Producer and member of The xx Jamie Smith has finallly released his debut LP, and it feels like a game-changer. Favoring melody and atmosphere over showy beatwork, In Colour is able to wrangle a wide variety of sounds into a living, breathing whole. Tracks like “Gosh” layer found sounds and field recordings underneath appealing synth lines. Mellower tracks like “Sleep Sound” and “SeeSaw” are terrific after-hours jams, like passing out outside a rave and letting the beats pulse through your dreams. The xx member Oliver Sim shows up to lend his narcotic vocals to the noirish “Stranger in a Room,” while fellow xx singer Romy Madley Croft smears black mascara all over the heartbreak beat of “Loud Places,” which makes wonderful use of a sample of Idris Muhammad’s “Could Heaven Ever Be Like This” on the song’s rousing chorus. Though it’s a bit jarring to hear rapper Young Thug and dancehall artist Popcaan on the following track, “I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times),” the song itself is a worthy hip-hop crossover that enlivens the album as a whole. It may sound cheesy, but In Colour really does prove that trip-hop, post-punk, house and hip-hop can call reside under the same roof, as Smith expertly strings these sounds together into new nocturnal anthems. It’s not too soon to call this a new electronic masterwork.
With Hanukkah underway and less than two weeks left until Christmas Day, New York City is in full holiday mode right now. It is also in a positive post-Sandy recovery mode due to near all local transit being back on schedule this week (LIRR finally got running again a few days ago) and the success of the 12-12-12 Sandy benefit concert at Madison Square Garden tonight. Sure the actual show hasn't even started yet but already a lot of money has been raised with all the tickets selling out well in advance. Many scalpers have been strongly criticized for profiting from in-demand, overpriced tickets fetching thousands of dollars for the show that will feature Billy Joel, Alicia Keys, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, Kanye West, The Who, Paul McCartney, Bon Jovi, Eddie Vedder, Roger Waters, The Rolling Stones, and others too! Additionally, a big donor response is anticipated from folks watching tonight's live stream of the show on 34 U.S. and international television, radio, and Internet outlets across six continents where folks can enjoy the show and donate to the Robin Hood Relief Fund to help those hit by Sandy.
Upcoming shows for the week ahead include Aaron Lewis and opener Randy Montana at Irving Plaza near Union Square on Friday, December 14th at 7pm. More info here. Then on Sunday December 16th, there's a special Feliz Navidad show with Jose Feliciano at BB Kings on 42nd Street in the Times Square district. Showtime is 8pm. Get tickets and more info here. That same night, rap star Rick Ross (on a bill with Meek Mill and Wale) will headline the Roseland Ballroom at 239 West 52nd Street near 8th Avenue. Show starts at 8pm. More info here.