14 December 2008

This weeks artists to check out 14 December 2008

Being heavily influenced by 90s music, I have fond memories of bands such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, Our Lady Peace, and Hootie and the Blowfish.

Yes, Hootie and the Blowfish.

No, this isn't a joke!

I remember when I first heard them on the radio and I thought Pearl Jam had a new single out. I was excited, but taken back a bit. Then I cleaned my ears out and realized it was not the beloved grunge band. Despite this fact, I was hooked by this "new" band's sing-songy tunes and southern-fried pop which led me to go out and by their tape. I came close to wearing it out.

The radio started to overplay HATB, and I became jaded (see definitions one and two). I lost my love for the South Carolinian band which led me to change to dial everytime their music came on. I had to give them credit (and still do today), though, for selling gobs and gobs of records! Unfortunately, their follow-ups never matched the success of "Cracked Rear View."

Now, let's fastforward about 13 years to the present. I was listening to the radio at work (it's a country store that plays Country music non-stop) and I happened to hear a familiar voice... Darius Rucker! (The lead singer of Hootie and the Blowfish, just in case you didn't know.)

(Here's another secret that I am willing to share - I like Country music as well.)

Since then, I've heard a couple of singles on XM radio, and it sounds like he's back to form. Hearing him again brings back memories of singing along to "Hold My Hand" and "Let Her Cry," not to mention the good ole days when one of my biggest accomplishments was being able to add pins to my letter jacket. He's also found a way to transcend genres.... Well, you can make the argument that the move is a lateral one. If we're speaking in terms of where you'd be able to find him on the radio dial, then he's made a shift. Darius has made his way back to being relevant in the music world. It seems that he is not making a big deal about it (from what I understand) by allowing his music to make headlines. You can list him among fellow musicians making the jump, such as Sheryl Crow, Kid Rock, and dare I say, Jessica Simpson (Can you really say she was relevant in the first place?).

After so long, it's good to have a familiar voice back on the radio.

On another note - let's dive back into my supposed field of interest: the downtempo life! Here are a couple of acts to check out!

This week, we're heading down under to Melbourne, Victoria, Australia!

First up: Velure

They describe themselves as "Downbeat Dubby Glitchy Smoothness." I place them in the lines of Abraham (UK) and Zero 7 for their 60s/70s feel (with a touch of Chris Joss and his "blacksploitation" inspired mixes), Natalie Walker/bitter:sweet-esque vocals (with some sugar to sweeten the spice), and enough dub blended to keep them unique. Velure is one of my pleasant discoveries whilst browsing through the Trip-hop/Downtempo files over at Myspace. In a moment I'll never regret, I downloaded their album, Care for Fading Embers, from amazon.com!

Tracks to check out: 2, 3.

Second in line: Spoonbill

Have you ever wanted to laugh at music? Well, yes, you probably have. For the most part it was due to the fact the music was pretty bad and the only way to to get out what you felt was by chuckling. I admit... the wording of the question is bad.

Here's what I mean: not only laugh because the music is just that good, but has good humor mixed in as well?

I can only describe my first aural experience with Spoonbill in this way.

This DJ from Australia just has a knack of throwing in light-hearted samples while tantalizing your senses with his turntable wizardry. With tracks named "bouncing stones" and "Half a Lamington," I personally couldn't take myself serious (in a healthy type of way). Outside of the good humor, he's got some great stuff! Regretfully, I have yet to buy any of his albums.

one of these days when I make more than 7 bucks an hour...

On a final note: Here's my record store pick: http://www.vitamin.net.au/. Get great Australian music here!

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