The NBT Review 91

another review from Cobus Rossouw creator of 88 Kilos of Sunshine

Lenelle Moïse Presents The Expatriate Amplification Project (featuring Karla Mosley)

Nothing excites me more than brave projects in music. I live for the discovery of something refreshingly different. In the case of the Expatriate Amplification Project, brought to life by Lenelle Moïse, the experience is rewarding not just because the project is creatively brave, but also because the execution and talent is audible in every breath.

This album consists in its entirety of vocals, with two loop machines allowing for breaths, squeaks, trills and plosives to create a backdrop for Lenelle Moïse and Karla Mosley’s breathtaking vocals. Other reviewers have commented on the contrast between Moïse’s contralto and Mosley’s soprano and I’m sure the reader will have read those, but bear with me as I wax lyrical about this combination.

As everyone knows by now I am a lover of great voices and great vocal performances. It should therefore be no surprise that I would love an album such as this. Moïse brings all the jazz, all the serious, all the heart and soul that is music and pours it over this album like molten honey. Mosley adds to this the passion, the fervour, the ambition the angels. When these two combine, as on the Body Part Song it lifts the listener as much as an Andreas Scholl Agnes Dei and perhaps more, because inside of Expatriate is more than training and perfection, there is life, lessons and a search for personal liberation.

So it is serious stuff, and the lyrics bear this out, with Motherland a lament for places left behind or places adopted, Baby Powder bringing us into the horror of social deprivation, Aliens taking us through disenfranchisement into the possibilities inherent in everyone. And it is this turnabout, this hope that is apparent in every song (no matter the bleakness of the landscape) that made this more than simply a glorious vocal album. If I had to sum it up with one word it would be “honest” and in today’s world I think that’s high praise.

This is interesting, rewarding, thought-provoking, beautiful and pure. It is not a flawless album, but its flaws are  relevant to the experience, if anything the flaws are necessary.

On “The Makings” Moïse writes and Mosley sings “I got the makings of a great jazz singer”, and listening to both performers on this album, I can only concur.

Discover more:

http://www.lenellemoise.com/

You can hear tracks from this album on the NBT podcast of the 16th Sept and beyond

http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com

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The Wonderful Ones 2008 Part One

wonderful-ones

The Wonderful Ones 2008 Part One

Listen to These artists On the NBT special Christmas Show Going Out

19th Dec 08

http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com/

Also catch the brand new NBT photo gallery featuring a whole bunch of the artists here:

http://jalbum.net/browse/user/album/82358/

 

Well it’s been 12 long hectic eclectic months since i last featured The Wonderful Ones. In that 12 months the NBT Project became ‘’the little Resource that could.’’

Listenership of the podcast nearly trebled, the readership of the NBT blogs soared to five times as much, the offshoot podcast for darker music was born, and the Alternative country podcast is almost ready for the tear and glare of the internet universe.

Again I was amazed and thrilled to find so much good music out there in Independent Land. Music of honour, strength and passion, Punk, Pop, Soul, Dance, Rock n Folk, all the tribes were heard from, and NBT found itself in the weird position of trying to fit three years of new music in just 356 days.

So. Here they are

The Bands

The Artists

The Resources (labels, promoters, distributers)

The Wonderful Ones of 2008.

Below (in Alphabetical Order) is a bit about each of them, as well as thoughts from the bands/artists themselves about this past turbulent year and their hopes for 2009

Ariel Publicity/Rhoda

Those who are regular readers of NBT, know that we host the Ariel ‘New Media Pioneer Interviews’ which showcase those brave souls/podcasters/bloggers who spend their time promoting independent music on the net. But of course AP is much more than that; it is tireless in its efforts to expose new artists to the world, to get them seen on as many stages (virtual and worldly) as is possible. I asked Ariel to choose and artist for selection onto this blog and here is Rhoda.

A native of Uganda, Rhoda was raised in the Washington, D.C. area, where East and West African rhythms, pop, jazz, Broadway, R&B, and hip hop music imbued her childhood, creating a unique hybrid in her musical sensibilities. As a member of various choral groups, from school and church choirs to a female a capella group while attending the University of Virginia, Rhoda’s musical instruction includes five-part harmony and piano. Her talent emerges from deeply within, guided by a natural force of love and passion for all things creative.

