DJ Erica, “Soul of the City”
Thursdays 4-6 p.m.
This CD truly shows the many different sounds of "Soul of the City" Every song is completely different and the whole album is a blend of hip-hop, r&b, electronica, and house music. Kaytranada is a Canadian based electronic producer and 99% is his first full album. 99% features contributions from many artists including Craig David ("Got It Good") and Anderson.Paak ("Glowed Up"). My favorites are aforementioned "Got it Good" and "Vivid Dreams."
A Seat At the Table
Solange (aka Beyonce's sister) has been doing lots of indie R&B tracks for a few years, but this, in my opinion, is her most complete album. To quote Wikipedia and Solange, she described the new album as “a project on identity, empowerment, independence, grief and healing," especially in light of the various issues that have affected African-Americans in recent years. On the album, there are several interludes that include her parents' thoughts on the struggles that they went through growing up Black in America. She has guest contributors including Q-Tip, Lil Wayne, and BJ the Chicago Kid. My favorites on this album are "Borderline (An Ode to Self-Care), "Junie," and the big song, "Cranes in the Sky"
A Tribe Called Quest
We Got it From Here...Thank You For Your Service
This is the last official ATCQ album since the death of Phife Dawg due to complications from diabetes. Similar to Solange's album, this album has songs that touches on the recent issues going on in the African-American community. To be honest, the best thing about this album is that ATCQ is back. Solid production, great samples, and there's lots of great contributions, especially from the "fifth" ATCQ member, Busta Rhymes. My favorites are "Dis Generation" and "Solid Wall of Sound" (with a great Elton John sample) and "The Space Program."
Essential Soul of the City Artists
Soul of the City is a neo-soul/hip-hop/jazz/ and everything that fits those genres type of show. Therefore, there are some essential albums that make the show complete. Here are some artists that you must have:
D'Angelo "Voodoo" and "Black Messiah"
Erykah Badu "Baduizm," "New Amerykah Part Two (Return of the Ankh)," and "But You Caint Use My Phone (Mixtape)"
Jill Scott "Who is Jill Scott?," "Beautifully Human," and "Woman."
Jamiroquai "Dynamite" and "Rock Dust Light Star"
Stevie Wonder "Songs in the Key of Life, " "Talking Book," and "Innervisions"
DJ Aaron, Co-host of “Fidelity High”
Sundays 6-7 p.m.
Top Ten Records of 2016, in no particular order:
Descendents - Hypercaffium Spazzinate
Steve Gunn - Eyes On The Lines
Dinosaur Jr - Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not
Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression
Car Seat Headrest - Teens of Denial
Preoccupations - Preoccupations
David Bowie - Blackstar
Jeff Parker - The New Breed
Blackball - Self Titled
Parquet Courts - Human Performance
DJ Ed, “Eighties Schmeighties”
Fridays 11 a.m.-Noon
Eighties/Schmeighties heartily recommends the most essential song of the 80s. There are a lot to chose from. But when one considers where we are now socially, politically and economically I think the choice is obvious: The Clash's “The Clampdown” from London Calling. I mean listen to the words! From the opening line “What are we gonna do now?” to “We will teach our twisted speech to the young believers” to “Let fury have the hour, your anger can be power,” this song is like a message being sent directly to us from December of 1979. It begins with an ominous development of authoritarian fascist takeover but leads the listener to hopeful resistance. The song was written as Thatcher was consolidating power and the worst elements in society were given license to act out their bigotry. Sound familiar? I've already played this song a couple of times on my show and will certainly play it many more times. It is an anthem for today, as timely as ever. Give it a listen.
Rick Pecoraro, “Rick Pecoraro Talks to Himself”
Thursdays 1-2 p.m.
Car Seat Headrest
Teens of Denial
When I first heard "Vincent," a seven minute barn-burner-of-a-song, off of Car Seat Headrest's "Teens of Denial" (Matador, 2016) I was hooked. It was a master-class in the slow-build, and a Pavlovian trigger for the response, "Oh yeah! Guitars! I remember guitars!" Look, I enjoy the beeps and bloops of an electronic-jam as much as the next guy, but if "Teens of Denial" served any one purpose for me, it was a reminder that guitar-rock is not dead. If that was all, it would be enough to make this my record of the year. But it's the lyrical content from brainchild Will Toledo which pushes the whole record into instant classic territory. Hearkening back to the bad-ol-days of one's teenage years, it somehow finds a way to straddle that line between giddy nostalgia and hopeless regret. Oh, and it also it sounds great being blasted from a car stereo.
