Every time I have a conversation about so-called independent music in our city, I hit a stonewall. That’s because for all the musicians who live and work in the city regardless of age, there is a paltry number of performances that one can go and watch. Although many acquaintances of mine who are musicians keep telling me how they’re recording an album and so on, I think to myself, ‘for what?’ Forget buying, I doubt there are even people other than their friends and Facebook fanboys who take the time to listen.
One Blue Frog as a performance venue cannot alone bear the burden of supporting independent music artists. Neither can an isolated, Mehboob Studio where the same old people and jaded faces come and drink cheap beer and nod in rapt judgment of a band struggling on stage. In my travels abroad to music festivals, I constantly see the marketing and publicity (and support) that is given to the smallest of independent music artists. And while it is heartening to see a major label set up a support system for independent artists, let’s hope they can keep the independence going and not succumb to the Bollywood handicap that continues to kill artists trying to get their own voice out there… If I may say so.
Here’s what you want on your iPod, recommends Luke Kenny
Here I Am
The third album from Destiny’s Child-er Kelly sees her in the full R&B mode that is the prevalent music art form. Yet, Kelly is also edging into the dance/club space as seen in her prior collaboration with David Guetta in ‘Commander’ (included here). Like every black singer wants to access their soul roots, so does Kelly. The only difference is that these days you need to have a rapper on board such as Lil Wayne on ‘Motivation’ and Rico Love on ‘All Of The Night’.
Here she is!
Rabbits On The Run
A Thousand Miles would be the song you will most likely remember from Vanessa, a singer/songwriter who has matured with time. As she releases her fourth album, that’s recorded in analogue, the child in her is evidently ever alive. An admirer of Stephen Hawking at one end and a lover of the children’s fantasy ‘Watership Down’, both these rear up in this ten-song album that will linger in your mind, prompting another listen.
Chase this now!
Barefoot performer and soul singer Miss Joss Stone frees off her stint with supergroup, Superheavy and is raring to go on her fifth album. Born Jocelyn Eve Stoker and clearly influenced by the blues-rock of the psychedelic sixties, here we see 21st century, deeper southern soul vibes kick in. The album, (produced by fellow Superheavy member Dave Stewart also from Eurythmics) that was recorded in just six days, is a sharp collection of songs that meditate on the fate of relationships.
The Harrow And The Harvest
I have been listening to music that can fill ten lifetimes and yet will always discover something new and unique. Gillian Welch is a treasure and her strong music attitude comes out like a wolf in the moonlight across the fields of barley. And like her contemporaries like Alison Krauss and Ani DiFranco, I wouldn’t like to put this in a box by genre-fying it, save for the fact that is as rural and organic as music can get. And together with her partner David Rawlings, this is great sound with which to gaze into the horizon.
Reap this now!