After several years working behind the scenes, the legendary Raphael Saadiq returns to the spotlight to deliver his most personal, and compelling album to date. Jerry Lee (named after his brother who was an addict who died of AIDS) takes a profoundly human look at not just the consequences of addiction, but the underlying causes. Oppression comes in many forms in this world, and Saadiq explores that theme with compassion, an understanding of just how deeply all of us are connected, and a belief that it is only love that can save us in the end.
Allen Stone’s Thanksgiving Eve show at 9:30 Club was full of gratitude. Touring ahead of the release of his fourth album (release date, TBA), the soulful Washingtonian—the state of—performed soulful favorites and new singles “Brown Eyed Lover,” “Taste Of You,” and “Warriors.”
Washington, DC's Flasher made minor waves with their self-titled debut in 2016, and now the trio is back with a new label (Domino) and a fun-as-hell new LP, Constant Image. Recalling the late 80's heyday of gothic synthpop, Constant Image's outta time, place, and, most importantly, outta sight sound is the new hotness arriving just in time to save us all from another dreary Summer in the swamp.
PLUS! Ali Shaheed Muhammad & Adrian Younge's long-gestating project The Midnight Hour is finally out in the wild, and we've got a tasty track for you to turn the lights down lowwww and do whatever comes naturally for ya.
On our latest podcast, soul/jazz polymath Kadhja Bonet is back with the follow up to her remarkable 2016 debut, The Visitor, and the more things have changed, the more they have stayed the same. Bursting with the uniquely impossible smoothness and impeccable sophistication that defined The Visitor, Childqueen is a singular that mood feels as fresh as it does timeless. Special guest Marcus J. Moore (Senior Editor, Bandcamp) joins us to journey through this latest weird and wonderful that Bonet has shared.
PLUS! Israel Nash is back with some potent good vibes, and we've got the first single of off his upcoming LP for you to get lost in!
Recently, the Howard Theatre housed a sold-out crowd eagerly awaiting Jorja Smith’s final U.S. tour stop. Her rapid rise to stardom begun only just two years ago at the age of 18 when “Blue Lights” was released on Soundcloud. Since then, she has released numerous singles and an exceptionally well-received EP, Project 11. Despite hailing from the U.K., she’s gained a strong international following stemming from touring North America with Bruno Mars in 2017 and also being featured on projects by two of hip hop’s biggest juggernauts in Drake and Kendrick Lamar. With a debut album soon to release and a 2018 Brit Critics Choice Award, it’s easy to see why the hype around her is warranted.
Even in the darkest of timelines, Janelle Monáe has always been the most triumphant of superstars, and five long years, Janelle Monáe is finally returning to music to claim her throne.. Featuring the likes of Grimes, Brian Wilson, and everyone in between, Dirty Computer lets its freak flag fly higher than fuck, and the results represent a landmark achievement in pop, hip-hop, funk, and whatever the hell else Monáe feels like proving she's better than the rest of us at.
PLUS! The Australian psych scene is on the rise again and Turtle Skull may be leading the charge. Check out a dank new track "Eden" from their upcoming self-titled EP.
Five years ago, Jungle were an unsigned duo that decided to release "Platoon" for free on SoundCloud. Soon after, they watched the hits climb and landed a record deal that would eventually make them one of the most ubiquitous festival bands of 2014 and 2015. Thanks in part to their hit single "Busy Earnin'," the band’s music became the soundtrack to countless commercials and video games worldwide. Not bad for only having one album under their belts. They've kept it pretty low-key since then, but they've made enough progress with their still-untitled sophomore album that they're ready to show the world what's next for Jungle's unique brand of laid-back funk and soul music.
It's likely that we'll look back at 2017 as the year almost everything fell apart, downerism ruled the land, and we came very close to being broken as a people.
But we didn't break. We made it. And on this final installment of ChunkyGlasses: The Podcast for 2017, we're discussing the music that lifted us up, dropped us down, and sometimes even showed us the way, but never, ever let us down.
