So, I have noticed that my interest in different types of music -- different genres, different sounds, sort of evolves through different phases of my life.
In High School I was all about R&B, you know, Jodeci, R.Kelly...
(Pre- Trapped in a Closet and Real Talk, of course)
...umm...you know, Usher, Silk, Slow Jamz like: Keith Sweat and Maxwell -- which brought me to my Neo-Soul phase: Musiq Soulchild, Erykah Badu...Jill Scott...India Arie....probably all artists who don't believe they fall into the "neo-soul" category because they don't like categories, blah blah, but fuck it, it sure makes my writing job easier....
Let's see...in College? I was in my Latin Pride phase....just learned how to speak Spanish....learned a lot of new vocabulary listening to lyrics of classic tropical dance songs....so I was all into Merengue, Bachata, Salsa, listening to Fernandito Villalona...
Marc Anthony, Sergio Vargas, Hector Acosta, Johnny Ventura, Anthony Santos- the lot.
This carried me over to my Pop Mierda/Pop Rock Latino phase....(which mind you I just want to make it clear that I still listen to ALL of this stuff even today- I'm not in the business of throwing away music....my phases just bring me to another "spell of musical obsession" but for instance I still click on the Alejandro Fernandez playlist from time to time ;-)
(Sigh...maybe I click on it, hoping he'll just appear in my bedroom...a las...) A good Spanish Ballad never hurt nobody!
And PLEASE don't hate on my Luis Fonsi......
My obsession with music of all genres would allow me to fall under the category of the "eclectic listener"...but I would say I'm eclectic because I'm a "move-on-er"..I move-on, quickly. In a lot of aspects of my life, but definitely with music.
There is just so much music to listen to in the world! How can we spend even just 2 minutes listening to the same song twice? We've got to catch up! And what about all the bands and genres we aren't use to listening to...from other parts of the word?
I didn't even mention my Bhangra phase!! Yes Monsoon Wedding Soundtrack!!
I don't have time to stick with one type of music or artist for too long (granted I am a long lasting fan of many artists, and I am faithful to them, but there is so much to explore!
(I won't even mention my country phase which happened in LA, my last semester in college after watching a documentary about the Dixie Chicks. I am ridiculous....but the outcome of it was downloading an album by Loretta Lynn and that dude from the White Stripes- that album is off-the-chain!)
You see what I mean? You never know what music you can groove to, unless you give it all a shot!
Where was I?
Oh right, my phases.
Oh, well I was always into current music (pop) - I was self-appointed as the College DJ at all of our house parties back in the day, so I always loved dance, Hip-Hop you know shit like that...shit people listen to in the moment and forget about in a couple weeks....
Then there was the whole English Soul Singers with Hairspray-type hairdos phase...Singers that transitioned from song to song in their concerts going from sounding like Hugh Grant to Aretha Franklin....shit was a trip. I loved it. (RIP Amy... :-(....
Side Note: Adele. She is my life.
When I moved to the DR for the first time I wasn't listening to anything but Dembow and classic reggaeton....my listening to crap lyrics phase, but dancing to this shit was GREAT exercise. ;-)
I never got her type of body though. It looks like, to achieve her body, I would need to not only dance to dembow while cupping my breasts, but also probably need about $10,000 for the rest of it, you know what I meaaaaannnn?
Then there was a moment I was only listening to classic rock: Rolling Stones,The Doors...
Queen, The Beatles....anything that called out to my old soul: Joni Mitchell, Janice Joplin, Jimi Hendrix- I listened to it all!!!
My ex-boyfriend brought me into my reggae phase: Bob Marley, Cultura Profetica...
Barrington Levy, Jimmy Cliff, Peter Tosh, Matisyahu! I made this incredible mix I stupidly entitled "Reggaelax" in my Ipod- can't lay on the beach without listening to it...reggae and the beach....nothing better.
My jazz phase hit me hard after going through one of the most amazing exhibits on the life of Miles Davis at a museum in Montreal during the Montreal Jazz Festival in 2010....Chet Baker was my life for a second....Lester Young....I was depressed in New York....Jazz kept me alive in the mornings......
And then....I entered what I think my phase is now:
Bands that "throw in the cowbell" so to speak...
Bands that utilize unique instruments- yeah, like a cowbell and shit....this is what I dig right now.
It's like when Christopher Walker called out for MORE COWBELL! That's what I crave right now.
We need more cowbell!
So it's not like a phase with a real "genre" but I have noticed the bands that have caught my eye lately are bands with a UNIQUE sound, a sound all their own.
We get the whole "guitar, base, drums, lead singer" type band....but now I've noticed artists are experimenting with new sounds, mixing instruments in an odd way, utilizing instruments not so popular in the world of "rock" or "pop" music, but piecing together a seriously dope musical experience.
Here are the artists that stand out to me the most, when thinking about this subject:
Lykke Li and Her Cowbell and Tambourines:
Lykke Li is a Swedish singer/songwriter slash 70's style headband wearer.
You could say her music is Indie-Rock but really she has a sound all her own. In her songs you often hear tambourines, synthesizers, cowbells, trumpets, saxophones, and clacking sticks.
Listen to these two songs, in both you hear the cowbell. It's fucking awesome.