Rhoda: The year that was 2008 has been yet another wonderful year in my musical journey. Early in 2008, I joined a rock band as one of three lead vocalists performing at various charitable events, including fundraisers for local school communities and AIDS research, with some incredible celebrities, including Paul Shaffer, American Idol Ruben Studdard and American Idol contestant Kimberly Locke. As the year progressed, I continued to bring the West Village, Harlem and even Jersey City’s respective houses down performing with the greatest funk cover band in the land, Loose Booty.  And in September of 2008, I released my second solo album. The album Rhoda is my deepest treasure; my collection of soulful songs of the heart which explore some of the most significant relationships of my life.

As 2008 draws to a close, I look back with an inspired and adoring eye, remaining ever-grateful for all the beautiful harmonies sung, every amazing solo played, every kind word of support and encouragement from MySpace friends, music bloggers, and warm faces in the audience, and most of all, for every moment I saw and felt someone moved by the music I feel so honored and compelled to create.  As I look forward to 2009, I see myself performing intimate acoustic sets at various venues in New York City and throughout the East Coast, I see many more endless hours of the funk brought to you by Loose Booty, and yes, I see album number 3 which me and my incredible producer, Kareem A. Walkes, have already started writing. It’s going to be a lovely ride. I hope you’ll join me.

http://arielpublicity.net

http://www.rhodankojo.com/

Bilkis

Bilkis aka Sophie brought a stripped down electronica/folk into the NBT world in 2008, melding the ghosts of This Mortal Coil, and Nick Drake and making shadows and blurs sensual again.

Bilkis: 2008 has been a productive year. I have spent quite a lot of time working at my craft of singing.

And started some recordings with Victor Kuc, I am excited with what we are producing… and although we haven’t had much time together for recording.. he lives in Poland I live in London… we hope to do more work together early next year. We produced a great cover version of Bel Biv Devoe’s Poison, which needs a few finishing touches before it can be released. And have started work on one of my own tracks which I should be done in the next month…(takes longer when you don’t live in the same country!)

 

In 2009 I’m going to be spending more time Poland. While I’m there I’ll not only be recording things and putting down beats for my own Album, but doing some collaborative work on tracks which are stylistically very different from what I do…I’m sure the result will be interesting!!

I hope to have releases also, a single near the beginning of the year… and hopefully an album later on in the year.

www.myspace.com/bilkis

BirdEatsBaby

As the days turned to winter and flirted hard with the snow reflected nights, NBT discovered warmth upon the cabaret stage with the crooked PopTheatre sounds of BirdEatsBaby. Look out for the debut album early 2009, and played an extreme amount of times by us.

BeB: Birdeatsbaby began the year fresh-faced and eager, filled with the hope and energy, which every hard-working band feels, thinking that this would be the year for us. So far, we have watched as the music industry buckled under downloading chaos, and descend further into the same old Indie crap. But we are not broken, we have kept playing, some were bad gigs, such as empty rooms and deepest, darkest Ipswich. We have also had the opportunity to play to wonderful, appreciative audiences, with artists such as Thomas Truax and Lou Hickey. We were one of the last bands to play the hallowed Pressure Point stage before its closure, and we were featured in an acoustic set at the Great Escape Festival.

                However, we are forever looking forward. This year will be the making of us, our album is ready and we will be releasing it around May 2009. To promote this, we are setting off on a grand tour of the U.K. and Europe, with our arch-nemesis Mr. Joe Black. With our combined efforts, we shall descend upon Europe and give them a show they will never forget. We shall prevail.

http://www.birdeatsbaby.co.uk

Deni Bonet

Classically trained Violinist Deni Bonet, has played with a shiver inducing who’s who of of the finest alternative folk indie and pop artists around including NBT personal faves, REM , Warren Zevon and Richard Thompson. But in 08 she brought out her album `Last Girl On Earth’ which showcased a great mix of the vulnerable and the sassy.

http://www.denibonet.com/

Joe Cassady and the West Coast Sound

This was music of subtle textures, it had a polished surface that enticed into a disturbing yet welcoming world that mixed the surreal with beat poet wanderings, then mixed it all up again with an seeming effortless folk rock boogie. The album, ‘What’s Your Sign’ had one of the best covers this year as well.

