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Friday, 6 December 2013


Born in the land of the free of the U.S.A, 'hope' is a four letter word of love, worn deep into the blue jeans of the American dream. Boot-cut into the soul of the soil of labor that workers have been toiling in, taking care of their own since they where born to run. That's right for all you hard workers out there on E Street, the boss is BACK! Bruce Springsteen returns like he does at the beginning of every other year since his 'Rising' rebirth return to the new millennium when the city of New York and the world really needed this jersey boy, with a new record to close the fall, before his album releases and celebrates the new year. "Monday morning runs to Sunday night/Screaming slow me down before the new year dies", Springsteen sings loudly over an emphatic new style that is still distinctly E Street like the sound of late, great Clarence Clemons saxophone nephew playing the notes of the dear departed in fitting, perfect sound alike tribute. This former live favorite cover turned into a real, new track is incredibly inspiring like the previous 'Wrecking Ball' swing and it's 'Land Of Hope & Dreams' with its love over hate and prosperity over poverty ideal. These are everybody hopes in it's highest form and and played loud instrumentally for that epic, everyone encompassing stadium sound. Now with this new record adding itself to the classic catalog of the boss sublime Dylan chasing, ream filled songbook, this track marks one of Bruce's best. The album of the same name, which will feature a lot of collaborating work with Tom Morello (like the incredible 'Magic Tour Highlights' of the riff real 'Ghost Of Tom Joad' ('Joad' and live favorite 'American Skin (41 Shots)' get the remake rerecording too) really will rage against the mainstream machine and the Winter blues of an early new year stagnant sales stage. "You pay for everything" the boss says, but at the same time reaffirms the notion of giving "help", "strength", "soul", "love" and "peace". The song that was originally recorded by Bruce and his band 14 years ago for the 'Greatest Hits' and originally wrote by Tim Scott of The Havalinas is given a  fresh remodeling here by the former girls and cars singer giving the world hope. From the powerful percussion to piano from New Jersey to Orleans, here the greatest American singer songwriter of this generation and all-time makes the words of Scott's song his and everyone else, looking in everyone's eyes and knowing "they stand a chance" more than high hell. Now that's some heaven sent spirit. Now that's hope. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Monday, 25 November 2013



Songs Their Everly Taught Them.

When it comes to the biggest male and female singer/songwriters in modern music of the moment it doesn't get much bigger than this new perfect partnership. The dynamic duo of Billie Joe Armstrong and Norah Jones is the latest strange but sublime setup in music in a Jay-Z and Linkin Park mash-up age. Even this year cult hip-hop band The Roots backed a Liverpool rock and roll legend not part of the fab four as Elvis Costello released 'Wake Up Ghost' with Jimmy Fallon's house band. Billie Joe turned him and his band into modern day geniuses as 'American Idiot' took the 'Dookie' stoner rockers Green Day to a whole new world of an audience and even on Broadway as they set the stage for themselves from being one of the biggest bands in the world. While those looking for a female singer/songwriter chasing the legendary leading men likes of  icon Bruce Springsteen and modern marvel Ben Harper, need look no further than Miss Jones. After the jazzy, easy-listening and top selling classic starter albums of 'Come Away With Me', 'Feels Like Home' and 'Not Too Late', Norah went deeper and darker for 'The Fall' and the perfect piece of the electric, eclectic 'Little Broken Hearts'. She even provided a backing soundtrack for Danger Mouse and Daniele Lupi's soaring 'Rome' score with White Stripe, Raconteur and Dead Weather setter Jack White. Last year saw the ever hard-working, underrated leading lady recorded 'For The Good Times' with her Willie Nelson inspired country outfit The Little Willies. Now she's going a little bit country with her rock and roll man for 'Foreverly'.

When it comes to country duos, it doesn't get much bigger than the family bond of The Everly Brothers. The steel strong rock and roll singers moved in perfect harmony and their Hall Of Fame baritone and tenor style influenced The Beach Boys, Simon & Garfunkel and even the greatest rock and roll influences of all time The Beatles. They've clearly inspired this generations greats too, as Billie Joe and Norah team up for their own inspired interpretation of the classic album 'Songs Our Daddy Taught Us', step by step, melody by melody, track by track. The second stellar album from the unit was exactly what it said on the jewel case. A selection of songs the boys learnt from father Everly and now the next generations is having their go on these hand me downs hoping to keep this classic album going forever for Everly. An album of songs so well wrote, taught, sang and passed on that Rolling Stone called it something so 'rootsy' that the king himself Elvis Presley wouldn't have "the nerve to do it". So ahead of it's time and now so lamented with now's nostalgic love, these traditional songs aren't given a modern face-lift, but instead a today tweak to show this watered down modern mainstream searching for real music, just how genuinely great it was in the good old days. Even if some see a covers album as easy work, you'd be hard-pressed to find any musicians putting in the recording grind to keep great rock and roll music with the roots of their country alive than Jones and Armstrong. Even if not everyone will lend their ears, check out the lyric video of the lead single 'Long Time Gone' to see just how classic these countrymen are. "You cheated me and left me lonely/I tried to be your very own/There'll be a day you'll want me only/But when I leave, I'll be a long time gone", when it comes to the blues of break up songs, nothing is more brutal and beautiful in bold brushstrokes than this. As this new country couple play homage in harmony to the original duo, this song and it's lyrics are brought to life with as much subtle vibrancy as the original.

