Monday, 12 November 2012
'For Holly, Forever More'.
For those who don't know-or think it's just a 'Bon Jovi' typo-Bon Iver are one of the greatest bands in the world. This is just how good these folks are. Bon and his Iver's are becoming so big they deserve a stadium worthy of that sound. The amazing acoustics of the Manchester Arena (once voted the worlds best) provided just that last week on the latest leg of the bandsmen's tour, which won't stop running. A tour with more at stake with the support of the fantastic female trio 'The Staves' who echoed their harmonies throughout the arena and the attendees phone search engines. Save your search their album is out now.
This writer had a talk with a friend who has followed this group its whole career. From the first E.P and the small venues to 'For Emma, Forever Ago' and the theatre's he has seen them in the most intimate and inspiring musical ways. Reluctant to see them in such a big arena known for hard-rock Gods, he wondered how the sound would translate. Well the beautiful, atmospheric on their acoustics still reaches the sold out seats. While the epic sound of their latest self-titled set gets the electric, Dylan scaling treatment. Both styles of sound able to bring a tear to any eye and run like lightening through any vein.
From the perfect Bon Iver album opener 'Perth' (this may be the bands best number) Zepellin esque intro this group never goes under. They let their sensational, sublime sound reach the ceiling all night to the new album closer 'Beth/Rest'. Along with the enthusiastic encore of the cult, classic-full 'Skinny Love' and the equally sung along dedication 'For Emma' that will be devoted forever more, like the people spent in each others company on this 'remember for the rest of your life', amazing night.
The checked shirt, log cabin, 'Movember' every month favorites traversed much ground on their stop in England. From the aforementioned to 'Minnesota, WI' and 'Brackett, WI' to 'Hinnom, Tx', beautiful 'Lisbon' and timeless 'Calgary'. Bon also got lost in the 'Woods' for a vocal sample that Kanye West would struggle to match. Recording himself and playing out a stunning solo, looper harmony hotter than Joesph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis playing the same guy in a movie.
From the rising 'Towers' to the formidable 'Flume' and the epic E.P. of 'Blood Bank' and the haunting 'Holocene' the set was listed with greats. Still it was the creepings of 'Creature Fear' and the salvation of 'Wash' that gave this night it's most stunning and moving performances. Draped in straw scarecrow stage throws and lit by nothing but the simple but atmospheric stage candles and the audiences flashing phones this was a picture perfect night. The kind of night you should spend with the one you love the most, because when it comes to modern, mainstream music it doesn't get much deeper, more dedicated, beautiful or unforgettable than a Bon Iver show. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Sunday, 11 November 2012
Nothing but Static.
By TIM DAVID HARVEY
"I stay in the streets, that’s where I draw my inspiration. If it can’t be played in the hood, then it just doesn’t work for me. And nobody can hold me on harmony. My whole aura is not your typical R&B aura."-Static Major.
"If at first you don't succeed, you can dust it off and try again." Hear that? Sure you do, it's unmistakable. It's the words of R&B icon Queen Aaliyah, but can you hear that bit of Static on the record? A classic hit sung by the baby girl we have been mourning and missing for 11 years but penned and produced by Stephen Ellis Garrett, otherwise known as Static Major. Another late legend took way too short before his time tragically four years back. It's been a long time but the feelings are still raw. Neither of these incredible, inspiring, influential individuals should have left us. Static's tragic trip to the hospital in February 2008 took his life, still today his life is what we should celebrate. 01/01/12 marks remembrance day and what should have been Stephen 'Static Major' Garrett's 38th birthday. On this anniversary let us not forget this young man who was part of more classics in urban music than most care to remember or would desire to have.
'Are You That Somebody?', 'Come Back In One Piece', 'Try Again', 'More than a Woman,' 'We Need a Resolution', 'Rock the Boat', 'Loose Rap', 'Extra Smooth', 'I Refuse', 'What If', 'Those Were The Days', 'Never No More' and that was just for Aaliyah. Static Major changed the game with Jay-Z (on the song 'Change The Game'), rode Ginuwine's career success by writing the genre changing classic 'Pony' (as well as 'So Anxious', 'Same Ole G' and 'You Owe Me') and made Pretty Ricky stars amongst giving hits to others like Truth Hurts ('Addictive') and Jamie Foxx ('Can I Take You Home'). So many hits, so many credits, but outside of those he worked for and his fans Static Major barely gets or received the credit he justly deserves.
It's simply another example of an injustice in music. The appreciation from some is long overdue like this article or the promised, posthumous album 'Suppertime'. A shelved release that should be a celebration of his life's work and legacy. If released in his lifetime this album would have finally made Static the major star he deserved to be. Maybe record labels need to listen to hungry fans, it's time for supper. Even the singles looked set to be food for platinum thought. The uplifting 'My Valentine' was sweet and sublime, like the upbeat, motivating 'Till The Wheels Fall Off', the unique and cool 'Bus Stop Breezy' and the undeniable, career song 'I Got My' featuring Lil' Wayne.