Joe: 2008 was a big year for us!  It started out on some pretty high notes with a lot of great recognition for our debut full-length CD, What’s Your Sign?  The first week of the year saw it named by USA Today music editor Ken Barnes as one of his favorite CD’s of 2007, that was followed by a similar recognition from Soundstage! magazine. We then began our European radio and media campaign for the record and were thrilled to have it very well received.  BBC2’s Bob Harris spun us two weeks straight on his show in the UK which was a huge honor and we were similarly honored with all the various airplay and press received we received, NBT included!

In May it was back to the studio again to begin recording our follow-up record The 47th Problem which will be out on the Avenue A Records label in February and which NBT is getting first cracks at previewing in the “Best of 2008” podcast.  Somewhere in between all of this we played 40 live dates and I hosted a weekly Americana Music series called “Avenue A Records Presents” at locations in New York City and New Jersey—it was a busy year!  In 2009 we will be releasing our new CD The 47th Problem in the U.S. and Europe and playing a ton of shows here in the U.S. in support of it.  Hope you enjoy it.  Have a great 2009!

http://www.joecassady.com

Colour Cold

With the release of debut album ‚‘Safe From Silence‘The far from Cold Bloemfontein South African band proved all of us that had been praising them to the mountains and over the oceans and beyond had been right. An example of what College Rock should sound like, taking dashings of EMO, Hard Rock and Power Ballads, and with ‘to die for’ pop hooks left behind the angst and self satisfaction of most of the ‘BIGname’ superstars.

CC: The year we decided to run!

It is always exciting to begin a new year. Something urges you to do better and elaborate plans fill January month to help bring the big world a little closer to your stage. The challenge is not the beginning of the year; it is keeping the excitement and drive long enough to help you through the challenges of those plans.

We began 2008 the same way we do every year, only this time we decided to run.

With a borrowed budget, late night recording sessions after work, phone calls that reached almost one hundred and e-mails to four countries, we released our debut album and performed to a sold out venue in our hometown. Two to three months passed and with June approaching, it all seemed to be slowing down. More phone calls and more e-mails… till suddenly we see one of our songs climb an independent rock chart up and up to number two. Reviews clearly state that a lot of effort was put into the album release and radio stations are now taking our phone calls and arranging interviews on shows we have been listening to for years.

We have achieved more in 2008 than the previous three years combined, but our greatest success has been the friendship and trust we have gained from people around the world who we have never even met.

The video documentary with Gee Davey was certainly a highlight this year. My hope for 2009 is that more artists come together and enjoy the gift of music a little more. I think that the business of music in general will stay on the same road next year, and those who keep their feet firmly on the petrol, or gas if you prefer, will have more success. For Colour Cold, 2009 will be a continuation of 2008, with more music off the shelf, live shows to film and great friends to meet.

And if you thought we run pretty fast, watch us sprint!

Liz Tsikkos COLOUR COLD

http://www.colourcold.co.za/

Ian Churchward/The Morrisons/Legendary Ten Seconds

No ‘best of year’ NBT blog would be complete without mentioning Ian, band member of  The Morrisons AND the Legendary Ten Seconds, Ian forever brings the spirit of John Peel into the NBT studio, which is one of the small things that keeps me going. He also composed the insanely catchy NBT theme tune.

http://www.freewebs.com/themorrisonsband

Feral Children

A private howl for every bedroom, a group gasp and the indie world dances, its the songs behind the stories of the smeared lipstick, the starlight sparkle of the bottle in the forest, the StagediveEternal.  ‘Second to the Last Frontier’ becomes NBT’s   Album of the Year by a Band.

