New Music Revue – 1/18/21

I note here that Phil Spector has died – in prison –  at 81. While I appreciate his Wall of Sound accomplishments, I’ve always refrained from writing about him because he was also a murderous creep. So maybe we’ll leave it at that.

Since today is Martin Luther King, Jr. day here in the States, it seems only fitting to kick this revue off with “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” Wikipedia: “Lift Every Voice and Sing” – often referred to as the “Black national anthem” in the United States – is a hymn written as a poem by James Weldon Johnson in 1900 and set to music by his brother, J. Rosamond Johnson for Abraham Lincoln’s birthday in 1905.

“Singer / Arranger / Producer Jarrett Johnson and legendary Bass vocalist Alvin Chea of Take 6 are GRAMMY-nominated this year for Best Arrangement for their recording of the 115-year-old anthem Lift Every Voice and Sing.” It is the sole a cappella entry in a category traditionally known for celebrating innovative vocal arrangements. The Grammy winner will be revealed on January 31, 2020.”

It’s interesting that you see a raised fist in front of the US Capitol in this video that was filmed well before the fools’ insurrection of Jan 6:

Spotify link

And now we go from that church to a different church, the one at the altar of rock and roll. Coming our way is a band called The Women which is, of course, entirely made up of men. Other than the fact that they are from Krakow, I can find not much else about them. Their Facebook page is here:

They tell us that, “We are a band aiming to convey difficult concepts and feelings, emotional or philosophical, through our music. In order to do so, we often mix up the standards of modern rock and let ourselves be influenced by some other music genres.

About 80% of our creative process is the conversations we have about some thought or feeling that we want to portray. Our upcoming album, The Machine is based on relatable stories or thoughts shown in a wider perspective – from which the society and system around us influence every part of our life.”

Their song “Don’t We” is a cracking piece of rock. (Spotify only.).

Spotify link

And now for something completely different. From their press: Melting Icarus – one Greek, one Italian, and one Dutch blend complex storytelling with modern jazz. They are a jazz piano trio based in Utrecht, Netherlands, consisting of individuals with different cultural backgrounds and odd trajectories.

Those three music majors and musicians, who don’t want to define music as only one thing, mix traditional/ folk Mediterranean sounds, with complex polyrhythms and jazz harmony to narrate any story that’s interesting enough.

With Irene Tsakiroglou on the Piano, Rocco Damiani on the Bass, and Damian de Muijnck on the Drums, your first thought would be: “An exciting musical dinner with Internationals”. While having both common and different views on storytelling, they manage to create the illusion of a melting Icarus, who burns and tears everything apart during his fall.”

Yes, indeed. Here is “Wired to the Storm.” This is a really nicely played number and the occasional vocals add a nice touch:

Spotify link

Let us complete this New Music Revue with another band I can’t find much about but who appear to be called Funkwrench Blues. Or at least that’s the name of the album. The tune “Last Train Out Of San Francisco” features Billy Branch whose fierce blues harp sound could only come from the Worldwide Home of the Blues, Chicago.

According to the Funkwrench blues blog, Billy has worked with Johnny Winter,  Keb’ Mo, Lou Rawls, Koko Taylor, Eddy Clearwater, Honeyboy Edwards, Syl Johnson, Ronnie Baker Brooks, John Primer, and Taj Mahal.

The backing band on this track is Rich Kirch (John Lee Hooker 1984-2001) on rhythm guitar, Alvino Bennett (Dave Mason, Stevie Wonder) on drums, and Frank Swart on bass.

Spotify link

9 thoughts on “New Music Revue – 1/18/21

  1. I’ll give a comment to Phil Spector: Wall of Sound changed the music. One just have to pay attention how many songs today rely on such elements or modifications.


  2. Thanks for these; I appreciate getting leads on new (to me) music! On The Women song, I feel occasional flashes of Pearl Jam, and it does rock. That Wired to the Storm track is definitely making it onto my jazzy cocktails playlist, and I’ll have to dig more into them as I will with Funkwrench Blues; I’m a sucker for great harmonica.


    1. I wonder sometimes if blues harmonica is not a dying art. Most of the Chicago-era guys are gone or you just don’t hear much from them anymore. Pity.


  3. Nice mix and good you give the time. I’ve heard of Branch before. Must of came across in my travels. That one sounded good to my ear. A short snapper.
    (CB might show up as that anonymous guy again).


    1. That was pretty sweet, huh? I was commenting to Jeff B about how a generation of blues harp players is moving on. Blues guitarists are a dime a dozen but few guys are out there with that real Chicago feel.

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