I could have posted about 300 times last week. I had plenty of opportunity, I even had time, but to be honest it just wasn't happening. I was struggling to come up with music I really wanted to talk about and frankly dinner for the last week has been whatever I can grab on the quick whilst I'm on my way out of the door. I would like to pretend life has been hectic, but it hasn't really it just seems that the mundane has taken over, as has going to the gym...don't laugh.
Music wise life has been consumed with trying to find the perfect summer sound track music. I love this time of year for music, somehow things sound better when the sun shines. That said I am always looking for new stars in a cast of favourites.I frequently revert to my beloved play list that comprises of the likes of Ray Charles, The Kinks, Elbow, The Rolling Stones, Noisettes, Belle And Sebastian, Lupe Fiasco, Maximo Park and I am Kloot to name but a few. Schizophrenic I know, but some how it all seems to work. Last summer I seemed unable to escape the addition of Laura Marling, the year before the addition came in the form of Mr Scruff. This year's unavoidables may well come in the form of Aloe Blacc and Michael Kiwanuka.
Blacc's song, I Need a Dollar is instantly infectious, it gets in your head and spins round and round all day. It's written with an oomph of American blues, meets soul, meets motown that I thought died with Ray Charles. Blacc is in the process of flooding the radio waves and I think you'd probably have to be living in a cave to have missed him. As a stand alone track I need a Dollar is truely splendid. The rest of the album isn't too terrible either; some offerings are a little saccharine (I'm Beautiful made me feel a little ill, as do most songs by that name...) but by and large Blacc's Good Things hangs together as an album nicely. Blind World for example is the kind of rap music that by-passes the clichés, the lyrics are well informed and the sample is ssooouuullll. In a word I'm happy, it is an album full of GOOD THINGS.
Michael Kiwanuka is perhaps a less obvious summer selections, there is no rumbling base line or catchy hook. There is however undoubtedly a summery rolling soul and funk edge to Kiwanuka's music that in my opinion lends itself perfectly to summery afternoons. London based Kiwanuka's influences are easy enough to spot, Bob Dylan, Bill Withers and Otis Reading are there without a doubt but Kiwanuka adds something else. The 23 year old Londoner brings the Soul Music of the late 60s back to the fore and I for one can't wait to hear more. His inclusion on the bill of Bushstock (Shepherds Bush's answer to Woodstock) on June 4th is almost incentive enough for me to brave the inside of the M25. His EP Tell me a tale is available at Amazon and I tunes, although as yet no physical album seems to exsist...but it is awaited with baited breath.