definitely hooked and started asking my friend questions right away about the artist and if she had any other tracks that I could listen to. Unfortunately my friend didn’t have much information about Susie and only had this one song on her iPod, therefore I had to do some digging myself (by digging, I mean Google). Sadly there isn’t much information on Susie; I was able to find out that she is originally from California, but has been spending a lot of time with Berlin Music Producer Robert Koch. I also found out that she wrote the song herself and has a few other singles out on her official website. With that being said, I really do hope this artist gains some steams and is able to put out a proper album. In listening to her additional tracks on her website, she is extremely talented. Below I’ve included 2 links, one to YouTube and one to Susie’s official website (in case you want to check out more songs). Enjoy!

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzR8BCmV9Ew

Official Site: http://www.susiesuh.com/

We’re The Greatest by LL Cool J

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LL Cool J has dropped what I believe to be his 13th album, including his debut “Radio” back in 1985. Wow, LL has been around for 28 years! His new album doesn’t compare to any of his earlier classics. LL Cool J has branched out, has an acting career and even hosts award shows now. His “Authentic” has a bevy of guests throughout the album, including a wide range of musicians/singers including the likes of Eddie Van Halen, Brad Paisley, Seal, Earth, Wind and Fire, Tom Morello and Snoop Dog. This was assembled to be radio friendly, and it throws many different types of songs out there, hoping that a few will “stick” and become popular hits. I’m generally not a fan of this type of music, generally it gets watered down and loses authenticity (hence what I find to be a totally ironic album title). Maybe they forgot to add the question mark at the end of “Authentic”? But I don’t mean to diss on the new album, I just not recommending it. It’s entertaining enough, and no track is unbearably bad. But you generally can’t make something that appeals to all different sorts of people. There are exceptions, but it’s tough to do. Given that, I’m including the last track on “Authentic”, “We’re The Greatest” which features Eddie Van Halen on guitar. I would love to see LL Cool J do an entire album of harder hitting songs; I still immediately pair his name with “Mama Said Knock You Out”, the hardest hitting popular song of his long career. “We’re The Greatest” isn’t at that level, but it’s a high energy song that should work really well if you add it to your workout playlist. There’s one other song in this style on the album “Whaddup”, that features Chuck D, Tom Morello, Travis Barker and DJ Z-Trip. I had included this song in a previous post when LL Cool J performed it to close out the Grammy telecast this year.

Flim by The Bad Plus

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“Flim” can be found on their second (and my favorite album), “These Are the Vistas”. I’ve included a live version of “Flim” which is actually a cover of a song originally recorded by Aphex Twin so you could see them play live. Crazy drum work on this track.

Seven Minute Mind by The Bad Plus

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The Bad Plus are a power jazz trio from the Minnesota/Wisconsin portion of the Midwest. They released their first album 12 years ago, and really presented a fresh take on jazz. They gained some attention from their covers of songs you wouldn’t have expected them to play, such as “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, “Heart of Glass”, “Tom Sawyer” and “Iron Man”. However, the group also writes very good original songs. Their 8th studio album, “Made Possible”, came out last year. The band is now focused mostly on original compositions. Reid Anderson is on bass, Ethan Iverson on piano and David King mans the drums. I highly recommend checking out this band, they likely sound very different from most of the music you might typically listen to, and they are far from your typical “jazz” music. “Seven Minute Mind” is from their last album. I like this track because it is very upbeat and the trio is really tight throughout the song.

Come By Fire by Sara Jackson-Holman

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Sara is relatively new to the music industry, but not new to music. She is a classically trained pianist who began playing at the age of 7. She favors the musical structure of classic acts, such as Chopin, Schumann and Bach. Believe it or not she was actually found on MySpace after leaving a post on the wall of the band Blind Pilot (one of my artist from last week). The owner of the record label that Blind Pilot is signed to, loved what he heard on Sara’s page and signed her without hearing a formal demo. Sara has released 2 albums, the first in 2010 and the second in 2012. Her first album, ‘When You Dream,’ was actually written back in 2008. She actually had a top hit from that album with the song, “Into The Blue,” which was featured in a few televisions shows and put her in comparisons of Adele, Amy Winehouse and the group Feist. The song i have provided comes from her 2012 album release “Cardiology.” Sadly, the song is about her grandfather who had passed away while she was in the process of recording the album. The song is short and sweet, and Sara has mentioned that writing this song helped her deal with the grief of her grandpa passing. I like this song because the piano is very present and strong, plus the combination of Sara’s vocals make for an amazing dynamic. As you all know, I’m a sucker for lyrics and these lyrics grabbed my attention; they are really sweet. PS, the last 20 seconds of the video incorporates water splashing on the beach but its not originally part of the track.

Come Back Life by Kadavar

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Kadavar is a trio from Germany and they are total throwbacks to the ‘70s. It’s a serious time warp just looking at these guys. They just released their second album “Abra Kadavar” and you’ve got to go check out the album cover, which says it all about these guys. Their s/t debut came out last year, not in the ‘70’s. Drummer Tiger, Mammut on bass and Lupus Lindemann on guitar and vocals have created a great vintage sound. And their new album is recorded very well, with just the three instruments to capture, you can distinctly hear each one in the mix, with great channel separation with the guitar and bass. The lead-off track from the new album “Come Back Life” is a perfect example of this. The song features some killer bass work on the right channel, blistering guitar in the left channel and the drum kit rocking clearly in the middle along with the vocals. Great job recording this track!

My Dear by Ruby Velle and The Soulphonics

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Ruby and the Soulphonics have been making noise in the music industry since 2005. In September 2012, their debut album finally dropped. Their lead single, “My Dear” shot them to superstar status. iTunes released it as one of their singles of the week, GooglePlay gave it away for free in October 2012; thanks to these two music outlets, the album reached #4 on Billboards R&B chart. I must say, if you are in to soul music of any kind, this track will instantly grab your attention. The moment I heard Ruby sing back in August 2012, she reminded instantly of Amy Winehouse. Ruby almost has that same type of sound to her voice that Amy did. But its the inflection of the song in which i think Ruby stands out a little bit. The whole song just grooves to me, and that’s what I love about it. I also dig the fact that she has a band named the Soulphonics, and i must say they truly do deliver. If you’re interested, I provided the official link to their website; there you can check out their whole album. Enjoy!

Official Site:

Jane Says by Jane’s Addiction

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I couldn’t throw out Jane’s Addiction without including a link to “Jane Says”, easily one of my all-time favorite songs. Love the guitar, love the steel drum accents, love the lyrics, love the whole vibe of this song. Probably the best concert I’ve ever attended was a Jane’s Addiction show right after they released “Nothing’s Shocking” at the John Anson Ford Amphitheater in Hollywood. I was in the first row of seats right in front of the guitar amps and there was about an eight foot pit right in front of me that you didn’t want to be in. The band played hard, were unpredictable in an almost scary but good way and completely blew the crowd away. That’s my gold standard for concerts still, 25 years later.

Sympathy For The Devil by Jane’s Addiction

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Jane’s Addiction recorded a live version of “Sympathy For The Devil” that appeared on their 1987 s/t album. They put a different spin on it, but it illustrates how strong the song is since it still holds up with this different approach. They leverage some of the same percussion, which really helps drive the track along, but they used an acoustic guitar to drive the track forward. However, in a nice touch the electric comes out to play the solo around the 3:00 minute mark. The song is lacking the awesome prominent bass line, and Perry Farrell does not sing like Mick Jagger. But he does have fun on the track, especially when he gets to throw out his “woo woos”. I love this band, so I’m biased but I’m curious what others think of this version.