Such is life for the rest of the album too and the sublime, sophomore single, 'Silver Haired Daddy Of Mine', a song that has been covered many times and is so legendary in it's old testament to traditional lore that it will never grow old and grey, just rocked and rolled. With the energetic entrance to this set of the 'Roving Gambler', Jones and Joe prove that all bets are paid off with a first roll that hits the deck, ready for you iPod dock to rock. The electric 'Lightening Express' sees the maturing voice of Billie meet the smoldering Norah for a smooth and smokey journey across the right side of the tracks. One that blooms into funeral flowers with the dark murder-ballad 'Down In The Willow Garden', where Jones truly takes the apple. The one-time sweet singer is seriously sultry too and can cover anything from Dolly Parton's classic 'Jolene' (with her own friend Jack White like conviction (it doesn't get bolder than this guys singing and owning a girls song)) to her own revenge classic 'Miriam'. Even Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds have laid planted roots here and as Jones sings along "for I did murder that dear little girl", you know this is one woman you don't want to mess with. The Cinderella of real popular music fits perfectly with her American icon partner on 'Whose Gonna Shoe Your Pretty Little Feet', where the pair prove that it's the traditional songs that carry the best meaning and their the ones that today can make it so much more. It's Billie Joe's recruiting of a female voice, and that voice being Norah's that gives these brothers records the new creative interpretation with a dynamic kick it deserves. You can't beat the classics and the good ole days keep rolling on the timeless 'Oh So Man Years', before the country strong 'Barbra Allen' is given new personification by this pair. This folk song originating from Great Britain concerns a young man dying at his bedside for the love of this muse. Although he loses her and life, Billie Joe has found his musical muse and perfect instrumental partner in Miss Jones.

'Rockin' Alone (In An Old Rockin' Chair)' will swing back and forth and remain as classic and American as buckwheat for ages and ages to come and sit and listen. As will the bond of 'I'm Here To Get My Baby Out Of Jail' a true love bar to fist strong love song that the 'Foreverly' duo bails out with good behavior and a warrant of inspired instrumentation and velvet smooth vocals that lay over these bars. The state of the iconic 'Kentucky' really is an album favorite and as of right now and poignantly perfect track for this writer. Over feathered drums the pair harmonize with the beautiful landscape, singing "Kentucky/you are the dearest land outside of heaven to me" which couldn't speak higher for the sincere and country strong state. Keeping this album charging forward like a glorious, galloping horse, this powered ballad laments and lasts everywhere from classic Corbin to loving Lexington. Finally singing "Kentucky, I will be coming soon", this town and my love that resides there need to hear just how much this all means right now. The pair evoke even more with the albums goodnight in 'Put My Little Shoe Away' with another ode to the old. A time where song names and styles where simple but the themes and meanings delved deeper into the roots of these country classics. Roots that made these brothers and also highwaymen like Nelson and Johnny Cash so legendary. They'd all be so proud of these two American icons of the modern age that have earned their country spurs with their clicking collaboration. It all started with a sing-a-long meet-up at a Stevie Wonder concert and now this gig shows just how much more soul they have. Isn't it "loverly". For Everly, forever more, 'Forveverly' will remain just like those songs from the brothers father, in everyone's hearts and minds, thanks to those of Norah Jones and Billie Joe Armstrong. These traditional songs will go on forever and Everly. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013


Relentless Ben.


GET UP! That's the name of Ben Harper's latest album and collaboration with blues legend Charlie Musselwhite, but maybe it's time for everyone to wake up to one of the worlds best singer/songwriters. When it comes to the Johnny Cash like legends of American recordings and leading music men icons it would be hard to see past the legendary worn jeans of every man entertainer Bruce Springsteen and the spokesman of the people for the best part of a century, Bob Dylan and his legacy. Still with a songbook as prolific as the number of acts he's associated with, the man with more groups than benefit concerts is our generations true American singer/songwriter for the people. Currently on an earth turning acoustic tour the man that strummed alongside Jack Johnson and Eddie Vedder for some pearl jams is showing the deepest depths of his character and craft. Still, the man who can rock and roll out the slow numbers is still somewhat criminally underrated in this modern mainstream market, even though there is a cult following loyal to his underground legend.

