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And while his hip-hop background shines through on occasion with a touch of sly boom-bap, the focus is on squarely on instrumental interplay, which is organic and improvisatory enough (in feeling, at least) that Bay Blue can be classified as a "proper" jazz record about as easily as it can be called anything else.
It's hardly beholden to any one era or style, spanning Frankensteined be-bop ("Don't Clap On The One And The Three"), recombinant Dixieland ("Postcard From New Orleans") and throwback Cuban jazz (the roiling "Ulises Takes The Silent Cinema By Storm"), along with the growling, Mingus-like "Take It Back Time" – maybe the most impressive thing here – and the musty, cinematic 78 RPM swing of "To The Cornerstore," which recalls early-period Daedelus at his dandiest.
[7.5] originally published in Free Dimensional [Pop] T-dot pop-bot (and part-time punk) John O'Regan, aka Diamond Rings – he of the burnished baritone and rainbow eye-makeup – ups the glam and the gloss (and occasionally the gothiness) for his second album, Free Dimensional (Astralwerks), and it's probably the feel-good-est thing I've heard all year.
Between Robynesque rapping, black-leather-jacket Cars guitars, and synthesizer settings stuck fast on Depeche mode, he gives us party anthems, empowerment anthems and aw-shucks sweetie-pie love anthems, plus, in "Day and Night," a pop-dance counting rhyme that ranks up there with Bill Haley, Feist and Lou Bega.
Red [Pop] Taylor Swift is (feeling) 22, and playing dress-up.
Her fourth album tries on Unforgettable Fire-with-banjos anthemics; a couple slices of prime, Max Martin-guided girl-pop; a yawny Snow Patrol duet-ballad; even T-Swizz goes dubstep (for a few seconds.) Red (Big Machine) is too long by half, bogged down by weepy strummers that are neither as catchy nor personal as the ones she wrote at 15 (and it misses a fine opportunity to rhyme "stay stay stay" with "okay, Tay-Tay") but it skirts – at all costs – the mortal pop sin of being boring.
Two Eleven [R&B] Melisma is one thing, but Brandy's voice is really all about texture: luscious and creamy, with just the slightest, tangy hint of grit."Adrenochrome" is, hitherto unthinkably, actually aptly named; tense, archetypal chase-scene music featuring Mark Mc Guire's searing guitar leads, while the title track simply sparkles – the brightest, poppiest and most vital thing they've done, perhaps best described as chiptune Balearica (but better than that sounds.) Even the more characteristically droning, beatless pieces cover considerable ground in their collective sixteen-ish minutes.They'd probably appreciate me saying this: it's easily Emerald's least utilitarian album yet.It's a subtle thing, and almost unfailingly sublime.With a current R&B climate perhaps friendlier than usual to her perennial brand of moody, mature mid-tempo jams, Two Eleven (RCA) offers an especially vibrant set of songs (including one Frank Ocean writing credit); feistier than 2008's gorgeous and ignored Human, that navigates between classic and contemporary, from full-throated balladry to Timbaland-style bangers (and even a dodgy Chris Brown feature) without ever really pandering.
originally published at Medicine "Sound is my first love!