#MusicMonday 86: Joe Budden, Amy Winehouse, Youth Lagoon and more!

What the CL Music Team is jamming this week; audio & video included

Gabe - Amy Winehouse, At The BBC (2012)
Outstanding 3DVD/1CD box set documenting the rise of one of Britain’s most exciting and gifted artists of all time. It’s a travesty that Winehouse fell victim to the fodder of worldwide tabloids that exploited her legendary flirtations with booze and narcotics and, in the process, her greatest asset took a back seat: that amazing voice. Crooning with the guts and the panache of her idols Dinah Washington, Ray Charles and Sarah Vaughan, Winehouse was an anomaly in that she was a teenage girl who was reared on great jazz music and took her cues from some less-than-common inspirations. This jam-packed set documents Winehouse’s whirlwind career from her television debut (where we see her dressed in ordinary, plain clothing sporting a drab hairdo and picking out some mean chords on an electric guitar that dwarfs her tiny frame), to the persona she eventually evolved into: a tattoo-covered, beehive hairdo-sporting vixen. Nonetheless, her presence and her infectious, seductive vocal power always set her way apart from her contemporaries regardless of her attire. Standouts include stunning duets with another British legend, Paul Weller, and a series of interviews with Winehouse that show a different, surprising side of her. Winehouse talks at length about her love and passion for music, and gushes like a giddy schoolgirl when discussing the first time she ever heard the music of Thelonious Monk and the impact it had on her. This is a super documentary of her short but thrilling career as a truly unique artist and interpreter of song gone way before her time.

Deborah - Frank Ocean, Nostalgia, Ultra (2011)
I'm extremely late to the Frank Ocean craze and been catching up with a vicious vengeance, listening to the man pretty much exclusively for the past two weeks. Though I gave last year's much-lauded Channel Orange quite a bit of ear time, Nostalgia, Ultra is by far the preferred object of my obsession. I start every morning hitting play on "Strawberry Swing" (a Coldplay cover that's lyrically nothing like the original), and more often than not end up playing the album clear through - which is extremely unusual given my typical musical ADHD. Ocean's subtle lyrics and smooth delivery are deliciously addictive, flowing seamlessly through other covers (The Eagles' "Hotel California" and MGMT's "Electric Feel") as well as completely original tracks. I can't even pick a favorite; some days it's "Lovecrimes," recorded over Nicole Kidman's monologue from "Eyes Wide Shut"; others it's "Novacane," and its strangely sexy lyrics that intertwine emotional numbness and complete infatuation.

For everyone else who's been paying attention as I've snoozed, here's a tasty little tidbit you may not have heard yet - an unreleased track from Channel Orange, "Eyes Like Sky." Acoustic guitars aplenty, but still those same smooth vocals I can't get enough of.

Ray - Youth Lagoon, Wondrous Bughouse (2013)
Chillwave, electro-pop-hipster music, whatever you call it, it just doesn’t really matter when it comes to the new LP from young Trevor Powers, because what’s actually been put to tape and (sadly compressed to MP3 soundwaves) is a beautiful, joyful noise. Powers — the wunderkind behind Youth Lagoon — releases Wondrous Bughouse (via Fat Possum) next Tues., March 5, and what the album's 10 tracks actually do is update the already blissful lo-fi, downtempo pop music of his debut, 2011’s The Year Of Hibernation, and take seasoned listeners as well as newcomers on a sonic exploit that is at times abrasive (album opener “Through Mind And Back” is particularly dark and ominous) and psychedelic (the middle of “Pelican Man” is a clear homage to Sgt. Pepper-era Beatles), but always impossible to turn off.

The whole thing clocks in at well under an hour, and while it has been on repeat for the better part of five hours now, all of its blips, synth-swaths, and hidden samples are still begging to be heard through studio headphones, hi-fi stereo systems, taken on a run, and slept with over and over and again. Right now, Bughouse doesn’t want to leave me alone, and I’m not going to let it. "Mute" below.

Leilani - New Music 2013 playlist: Buke and Gase, General Dome; Erin McKeown, Manifestra; Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, Ripely Pine; and PVT, Homosapien.
This morning, I'm trying to catch up on 2013 releases and cycling through albums I downloaded over the past several weeks, figuring out which ones are worth more listens, a possible review, or are ready to be shucked from my iTunes to make room for the next batch of newbies. I've been having good luck with songstresses and femme-led acts this year, and three of the four I ended up on today have strong feminine leads.

Buke and Gase is an experimental rock outfit with punk raucous tendencies, its two musicians performing on their own self-made instruments - Aron Sanchez wields a guitar-bass hybrid or "gase," while vocalist Arone Dyer plays a six-string made from a baritone ukulele, a "buke." Their second full-length was issued on The National's artist-run indie label, Brassland, and it's full of driving, fuzzy grind marked by Arone's sneering girlish vocals. Erin McKeown is an alt folk multi-instrumentalist with a deeper breathy delivery who first caught my attention with her anti-holiday album, F*ck That. She's political, but in a pleasant, non-confrontational way, like in “Baghdad To The Bayou,” a New Orleans-flavored rambler co-written via text message with longtime friend Rachel Maddow, or “The Jailer,” a brassy bright, jumping percussive number about border politics. Another alt folk artist, charming Brooklyn-based troubadour Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, has a big velvety voice that soars over stripped-down instrumentals or heavier rocking odes. (Video for "The Nothing Part II" below.) And PVT is dark, psychedelic electro-pop from London. Still not sure how I feel about any of them beyond the initial piqued interest, so guess I'll be spinning them all again...

Find out what the CL Music Team is jamming to rocket launch the work week. Click here to check out previous entries.

Infinite Skillz - Joe Budden, No Love Lost (2013)
Joe Budden has long held the title of Bravest Rapper Alive for his willingness to lay his faults and emotions out there for his fans to dissect. This album is no different, with tracks like "All In My Head" featuring Royce Da 5'9" and Kobe, and "You And I," but this time around, Mr. Jumpoff actually has a couple singles to go along with his more heartfelt tracks. "NBA" is a guilty favorite, and the remix of "She Don't Put It Down" featuring Fabolous & Twista more than makes up for the original, which regrettably included Lil Wayne.

Shae - Electrelane, The Power Out (2011)
In a never-ending quest to find more female-fronted bands to listen to, I've come across the British all-female act Electrelane. This Monday, I'm listening to their second album, The Power Out. Electrelane sounds like the musical lovechild of Carissa's Weird, The Raincoats and at least half of the K Records roster. The Power Out offers an eclectic assortment of sounds, with songs sung in French and Spanish, instrumentals, an a capella choir and a saxophone. If this sounds sort of disjointed, it's not: the album is anchored by poppy, dueling guitars and Verity Susman's doughy vocals. Check out "Love Builds Up" after the jump along with the rest of this week's entries...


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Gabe Echazabal

I was born on a Sunday Morning.I soon received The Gift of loving music.Through music, I Found A Reason for living.It was when I discovered rock and roll that I Was Beginning To See The Light.Because through music, I'm Set Free.It's always helped me keep my Head Held High.When I started dancing to that fine, fine...

Ray Roa

Read his 2016 intro letter and disclosures from 2022 and 2021. Ray Roa started freelancing for Creative Loafing Tampa in January 2011 and was hired as music editor in August 2016. He became Editor-In-Chief in August 2019. Past work can be seen at Suburban Apologist, Tampa Bay Times, Consequence of Sound and The...
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