Hey there! Hope you’re having a great week and if you’re in LA, enjoying this beautiful weather we’re having in November. You gotta love LA 🙂 A few of my favorites acts have recently released music that I’m excited to share with you.
Let’s get to it.
Jim James – “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times”
Back in 2009, the frontman for My Morning Jacket released the Tribute To EP, consisting entirely of George Harrison and Beatles covers. James recently announced the follow-up to that EP, Tribute To 2, due out early December. In comparison, this album consists of covers and influences from a wide range of acts. Elvis, Sonny & Cher, Willie Nelson, Abbey Lincoln and Dylan are all honored. “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times” is a cover of song originally by The Beach Boys, from their classic Pet Sounds album. James also pays tribute to another great of yesteryear with this particular cover in addition the Beach Boys. In a press release, he explains that he “ripped apart ‘By the Time I Get to Phoenix’ while listening to master tapes of [Isaac] Hayes’ Hot Buttered Soul.” Jim James has proven throughout his career that he is a master at blurring the lines between genre and time. If this first single is a prelude of what to expect, then Tribute to 2 is no exception to this rule. Take a listen to this excellent cover.
Shamir – “90’s Kids”
Shamir was a breakout artist of 2014. His Northern EP was full of fun, electronic, deep house tracks that have just enough pop elements to be played in the suburbs. Shamir’s sound completely captured many of our imaginations at the station and even caught the attention of the distinguished independent label XL Recordings (Adele, M.I.A., King Krule), who signed the 19 year-old singer from Las Vegas. Shamir released his debut full length Ratchet in 2015 to both great success and critical acclaim. The industry was at his fingertips, and then he basically disappeared.
In recent interviews, Shamir has revealed that he was ill prepared for the success and pressure that came along with it (ala D’Angelo after the success of Voodoo). In the time between his first album and his latest Revelations, he became depressed because he was scared to write music. That caused him to binge eat, gaining 60 pounds and he shaved his head in rebellion to the new found success and pressure. Two acts that contributed to him being dropped by XL. Shamir says he seriously contemplated quitting music altogether at one point. The downward spiral continued as he became manic and “super delusional.” In an interview with Rolling Stone he said, “there were voices in my head telling me to do certain things, and I believed it.” It go so bad at one point, that Shamir said he began to believe he had gained physical abilities. After checking into a hospital and being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, moving back to his hometown of Las Vegas, he’s back on track and has rediscovered his love for music. With all these transformations it should surprise no one that Shamir’s new music sounds nothing like his old. The appropriately named Revelations is out now. Take a look at the video “90’s Kids.” (warning, it contains some explicit lyrics)
Khruangbin – “Maria También”
This trio comes form the remote locale of Burton, Texas. Which has a population of about 300 people, is land locked and isn’t incredibly diverse. Despite all of that, Laura Lee, Mark Speer & Donald Johnson create music that sounds like the soundtrack to an imagined 1960s Southeast Asain surf film. The trio began the Khruangbin project after collectively discovering Thai funk cassettes from the 60s & 70s. Most of their music is instrumental and is equal parts: dreamy, ethereal and psychedelic. Infusing elements of funky bass lines, twangy and fuzzy, wah-wah guitar riffs, 60s soul and traditional Asian melodies – Khruangbin creates compositions that are simply infectious. Check out their latest single “Maria También” from their forth coming record Con Todo El Mundo.