April 30, 2010

Eli Paperboy Reed is one sweet soul singer

Finding good, new, original soul music these days is not exactly hard to do, not nearly as hard say, as not eating onion rings during happy hour on a Friday night.

It's not hard to like the forthcoming new album from Eli "Paperboy" Reed, Come And Get It, is chock full of Motown sounding soul. Reed is a nittier, grittier, hard and nasty R&B soul man than this album shows. His past work has been more James Brown than Sam Cooke, but that changes here. When you're listening to Come And Get It you can just see Reed singing the smooth soul songs, clapping his hands, and suavely spinning in place as he belts it out. You will be forgiven for reminiscing about Smokey, the Temps or the Tops. At least until the last track, "Explosion". After moving through eleven sweet soul songs, that last track really is an Explosion, showing that Reed still has the chops to bring it hard and nasty.

Eli Paperboy Reed -- Young Girl

Eli Paperboy Reed -- Explosion

April 27, 2010

Modcast #164: Mod Men

Welcome to Mr. Suave's Mod Mod World. This week's show is brought to you by the letter Y as in Y chromosome. It's mod men week on the modcast. I've collected songs from mod men, some with undeniable mod street cred like Ray Davies, Steve Marriot, or Paul Weller, and to others like Mose Allison and Paul Heaton who I will go to my grave arguing are every bit the mod as any other man. Regardless of all that, you can't argue with the songs. It's another great mix, if I do say so myself.

It was hard to put together the list, partly because what I really wanted were established artists who were now doing solo work. It was easy for some of them. Then there were others, like Steve Marriot who I really wanted to put in the show, that I had to dig deep and still found them in a band situation, or guys like Mose Allison who have essentially been solo artists for their entire careers, I included them anyhow.

Listen Now

Mose Allison -- Seventh Son (1962)
David Bowie -- Love You Till Tuesday (1967)
Manfred Mann -- 5-4-3-2-1 (1964)
Steve Marriott -- Money Money (1964)
Graham Coxon -- See Saw (2006)
Paul Heaton -- I Do (2008)
Adrian Holder -- Goodbye Tuesday (2006)
Paul Bevoir --It's Gotta Stop Somewhere (1992)
Liam Gallagher -- Married With Children (1994)
Ray Davies -- Other People's Lives (2006)
Paul Weller -- Broken Stones (1995)

Ray Davies - 20th Century Man

The Jetset (Paul Bevoir) -- Wednesday Girl

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April 26, 2010

Go Forth And Buy Kings Go Forth

From the first bold, brash notes of "One Day", Kings Go Forth sets itself up as a soul outfit not to be ignored. Their debut album, The Outsiders Are Back, is a tour de force of modern soul music that echoes the best days of soul's golden era in the late 60s and early 70s.

That opening track comes on strong like it might be the title track to seventies blaxploitation film, and the album gallops forward full speed ahead from there. There are some nods to Motown, "High On Your Love", and even a track with some subtle ska elements worked in, "1000 Songs". It all rises to a climax with the final floorburner "Get A Feeling" that will have the most staid non-dancers shuffling their feet to the beat.

Kings Go Forth -- One Day

April 21, 2010

Modcast #163: Listen Listen Listen

Welcome to Mr. Suave's Mod Mod World. Got a big, bold, beautiful show for you this week with new tracks from Paul Weller, The Booze and The School as well as new bands like Fitz and The Tantrums and Sunshine Highway. Along the way I've thrown in some golden oldies too from So Cal mod-skasters The Untouchables, and ska-pop new wavers Graduate. Kicking it all off is one of the Lambretta's earliest --and most underrated-- songs, and then I wrap it up with one of the most covered songs of all from soul diva P.P. Arnold. That last track has been recorded so many times I doubt anyone can get an accurate count of who's covered it over the years. It's been done by everyone from Dusty Springfield to the Pretenders. In fact Chrissy Hynde did a version on Friends. Nina Simone's recorded it, as has Olivia Newton John, and the Dead Milkmen even used to occasionally break into the chorus between songs during their live shows. The most famous version is the one from 1980 by Juice Newton. It was originally recorded in 1967, but didn't get released until 1968 when two different artists had hits with it simultaneously, one in the US, and Ms. Arnold's in the UK. So, listen, listen, listen.

