Two albums deep into her career, Jamila Woods has helped carve out a small niche in today’s R&B climate serves a balance with introspection and political commentary. With her second album titled LEGACY! LEGACY!, the Chicagoan looks to inspiration from legendary artists of color from the past to lay a foundation for people of color to live life to the fullest.
A refreshing revival of the Etta James/Motown/Amy Winehouse sound
Why You Should Care:
Canadian singer Elise LeGrow is making her US debut with the album Playing Chess. What’s unique about this debut, though, is that it’s entirely comprised of covers. LeGrow chose songs from the legendary Chess Records archives, including Chuck Berry’s “You Never Can Tell” and Sugar Pie DeSanto’s “Going Back Where I Belong.” (Check out the original version here.) LeGrow doesn’t stray far from the source material here - these are classics, after all. But what’s most notable (and even eerie) is how familiar Elise LeGrow’s voice is to Amy Winehouse. Fans of hers will find a lot to like in Playing Chess, especially this track.
Before they were the mega-hit makers of the 80's, Daryl Hall & John Oates were just a couple of doods in love with soul and R&B on a mission to share it with the world. On their 1973 masterpiece Abandoned Luncheonette, their second album for Atlantic records, the duo were coming of off an underperforming debut (Whole Oates) and were desperately searching for their identity.
SPOILER ALERT: They found it.
Sarah Godfrey and Marcus K. Dowling join Kevin in the basement to talk about an unmitigated classic that almost got lost in time...like we do.
It's likely that we'll look back at 2017 as the year almost everything fell apart, downerism ruled the land, and we came very close to being broken as a people.
But we didn't break. We made it. And on this final installment of ChunkyGlasses: The Podcast for 2017, we're discussing the music that lifted us up, dropped us down, and sometimes even showed us the way, but never, ever let us down.
Thanks for tuning in all year. We'll see you soon. Until then be good to your ears, but be better to your people...
Washington, DC native, and second-generation Ethiopian American Kelela Mizanekristos spent years honing her musical chops in the underground scene of the nation's capital before moving to Las Angeles, dropping her last name and beginning her ascension to one of the most essential voices in R&B today.
On her acclaimed 2013 mixtape Cut 4 Me and 2015's Hallucinogen, the singer/producer made it clear that she was a force to be reckoned with. Now, on Take Me Apart, her first full length, she's building on some of the themes from her prior work to craft a vital statement about personhood, womanhood, and the perils and pitfalls of love.
Kevin and Marcus (Dowling) are sitting down to discuss one of 2017's most notable albums to find out if Kelela has got the goods, or just if the ideas she's exploring are ultimately more important than the execution.
What it sounds like:
The smoothest voice to ever soundtrack the Miami Vice credits reel
Why you should care:
DC musician and CMPVTER CLVB associate Dreamcast has been slowly building his cred with a throwback R&B sound thrust into the modern age, and it could not be clearer than on his latest single, “Liquid Deep”.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one...Three sad boi’s and Olivia Pope walk into a bar…
THAT was the the scene last Wednesday night at the 9:30 Club when Sampha returned to play his second sold out show in the space of a few months in the nation’s capital. On his latest LP, Process, the British singer/producer deftly mixes old soul with a cold, machine elegance that demands a certain level of sophistication to go with your feels. On stage the multitudes of subtle urbanities served as both an asset and a hindrance to this rising star.
Nostalgia loves to rear its head in many ways. Scanning the current musical landscape, it becomes clear that the 80s and 90s have been in vogue. Although we are long removed from the years of TLC, Destiny’s Child, and Cameo, Los Angeles’s KING recalls such groups. The trio took the highly-receptive and nearly sold-out U Street Music Hall crowd on a nostalgia that perfectly emulated the sounds of bygone musical eras.
D’Angelo didn’t have to show his abs.
By the time his album Voodoo hit back in the early dawn of the 2000s, the forbearer of the neo-soul flame from Richmond, Virginia was already established as a force to be reckoned with. With his 1995 album Brown Sugar, he shined a light on and gave name to this re-expression of a music deeply embedded in African-American culture. The five years between Sugar and Voodoo saw the genre blossom in ways that nobody could have expected. Jazz, hip-hop, funk, and even rock and roll: Nothing was off limits, especially when it came to D’Angelo’s own music.
Co-written and produced by fellow neo-soulophile Raphael Saadiq, “Untitled (How Does It Feel)” on its own packed in as much sex-per-square-inch as could possibly be allowed on the airwaves. A deep cut that smashed together the innocent soul practiced by the likes of Al Green, Sam Cooke, and Otis Redding, with the more get-to-the-point bedroom jams that dominated mid-to-late-80s R&B radio, the track already held the libidos of fans hostage, melting speakers and inhibitions in equal measure.
And then the video happened. Unnecessary in all the best ways, D’Angelo, fairly or not, went from just being a talented up-and-coming purveyor of neo-soul to being a legend. It wasn’t just smart marketing and smart sales; it was an indication of total commitment to his music, his identity, and most importantly, his duty to spread this new history of a culture’s experience as far and as wide as humanly possible.
And that’s the D’Angelo who showed up at The Fillmore Silver Spring last Thursday night.
We’re back! In our first podcast of 2015, the gang takes a trip BACK to 2014 to review the masterful and long-awaited newest album from D’Angelo and The Vanguard, BLACK MESSIAH! PLUS! An article from early last year sparks a discussion on the state of music journalism in 2015, new music from DC’s Stranger In The Alps, and much, much more. Welcome in the new year right with Episode 97 of ChunkyGlasses: The Podcast!