FERAL CHILDREN’S Assessment of 2008:
2008 was a long year, a busy year for our band and ourselves. We started 2008 by playing a sold-out new years show, followed closely by the first of four tours. We saw the courting of ourselves by our current record label, Sarathan Records. We watched sunsets in the Moab Desert on the way to and from Austin. We played benefits for local and national causes. We wondered if we can tour Europe in 2009. We started writing a new record. We found ourselves in New Jersey at a bowling alley eating pork roll and tofu while a band set up 40 amps. We deafly drove home in four days. We’re home now finishing our preproduction for the first recording session of our next record, which will bookend 2008 quite nicely.2009 is anyone’s guess. We will finish recording our second record, possibly in more sections due to talk of tours. We’re still wondering if we can go to Europe or Japan this next year. Our only goal is to hopefully become better musicians through the process of touring and writing. Hopefully that will be the case.
Some of our reviews- 
Pitchfork 
CMJ
 
Visit us-
website

Lauren Fincham

One of the few Artists to make both the 2007 AND the 2008 lists, Lauren released the album ‚‘Perfect Pain‘and we had the pleasure of writing about it for our first ever NBT Review Blog.

Lauren: 2008 was a quiet, reflective year for me; I feel like I finally regained my creative focus.

 Most of my challenges were internal – emotional struggles with changing relationships and my own economic ups & downs.

I did get to reconnect with some important people that I’d thought I’d lost to drugs, but they’ve returned and are starting to share their musical gifts once again.

I am very grateful for that gift.

I also learned that my dog Anya is helping me to have more patience and know how to enjoy a nap.

 2009

 I really really want to travel more this year – I have been dreaming of going to Iceland for 3 yrs and haven’t gotten it together yet – but hopefully I will soon

I also would like to travel to a lot of the cities and countries to meet the awesome folks that support and play my music.

Maybe someone out there can help me come up with some ideas on how to do that?

 I have big plans to be bolder and more prolific with my creative ventures…

 We’ll see how that turns out.

http://www.12houserecords.com/lfincham/index.htm

 

 

Gee Davey

A time warp-tumble of now and then, hints of hardcore, grandfunky  SoulGrunge pop. Super shiny artifacts rolled reflecting on empty cold beaches and  the super light flares on the highways of the big city.

As well as releasing a captivating EP this year (She Sells Smiles) DJ and the guys collaborated with South African band Colour Cold to make a two part Video Documentary about both bands; check out both bands myspace pages for news on that.

DJ from Gee Davey: 2008 was a great year for us in Gee Davey –land.  We really, really, threw ourselves into our live show this year and we have really just been gigging anywhere and everywhere they would let us play.  This year was such a mosaic of shows, to think back on it now is fascinating.

In 2008:  we played for thousands of people under a beautiful sunset just yards from the water on the north shore of Long Island and we played for only seven people at one of the hippest clubs in New York City; we played during the hell of late August when the air conditioners broke, and we played at midnight during the first snowfall in December  (strangely enough, at the same club); we played at 1 in the afternoon and we played at 2 in the morning; we played with hard rock bands, modern rock bands, classic rock bands, jam, metal, psychedelic-trip, power-pop and cover bands, and some of the best bands we have ever shared a stage with.  We played on while sweat burned our eyes, and blood trickled from our fingers; while our equipment faltered, and our voices gave out.  But most importantly, we played on.

And just as we end every show we play, I give you the very last line of the night, from “Last Song”…

…and I’ll sing my song to you, it’s all I want to do.

Thank you very much 2008…    (and goodnight!)

http://www.geedavey.com/

Grand Atlantic

From Australia the BIG music, on their album ‘This Is..’ Grand Atlantic tapped in the orchestral majestic finding superb sweetness and infinite sighs within their beautiful pop songs.

Phil Usher: 2008 turned out to be a different year from what we had planned, but was a typically busy one for Grand Atlantic.  We began writing and recording our second LP in December 2007 and had hoped to finish up by April 08.  Of course being an independent band, there are many things to consider and we ended up finishing the tracking at the end of August.  The missed deadline wasn’t helped by our usual ambitious approach to writing and recording an album.  I am happy to say that the album has been mixed by the fabulous Magoo and was mastered in Nashville last week.  So we are already looking forward to a release in 2009 with many shows and hopefully some overseas touring. 

