Music

Culturedarm’s Songs of the Month (July 2015)

These few days, taken upon the passage of one month into the next, really serve to consolidate and enhance Culturedarm’s Songs of the Month. What I listened to and thought about most musically in July incorporates the Georgia Sea Island Singers, MC Brinquedo, Tink, Future, Dolly Parton, Jackie Wilson, Aristophanes, Robyn, Dr. Dre, Schubert, and Fritz Wunderlich. * * * Bessie Jones…

In Performance: Nina Simone – ‘I Loves You, Porgy’

Of all the standards comprising the Great American Songbook, few can have inspired such vital and diverse renderings as ‘I Loves You, Porgy’. From its embrace by jazz singers numbering Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald, the piece went on to spur Nina Simone’s career in 1958. It played a prominent role in the music of Bill Evans: with an acclaimed performance at the…

Jolie Holland at The Basement, York

Last night Jolie Holland played at The Basement in York. A small and low-hanging room with a bar attached, located underneath the City Screen Picturehouse, the venue – which once seemed to focus on comedy, with intermittent appearances from across the more marginal performing arts – is showing renewed vigour as a place for foreign cinema and international music. It was…

Upon the Wine Dark Sea: An Interview with Jolie Holland

From the beginning of Catalpa – emerging in 2003, with an admixture of folk and blues at once ethereal and stomping, and opening out on repeated listens to expose moments of the most intimate human connection – Jolie Holland has released six albums of outstanding worth. Her distinctive voice has been admired by artists including Tom Waits, Lou Reed, and St. Vincent, and she…

Culturedarm’s Songs of the Month (June 2015)

Zhala – ‘Aerobic Lambada’ Connecting with the label soon after the release of her debut single, ‘Slippin’ Around’, in early 2012 – opening for Robyn on several occasions across 2013 – in February 2014 Robyn confirmed Zhala as the first signing to Konichiwa Records. Robyn stated: ‘Zhala makes the most interesting music that takes you on a ride with each…

Daily Visual 27.06.15: Yeezy 350 & Kanye’s Glastonbury

Saturday was a full day for Kanye West. Following the unveiling of the adidas Originals x Kanye West collection at a New York fashion show on 12 February, and the release – and instant sellout – a few weeks later of the first shoe from the collection, the Yeezy 750 Boost, Saturday saw the release of the next-in-line Yeezy 350…

Behind the Song: Robyn – ‘Be Mine!’

Beginning her career in pop music at the age of just sixteen, with her debut album Robyn Is Here first appearing in 1995, Robyn saw early commercial success in the United States. Though she had already released a couple of well-received singles in her native Sweden, and one too in the UK, ‘Do You Know (What It Takes)’ became her debut single in the…

Daily Visual 21.06.15: Taylor Swift’s ‘To Apple, Love Taylor’

Today Taylor Swift became the biggest name to publicly criticise Apple over the company’s plans for its new music streaming service. In an open letter published via her Tumblr page, titled ‘To Apple, Love Taylor’, Swift explained why she intends to withhold her latest album – 1989, released last October – from Apple Music. Taylor Swift’s letter echoes concerns raised by…

Daily Visual 11.06.15: The Death of Ornette Coleman

Ornette Coleman died today, at the age of 85. The cause of his death was reportedly cardiac arrest. Coleman was born on 9 March 1930 in Fort Worth, Texas. His formative years were spent playing the alto and tenor saxophone touring across his home state with a series of rhythm and blues groups. His breakthrough came in 1958, when he recorded…