Tough Love finds the singer who made her name in the world of dubstep stretching further into pop environs, with help from the likes of Dev Hynes (Blood Orange), Miguel and Ed Sheeran. The Kate Bush-inspired title track that opens the album is already brighter and warmer than anything she has done before. The radio-ready but cool throbbing beats of “You and I” successfully split the difference between her “indie Sade” past and the pop horizon she now faces. Still, she’s really in her element amid the chilled out synths and digital handclaps of the sumptuous “Cruel.” Ware’s voice is in top form throughout, working wonders on the soulful “Say You Love Me,” amid gospel touches and a skittering beat. Her biggest issue is still somewhat anonymous lyrics, but the music and her voice always seems to make the most of them, driving home lyrics of heartbreak with a nuanced touch, while the tenuously sexy “Kind Of … Sometimes … Maybe” shows off her personality brilliantly, coming off as an update on Janet Jackson’s coy sensuality, filtered through Ware's old soul. Musically, Ware and her collaborators manage to move all over the map and make it seem like they’re travelling a straight line, keeping things rhythmically intriguing on tracks like the sultry “Sweetest Song” and even making room for a throwback disco track like “Want Your Feeling.” If it’s less cohesive than her debut, Devotion, it’s also a lot more fun, and perhaps more consistently rewarding. Tough Love should find Ware expanding her audience beyond the soul, electronica and indie fans who have already discovered her and into the pop realm without losing a shred of her estimable cool.
Now seven years strong Zion I's annual hip-hop showcase the Hella Fresh Fest takes place this year on Halloween night in the at the Metro with a lineup that continues Zion I's Zumbi and AmpLive's tradition of presenting a rich cross section of contemporary hip-hop talent to join them in concert. In addition to Hella Fresh's tradition of showcasing the best of homegrown hip-hop (Sol, Erk tha Jerk, Bang Data) they've also booked such out of town talent as Rhymesayers' Seattle emcee Grieves, and Funk Volume's Dizzy Wright. Also on the bill will be Triple Threat DJ Vinroc while the Hella Fresh hosts will be Chris Riggins and Panama by way of Oakland duo Los Rakas who performed at Hella Fresh 2011. That Hella Fresh Fest took place at the Fillmore in San Francisco while last year's was at the DNA Lounge. But this year it will be in the place it was meant to be. With the name Hella Fresh it has to be in Oakland so it is perfect that it will be at the Metro in Oakland - and on Halloween night with live art by Haven Arts. Good news for young hip-hop fans is that the show will open those under 21. It is a 14 and over show! Below are a series of videos of the acts on this year's bill along with a highlights of last year's Hella Fresh Fest. Buy tickets here or try and win them from the Amoeblog. Audible Treats have passed along to the Amoeblog two pairs of free tickets for Hella Fresh Fest 2014. All you have to do is email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) by Thursday (October 23rd, 2014) at midnight (Pacific time). The names of all entrants will be printed out and from those names two will be randomly chosen. Those two winners will be contacted by Sunday October 26th to inform them that they've won. One entry per person. Must be 14 or over. Thank-you!
On the other hand, if the happy haze of your drunken hour involves sitting in a cozy corner, enjoying a round of ladyboys and perhaps playing a game of darts (or pool, skittles, dominoes, cards, or trivia) -- then you’re going to have to either broaden your horizons or let your dream die because sadly, The Cat & Fiddle is closing on 15 December after 32 years in business -- and English pubs in the Southland are becoming rarer than rain during a superdrought.
To read more Behind The Grooves, go to http://behindthegrooves.tumblr.com.
On this day in music history: October 20, 1962 - "Monster Mash" by Bobby "Boris" Pickett & The Crypt-Kickers hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks. Written by Bobby Pickett and Leonard Capizzi, it will be the biggest hit for the singer and songwriter from Somerville, MA. The novelty classic will be recorded in the garage studio of producer/label owner Gary S. Paxton, and also features musician Leon Russell on piano. The record will be rejected by several labels before Paxton works out a distribution deal with London Records and releases it on his own Garpax label. The song is an immediate hit upon its release. Entering the Hot 100 at #72 on September 8, 1962, it will rocket to the top of the chart just six weeks later. On its initial release in the UK, the BBC will actually ban the record for being "too morbid," though it will later peak at #3 on its re-release in 1973. "Monster Mash" will also make chart history as the only single to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 three separate times. After its first run in 1962, it will peak at #91 in September of 1970. The single will actually make the top 10 a second time, peaking at #10 in August of 1973. "Monster Mash" is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: October 20, 1977 - A chartered plane carrying members of the Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd and their crew crashes into a swamp near Gillsburg, MS. The band is on tour in support of its latest album Street Survivors, released just three days before. The Convair CV-300 plane is in route from Greenville, SC to Baton Rouge, LA when it runs out of fuel and crashes into a heavily wooded area. Lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines, singer Cassie Gaines (Steve’s older sister), assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, pilot Walter McCreary, and co-pilot William Gray are all killed on impact. The other members of the band and crew will all sustain serious injuries from the crash. Drummer Artimus Pyle and two members of the road crew will be able to climb from the wreckage and get help for the remaining survivors. The cause of the plane crash will be determined to have been caused by a malfunctioning ignition device on one of the engines and by pilot error when the pilots accidentally dump the remaining fuel instead of transferring it to the still working engine. After the accident, the band's label MCA Records will quickly withdraw the original cover artwork of Street Survivors, which shows the band surrounded by flames. The background will be airbrushed black on all subsequent repressings until it is reissued on CD when the original artwork is restored. Lynyrd Skynyrd will not perform again for ten years, until the surviving members reform the band in 1987, with Ronnie’s younger brother Johnny Van Zant taking over as lead vocalist.