The holiday season is definitely upon us, and it's a time for celebrations of all kind. There are no shortage of events, parties and concerts to attend, but if you live in the New York City area and need a recommendation on one not to miss then S.O.B.'s and Eric Roberson definitely have something in store for you. On the evening of Saturday, December 28th SoulBounce fave Roberson will host his annual holiday concert at one of our fave venue's in NYC. This show featuring Erro and a host of special guests regularly sells out and is the highlight of those days between Christmas and New Year's Day. This year there will be two shows in order to give his fans ample opportunities to catch his holiday spirit. Tickets for the 7:30 pm and 10 pm shows are on sale online and also at the S.O.B.'s box office. Get tickets for yourself and for stocking stuffers now!
Tori Kelly appeared on The Queen Latifah Show on Thursday and performed an acoustic version of "Dear No One," but sharing that fact doesn't do her showcase justice. The almost-top 24 finalist from season nine of American Idol sang the vulnerable, chill-up-your-spine ballad while baring her soul and wearing a guitar. Reminiscent of India.Arie's "Ready for Love," "Dear No One" sings longing lyrics in a letter-written style. Kelly makes promises to her future mate and also divulges the traits she desires in a partner, and treats us -- the intruding listeners -- by reaching into a little bit of rasp in her upper ranges, but maintains vocal control like a true diva. The quick plucks of the guitar string keep the tune focused on the songwriter's intended message. But audio aficionados may find more distraction in trying to figure out how Kelly managed to miss making Idol's top 24 and didn't rise to the top to win the grand prize. Maybe this song should be called "Dear Simon"?
Anyone who attends church on Christmas proves a devotion to their faith. But if the pilgrimage is sprinkled with obligation because pushy relatives said, "You need Jesus," politely agree and push play on Kem's "Jesus." The tune appears on the deluxe version of his holiday album, What Christmas Means to Me, and guest stars the incomparable Patti LaBelle and Mr. Biggs himself, Ron Isley. But while the already soulful track is itself bounce-worthy, a notch gets kicked up tenfold with the "Casamena Basement Remix." Reinterpreted by house head and global soulster Carlos Mena, the underground religious experience celebrates with pulsating Afrobeat (Hallelujah!). It then builds, crescendoing with the gentle thumps of hypnotizing global and soulful house (Yes!!). Finally, be prepared to convulse thanks to the exorcism-inducing vocals of two R&B legends sharing the mic with the smoothness that is Kem, praising the Savior for the goodness in their lives (Praise Him!!!). With nary a dull moment, "Jesus (Casamena Basement Remix)" is at once a sermon and a salvation in the ever-growing -- and ever-diversifying -- catalog of Christmas cuts.
Well, it seems that Janet Jackson isn't the only pop/R&B diva who knows how to keep a huge secret. If case you've been under a rock, at the stroke of midnight, Beyoncé delivered not a single, not a video, but an entire "visual album" of brand-spanking new material without any semblance of warning. Consisting of 14 songs and 17 videos, BEYONCÉ (yes it's self-titled and in all caps, did you expect anything else?) is a rule-breaking statement piece that finds self-proclaimed King B treading in waters both familiar and completely foreign for the singer who went from teen queen to grown woman before our very eyes. With the set having already sold 80,000 copies in its first three hours and her name dripping from everyone's lips and fingertips, there's only one question to ask: Where they do that at?
Due to the manic eruption from the Beyhive, I prefer to seek shelter from the flitting of buzzing Beyoncé heads and revel in the quiet storm brew that Miss Dionne Farris has recently cooked up. As her work with Russell Gunn indicated that Farris was once again playing genre chameleon, with re-workings of past hits and tinkering with a jazzier sound, she continues to keep things on the straight and mellow as she teams up with Australian guitarist Austin March for a brand new track entitled "Where Is It Most Comfortable For You?" As wordy as the title is, the song itself isn't bogged down as it takes its time blossoming into a potent, yet subtle spread of delicate guitars and meditative vocals. Not only is the song itself an absorbing listen, Farris and March's journey to becoming aural amigos after they met via e-mail is an intriguing backstory and one that will soon lead way to the two teaming up for a full-fledged joint project. So what we're hearing today folks is really the beginning of good things to come. With that in mind, slip into the comfort zone with Dionne Farris as you take in her latest.