In fact 'I Got My' served as the incredible sequel to 'Lollipop'. This cult favorite was set to be a classic like it's predecessor. A predecessor that was written by and featured Static. That's Major living it up like Ja Rule in his day with Weezy F. Baby in a stretch-hummer limo with a bevy of beauties in Las Vegas. Wait to the end of this classic video to see Static get the credit he deserves. In his loving memory the clip serves as a beautiful but tragically poignant moment. The video shows Wayne and Major living it up like the 'Blues Brothers', rocking out in shades and suits. After all these years they finally made it and were deservedly exclaiming it. This video was released after Static's death, it's a shame he didn't get to see it or that of the success Wayne had and he could have...should have.
Still even after his death he gifted Lil' Wayne with his biggest, world-wide, commercial hit. A hit that tuned his career and 'Tha Carter' album series into the most sought-after thing in hip-hop. What a touch of grace from the spirit of urban music. Wayne rightfully and respectfully so recognizes and is thankful and grateful for what Static has done for him. Even if they don't in the record books, 'Lollipop' and 'I Got My' stand next to each other as two legendary licks on a musical collaboration that was so much and set to be even more.
Forget the NBA's hottest stars in Miami for a moment. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh may be amongst basketball's best but the original 'superfriends' belonged in Blackground. Static was just as heroic as his fellow, superfriends and record company dream team. Just like the one in a million Aaliyah, original R&B male megastar Ginuwine, legendary lyrical female Missy Elliott and super-producer and father to it all Timbaland. Aaliyah, Missy and Gin were dominating the pop charts as well as the urban ones with that signature, unique and ahead of it's time, Timbaland sound, but those signature Static lines helped them all hit big in the major leagues. Own, incredible talent aside this big three owe as much of their careers to Static as they do Timbaland. More was going down in the name of fresh, futuristic beats for the streets however.
Timbaland had his own underrated rap duo with the unique Magoo and Static had his own side-project at the forefront in the form of his own group Playa. Another underrated act who hit big with the R&B classic 'Cheers 2 You'. This group lie Static were played a bit by the masses. They should have been stars as Static even held his own next to Ginuwine on Timbaland's infectious, inspiring 'Joy'. They should have been played more like their biggest hit 'Cheers 2 You'. The album of the same name was timeless and cohesive featuring greats like 'I-65', 'I'll Be 2 C U', 'Ms Parker' with Missy or 'One Man Woman' with Aaliyah which just like Li-Li's own duet with Static ('Loose Rap') displayed their incredible charisma and chemistry.
From there the work, royalties, Grammy's and Mercedes came rolling in. Just like his incredible contributions that made the 'Romeo Must Die' soundtrack even as good as the Jet Li movie it was from. Static brought the best out of co-star Aaliyah producing some of her most defining songs, all whilst he gave Ginuwine a 'Simply Irresistible' track and got Playa played on the score with their top track 'Woozy'. It's no wonder for a man who has worked with everyone and has even had some posthumous promise with Twista ('Gotta Get Me One'). Static understood how to write hits not just for him, but for others too. This explains why he could write so many hits like 'More Than A Woman' from a females perspective for Aaliyah. He understood more than just lyrics, rhyme schemes, verses, bridges and hooks, he understood the perspectives of others, even the opposite sex.
This is a testament to just how good a writer he is like the legacy of classics he left. Dig through the crates of his tribute mixtape classics and you can find more catchy classic solo songs like 'Speed Of Life', 'Private Number', 'For A Long Time' and 'Good Weather Music' 'featuring another late great in the form of Pimp C from UGK and some classic, upbeat, energetic lines like, "you never thought I would be more than a gangster" which if properly released would make him stand out loud and proud.
Still regardless of celebrity status, which these days ranges from the overnight to 'over in 15 minutes' Static's body of work is bonafide famous and speaks for itself. Forget that he's underrated, his groundbreaking, pioneering music will never be outdated as it defined a time and change in modern sound. Like Drake on the sample of his new hit ('Look What You've Done') we need to keep Static's memory alive in his beautiful music. The man brought fun, energy, and the understanding of a culture to the mainstream music industry. He goes down in music history as one of the greatest writers and hit-makers of our generation and in urban music all-time. For the record his names there on the record. No more need be said except, Happy Birthday Stephen. We and music as a whole misses you but your work lives on in all its legendary legacy. Rest in peace.
Monday, 5 November 2012
Does The Noise From My Other Dimension Bother You?
Aerosmith have survived acid, 'Armageddon' (with the beautiful like Liv Tyler 'I Don't Want To Miss A Thing' lead song), a tell all memoir (lead singer Steven Tyler's brilliant, classic 'Does The Noise In My Head Bother You'), 'American Idols' and themselves and still after 40 years they're the last great rock band standing at sixty. As they continue to break ground, walking this way it seems between busts and break-ups nothing can clip Aerosmith's wings. Now they are well and truly back this decade with something ten years in the making. This is their 'Music From Another Dimension'.