Maybe it's because of just how dynamic and diverse he is. Some people say a jack of all trades is an expert in nothing, but in this case that couldn't be further from the truth that is Ben. Sometimes when someone works so hard and so much and does it all so well, people fail to acknowledge exactly that after awhile. They get used to how good something or someone is and take it for granted. Still, that isn't going to stop Harper from working on his art and music. He has his own opinion too, once telling an interviewer that in this iTunes cherry-picking age someone looking him up and looking for some hard rock may find an acoustic number or vice versa and be disappointed depending on their desire. Such is this mans range and dedication like the electric Dylan or acoustic Bruce. Such is the fire and ice sides of a man who can go from joy to pain in many a song or expressed emotion. The same man who wrote 'When She Believes' can also sing 'I Don't Believe A Word You Say' and this is why the multi-instrumentalist crazily has won Grammy's for both best 'pop performance' and 'gospel album'. The eclectic, epic, energetic output is matched by no one in the industry today and tomorrow he'll get back to work once again. From his lap steel guitar to his slide one, this stand up guy has broke boundaries and broadened continents from a seated playing position. The humanitarian activist with an amazing live set has so much to add to the listography of his already classic career. From folk, to blues, to soul, to funk, to reggae, to jam rock and even neo-folk. It all started in Californian for the middle-named Chase, Cherokee and African-American ancestry and Jewish upbringing that made it's way to the worlds stage in 1992 with some 'Pleasure & Pain'.

What more can you expect but inspiration from a man that saw Bob Marley play when he was 9? When his collaboration with Tom Freund (look for another one soon) came into peoples limited-edition playlists, it was clear this artist was here to stay. Virgin records where so impressed they gave him a lifetime deal...and what a deal it's turned out to be. Two years later we where 'Welcome To The Cruel World' with classics like the beautiful 'Waiting On An Angel' and the bold Martin Luther King Jr/Rodney King race protest 'Like A King'. He even collaborated with prolific poet Maya Angelou for the inspired 'I'll Rise'. Between the fire of having a big heart for love and the ice of a soul with something truly to say, Harper showed both sides of the gun, the Elgin Baylor (fire) and Jerry West (ice) of this Laker fans work that would make for his career and legacy. It didn't stop a year later when he brought his backing band 'The Innocent Criminals' along for the punch of 'Fight For Your Mind'. The album that inspired a college radio revolution is still a Harper hallmark today. 'By My Side' is the truest testament and 'Another Lonely Day' has had a live face-riff-lift recently, while the continuing protests of 'Excuse Me Mr.' still resonate today. From the opening 'Oppression' to the fire of 'Burn One Down' and shine of 'Gold To Me', in one album Harper gave as many classic track as some songwriters have today in their whole discography. The worldwide talent continued to go platinum overseas in Australia and France with 'The Will To Live' album (including the spiritual 'I Want To Be Ready' and 'Jah Work' and the grand 'Fighter' film ready 'Glory & Consequence') and 'Burn To Shine' and it's fun 'Steal My Kisses' single that even got a hip Pharrell, Neptunes remix for its beat-boxing hop. 'Alone', 'The Woman In You', 'Beloved One', 'Suzie Blue' and 'Please Bleed', gave even more classics to the catalog that still last for set-lists and playlists.

The million man mover almost went literally diamond with his next one, as his coming of mainstream age album 'Diamonds On The Inside' went platinum to the tune of six times around the world. His first album of the new millennium marked a new beginning of brave beauty with the likes of 'When She Believes' and the heaven sent 'Amen Omen'. Adding more strings to his bands bow with his own two hands. That and the albums title-track where and remain huge while 'Brown Eyed Blues' and 'Blessed To Be A Witness' continued his specialist skill-set in his diverse range. As Ben sings "I have heard the wisest of wisdom/And I have dined in palaces and kingdoms/But nothing is as beautiful/As when she believes" it's clear he's not forgotten who he is, where he's from or who he's doing it for. A year later he reached out to others in his spiritual quest however, as he aligned with the legendary Blind Boys Of Alabama for 'There Will Be A Light' a grand, Grammy making gospel album that inspired and influenced and could even lift the heaviest of hearts. From the '11th Commandment' to a 'Satisfied Mind', Ben saw the light with his boys from Alabama and with more classics like 'Well, Well, Well' and 'Where I Could Go' coming alive on the concert album (that you can add to the set-list of classic, release live pieces) let's hope this collaboration one day makes it to church on time again. In the shadow of the light, Ben reunited with his 'Innocent Criminals' two years later for a defining double album which is truly his best.

