Bryn Christopher, Emiliana Torrini, Lady Sov and more…..

I’ve actually been listening to Bryn Christopher for a few weeks; why I haven’t posted about him I’m not sure, but I know I did worry that his sound might seem derivative of, of all things, Gnarls Barkley. “Crazy” was one of those songs that was an obvious smash (to me) right out of the box. When I included it on a compilation CD in May 2006 (pre-blog days) it had yet to be played on Boston radio, and soon thereafter it was beyond inescapable, much like prior picks I’d made, like “Hey Ya” by OutKast or “Tubthumping” by Chumbawamba (not that I’m always so clairvoyant; I remember digging thru crates of records to find a discard of mine that had gotten huge in the months since I poo-pooed the promo copy I’d received: Everything But The Girl’s “Miss You”).  Anyway, I had hoped that “Crazy”, which I assumed was a one-off for CeeLo and DM, would spark a slew of colaborations between soulful vocalists and slick deejay/producers. Instead, it got so big that Gnarls became a actual band with tours and a follow-up record (that wasn’t awful but wasn’t “Crazy” either).

Anyway, back to Bryn.

Bryn Christopher

Bryn Christopher

He certainly has the CeeLo vocal chops, and production, while not that of a DJ, is rock solid. Check out the best song of the bunch, “Smilin'” at his website or on his MySpace page (I unearthed this great BBC1 blogpost that speaks at length about the “something missing” quality of the song, without really identifying the problem; perhaps that’s part of what took me 3 weeks to post about him). I suspect we’ll hear more from him, hopefully with even better material and production, but, in the final analysis, “Smilin'” is worth your listening time (like many other current faves, I first heard it on Passport Approved).

Emiliana Torrini

Emiliana Torrini

Emiliana Torrini, who’s “Me And Armini” was featured on my December volume 13, has a hot new single, “Jungle Drum”. The Icelandic former soprano with the Isabella Rossellini looks (with an Italian dad, of course) looks to be having a blast in the video, which is not embeddable, so check her website and MySpace page to view and for more info.

With as much attention The Cure is getting currently due to the release of “Perfect As Cats”, a two disc tribute featuring Cure covers by 37(!) different bands, I wasn’t sure how I felt about Lady Sov’s “I’m So Human” track, which samples (and largely copies a verse from) one of my old favorite Cure songs, “Close To Me”.

Lady Sovereign

Lady Sovereign

I recall that when I first heard M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes” I resented the “Straight To Hell” sample, and I believe I may have posted a rant about it, equating it to Soho’s use of “How Soon Is Now”, which created a generation of listeners that misidentify the “classic” original as a rip of the copy! Well, M.I.A. certainly did eventually win me over (long before that awesome Grammies performance while 9 months pregnant), and I predict Lady Sov will as well. I’m not saying her “So Human” will be as big as “Planes”, just that I won’t be changing the channel every time it comes on (maybe every other). Here’s the video:

Smashproof (not sure who Boston Yanks are)

Smashproof (not sure who Boston Yanks are)

I haven’t been a fan of US hip-hop since the days of Afrika Bambaataa & The Soulsonic Force, but plenty of rap/hip-hop from other countries, mostly the UK, find their way to my stereo. New Zealand’s Smashproof has the number one song in their country for the last 4 weeks with “Brother”. Featuring guest vocals by Gin Wigmore, the song and its video have created major controversy, as it details a real life case from a year or so ago in which a young Polynesian graffiti tagger was killed by the white guy whose fence he tagged. I believe the guy got off lightly and much protesting ensued. Not since Grandmaster Flash’s “The Message” have I heard such social commentary in US rap.

It’s not supposed to be embeddable, so this copy of the vid I found may stop working any day:

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Alina Duckham on March 19, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    Delicious music. Great picks. Finally had time to listen. Have always loved that song Me and Armini and have wanted to talk to you about that. Keep the artists coming…..


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