Monthly Archives: October 2013

Album Review: Amel Larrieux “Ice Cream Everyday”

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Hey Soulsters! Finally Amel Larrieux’s latest release, “Ice Cream Everyday” has seen the light of day! If you have been following this blog and me on Twitter, then you already know that I have been highly anticipating this album along with many other fans.

“Ice Cream Everyday” reintroduces us to Ms. Larrieux in fine fashion and reminds the fans of why we missed her. Her angelic vocals serve as the necessary backdrop for the tracks provided and not the other way around. When listening to this album I tried to imagine the actual music without her voice and I just couldn’t. Her vocals are so intricately woven into the music, so layered that they are all one. I love how this has been consistent in all of her projects and has become her signature sound. Not many artists today are successful in doing this. Amel Larrieux’s vocal arrangements are complicated, beautiful and for a lack of a better word, “Sick”.

Songs like “Soon”, “Berries and Cream”, “Moment to Reflect” (one of my favorites), and “See Where You Are” are examples of this. Speaking of “See Where You Are” this song spoke to me the most. I’m sure many others listening to the lyrics can identify with the message Amel is conveying. It pulls at the heart of those of us who are trying to discover our purpose and passions in life. This song asks you to basically re-evaluate your life. When she ad-libs the important question, “Do you like it?”, you can’t help but feel the energy and mission of that song. It definitely stirred up emotions for me. “Orange Glow” really showcases her vocal prowess. I didn’t realize she was capable of hitting those notes!

I absolutely loved this album and enjoyed it from beginning to end. It’s a little off the beaten path as far as sound but that is why I enjoyed it so much. Amel Larrieux has stayed true to her art and her fans which is so important in today’s cookie cutter music rat race. These are the artists that I will continue to support. Welcome back Amel!

Amel Larrieux – You Don’t See Me

Ice Cream Everyday available on iTunes and your local independent record stores.

Top 5 Annoying Things I Encounter While Attending Indie Soul Concerts

zen-crowdNow don’t get me wrong, I LOVE going to shows of some of my favorite artists. I love live music and enjoy the overall vibe of the people there as well as the performers. However, there are a few things that annoy the hell out of me when attending these shows. Since I mostly go to see independent soul artists, I noticed a few common things that I run into at quite a few of them. Here are my top 5.

5. Afros Galore – The biggest Afros are out in full force at these shows, no doubt. All naturals take the opportunity to show off their latest styles and try to outdo the other. They should have a competition on who has the biggest, most super fly hair. It would be an event in itself. Saying this as a natural Sista myself, I have no problem with natural hair. I LOVE being natural and appreciate seeing my fellow Brothas and Sistas wearing their hair and embracing the way it grows out of our scalp, towards the sun, the way God intended. What I don’t enjoy is it blocking my view while I’m trying to get a good visual of what I paid good money to see.

4. Is A Size Small Too Much To Ask For? – I run into this problem ALOT. Usually before, during and after a show, lots of artists are known to sell their CDs and paraphernalia. My concert ritual is to always check this out after the show is over. So here I go to wait on a long line of fellow soul fans anxiously waiting to support my artist. When I finally get to the table, to my dismay, I get “Sorry, we don’t have anymore smalls. We have medium, large and extra-large”. When I hear this a sudden attack of the eye rolls ensues. Then I get, “Well medium will look nice on you”. Then they proceed to pull one of them out and it looks huge for a medium. Happens to me every time.

3. Never Starts On Time – I hate to say it, but I have never been to a show that actually started with the opening act when the ticket says the show is supposed to start. NEVER. If it’s supposed to start at 8:00 PM, nine times out of ten it MIGHT start an hour later. I went to one show where the show started late and the opening act, not the headliner, started the show an hour and a half late and their set lasted an hour. Who does that?! I enjoyed that artist, however, I didn’t pay to see them. On top of that the headliner only performed for an hour at best. The guilty shall remain nameless here, but I’m sure you get my drift.

2. Can You Please Sit Down!?! – This makes me want to nash my teeth into a powdery substance! I understand that you may be feeling the vibe, the music, and the artist. I can appreciate that because I go can there too…but don’t think you are the only one in the daggone room! This kills me. People will stand through an entire song or two just swaying, oblivious to their surroundings, because this is their “jam”. I did not pay to see your ass swaying in front of me to the soundtrack of my favorite artist. Not cool. If you are guilty of this, please check yourself.

1. Standing Room Only – Really? – My number one pet peeve. I hate venues like this and unfortunately a lot of indie soul music concerts are held in these so called “intimate” dwellings. I understand that artists in this genre may have a smaller following and thought goes to filling these smaller venues with no seating. Some artists are not in a position to play in bigger and seated venues. I get that. However, my personal preference is to sit down and listen to my artist. If I want to get up and groove, I can go and do that too, without disturbing anyone’s view (see #2). I shouldn’t be made to stand for 3+ hours straight! Especially if I want to wear my cute shoes that I just bought to go with my outfit that I just had to wear to THIS show. I don’t want to have to wear unflattering flats to every show I go to. Can a Sista be cute in her heels and sit down? Also another problem I have with this is that these particular venues are not short people friendly. I am 5’2″, so ANYONE standing in front of me is a problem. I will say that this has kept me from going to a few shows. I have to REALLY want to see the artist if I go to a standing room only venue. Now if it’s a House music show, well hey, I’m all for standing up and dancing all night with my flats in tow.

What are your pet peeves when attending Indie Soul shows?

New Video: Robert Glasper Experiment featuring Jill Scott “Calls”

Love this! This song is so cool, smooth and DIFFERENT! The creativity is off the charts here. I can’t wait till Black Radio 2 comes out on Oct. 29th! If you haven’t heard it’s predecessor Black Radio, then you better go get that. Then you will understand why the streets are buzzing for the sequel!