 

On the live front, we have done many shows this year in Australia, in and around our base in Brisbane.  Some highlights were the sold out Beatles tribute night, supporting some great Australian and International bands, and launching our new single “Tripwires” at the Troubadour to a capacity crowd.  We’re playing our last show for the year this week and then taking a break for Christmas etc…  2009 will be an exciting one with the release of our 2nd album entitled “How We Survive.”  We hope everyone has a great Christmas and would like to wish everyone a successful and happy new year.  See you out on the road in 2009!!!

http://www.grandatlantic.org/

 

The Heise Bros

 

Country garage, indie rough n rock, the simple pleasure of the unfiltered alternative to the gloss and posing of much of the music industry. The Heise Bros, became , for NBT at least, the spiritual children of bands like the Replacements and the DBs.

 

2008, as The Heise Bros. see it:  It started off with a bang, very literally. On December 31st, Nelson’s wife was getting induced for labor while the brothers had a New Year’s Eve gig to play. Fortunately, the doctor’s assured Nelson and his wife that Paige Susan Heise would not be born until the morning of the next day, Nelson snuck out of the hospital for an hour and played the show and came back to his wife side (with her permission, of course). Paige was born around 9 AM on January 1st, 2008. So things started well as Nelson was a new father and Robert a new uncle. But that did not prevent the boys from putting out their annual album entitled “III: The Return of The Heise Bros.”, featuring their new band mate Matt Egger. The brothers played a handful of acoustic and electric shows in 2008 in support of the new effort, and remain as always an unknown treasure to see live.

2009, as The Heise Bros. see it. This upcoming year will feature the brothers other band, The Hit & Mrs., follow up record. This will feature longtime drummer V. Stak. This tends to display the more rockin’ side of the brothers. Right now, they are working on the vocals and mixes. For your listening pleasure, the brothers will let you hear one of the rough mixes on NBT with a song called “Saint Maria” and a VU cover. Enjoy!

www.theheisebros.com

www.thehitandmrs.com

www.100under60.com

Hemifran

For any broadcaster/podcaster/blogger/radio head honcho, Hemifran is a pure wonderful blessing.

Run with elegance by Peter Holmstedt, hemifran concentrates on getting independent music from around the world, heard in Europe. Many of the bands on this very blog and on the Wonderful Ones Podcast are sourced to NBT by this company.

http://www.hemifran.com

The Wonderful Ones 2008 continues HERE

https://nbtmusic.wordpress.com/2008/12/18/the-wonderful-ones-2008-part-two/

 

 

 

The NBT Review 11

 

Umbrella Man – Scott Albert Johnson (Independent Release)

 

From the shuffle bop of ‘Spaceman’ to the swinging jazz of the Wynton Marsalis tune ‘ In The Courts of King Oliver’ there is a warmth and a deep soul to this latest offering from harmonica virtuoso Johnson.

Backed by the best musicians Jackson Mississippi has to offer, and recorded in that city and New Orleans these tunes rollick and pulse their way into the listeners heart.

Gifted with a clear emotionally satisfying voice and a complete grasp on what makes an honest thoughtful song work, Johnson invites us to dance the night away, get hot, get sweaty and get involved.

There is a rare love and passion in these recordings, an uncompromising dedication and a joyfulness, in even the the most thoughtful ballad (stand out track ‘The Best Of Me’ ) that sets this way above many similar attempts.

This isn’t music from some rock star , distant , too distant from the crowd that comes to hear him play, this isn’t some roots blues rock n roll researcher/revivalist digging up old chords for new albums,

this, is the sound of someone who lives and breathes the music he creates and wants to share it with anyone that will listen.

My advice is buy this CD and listen, but don’t forget to boogie crazy while doing so.

 

Get the music and read info about the recordings here http://www.scottalbertjohnson.com

 

 

Shadows – Strangers In Wonderland (Last Refrain Music)

 

Deep into the second track, `Every Day, Every Night’ the listener is made aware that hiding behind this perfect pop electronic funk (edging into new wave) even a simple love song has its own fears and darkness.

 

Shooting then into a slow blues, these Strangers show their wonderland can be full of a fragile and pulsing desire. This Wonderland is seductive and slightly dirty and not always as safe as the sugar coated music sighs would suggest. But who wants safety when the pleasure is in the hidden ragged beauty of the needs and the dreaming of this band.

 

We come now to what is my favourite track, `Still Standing` a song that distills essence of the ghosts in the radio, the lost spirits caught among the shifting airwaves, this glides and swirls , uneasy yet powerful.