Following their classic covers 'Honkin' On Bobo' the blues are over for this group. After their legacy making 'Legendary Child' lead single and it's 'Love Alot' follow-up (you can tell how much "she loves a lot" by the number of times Tyler sings it) comes the bands latest, greatest classic. 'What Could Have Been Love' is a classic Aerosmith and nineties rock power ballad with it's catchy hook, lines ("So what's the meaning when our love has faded?/I should've known that you'd still be Jaded/My heart's awash in this ocean of foam/Now all this old dog wants is to be walked straight home") and whiskey sinker sound. This isn't it however for the 'Guitar Heroes' who 'Can't Stop Loving You' and country collaborator Carrie Underwood with another single set to be released from their 15th studio album that only just comes out this week.
As they 'Just Push Play' on their first studio set since 2001. 'Cocked, locked and ready to rock' Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, Tom Hamilton and Joey Kramer lay down their new material with the first kiss of 'LUV XXX'. A Beatles esque number with backing from John Lennon's son Julian. It' clear to hear that after all this time and history it's all coming together. Unleashing the Tyler howls on 'Oh Yeah' the band scream back onto the airwaves before giving us another classic ode with the stunning 'Beautiful' and it's dedicated harmonies "Beautiful/We are free again, we're out of here)/Beautiful/(You need a friend, let's disappear)."
Tom Hamilton reveals some new writing with his tell all 'Tell Me,' while Joey Kramer also adds his first songwriting credits since his 'Permanent Vacation'. The band get deeper and darker on the atmospheric 'Out Go The Lights' before they get even more introspective and inspired on 'Street Jesus', which has been praised as hardcore fans favorite over the last few months. As Tyler writes to the most high, "Wise man tell ya what they’re reading from a scroll/But things kinda change when the story gets told/They tell it like it is to everybody they meet/Just to sing it in the church what they’re preaching in the street", sweet Mother Mary we have another classic Tyler 'scribe. It's the end of this album that things get epic however. Rock epic. End of the world epic. Armaggedon epic.
With a ring full of roses on 'We All Fall Down' Tyler and Aerosmith collaborate once again with the great songwriter Diane Warren, who gave this band wings with their boldest and most beautiful hit 'I Don't Want To Miss A Thing' and they in collaboration they craft another classic. With lyrics like "when your heart is breakin'/when your faith has been shaken/when the road you're takin'/takes you nowhere at all" and "when your dreams are shattered/when you feel broken and battered/when every step of the ladder/takes you nowhere but down" you can tell this is a match made in songwriting heaven. Stay awake because pulling no punches on 'Freedom Fighter', the Boston boys are backed by full-time movie superstar and part-time rocker Johnny Depp who helps star stud this sensational song.
More moments of magic are pulled out the bag for the closing trinity of this album. 'Closer' really pulls you in, while Joe Perry really shows us 'Something' before 'Another Last Goodbye' sends us off. You could also be tempted by the soulful special edition of this album which features the 'Shakey Ground' of a terrific Temptations cover (mark it next to 'Come Together' as another great tribute to the greats). With the latest noise from their heads these idols are back with a bang a scream and a welcome. From Perry's rip-roaring riffs to Tyler's tongue-lashing lyrics of vocal fury, the twins are back together and hotter than acid. No drug could take their substance away. Jaded? No way. Let's hope they don't spend too long in another dimension, because another ten years would be too long. We don't want to miss a thing. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
"What a joy it is to be loved by you" sings a Marvin Gaye channeling Tyrese to start the latest single to be released off his greatest 'Open Invitation' album. 'Best Of Me' marks the one year anniversary of this ground-breaking album perfectly, making both this and the full release climb the charts."I believe God sent you hear to slowe me down" harmonises the hardest working man in entertainment, who is currently writing two books ('Manology' with Rev Run of Run DMC and 'Black Rose'), two albums (the rap/R&B double set 'Black Rose' to go along with the book and the TGT debut with Ginuwine and Tank) and is finishing filming the sixth part of the 'Fast & The Furious' franchise away from home in London. Still fumes isn't the only thing he's been filming as the 'Best Of Me' video is making and breaking requests. Starring alongside the beautiful model Eva Marcille, Tyrese gives us a black and white video with splashes of color and beauty. He was right in our recent interview about his latest album artwork "taking (him) to another level". The chemistry between R&B's leading man and his leading lady is at a charismatic classic high, just like his previous videos with Taraji P. Helson ('Stay') and Chilli from TLC ('Nothing On You'). With this latest open invitation Tyrese gives us the best of him and the best the world has to offer will be his reply. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
You Can Watch The Video Here Now... http://vimeo.com/52721269