Whatever happened to…

I was going through my music collection this weekend and I came across some artists that put together some great music a few years back…but I haven’t heard anything from them in a long while. Now, these are underground soul artists that some of you may not be familiar with. Those of you that have been listening to indie soul for a while now may know these artists. If any of you know their whereabouts on the music scene, please help a Sista find them. Their debut albums were crazy beautiful to me and for whatever reasons they have dropped off the music radar…at least mine anyway.

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Nuwamba – Above The Water

This album was released in 2005 and is one of my favorites jams. From start to finish I just couldn’t stop listening to it. Even today, if I listen to this album it will stay in rotation for AT LEAST a couple of weeks! I discovered Nuwamba’s music while visiting my old hang out , The Apache Cafe, here in Atlanta. He happened to be performing and tore the house down! I bought the CD from him that night and I have been looking forward to new music from him ever since.
Here is a live rendition that I found on his YouTube page of “Heaven” off this album.

Nuwamba’s Above The Water is available on iTunes, cdbaby and at your local independent record stores.

Funk Jazz Kafé Film Festival and Music Conference

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Funk Jazz Kafé Film Festival and Music Conference at the SouthWest Arts Center here in Atlanta. This event had everything for true music heads and indie film lovers all in one conference. The early part of the day included panels of discussion on how to market yourself as an independent artist, finding success with Crowd Funding and the important discussion on the direction of radio today.

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Radio Today Panel

I found out about this festival at the last-minute so I dropped by to catch the “Radio Today: Terrestrial vs. Digital Radio” panel. This strong panel included Ken Rye, On-Air personality as Moderator, Wannique Shabazz, Operations Manager, WRFG 89.3 FM, Derek Harper, Program Director, WAMJ 107.5 FM, Terry Bello, On-Air Personality, WVEE 103.3 FM, Jamal Ahmad, On-Air Personality 91.9 FM and LaMont Carson, Founder & DJ, Basement Soul Radio Online. This panel couldn’t have had better representation of the Atlanta radio community. They discussed everything from what radio used to be and its legendary heroes (Frankie Crocker, Jack the Rapper), the current state of radio (the top 5 radio shows such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity dominating the airwaves) and where radio is headed (digital and internet radio stations). The overall consensus of the panel was that the only way that REAL music can be promoted on radio today was for us to either seek out internet and/or digital radio stations (Pandora, Spotify, etc.) for the music or produce our own quality radio internet stations. Content is so important to gain listenership. Also, not only just playing the music but providing the story behind the music. People today want to know who these artists are, not just their music. Wonderful discussion and I could have sat there all day listening to the ideas of the panel. My background is in radio, so this particular subject had me at hello, ha, ha.

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Jason Orr, Funk Jazz Kafé, Founder & Film Director

After this panel was over, it was time to check out the screening of the award-winning documentary Funk Jazz Kafé: Diary of A Decade (The Story of A Movement). This movie is directed by the founder of Funk Jazz Kafé, Jason Orr. The film celebrates The Funk Jazz Kafé Music Festival movement in Atlanta that took place within a 10 year span in the 80’s through early 90’s. This music festival was an event which showcased the musical and artistic diversity of the city. Many soul artists from Atlanta and all over the world performed at this event every year. Artists would display their work during this event as well. People would attend these festivals on just the reputation alone for great music. They didn’t even know who would be headlining until the show started. That was the tradition of this festival. Many of the artists we know today have participated in the Funk Jazz Café movement and shared their accounts during the film. There are appearances from Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Anthony David, Joi Gillum, Goodie Mob, Eric Roberson, Meshell Ndegeocello, Bilal, Loose Ends, Talib Kweli, Dionne Farris, Cee Lo Green, Janelle Monae and the list goes on and on. This film is definitely a must see for everyone who loves music. I wish I was here in Atlanta at that time to enjoy what appeared to be an inspiring time in Atlanta’s musical legacy. Jason Orr is touring this film all over the country and the world, so it is not available on DVD or in movie theaters. You just have to check out his website http://funkjazzkafe.com/diary-of-a-decade-movie/ to see when it comes into your city.

There were also two other documentaries during the Funk Jazz Kafé Film Festival and Music Conference: Contradiction and Coming Back for More (Finding Sly Stone). I didn’t get a chance to check out those films but I hear they were just as great as Diary of a Decade!

This was an awesome conference and I enjoyed meeting the people and taking in the atmosphere. There was a live performance from a local group called “Soulstar” while we waited for the films to start. They sounded wonderful and I’m sure we will hear more from them in the future.

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Soulstar Performance

Side Note – Blogalicious 5 Conference

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I had the most amazing time attending the 5th Annual Blogalicious Conference here in Atlanta last week! I met the most wonderful people who blog their passions day in and day out. There was a wide spectrum of bloggers from fashion, parenting, technology, health and fitness to music (hello!) and of course natural hair. There was also many bloggers that ranged from highly successful and experienced to brand new bloggers. The energy of the people there was so supportive and helpful. Whether you were an experienced blogger or new to the game, everyone had something to offer the next person. Information was readily available for any and all. All you had to do was ask. Everyone was willing to share their experiences and advice. I was just in awe of the overall vibe of everyone there (thus the name of this blog – I work well with vibes, ha, ha). I was proud to be able to glean so much helpful information from all types of bloggers. The energy at Blogalicious was nothing but love and support. Even the guest speakers and celebrities that came through were so welcoming and accessible. You couldn’t get any better than that. I will certainly make my way out to the next one. Just let me know the date and place and I’m there!