So much for coasting into 2014. This year is going out like a lion with more new music roaring into our collections. UK house sensations Disclosure who've taken the EDM world by soulful storm in 2013 just snagged a GRAMMY nomination for Best Dance/Electronic Album for their brilliant debut Settle. They've certainly got our vote, but in case you've been sleeping on the Lawrence brothers then you can plan to wake up when they release a reloaded Settle next week. UK Bouncers will get the 18-track Settle Special Edition on December 16th, while US Bouncers have to settle for the 15-track Settle - The Remixes on December 17th. The US edition might be a day late and three tracks short, but both projects will feature all the same songs minus two "Boiling" remixes and a "Control" remix. The new and improved Settle package will include the groove "Apollo" and "Together" featuring the dream team of Nile Rodgers, Sam Smith and Jimmy Napes as well remixes from DJ Premier, Kaytranada, Hudson Mohawke, Bauuer, T. Williams, Wookie and many more. Thanks to the magic of SoundCloud we've been able to hear some of these remixes, and this project is officially going to be a problem if DJ Premier's slowed down, body roll-inducing take on "Latch" and Kaytranada's thumping "January" remix are representative of what else is in store. We surely can't wait to find out.
Swedish producer, singer and songwriter Erik Hassle released the single "Talk About It" on November 5th and his plaintive, passionate song has received the remix treatment from Nashville-based trio BASECAMP. Added in are an extra layer of percussion and the low, harmonizing thrum of additional background vocals, as well as a few bells and whistles along the way, and it all brings a little something extra to the party. The original is a fine song, sung with verve and passion, and this remix takes it into a funky new dimension.
Songstress Ebony Joi released her Ace of Spades EP on November 12th, and in case you haven't had a chance to check it out yet then let her work on "Work Me" be the incentive that you need. Produced by Steve McKie and Adam Blackstone, "Work Me" is a slow, sultry and sexy invite for her lover to join her in some nocturnal gymnastics. Sweet, dreamy piano lines start this slow-burning siren of desire, and Ebony's fine voice does the rest. She's clearly after a good work out with an able-bodied trainer, and this slow jam is destined to be the backdrop for many a night of sweaty and sexy shenanigans.
We were gushing about it being Incognito and Reel People vocalist Tony Momrelle's time to step into the spotlight back in October with the imminent release of his EP, Fly. Fast forward a couple of months and the EP is out, and Momrelle is on the promo trail for the EP, which features Momrelle's out-of-this-world vocals over acid jazz style, uplifting beats. Well, all I can say is thank goodness that the promo trail led to Jazz FM's studios so that we could be blessed with this live, acoustic performance of the title track "Fly" as well as "Spotlight." The short and sweetly soulful set that is sure to brighten your day features SoulBounce fave DivaGeek's Vula Malinga and Ben Jones jamming it out with Momrelle. Catch Tony Momrelle's live set for Jazz FM below and then head over to the Reel People official site to grab your copy of Fly.
- While Beyoncé surprised the world overnight with the release of her self-titled album, fan reaction to daughter Blue Ivy's participation on the project was completely expected. [EW]
- Prince will appear on an episode of The New Girl on Super Bowl Sunday, which will allegedly poke fun at his notorious celebrity-filled parties. [DFB]
- Dr. Dre confessed he doesn't listen to his own music once it's been released, banning his family from playing it in the house saying at that point, "it's just business. Numbers." [ESQ]
- LaToya Jackson hopes to recapture her EDM success with the release of her new single, "Feels Like Love." [IDOL]
- She is always one to be different, but Erykah Badu's most recent piercing is out there even for her. [BAW]
- Jennifer Holliday announced she will release her first album in 23 years, The Song Is You, featuring a set of R&B and jazz songs. [EOJ]
- Organizers for Billboard's annual Women in Music event are in negotiations to expand the tribute to a television special with host Soledad O'Brien taking a bigger role. [NYP]