Pete Wilson, “Nashville Jumps”
Fridays 8-10 a.m.
I'm always looking for new old music to play on Nashville Jumps. Lately I've been feeling lucky with records from the early ’60s. That seems to have been a time of transition between the classic R&B of the ’50s and the modern soul and funk that began to dominate in the middle of the decade. Like many periods where styles were getting sorted out, the early ’60s coughed up a lot of great little records that break free of older straits while not settling into conventions and cliches that coalesced later.
Rockin' Rhythm 'n' Blues from Memphis, from the Stomper Time reissue label, is a great example. These are records (some unreleased at the time) from the Memphis label Home of the Blues, cut between 1960 and 1962. There's an impressive array of performers. Roy Brown and the "5" Royales, two of the greatest acts of the ’50s, made some of their last records for the label. House producer Willie MItchell, who would later move on to Hi, cut some great instrumentals, and Nashville singer Larry Birdsong made some of his best records. Sun Records alumnus Billy Lee Riley, bluesman Sammy Lawhorn, and longtime Memphis bandleader Gene "Bowlegs" Miller are represented, along with lesser names like Willie Cobbs, Billy Adams, and Woodrow Adams. Crack Memphis session men like Mitchell and Fred Ford (who played sax and barked on Big Mama Thornton's "Hound Dog") fill out the bands.
The sound is hot—not always 100% perfect but warm, with plenty of treble, and always satisfying—and the music's hotter. Soulful without making an issue of it, funky without being funk, it strikes a balance between rawness and sophistication.
32 tracks of fun—how can you beat that? Pick it up (probably online), sit down and listen! Stomper Time also has lots of other great releases. I really like Nashville Rock 'n' Roll (35 cuts!) and their Willie Mitchell set. Check their website out.
Drew Wilson, “Loud Love Show”
Sundays 11 p.m.-1 a.m.
Start Your Own Fucking Show Space
Despite its unsafe-for-radio title, the album we recommend the strongest right now is Start Your Own Fucking Show Space (Famous Class, 2016) a chronicle of the beloved, now-shuttered New York venue Death by Audio. On each sleeve of the record set are listed every show that played there, from 2007 to 2014 an interesting run through bands both well-known and obscure. This 3 LP set is a compilation of audio taken from shows held the final month at the venue, when some seriously impressive lineups blasted the tiles from the ceiling. Standouts include tracks from Thee Oh Sees, Brooklyns own Shellshag, Parquet Courts, Lightning Bolt, and a few of Nashville's finest like Natural Child, Pujol, & JEFF the Brotherhood. Special shout out to our personal favorite Natural Child track, Crack Mountain, off their very first 7" and out of print since, that appears on this compilation. Really impressive track list top to bottom however for 3 discs. A powerful look at how great bands can form a good scene and really make something special during a time when DIY venues and the same scene that brought these bands up through it are embattled with bad press and politics.
England Keep My Bones
There's the new, but we would also like to highlight one older record, and this year we will pick "England Keep My Bones" by Frank Turner (Xtra Mile Recordings, 2011). A lot of people might recognize Frank Turner, as he was big enough to perform during the Olympic ceremonies in London, but still can come to America and play setting like 3rd & Lindsley just as smoothly. This guy just knows how to put into words feelings that are universal from England to Nashville and really just bring everyone along for an uplifting time. While a lot of great music, especially punk rock, comes out of times of stress and fear (including this years excellent "Worry" by Jeff Rosenstock) it still just feels right to leave a show feeling lighter and singing along with a smile on your face. With lyrics that you want to shout along after the first listen and live shows that end up with the singer crowd surfing careening through the crowd, you will almost forget that this is a kind of folk rock and you weren't just in the middle of the pit. For that ability to instill intimidate camaraderie, for the way people who don't like punk rock will love his songs without realizing that's the direction they're moving, any of his albums make an excellent jumping in point, but it's still our review, so we'll pick our personal favorite, with excellent songs like "If Ever I Stray" or "I Still Believe" not hurting the cause.
Michael Buhl, “The Scattershot”
Wednesdays 11 a.m.-Noon
"Yenisei-Punk" is the 1995 release from the Tuvan rock band Yat-Kha. It is a blend of traditional Tuvan music and modern rock that has a desolate "post-punk" feel. Both modern and traditional instruments are used, but the most striking feature is the incorporation of Tuvan throat-singing, which is a low, guttural singing that produces more than one pitch at the same time. Yat-Kha has produced more albums since 1995, but of the albums that I've heard, this one stands out in terms of songwriting and production.