Thanks for tuning in all year. We'll see you soon. Until then be good to your ears, but be better to your people...
Atlanta's Curtis Harding has been steeped in soul music his entire life. From singing in church with his family in Michigan as a child to being one of Cee Lo Green's star backup singers, Harding is a true veteran of the scene. On his second full length Face Your Fear, he's playing with is self-proclaimed "garage soul" formula again, this time enlisting the help of uber-producer Danger Mouse to drag a dying art form screaming into the future.
PLUS! Country is king even in Canada, and Blake Berglund is living proof! We've got a taste of his new album Realms for you to sidle your ears up to.
Aaron "Ab' Abernathy is a music man. He 's a soul man. He is a man of faith. The legacy of the Civil Rights Movement runs through his blood. And he poured all of this and more into the and album that is as much a soundtrack to 2017 as it is a timeless statement on flawed nature of the human condition, Dialogue. [Part 2/2]
Aaron "Ab' Abernathy is a music man. He 's a soul man. He is a man of faith. The legacy of the Civil Rights Movement runs through his blood. And he poured all of this and more into the and album that is as much a soundtrack to 2017 as it is a timeless statement on flawed nature of the human condition, Dialogue.
On 2016's Monologue, soul man Aaron Abernathy explored his journey from a boy to the man he is today. Abernathy had every intention of continuing that story in his next song cycle, but a funny thing happened on the way to that follow up: The world went crazy... and Abernathy began asking questions. LOTS of questions.
A spiritual heir to Marvin Gaye's What's Going On, Dialogue finds Abernathy looking at the world around him, and searching deep inside AND out for answers to the daily horrors that seem to have taken over the zeitgeist. What does it mean to be decent in a world that seemingly only rewards depravity? How can an African American survive in a society that continues to not just perpetrate, but ostensibly celebrates systemic white supremacy? Do even the smallest of human actions matter?
These questions and more provide the framework for that rarest of things, a true soul record that trades as much in heart as it does universal truth and meaning. Join Kevin, Marcus K. Dowling, and Eduardo in the basement as they have their own dialogue about the world today and one of the most relevant and powerful albums to date of this new American landscape.
Between the domestic terrorist attack in Las Vegas that claimed the lives of over fifty people and injured some 500 more and the passing of music legend Tom Petty, it's been a pretty rough week. Kevin has some thoughts about both.
Michael McDonald is a legend and a virtual Zelig of the music industry. He has sung and played on your favorite hits, your favorite band's favorite hits, and delivered a few of em all on his own. Now he's back with Wide Open, his first collection of songs in nine years, and Kevin along with friends Marcus K. Dowling (Decades, DC Radio) and Casey Rae (author, 'The Priest They Called Him: William S. Burroughs and the Cult of Rock 'n' Roll') are heading down to the basement to give it a listen.
PLUS! Washington, DC's The North Country is back with a new album, In Defense Of Cosmic Altruism, and we've got our favorite track for you to shove in your earholes!
Moses Sumney has a voice from out-of-this world, and soul as deep as an ocean. On his debut LP, Aromanticism, the Los Angeles singer/songwriter swimming in a genre agnostic sea and coming back to land with one of the most unique, and best, albums of 2017. Marcus J. Moore (Senior Editor, Bandcamp) and Marcus K. Dowling (Decades, Capitol Wrestling) join Kevin in the basement to discuss this modern masterpiece.
PLUS! Aaron Abernathy's latest Dialogue (out 10/16) takes a hard look at the world we live in today and offers up some soulful answers in response. Get a listen to "Children Of The City," the first single from this modern masterpiece and #BeAPartOfTheDialogue.
