November 28, 2010

Modcast #182: Ladies Get In Free

I am back from my fall hiatus, and I've got an estrogen heavy modcast ready to roll. It's ladies night in the mod world, and I'm going to bring some new sounds as well as a few classics all from the female side of the aisle. Enjoy.

Adele -- Right As Rain (2008)
Duffy -- Delayed Devotion (2008)
Amy Winehouse -- Cupid (2008)
Eliza Doolittle -- Go Home (2010)
The Foxinaires feat. Brandy Butler -- Till You Love Me Too (2009)
Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings -- She Ain't A Child No More (2010)
Gabin feat. Dee Dee Bridgewater -- Into My Soul (2010)
Diplomats Of Solid Sound -- Back Off (2010)
Diana Ross & The Supremes -- I Hear A Symphony (1965)
Martha Reeves & The Vandellas -- Something (1969)
Dina Washington -- Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby (1962)
She & Him -- Sweet Darlin' (2008)


Duffy -- Well, Well, Well

Eliza Doolittle - Pack Up

November 22, 2010

From The Vaults: Modcast #146 The Big Power Pop Show Pt. 1

Once more into the vault my friends, once more into the vault. Step back in time, to a time when the modcast was young and fresh. Take a giant step outside your current listening constraints and journey with me all the way back to ... well okay, only back to last year. But it'll be worth it, trust me. I've opened up the vaults and dusted off a classic modcast that I think you'll enjoy. Again.

Anyone who listens to this show or reads this blog will quickly realize that I'm a big power pop fan. So, I'm finally doing a right proper power pop show. And to kick it all off I've got a Mod World exclusive. If you're a mod power pop fan of a certain age you are probably familiar with Modest Proposal -- they were a mid-80s mod band from Washington DC. Opening the show this week is a previously unreleased, --even unrecorded-- song by MP, "Already An Angel," It was penned by lead singer Neal Augestein just about the time the band broke up back in 1986 and the they just got around to recording it about a week ago in prep for their upcoming reunion show. If you don't have a ticket though you are out of luck as the show is now sold out. Besides Modest Proposal there's lots of good stuff on this week's show. Like a kid in a candy store, my eyes were bigger than my stomach so to speak, so this is just part one of the Big Power Pop Show. You gotta love a power pop show so big that one modcast can't contain it.

Modest Proposal -- Already An Angel (2009)
The Records -- Teenarama (1979)
20/20 -- Action Now (1979)
The Pinkees -- Danger Games (1982)
The Pranks -- The Last Ideal (1980)
The Numbers -- Sideways Elevator (1982)
Fingerprintz -- Who's Your Friend (1979)
Kursall Flyers -- Television Generation (1977)
Rick Springfield -- I've Done Everything For You (1981)
Cheap Trick -- Dream Police (1979)
The Last -- Every Summer Day (1979)

Kursaal Flyers -- Little Does She Know

20/20 -- Cherie


November 20, 2010

Diplomatically Speaking, The Diplomats Deliver One of 2010's Best Soul Releases

I like lounge music. That probably seems a strange thing to point out when reviewing a through-and-through soul record. Yet, if you've listened at all to The Diplomats of the Solid Sound over the past decade you will know what I mean. Their brand of soul, funky and loaded with bravado as it is, has a real undercurrent of lounginess. There was certainly no getting around that with their 2001 debut long player, Instrument, Action, Soul, (hell they had a song named after Hugh Hefner for heaven's sake) and while the lounge vibe is definitely more subtle on their latest release, What Goes Around Comes Around, it is still there if you're open to hearing it.

What Goes Around Comes Around marks the Iowa heartland band's fifth full-length release. And it doesn't disappoint. What Goes Around Comes Around seems to invoke all of the great soulful sounds that The Diplomats have used to such great affect over the years, melding them into probably the band's most polished and professional piece to date. And that's saying something.

The group is led by, and organized around, Hammond B-3 specialist Nate Basinger. Basinger plays in the stellar heights along with some of the current Hammond masters like, Paolo ‘Apollo’ Negri, James Taylor and
Soullive's Neal Evans. His writing and playing evoke the echoes of Jimmy Smith, Booker T and Stevie Winwood, all the while moving the soulful organ sound ahead in time and space. This is pure soul, with elements of funk and R&B throughout.

And yet there's this lounginess thing I can't get past when I listen to it -- and I don't wanna get past it. If you're a fan of the Mod Jazz series of CDs you'll know what I mean. That series trods the line between soulful jazz and lounge jazz, and it's that line that The Diplomats occasionally cross over on this disk.

The album oozes with a self-confidence that sets the songs head and shoulders above a lot of the soulful funk and R&B that is being released these days. It's a confidence that isn't arrogant, but rather earned. On "Fascination" Basinger lays down an organ line with a very Jimmy Smith like swagger, while on the groovy instrumental "Bailout!" he let's the horns do the swaggering. "Promise Of A Brand New Day" melds the horns and organ into a cool breeze of sixties soul ease, while laid across the top are the airy vocals of Diplomettes. "Gimme One More Chance" offers up hot rockin' strings even, in a floorshakin' bit of soul that hearkens back to the solid soul ladies of Motown's big hit sixties era.

If there are any standouts here then it has be the albums two opening tracks. "B-o-o-g-a-l-o-o" is driven by a sustained organ attack punctuated perfectly with horns, but it's the sassy the vocals, simple as they are that really shake the song up. That's followed by probably the strongest track on the whole album "Back Off" which puts the Diplomettes up front and center where they can take control, and boy do they. When they say back off, you better back off.

Overall, this is the Diplomats most solid release, putting all the pieces together. If you like sixties Motown, or 70s soul jazz and funk, or smooth northern soul floorshakers, then you will definitelly get a kick out of this release.

The Diplomats of Solid Sound -- Backoff