The Lambrettas -- Listen, Listen, Listen (1978)
Paul Weller -- Moonshine (2010)
The Booze -- No Big Thing (2010)
Fitz and the Tantrums -- L.O.V. (2009)
The Lodger -- Stand Up (2010)
The School -- Valentine (2010)
Sunshine Highway -- Baby Be Good (2010)
Graduate -- Acting My Age (1980)
Amy Winehouse -- Hey Little Rich Girl (2008)
PP Arnold -- Angel Of The Morning (1968)

The Untouchables - Piece of Your Love

The Untouchables - I Spy for the FBI


April 20, 2010

Gabin's Third and Double is pretty swank affair

I just discovered Gabin, a nujazz/soul/funk/electronica outfit from Rome. Seems I'm a bit late to the party since this album, Third and Double, is the their third, and a double CD to book. It's got a definite lounge feel to it, with lots of jazz and soul worked into an easy listening, soft pop style of music. Not the best record I've ever heard, but somewhat surprisingly it's been growing on me. If you like Simply Red, or Burt Bacharach, or The Style Council, or Sade, then you'll probably like some of what Gabin does.

In addition to their regular vocalist, Mia Cooper, for this album the group has enlisted a couple of A-list vocal talents as well: the similar-styled Nadeah Miranda from Nouvelle Vogue, and grunge godfather Chris Cornell of Soundgarden and Audioslave. It all makes for an interesting mix.

There's "Slow Dancin Dans La Maison" which sounds like it dropped right off a Style Council album circa 1986, and the jazzy, atmospheric, soundtrackish sound of "Keep it Cool". There's a nod to easy listening and Bacharach styled pop with guitars in "The Alchemist", to the very cool, swank, swing of "The Game".

The first disc is more chill, downtempo, and at times poppier than the second disk. That second one has every bit the sound of old-school, swingin', jazz pop standards. Keeping it grounded on both sides are Cooper's vocals, which especially on the second disk are very loungy and evocative of suave ladies of song like Shirley Bassey, Peggy Lee, Nancy Wilson and Dinah Washington.

Gabin -- The Game feat. Mia Cooper

Gabin -- Slow Dancin' Dans La Maison feat. Z-Star

April 15, 2010

Très Bien! is indeed very good

In 2007 there was a forgettable (arent' they all really?) reality/game show called The Next Great American Band in which a dozen or so different bands competed to win a recording contract. Courtesy of the American Idol folks you can pretty much imagine exactly how the show went and what the acts were like. The winners were a country Christian act (that's two strikes right there), and the best band of the whole thing was bounced in the middle of the season. That was Très Bien!

Très Bien! is a garage rock band that throughout the show unashamedly paraded their love of sixties garage rock across the stage, and even referred to themselves as mods from time to time. So it was not surprising when the Brittany Spears loving American masses unceremoniously voted the band off after they covered the Stones.

Flash forward to 2010 and here comes Très Bien! with a brand new album, Rough Gems, which is a sort of collection of the band's favorite songs of their own over the past eight years. The sixties influences are here in spades, as are the band's love of garage rock, indie power pop and Britpop. They meld it altogether into a really enjoyable set of songs that range from the post-punk spikiness of "Meet Your Maker", to the garagey Strokes-like "Easy To Love Me", to the shakey, swaggering R&B of both "Your Graceful Soul" and "How I Feel".

There are a couple of standouts. For me the best track is the very soulful, rocker "Right & Wrong", which with its catchy hooks and melody and some strong vocals just seems to wokr on every level. The other standout is probably the oddest song in the bunch, Between The Sheets, a bit of indie rock ala The Libertines or The Arctic Monkeys.

