Onetime Sufjan Stevens collaborator and now a formidable art-pop songstress in her own right, My Brightest Diamond (aka Shara Worden) pushes her songs further into accessibility with This Is My Hand. The sound of the record finds Worden singing over playful orchestrations, wielding her operatically trained voice slowly like a great and powerful weapon. “Pressure” begins with a drumline cadence and marching band horns, drawing soul out of her sometimes austere vocals and layering them over the song’s sexy strut “Before the Words’” huge, propulsive drum beat and jazzy bassline pair nicely with her hauntingly cooed vocals. Though she mines gold at playing the witchy vamp, it’s great, too, when she climbs out of her shell. “I am a lover and a killer” she sings with growing ferocity over a muscular groove on “Lover Killer,” finding inspiration in Prince and kinship in St. Vincent. “This is what love feels like!” she sings before unleashing a desperate wolf cry in “I Am Not the Bad Guy,” with a throbbing menace reminiscent of Radiohead, or a more friskier version of Third-era Portishead. Tracks with more open space, like “Looking at the Sun,” offer a chance for her divaesque vocals to come through beautifully, even as her words are foreboding (“wrestling with a double mine like two horses pulling both sides,” she sings creepily over Disney-level orchestration). “You never know minute to minute where I’m going” she sings tantalizingly on “Shape.” True. But that’s what makes listening to This Is My Hand so thrilling.
When asked how and when the song came about the Azeem answered, "When a subconscious burst of clarity lands like a cement block and announces itself as a superior truth from beyond, one must be prepared. This was no ordinary moment. I burst into the barbershop and asked for a pen then ripped off a piece of an old tattered New York Post and wrote When Bruce Willis Had Hair, the world made A LOT more sense. I knew I was onto something." Below are ten examples by the consistently socially and politically conscious emcee followed by the video for the song that can be downloaded for free here.
This Friday, September 19th, San Francisco's biggest and most fabulous drag performance night club, Trannyshack, celebrates Folsom Street Fair weekend with a tribute to Kylie Minogue and Katy Perry at DNA Lounge. Special guest star Pandora Boxx (RuPaul's Drag Race) joins the party. Come out and start Folsom weekend early!
Get your tickets HERE.
Kevin Seconds founded and fronted the legendary 7 Seconds punk rock band in the early '80s. The straight edge group is one of the longest running bands from the early California punk scene. After signing record deals and releasing several albums with 7 Seconds, Kevin kickstarted a solo career in 1989 opening for Dramarama. Seconds has since toured the United States and Europe exstensively, sharing the stage with the likes of Elliott Smith, Bouncing Souls, Bob Mould, Bad Brains and Chuck Ragan, to name just a few. After five solid albums, compilation apperances, multiple 7 inch releases and performing with his wife's project, BagOKittens, Kevin Seconds returned with his sixth studio album, Off Stockton (Rise Records), in February 2014.
In support of his current release, Kevin Seconds recently treated fans to an acoustic performance at Amoeba Hollywood. Backed by a percussion player and a backup singer (his wife), Seconds expertly delivered his well-crafted songs. Watch him perform "My Recollection" off of Off Stockton below or watch the full set here.
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On this day in music history: September 15, 1962 - "Sherry" by The Four Seasons hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for five weeks, also topping the R&B singles chart for one week on October 6th. Written by Bob Gaudio, it is the first chart-topping single for the Newark, New Jersey-based vocal quartet. Originally written as "Jackie Baby" in honor of then First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, the title will be changed several more times before it is recorded. Gaudio will write the song in just 15 minutes on the way to a band rehearsal. The Four Seasons were first known as The Four Lovers, recording an album and several singles for RCA Victor, and scoring their first chart record with "You're The Apple Of My Eye" (#62 Pop) on Epic Records in 1956. The group will go through numerous line up changes before 1961 when they change their name to The Four Seasons. Entering the Hot 100 at #65 on August 25, 1962, the single will quickly rocket to the top just three weeks later. "Sherry" is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: September 15, 1965 - Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul, the third album by Otis Redding, is released. Produced by Jim Stewart, Isaac Hayes, and David Porter, it is recorded at Stax Recording Studios in Memphis from April 19 - July 10, 1965. It features covers of three songs by Redding's idol Sam Cooke, as well as originals "I've Been Loving You Too Long" (#2 R&B, #21 Pop) and "Respect" (#4 R&B, #35 Pop). The album will also become a big hit in the UK both through word of mouth and a now-legendary tour that features Redding backed by Booker T. & The MG's. In time it will be acclaimed as a landmark R&B album, and one that will help to define the "Memphis Soul" sound. In 2008, Rhino Records will release a remastered version of the album featuring both the stereo and mono mixes along with non-LP B-sides, alternate takes, and tracks from his live albums In Person At The Whisky A Go Go and Live In Europe. Otis Blue will spend one week at number one on the Billboard R&B album chart on October 30, 1965, peaking at number 75 on the Top 200.