World Premiere: “Nothing’s Better” – Jazmine Sullivan
I mentioned last summer that if there’s one resurged-retro-soul-monger I’m fully behind, it’s Jazmine Sullivan. I was enchanted by her nonchalant-yet-solid debut album which boasted such modern-day opuses as “Bust Your Windows”, “In Love With Another Man,” and “Lions, Tigers, and Bears.” After her ’09 Grammy nod, Glee arrangement, and Cotton ad roll-out, Sullivan returns with a single that’s as sly and streamlined as ever. “Nothing’s Better,” produced by the overtapped Stargate conglomerate (see: Beyonce, Ne-Yo, Rihanna, …), bares an asphalt-rattling, symphonic backdrop that lets Sullivan’s chops do the shining. Comparing her vocals to other R&B countesses of the day: Mary J. Blige, Keyshia Cole, even Fantasia Barrino; Sullivan’s rigor sounds more Broadway-trained than her fresh-from-the-corner vibrato may suggest, lending her projects the kind of distilled versatility her peers could only wish for. Jazmine Sullivan is just the type of soulstress we need to bring radio-ready R&B back to the critical tier.
Was always more of a Speakerboxx than Love Below, Outkast-ingly speaking.
That’s the reason I’m so psyched to hear Big Boi’s next chapter.
Peep his funkdafied new clip above and tell me you’re not too.
Sir Luscious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty hits 7.6.10
“Bang Bang Bang” – Mark Ronson & MNDR (Featuring Q-Tip)
Upon first listen, MNDR is like any other electro-gloss artist out there – carbonated, club-driven, and admittedly ephemeral. Just as Xtina hopped on the Ke$ha/Gaga bandwagon, MNDR sounds like she caught the Santigold train a season or two too late. Her Myspace tracks, filed under the genre of ‘Industrial/German Pop’, are sonically closer to Jem doing Styx renditions (namely “Mr. Roboto”) than anything else. That is, until the Mark Ronson-produced “Bang Bang Bang” landed on my desktop this morning. Could I have been as wrong about MNDR as I was with Santigold’s initial shot (“Pretty Gold”)? The Ronson/Q-Tip collaboration provides a world of change for MNDR – no longer a follower, her brash delivery atop Ronson’s synth-hop backdrop posts her in between Santi and Ri-Ri peacefully. Whether the accolades belong to Mr. Ronson for the pitch perfect positioning or not, doesn’t quite matter. MNDR has found her place amongst Ronson’s land of retro mentalities, hip-hop, mega-hooks, video games, and big band beats.
When you think of millinery in America – not much comes to mind…the Kentucky Derby, Easter Sunday, Aretha Franklin’s bow-ed Inaugural crown. Not for long. Fellow Parsons grad and friend, Gigi Burris, 23, has set out to top the heads of those who refuse to relegate the fine craft to yesteryear. Already courting fans left and right (count Rihanna and Kate Lanphear in), Burris‘ latest collaboration with famed NYC vintage retailer Screaming Mimi’s aims to widen her range of recipients, with prices starting at $80. The handmade head candy, with imported French veils and confectionery-colored petals, are keen cues back to Like A Virgin-era Madge, Lauper, and 80’s sock hop revivals. If she’s ever interested in expanding to the streets, a New Era collabo would be beyond words …think barbed-wire, brick bits, and chrome detailing.
photos courtesy of gigi burris x lucy carr-ellison
I can’t pinpoint exactly what it is about this track that reminds me so much of TheRugrats. It could be the cartoon-sounding setting on Crishan’s vocoder, the staccato background in all of its pre-school paced glory, the fact the song’s metaslang-title is derived from a child’s play toy, or the farfetched presumption that Tommy Pickles had matured into a full-fledged (horn-dog) Pied Piper since we saw him last. (At one point, one’s coochie is even compared to Aquafina.) Is this what happened to the Reptar-loving runts post-potty training?
Friend and fellow Swede, Therese Ohrvall, unveiled her Parsons ’10 photo thesis series this past week. Her compositions are chillingly beautiful to say the least; like eidolic stills from an Ingmar Bergman film – cinematic as they are sinister, cold as they are swallowing. And I’m not just saying that because I’m in one. View her e-folio here.
photos courtesy of making friends x therese ohrvall
I’d really like to know – do things get any better than this? Three of the most ridiculous acts to surface in hip-hop (one of which has won an Oscar – guess who) on a track that samples Van Halen’s “Jump”? Correct answer: No. Things don’t get much better. (Unless, of course, David Hasselhoff were to add his lip to this beast of a track. Which wouldn’t be a hard stretch come to think of it. Remix possibility?) So, remember where you heard it first, ’cause it’s about to change your summer plans for good. Hopefully Three 6 will get the message and bury the Tiesto affairs already.
Vodpod videos no longer available. Song of the Day: “Got ‘Til It’s Gone” – Janet Jackson (Feat. Joni Mitchell & Q-Tip)
When I first saw Mikael Jansson’s May 2010 Interview spread with Daria Werbowy, I was instantly transported back to 1997 when Janet debuted her now-classic vintage-inspired “Got ‘Til It’s Gone” video (directed by Mark Romanek) to critical praise. The sweaty, cocoa-buttered look has yet to get old.
Song of the Day: “Make-Up Bag” – The-Dream (Feat. T.I.)
I have found a solution to The-Dream‘s latest lady dilemma: rather than making-up by throwing 5 stacks down for a new make-up bag every time the Patron gets the best of you, drop 10 stacks on the interchangeably fantastic “Herbag” by Hermes. Modeled after the ever-iconic “Kelly” bag, “Herbag’s” modular, rubberized canvas design gives the cheaper option to purchase a new component for each occasion she gets mad, instead of a new “Birkin” every time you’re in need of forgiveness. While I don’t endorse any genderized accessory (“Herbag” – whose bag?), I do endorse a bag that’s as bipolar as relationships can be.
I’ve posted quite a bit on the topic of O’Spada – the little Swedish hip-pop group that hasn’t (yet) taken off in the U.S. of A. They’re just too creative to let die under the plethora of hipster similar’s, so, once again… let me introduce you to the only acceptable neon-lit glitter band this side of Goldfrapp. How many times can I say it? The Swedes go HARD! Just listen to those synths squirt your face. Listen to the kiddie choir on the bridge. The track’s an undeniable pop opus that will (crosses fingers) pay off. Their debut album drops internationally May 19, 2010.