Très Bien! -- Right & Wrong

Très Bien! -- Between The Sheets

April 13, 2010

The Smokin' Hot Smokey Bandits

Nu-jazz, nu-swing, nu-soul, nu-music, call it whatever you want, but whatever Smokey Bandits are pouring I'm drinking.

From the moment the disk kicks off you are transported to some foreign locale, a locale with a suave and sophisticated soundtrack that screams of adventure. And it smacks just enough of places you've been and sounds you've experienced before so that you feel foolishly comfortable, just before it zigs when you think it should zag, and your sonic adventure takes a welcome twist.

The Smokey Bandits are a Greek duo who took two years to produce their debut album, Debut. They were clearly influenced by movies, and movie music, and the influences both visual and aural are all here: Morricone, Tarrantino, Schifrin, Almodovar. The tracks are new, nuveau nu, so much so that they don't seem derivative of Italian soundtracks of yesteryear as much as they bring those up to date and build on their foundations. Take "The Rooster", a tango that is surprisingly both quaint and sultry, but never boring. Or "Subway Hustler", which has an understated swagger with its jazzy horns. Or, the funky arrogance of "Cracker Jack", with first organ and then sax, evoking as they do a bold stroll down a Harlem street. Or, "Angelitos Negros" which demands to be listened to while you drink scotch and smoke cigars on balcony at the mid of night.

This is all swingin' jazz. If you like suave, sophisticated, exotic backing tracks with the ocassional soulful flourishes and lots of jazzy beats and breaks (think Portishead meets Calexico) then you'll dig this release. There's no vocals here, Smokey Bandits let the guitars, the strings, the horns, speak for themselves. It's a soundtrack for movie that only exists in your mind's eye.

Smokey Bandits -- Holidays in the Sun

Smokey Bandits -- Cracker Jack

Smokey Bandits -- A Son's Lament

April 12, 2010

Modcast #162: The Way It Is

Another week, another super cool modcast to get you going. Is there a better way to start your week? I don't think so. This week's show has some old stuff, some new stuff, some not so old or new stuff. From Switzerland to California and pretty much everywhere in between, I'm giving you the goods to get through this week with your spirits high. (You can get some other high spirits during happy hour!)

The Fonxinaires (featuring Brandy Butler) -- Soul Garage (2009)
Très Bien! -- Between The Sheets (2010)
The Pablos -- Lose Control (2009)
Mark & The Spies -- If I Really Bug You (2007)
Locksley -- Hello Tomo (2008)
The Lolas -- Me and Barbara Stanwyck (2006)
Secret Beauty Cream -- Shake For You (2008)
The Eyes -- TAQN (1978)
The Stilettos -- This Is The Way (1978)
The Lovethugs -- Close Beside Her (2005)
The Animals -- She Said Yeah (1964)

Locksley -- Darling, It's True

Très Bien! -- If At First

April 4, 2010

Modcast #161: Garage Rock 'Round The World

Welcome to Mr. Suave's Mod Mod Garage, where I'm diggin' into the world wide garage scene, featuring garage rock from bands all over the world. Last week's show, for those that missed it, featured all American garage bands of the 80s -- mostly. So, this week I figured I'd give the rest of the world its due. I've got bands from Sweden, the UK, Italy, Sweden, Canada, Greece, Sweden et al. Hmmm. Must be something in the water over there.

Listen Now

David Peter & The Wilde Sect -- Wilde Girl
The Sick Rose -- I Want Love
Stomachmouths -- I Don't Need Your Love
The Gruesomes -- Get Outta My hair
The Legendary Golden Vampyres -- Creeping Poison
Nirvana Devils -- Some Foreign Shore
The Cannibals -- Can't Get Away From You
Cornflake Zoo -- 13 Stations
The Green Telescope -- Thinkin' About Today
The Creeps -- So Long
The Frantic V -- Good Lovin'

The Stomachmouths - Don't You Know
The Creeps -- Don't Go Away Download