'Both Sides Of The Gun' yet again gave both sides of this mans coin but afforded much more than that in the darkest depths and boldest beauty of this mans most personal work. The opening tracks of this album really play perfectly back-to-back. Beginning with the moving violins of the most beautiful song 'Morning Yearning' (which is so pure and poetic, the lyrics are on this writers wall next to Springsteen's equally string beautiful 'Secret Garden') to the wonderful ballad 'Waiting For You', bordered by 'Picture In A Frame'. The 'White' and 'Black' titled sides of this album show both sides of the singers musical personality perfectly. The sweet 'Never Leave Lonely Alone' was matched with the strong 'Engraved Invitation', like 'More Than Sorry' and 'Get It Like You Like It' and so forth. Real highlights came from the instrumental break of 'Sweet Nothing Serenade' into the yearnings of 'Reason To Mourn' on 'White', or the bold, call to inspiration arms of 'Better Way' to kick off 'Guns' 'Black' disc and many a political campaign. The man who screamed how he believed in a better way, showed it with this powerfully proven album. The child of The Beatles even had a little help from his friends as late, legendary Australian actor Heath Ledger brought an equally beautiful, classically arty video to his homeland for 'Morning Yearning'. The ever gracious Harper, returned Heath's favor by writing an equally beautiful lullaby for Ledger's daughter in the heavenly 'Happy Everafter In Your Eyes'. As Ben sings "Couldn't leave you to go to heaven/I carry you in my smile", today these words are as heartbreaking as they are moving.

Ben had one more swansong with 'The Innocent Criminals' in his 'Lifeline' which saw a 'Paris, Sunrise', being recorded and toured in France. As fluent as he was in the language, he was in making simply another perfect album. Rehearsed during sound checks and recorded in analogue this 7 day made album was anything but a weak affair with the strong single 'Fight Outta You' and the vibrancy of the 'In The Colors' portrait. 'Needed You Tonight', 'Heart Of Matters' and the title-track struck more chords but this would be the last track and album to date for the hero and his criminals who really should do one last job together...again and again. Two years later Harper cranked up the amp for rock outfit Relentless7 who debuted on the 'Black' tones of 'Serve Your Soul' off 'Both Sides Of The Gun'. Here on a solo collabo and tour which should really garner more, the collective shimmered and shined over instant classics like 'Up To You Now' and 'Lay There And Hate Me'. Exposing some 'White' worthy acoustic purity in the harmonizing 'Faithfully Remain', haunting 'Skin Thin' and harrowing 'The Word Suicide,' before inspiring everyone with the truly uplifting 'Fly One Time' and it's courage knows no boundaries video that would be perfect for a Red Bull commercial. The 'White Lies For Dark Times' was as creatively vivid and deep as it's title and as colorful and as Summer vibrant as its artwork. As Ben sang, you had to live his life to get 'Boots Like These' and boy did the man who's recently adapted to wearing stetsons truly earn his hard rock spurs. Further collaborations came in a 'Fistful Of Mercy' with Joseph Arthur and George Harrison's son Dhani in a skate-park in Santa Monica that led to the amazing 'As I Call You Down' album and it's title track, band-name track and the genuinely undeniable 'In Vain Or True'. Fans who miss acts like Relentless7 will be pleased to know that this acoustic big-three will be releasing more Fistfuls Of Mercy with their own three hands soon.

After all these acts Ben went solo again for 'Give Till' It's Gone' with a little help from his Beatle friend Ringo. Whom he returned the favor backing his album like he did with a Dixie Chick (producing Natalie Maines new L.P.) for even more collaborations. Relentless7 logged some studio time however and what resulted was one of Ben's best albums across the board possibly only rivaled by his last solo set 'Both Sides' or 'Diamonds'. Following the live debut of the emotive 'Feel Love' and the literal 'Rock N Roll Is Free' download, Harper harked on with the bold cry of 'Don't Give Up On Me Now' and the deep desperation of 'Pray That Our Love Sees The Dawn'. Writing from the heart this tattooed warrior inked more of his real reputation with the delightfully defiant 'I Will Not Be Broken' and the cranked up 'Dirty Little Lover' and it's grimier conclusion 'Do It For You, Do It For Us', that finalized an instrumental album of fire over ice inspired writing and playing. The 'By My Side' greatest hits of ballads retrospective and the nice new track 'Crazy, Amazing' followed, but if anyone thought this collection was Ben's way of saying he was done or at least a little dusted was wrong. Rightfully so Harper returned this year to 'Get Up' on another collaboration with blues man Musselwhite. He and Charlie slipped and slid over classic iron strong strings with tracks like another classically titled break of 'I Lost Another Lover (You Found Another Friend)' and the western draw of 'I Ride At Dawn'. It's the pleading , blues treading of 'We Can't End This Way' and the "There's a man on the corner/Begging for help/There's a man that walks past him/And he's drowning in wealth/Who doesn't understand/How disappointment destroys the soul" insightful, introspective lyrics that may just be one of Ben's best songs in not just years but his career. Now what's next for the man who is going it alone yet again for an amazing acoustic tour around the world? Well anything from the guy that's covered everything from Marvin Gaye's 'Sexual Healing' to Michael Hutchence's 'Never Tear Us Apart' with INXS and 'Strawberry Fields' with his own forever making twist. Or how about another duet album this time with his mother on mothers day with 'My Childhood Home'? Sounds perfect right? Collaborating with saint and criminals and with the potential to reunite them all, what could possibly stop the hardest working man in music still on a quest for relevance respect for his just cause?