 

More cool slightly on the edge tunes follow, the sound of what should be on the nations pop charts, the alternative strokes within are subtly painted and without sacrificing the catchy, there are enough twists to comfort the listener who wants a bit more.

 

This is the kind of album that makes those people who categorise tunes for ipods tremble, cause it slinks from style to style, keeping though, the essence, the DARKNESS of the band.

 

Mention must be made of the Chuck Dread remixes included on the CD, adding a neon dance floor glow and kapow to the tunes, a late night strobe shiver, bring even more magic to this strange Pop-land.

 

Find their music and more here: http://www.strangersinwonderland.com

 

 

 

Both these artists will be featured on the NBT podcast going out on the 4th Sept 08

http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com/

 

 

 

The NBT Review 3

nbtreview3a.jpg

Alphabet Blues EP – LowStar (Independent Release)

First there is guitar, like a lone rider coming out of the silent mist. Then an army of melody and emotion. We are taken over by the bangPOW rhythms and the glorious shouts of the chorus. This is how the title track wins the day.
Tribal drums and swirling guitar, vocals mixed in the heat of battle, the song ‘Drone’ continues the battle, and then the bassGLIDE intro of ‘Connected’ slides us into the aftermath, flowing and thoughtful.
A trio of shiny forceful rock songs.

http://www.lowstar.co.uk

Paper Tiger – Sean Fournier (Independent Release)

Fournier produces and plays all the instruments on this his second release, a subtle but multi layered love letter to the too often disregarded singer/songwriter world. We are invited to ‘step inside’ and the galloping guitar of a younger Paul Simon greets us. Even in its many dark moments, the warm and gentle (personal) voice makes the visit here a comforting one.
The songs are arranged with quiet skill and in the heartbreaking ‘she was the green’ the stark vocal sadness is wonderfully counterbalanced by the fade in and fade out of a fuller string and band canvas.
To prove that this isn’t some 70s folk rock homage, Fournier hits us with the wry and pleasantly rude Fiest like ‘Weathervane’ and the flamboyant bittersweet ‘Lie’ making this a collection of songs that lets out it secrets carefully and irresistibly.
There is nothing fake about the fragile here (listen to ‘Weak-I feel like Superman) and no self pity in its soft-smile honesty. And most important of all it has none of the smugness that artists like Jack Johnson let filter through when attempting moods similar to those on this release.

http://www.sean-fournier.com

Leaving Kansas – Holly Long (Skim Milk Productions)

The darkness of mortality and the brilliance of redemption, this is an album of personal strength and victory over fear and falling.
The stories captured here are sharply focused, uncluttered and so very real. This is no doom and gloom epic, but is also no shiny happy people holy missive, it realises that even in redemption there is space for dirt and truth.
And truth can be harsh, as in opening track, ‘Brokedown’ where no punches are pulled, but , Whether this is sung to the mirror or directed to another character, the words may just set the woman free.
And the singer knows that when she sings ‘Trust Me’ it cannot be wrapped in sweetness but must allow for the edge of darkness to be believed.
And the singer knows that to haunt (as in ‘bones’) is to seduce and where there is pain light will always follow. You can be saved by the romance of the harmony and the shimmer of the piano.
And
If anyone fails to be moved and drawn into the world of ‘He and I (For Truman)’ then that poor listener is lost indeed.
A beautifully dark uplifting release.

http://www.hollylong.com

Bilkis – Bilkis (independent release)

This is the sound of another world, a lo-fi sighing, almost dangerous world. It is the sound of a glass world, a mirror world about to shatter from vibrations and whispers. It is a mix of the scary gypsy queen and the fragile fairy princess.
These are songs stolen shy from reflections upon nervous water.
These are magic chants, revealing what hides beneath the dreaming lovers eyelids.
These are gently twisted Pop songs, they rumble and roll using Folk as a mere departure point
And in ‘make me happy’ lies the secret of Bilkis, tunes that drift by the soul, then dart sideways , sinking sneaking in, and when u go to sleep tonight dear listener
The soundtrack to this other world shall be playing.

http://www.myspace.com/bilkis

Hear these Artists either on the 3rd April NBT Podcast or the 10th April Show.

http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com