Basically, I believe the singer-songwriter scene is overcrowded at the moment. Arguably, the ‘genre’ has always been pretty full because of its vague definition. However today it’s almost like anyone who’s has the hipster look and possesses a guitar is eager to make this stereotype their own. That’s reason enough to not take the scene too seriously, yet every so often the mediocrity is broken by someone new who appeals to my need of just listening to simple and small songs. Continue reading
As far as I recall 2010 brought me quite a lot of ‘hipster approved’ music. And to be honest, bands such as Local Natives, Caribou, Balthazar, Sleigh Bells, Suuns and Warpaint showed a lot of promise back then. The press however was most jubilant about the all-female art-rock outfit, Warpaint, coming from Los Angeles. Surely the involvement of former Red Hot Chilli Peppers guitarist John Frusciante had something to do with that. Initially he successfully helped Theresa Wayman (vocals and guitar) et al to create a trendy, but also out of the box, post-punk sound. Warpaint’s first full length album, The Fool, was therefore deemed to become a self fulfilling prophecy of success. The Fool confirmed this status and stormed the 2010 indie charts and also received some favourable reviews for being swamped with moody chords and haunting vocals. However, where do we go from here? Extending a successful phase by simply releasing a new record isn’t an easy task. For their colleagues Sleigh Bells and Suuns the follow up proved to be a troublesome struggle. Indeed this doesn’t automatically mean another, more negative, self fulfilling prophecy for Warpaint is opening up. So lets give the eponymous second album a spin and hear if they’re able to enchant listeners once again.
Lets face it, Gregory Porter is all about superlatives. With his impressive appearance and magnificent voice Porter is among today’s top jazz vocalists. Since the release of the debut album Water (2010) everything he touched turned into gold. Water was enthusiastically welcomed by the press and received a Grammy nomination in the Best Jazz Vocal Album category. In 2012 his sophomore release Be Good proved to be just as successful as its predecessor. Be Good was a number-one debut on the iTunes Jazz Album Chart and reached top ten positions on various other charts. Moreover Porter was honoured with another Grammy nomination for the single ‘Real Good Hands’. Recently I saw Gregory Porter perform on the North Sea Jazz Festival with the Metropole Orchestra and, to throw in another superlative, it was breathtaking. Porter is on a high, so there´s no surprise a new release in 2013 was on the stocks. Beforehand there was no reason for fans and critics to worry about quality of Liquid Spirit, for Indeed the brand “Gregory Porter“ already stands for high quality jazz and soul. I However am obliged to uphold a critical attitude to all that´s hyped and hip and therefore question if the towering achievements of Porter
don´t lead to a case of the Midas touch. Continue reading