Not fire...not ice.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013



Declaring Marshall Law.

Guess who's back? Yep, that's right. Remember back in 2002 when Jay-Z excused us miss on the sequel to his classic hip-hop, landmark album 'The Blueprint' and told us that "only dudes movin' units-Em, Pimp Juice and us"? Well more than a decade later this last month has seen the release of Nelly ('M.O') and now Eminem's latest albums to go along with the hip-hop crowning year of Jay-Z's mega 'Magna Carta Holy Grail' album. With a sublime sequel to his own classic series that birthed the new millennium, Eminem returns to the center stage of the rap arena with 'The Marshall Mathers LP 2', which joins the likes of the 'Blueprint', Raekwon's 'Only Built For Cuban Linx', the latest '20/20' Timberlake experiences and all those Lil' Wayne sets, to go along with all those Marvel movie-world franchises in the sequel album ranks of superiority. A far cry from those trending, failing artists who try and reestablish a buzz by tacking '2' on the end of the title of their defining album name, this generations college favorite returns with more Grand Theft Auto music for the 'V' generation. Proving just like his renegade partner Jay, that for all the Kendrick's and Wiz's out there he is still atop the throne with Kanye's 'Watch The' partner. Returning to his critically defining album, a genre that loves the classics carries on traditions with a hallmark black and white resonating cover (to go along with a cool, alternative Avengers comic book special for the superhero fan). The house may be boarded up, but Marshall's still in it, inviting us to see that the real Slim Shady still stands up and resides here today.

It only seems like yesterday that the hauntingly incredible, note scribe of 'Stan' and the anthem of a generation 'The Way I Am' joined 'The Real Slim Shady' of monumentally huge singles and album tracks like the rightfully scathing 'Who Knew' and the wrongfully harrowing 'Kim' and more 'I'm Back' and 'Drug Ballad' classics that made this rappers shock value bang louder than a Timbaland beat. Then again it doesn't seem like more than three years ago that Shady had an album out (Apart from his other 'Hell' sequel with Bad Meets Evil partner and Slaughterhouse member Royce da 5'9") with the real, redemptive 'Recovery' from the raucous but critically raped 'Relapse'. Today after all the years of 50 Cent's and peroxide Mathers is back to Marshall hip-hop once again with the Batman to his Robin and lifetime production partner Dr. Dre. The 'Detox' and maturation of a man chasing his mentor in middle-age may be on hold, but under the influence once again our clean rapper with the dirtiest of lyrics, awakes from his 99 problems and gets the 100% backing of the man who knows all about white rappers from the Beastie Boys to Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Legend Rick Rubin joins the good Doctors cash investment in the executive producers chair of Eminem's latest round of American recordings. You can hear it in the bold and latest brutal single 'Berzerk' that the most 'out there' rapper has returned from 8 Mile Road. The Detroit Piston let's everyone have it with his substance abuse...even ex-Los Angeles Laker and Clipper Lamar Odom. The anti-baller has returned to rule rap like the unlikely king they could never behead.

The video game single 'Survival' continues the 'Call Of Duty' for a man who is battling his way through the watered and bogged down trenches of modern, mainstream music. Sounding like his fellow bleached rebel P!nk collaboration off his last, solo set Eminem won't back down, even if he is commercially viable enough to feature on a Tom Cruise trailer, Mathers will let anyone have it in his mission impossible to impress beyond the b.s. Taking it back to the roots of his career and the essence of rapping, 'Rap God' re-wakes cult fans and re-writes critics doubt with his supersonic 97 words in 15 seconds that feature a lyrical dexterity of 6.5, Twista jealous, Guinness book words a second. Lines like "Uh, sma lamaa duma lama you assuming I'm a human/What I gotta do to get it through to you I'm superhuman/Innovative and I'm made of rubber/so that anything you say is ricocheting off of me and it'll glue to you/I'm devastating, more than ever demonstrating", further his onslaught on those he leaves naught. If you want another single from this beast than how about 'The Monster' featuring Rihanna? The queen of R&B pop and every years best album and single, collaborates with Em for the fourth time marking arguably the greatest, albeit strangest duet duo around today. After loving the way each other lies for a classic and it's underrated, better sequel, the pair have returned the favor on each others albums. After Ri, Ri's 'Numb' comes this awoken animal from a man that turned Dido collaborations into Elton John ones. You shouldn't be surprised that this mans doing anything, except for playing career Russian roulette with more bullets than stuff that clicks.