Sampha Sisay has spent the bulk of his career on the sidelines, singing and producing for the likes of Drake, Kanye West, Solange, and many more. On Process, his first full-length, the multi-talented soul phenom is finally stepping fully into the spotlight, and the results are stunning. Marcus Dowling (Decades, Pitchfork) and Marcus Moore (Bandcamp) join Kevin this week to work through their multitude of feels.
PLUS! Everybody needs more jazz in their life, and we've got a taste of pianist Noah Haidu's upcoming LP Infinite Distances for you to get cultured to.
If you turned on the radio In 1996 your ears were assaulted by the music of artists like Sublime, The Spice Girls, Gin Blossoms, The Prodigy, Alanis Morrisette, and more (the less said about "The Macarena" the better).
Then along came the Fugees.
In our inaugural edition of our new feature Discologist, Kevin is joined in the basement by Eduardo (Nunes) and Marcus (Dowling) [Pitchfork, Bandcamp] for an epic hang to celebrate an album that changed the music industry and turned three relatively unknown artists into international superstars practically overnight.
On The Visitor, Kadhja Bonet is mining the past and creating a soulful new sound that feels more than necessary in the crazy year that is 2016. Is it one of the years best, or does this hyper-talented artist from LA still have a little ways to go? Tune in and find out.
PLUS: DC's renewed soul scene continues to grow and thrive. April + Vista are leading the charge. Any questions? Get em answered with their track "Beasts".
Aaron "Ab" Abernathy has built his career on helping artists like Black Milk and Slum Village elevate their art, but now he's breaking out on his own with his new album, Monologue.
A potent combination of autobiography and R&B retrospect, Monologue is a capital "S" SOUL record, that recounts Abernathy's formative years growing up outside Cleveland, Ohio. We sit down with Aaron to discuss the origins of the album, why his high school experience had such an important impact on his life even today, and the power of art and truth in times when we need help the most.
PLUS! Hailing from the Bay Area, R&B outfit The Seshen's second LP Flames and Figures is out on 10/14 and we've got a taste of the first single for you to get on down to.
Freetown Sound, the latest LP from Blood Orange (aka singer/songwriter and composer Dev Hynes), was already one of the most anticipated releases of 2016 when it dropped. But nobody could have been prepared for the seemingly infinite amount of sonic truths, social commentary, and emotional revelations set free with each successive listen.
Great albums are easy to spot coming down the pipe. Important albums only come along when they’re most needed. Freetown Sound is both.
And speaking of "best albums"..
Aaron "Ab" Abernathy's Monologue, a potent mix of old school funk, jazz, and good old-fashioned songwriting, is coming soon. Whet your appetite with the first single from this remarkable album, "Favorite Girl".
Allen Stone’s band warmed up the crowd with a variation on James Brown’s “Sex Machine” prior to his taking stage at the 9:30 Club Thursday night. If you didn’t know what the soul-singing wunderkind from Washington state looked like before he emerged, you might have thought they brought out the wrong guy. In his wide-brimmed hat, Western-style knit parka, and large glasses he looked less like a singer and more like a nerdy cowboy about to rob a stagecoach before heading to Old Mexico.
But then he started singing (the appropriate-for-DC “What I’ve Seen,” in which he talks about how “politicians manipulate minds”) and any discussion of his appearance went out the window. Stone’s voice is darn near perfect for the kind of uplifting party/soul music he performs. At its best, it’s a voice that’s often compared to Stevie Wonder’s - while that’s not as evident on his records, it becomes very clear live, especially on songs like “Celebrate Tonight” and “Sleep,” arguably his most popular song.
At only 25, Stone is already a master showman and worked the crowd magnificently. He constantly bounced all over the stage, repeatedly engaged with the capacity crowd and urged them to dance, and said “Washington, DC” more times in one night than a city councilman says it in a year. At one point Stone divided the room in half for a “dance-off,” noting that people had no excuse for not dancing since he himself had been dancing all night and was from “one of the most rhythmically challenged areas of the United States.” His relentless enthusiasm for performing is infectious.