"Let it Fall" - From YOUTH NOVELS
"Everybody but Me" - from YOUTH NOVELS
(Heard the cowbell?-- The sound is clear- and it is so distinctly "Lykke Li". So simple. So fly.)
Check out this awesome video FEATURING Lykke Li with the cowbell ;-)"I Follow Rivers" from WOUNDED RYHMES.
Here she features the tambourine :-) "Come Get Some" from WOUNDED RHYMES.
Mixed with her Pop Sugary Little Girl voice- Lykke Li's music takes you to another fucking dimension.
"Little Bit" Music Video - from YOUTH NOVELS
She's fucking weird, dude. She seems so free. It's liberating listening to her music. It's off-the-chain. ;-)
Performance of "Dance, Dance, Dance" (live)- also from YOUTH NOVELS
Florence and the Machine and a Harp:
Florence and the Machine is a singer, who is accompanied by a band of musicians. One would describe this as simply a "band", however for reasons un-identified, people refer to Florence and the Machine as a "her".
Like how me and my fabulous best friend like to refer to everything as "her"...like anatomate objects, like if he likes the necklace I'm wearing he'll say, "ooooh! I love, her!"....or the movie we just watched "I loved her!"...instead of saying, "I love you" to my father...I say, "I love her!"...
But, I digress...
Florence and the Machine is a her, and this "her" is a singer with a band that features not only an EXTREMELY tall red-headed woman with an EXPLOSIVE voice, but contrasts that voice with the twinkling ass sounds from a really cool harp.
The harp. A totally understated instrument that Florence and the Machine take full advantage of.
Check out this live recording of "Cosmic Love"....blows me away every time.
Florence Welch is an English singer and her debut album "Lungs" 2009 which, seriously I RECOMMEND, every song is INCREDIBLE!....was a hugs success both in the States and the UK.
Her sound, being a mix of indie rock and soul with a harp, makes her truly unique. Her music, to me is profound, lyrics that can be described as poetic and bizarre, and a spirit to her voice that gives you goose bumps.
And, man, there is something about that harp! Check it out:
Mumford and Sons and their Band of Strings/Guitars/Banjos:
This group of bad-ass, sexy ass Brits is made up of nothing but sexy hair, sexy tight vests on top of sexy torsos and a bunch of string instruments.
Folk Music. It's back. I mean, it never left, but they really took it to the streets with this one. I mean, they even got a mandolin up in there, mmkay? They aren't playing around.
With their banjos and dobros (when I was talking about bands using unique instruments to make pop music, I meant it!) they really created a sound all their own, and have captured the hearts of many music lovers out there:
Their debut album "Sigh No More" was released in the United States in 2010, and was a big hit!
Their sound makes you think of nature and shit, takes you back to the roots of it all, makes you want to dance even though you don't know how to dance to it and makes you just- feel alive. That's what music is all about.
These guys. They get that. I'm sorry, but nobody sounds like Mumford and Sons, influenced by many in their genre I am sure....but their sound, the particular sound they put together, is uniquely theirs.
That's why, I dig 'em.
Julieta Venegas and her Corky Accordion:
Julieta is a Mexican pop rock singer/songwriter and producer from Tijuana. Her soft under-stated voice is unique enough, but add in that accordion and you got some pop rock, you've never really heard before.
She plays the guitar, accordion and the keyboard. She's fly, I actually feel bad that her music is put under the pop rock latino category...I just feel like she's doing something, truly all her own.
Favorite albums? "Limón y Sal" and "Otra Cosa" and her MTV Unplugged Album of course.
She is undeniably un Orgullo Latino a bad-ass chick (I'm using the term "bad-ass" a lot, but you try putting that in Word Thesaurus okay? See what YOU get.)
, and a beautifully unique talent.
, and a beautifully unique talent.
Esperanza Spalding and her Jazz Bass:
So since we're on the topic of unique instruments and bad ass (again, thesaurus it, and get back to me!) chicks, I can't end this blog without talking about Esperanza Spalding!!!
WOW! What a Goddess with cute little plucking fingers.
This Afro-Latina Brown-Skinned, Sweethearted, Liberated Souled....hmmmm (Okay, I'ma stop now, because I'm making up ridiculous adjectives at this point. Not cute.), is truly a diamond in the rough.
You can't only describe her as a jazz-musician. She combines all different types of sounds together to really breathe a new life to Jazz, Modern Music, Popular Music and to her beloved instrument, the bass.
She sings in Spanish, English, Portuguese and composes all of her own songs. She was the first jazz artist to ever win best new artist, which is usually reserved for the newest 15-year old youth market pop garbage artist.
At the 53rd Annual Grammys, they decided to take it seriously for once, and honor and artist that is TRULY doing something different.
She grew up in Portland Oregon and taught as a College Professor at the age of 20 at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, making her the youngest professor of all time.
My parents discovered her at a performance at the Montreal Jazz Festival, and bought her CD. I was hooked ever since.
She brought the jazz bass to the mainstream in a time where auto-tune was the latest craze. So, yeah, you already know she's doin' big things and changing the game!!!
So yeah, my musical phase right now? I'm into a lot of funky instruments and artists that have the balls to be different....
I'm still waiting for an artist to seriously consider featuring the cowbell as their main instrument- or like just a BAND of cowbells and clacking sticks and shit....for now I will just enjoy this:
That's all for now.