The other shots on this album hit their mark, like their deer in headlights targets. The two part 'Bad Guy' opener is the new 'Criminal' and starts at a heart-beat pace only to rip into a chainsaw roaring and cutting finale. The Zombies, awoken 'Time Of The Season' sublime sampling, 'Rhyme Or Reason' adds more to this matter and yin, yang debate as our conflicted rapper literally channels Yoda in these wars of stars and shows us all sides of the two-face coin does he. Answering critics with no question the man who wrote about how he wanted to play the Riddler does anything but contradict himself. Riddle me this, riddle me that who's afraid of the big white rabbit? A rapper who runs and shows he's 'So Much Better' with every legendary track that ass to his 'Legacy'. The cultural phenomenon enlists an internet one to prove he's really an 'Asshole', as Skylar Gray of Diddy Dirty Money 'Coming Home' fame, returns from her previous collaboration with Em and Dr. Dre on 'Detox's' awaiting 'I Need A Doctor' to add another heart-paddle resuscitating chorus with her perfect pitched prescription. The out of this mind raps of 'Brainless' and it's "Fast forward some years later, a teenager this is a fun, sweet/I just got jumped twice in one week, it's complete/It's usually once a month, this is some feat I've accomplished/They've stomped me into the mud, gee for what reason, you stumped me/But how do you get the shit beat out of you/Beat down and be upbeat, when you don't have no-thing/No valid shot at life, chance to make it or succeed, cause you're doomed" lyrics that are a life testament to outcast or down-trodden youth really add to the mindful, socially underrated conscious lyrics of a man that goes from satire to straight forward scolds against all that is wrong with a world that continues to show it's middle finger to the enthusiasm of youth. More lessons are learned on the life explored in 'Stronger Than I Was' and the country riffs of Bad Meets Evils Em's 'So Far...' shows when it comes to old souls and the ways of the world this ones surely familiar of these parts. Even Facebook isn't safe on this cut from an album that's going to chop down any other Twitter trends, hash-tag 'MMLP2'.

Today's top hip-hop star in terms of popularity, Kendrick Lamar joins his label-mate for the Aftermath of Game's and Bishop Lamont's for another Dre favorite in 'Love Game'. The distinct voice of Kendrick makes for some real rhymes and a Californian cool chorus. This good kid certainly has come far from his 'Maad City'. Before night falls 'Headlights' illuminates a singled-out, creative collabo with Nate Ruess of 'fun.' fame, before the 'Evil Twin' ends this rehoused effort like Ken Kaniff skits. More 'Ghosts' are explored on the 'Don't Front' 'Call Of Duty' bonus before this Mathers LP house gets deluxe like an annex. Echoing the Marilyn Manson remix and 'Kids' bonus of the first album, tracks like the beautiful 'Baby', dark 'Desperation' and the wonderfully woes of 'Wicked Ways' help make this separate disc worthy of your extra dollars and sense in a repeatable and quotable album and a half full of legendary, legacy making lyrics. Still, it's the the repeat worthy 'Groundhog Day' and the Sia searing 'Beautiful Pain' that make these bittersweet pills good enough to be swallowed on the first take of this second Marshall album. Now all we need is a trilogy encore or a sequel to the debuting 'Slim Shady LP' (like 'Encore' to 'The Eminem Show' or 'Recovery' to 'Relapse' and its 'Refill') to carry on this Eminem show as Marshall Mathers and his identifying LP have the sequel they deserve. Nostalgia has a welcome home where our man in the white tee once sat outside without risk of foreclosure. If our legend was debuting with this 'Marshall Mathers LP' he'd be paying the mortgage with this album. Slim may be the blonde bomber alter-ego, but Marshall Mathers is the official government name of everyone's favorite rapper that bends race and genre all in one rocked rhyme. In the scope, this is as honestly raw and genuinely real as it gets for your after math, after Mathers listen. After all the years and records this eight wonder is signature like his real name and no gimmicks once again. True to himself but like you've never seen him before, Marshall's home. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Monday, 4 November 2013



The Greatest Gamble.

When it comes to this modern, mainstream music game of kings and jokers, there is one band that still holds all the cards for Rock N Roll. One band that still drives to the heartland of real America and away from the neon glare of the casinos and down to the real Las Vegas, in the Nuclear bomb testing, serene night deserts of old Nevada. One band smoking all the aces with roll after roll of new classic singing and songwriting that would make the boss of rock Bruce proud. One band to inspire the incredible new Vegas boys 'Imagine Dragons', breathing even more fire into the dream world of hopeful escapism and forever lasting themes of love and life. You can hear it sung along by the girls in the passenger seat of their boyfriends classic muscle car on the way to the best wedding chapel. You can hear it tuned into the dials on that old stereo. You can hear it on the airwaves of each radio station that still has it's salt in the right pot and music box. You can hear it in the four horsemen who continue to drive the engine of real songs about real emotion and true love. One band that's still alive in a dying industry...'The Killers'.

Listen, carefully if you haven't turned off your radio by now. There's still some great music when it comes to the right frequency. You've heard the song, you've seen the video. The one with those two Hollywood kids on the moped driving around the perfect directorial look of a night in sin city. Where our two, star-crossed lovers are trying to lay their own Romeo and Juliet scene. A song and clip that will capture Capulets and Montagues alike. 'Shot At The Night', may just be one of The Killers greatest fires at a best hit. With lead-singer and modern day icon Brandon Flowers singing from the window of a hotel room in Springsteen leathers and stance, the kid from Flamingo has the whole electric city reflected beneath him, like his incredible solo set (of the same name as his hometown) that deserves it's recognition here. Still, this song is more than just our leading man, it's for his band and this 'Direct Hits' offering of The Killers is more than just a package deal. Just like this lead song and the other new neon song 'Just Another Girl' -just as atmospheric-these are more than just tracks tacked on to a label demanding release. Sure, these guys may have just come off their best artillery of songs in the rebirth of 'Battle Born' and it's redemptive tour, but these guys with more hits than even they could count are still going strong and ready to rock any boulevard or arena. With it's target cover, that ups the stepped up stakes of all their classic logo album artwork, this band are back and hitting the blue and white with a bulls-eye and their bullet to the evening. In this game of chance, this is their casino royale.

'Shot At The Night' which has an 80's 'Drive' soundtrack feel, puts the keys in the ignition and sets it all off, before we get into the real grand studio tour of an album that Flowers says is "like a great way to clean everything up and move onto the next thing". In full bloom, the cream of the crop of classics is really hit out the park swing, by swing, deal by deal. Just like the bands new stadium ready live tour, you just have to let the good times and great records flow in all it's recent memories nostalgia and soundtrack of youth. From the shine of 'Mr. Brightside' and the word of mouth, mega-hit 'Somebody Told Me' and the happy-go-lucky days of 'Smile Like You Mean It' to 'All The Things That I've Done' that wraps up the bands bold and beautiful beginnings in a 'Hot Fuss' straight flush. A triple threat from 'Sams Town' explores the sophomore road traveled and traversed for the love of your life hit 'When You Where Young' to downtown, Tokyo, Japan for the storied 'Read My Mind'. 'For Reasons Unknown' bookends the first half of the bands career before the new 'Day & Age' of purple, 80's Bowie inspirations come into play for the second half of this audio set. 'Human' remains one of the band biggest, out of this world hits, and 'Spaceman' is also major like Ground control to Tom for all you extra-terrestrials. 'A Dustland Fairytale' also keeps this bands weapons on, before arguably the bands greatest and most underrated era comes into play. Following the solo, formidable foray of Flowers 'Flamingo', the latest and greatest 'Battle Born' of last year re-woke a wrote off band and flipped the script to a more mature, but still 'young love hopeful' one.

From the epic 'Runaways' that was born somewhere on E Street, to the explosive 'Miss Atomic Bomb' that gives more redemptive riffs to the memories of clouds of nuclear smoke in the desert distance. You may as well get your Geiger counters back out and line-up to be read for the ash that will still fall decades later for a band that will survive through any fallout. The real find of a former love lost in 'The Way It Was' really shows today just how strong the band of past capturing and future emoting is in the present. The epic, yearning "darling" harmonies show this singer and his band are still about the love and flowers that make real songs that will last more than just diluted dedications for the mainstream. With some original demos, Calvin Harris remixes and another 'Battle Born' number (the hauntingly beautiful and tranquil 'Be Still') for your bonus this band who have been blessed with it all are bestowing it upon everyone. Sure huge hits 'Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine' and 'Here With Me' shouldn't have made the cutting room floor but we cant always have it all.  Just like Flowers sings in the single "look at my reflection in the mirror/underneath the power of the light/give me a shot at the night", and in this reflective electronic playlist ready, classic collection we can see a band that will shine on for the brighter side of decades of days and ages. Battle born and redemption ready for the next roll of the Vegas dice that will continue down the American highway. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Thursday, 26 September 2013



The Return Of The Kings.

When the Kings Of Leon came straight out of Nashville, Tennessee with long hair and two great underground long play albums between 2003 and '04 in the form of 'Youth & Young Manhood' and 'Aha Shake Heartbreak' ,it was clear to hear that the modern rock sound was moving back to the bootcut jeans and leather strapped boots of good old hard-working American guitar music. 'Because Of The Times' took them further into the mainstream before the hair was cut and the sex was on fire for the massive single and album 'Only By The Night' , which remains one of the biggest albums in popularity and sales of the first decade of the new millennium. The stellar sound continued on 'Come Around Sundown' even though some critics cooled and dawned on the band. Then between drink, fights and bust ups everyone thought this band was broken up and done, but like the relationships they sing about there was always hope and now the kings return three years later to ride the wave of 'Mechanical Bull', hoping to find some sixth album sense and stay on there fans minds like neighbouring Georgia.

Willie Nelson would be a fan of these country boys and their tavern ready sound that continues to rock and roll like green bottled beer on 'Bull'. Anything but mechanical, this bands roadside rest-stop sound is the best driving music for road warriors bar none. On the opening spray of 'Supersoaker', the bands lead single lights up like the neon album artwork, confirming their shot and return to the big time. 'Rock City' is a kiss to the same idea, while 'Don't Matter' evokes chills and lines like "Such a swine, lips like wine but it don't matter to me/Take a turn before i burn and it don't matter to me/Last day get up anyway but it don't matter to me/I'll perform i'll be fine but it don't matter to me". Even if this band have lost some attention they still find that attentive lyrical detail that makes them one of the deepest rock bands of modern America and music. 'Beautiful War' continues this ugly fight back to the top as Followill sings with his brothers, "Your heart breaks/Rolls down the window/I've seen it all go and comeback around/And I've heard the sound/Tip of your tongue/The top of your lungs/Is doing my head in/I say love I don't need nothing/Left them something worth fighting for/It's a beautiful war".

Their signature sound gets in our heads further with the pressing 'Temple', while the second single 'Wait For Me' is what the eagerly anticipated fans have been waiting for. There may not be any burning loins here, but moving away from their biggest hit the band show us who they really are. 'Family Tree' discovers those roots further before 'Comeback Story' writes the return of these kings back to their throne. The crowning moment here is honest couplets like, "Picking up the pieces of the world I know/With one in the fire and one in the snow", "I've been told believing everything is all right/I break with the day and I've been with the night", "The bright of the lights they're burning me out/Everyone says it's a lovely sound/I don't know where they are leading me/Trying my best hoping that you'll see" and "You'll rue the day when you understand/I did my best to be an honest man/Race isn't over until the finish line/It's a comeback story of a lifetime". As our leading man sings happier then he's ever sounded it's clear our writer knows where he's been and where he's going.

Taking his band with him, 'Tonight' takes you to the evocative awakenings of a perfect evening traversing the real vaganbond heartland of real America. 'Coming Back Again' take us around and around this checked shirt and full beard sound, before the last chop of 'On The Chin' is the perfect hit to take you home. If you can't take that then the deeper deluxe edition of this album gives you the extra 'Work On Me' and the final encore of 'Last Mile Home', where Leon's leader Caleb sings "Take it back I never meant it/Never thought that it would come to pass/Baby know it's not forgotten/Baby know that this is gonna last", before closing this album and the bands return with the perfect, fitting statement, "Things are always better/When we're all together". It's great that the band are back and sounding the same. Sure, there may be nothing new here but this is what the fans wanted...more of the band they actually love. 'Sex On Fire' was a great and different experience but the morning after led the band down an unfaithful road. Taking the 'Mechanical Bull' by the horns they stay on their right highway, turning the wheel through the fork on the road and heading into the sunset of a right direction. Rolling and riding until everyone tunes the radio into what they need to hear. The kings back on their throne. TIM DAVID HARVEY.



Ended At The Top.

Hey now All-Stars. In the same big headlines week that Toronto announced that it will hold the 2016 NBA All-Star game, Canada's most-current famous export released his brand new album. They know, they know, but read all about Drake, this Toronto star and GQ cover boy who returns grand like Slick Rick despite the "emotional" hate and critical thinking he was 'So Far Gone' like his epic E.P. Cult track after cult track and the eventual release of his welcome, definitive debut 'Thank Me Later' and it's 'Over', 'Find Your Love' and 'Fancy' singles seems like only yesterday, but there's been a stellar sophmore set ('Take Care') since then that got deeper and darker. Now the third times an even more introspective and inspired charm with the release of 'Nothing Was The Same'. It all changes now.

The YMCB crew member and protege of Lil' Wayne gets even bigger with this bold and brilliant album. Anything but Canadian dry, the toast of the T-Dot is the rapper who can wear his heart on his sleeve and still wet the competition with the hands dealt from his power poker face in this rap race. Drake has hot again with his latest and arguably biggest single. 'Started From The Bottom' is his new calling card and represents his career, his crew and even serves as the perfect entrance music for sports teams to run out to. More than the game, even the Toronto Raptors could get caught up in this rapture like LeBron did 'Forever'. For their new, high flying season they'll need an anthem like this to save them from NBA extinction. This rapper isn't going anywhere himself however now he's shown how to 'Drake it in America'. The T-Dot still marks the spot for this up North cold and cool lyricist who begins his new set with the smooth touch of the 'Tuscan Leather' cut which is made of the tougher Run-DMC black material.

The classic beats continue to cut, chop and change on the following far reaching 'Furthest Thing' , as Drake makes contradiction classic for a conflicted age rapping "Somewhere between psychotic and iconic/Somewhere between I want it and I got it/Somewhere between I'm sober and I'm lifted/Somewhere between a mistress and commitment", before the singles come into perfect play. Drake has clearly put a lot of thought and work into this experimental and evocative project. From his '5AM In Toronto' sequel to his collectable '9AM In Dallas' iTunes bonus pick to his first album to his Marvin Gaye deep 'Hear My Dear' inspirations. Not only the album that Gaye wrote and recorded as part of his divorces legal requirements (what a response to all that stress and 'Anger' from the late legend) has influenced Drake's tortured but tough soul. The rapper even records in the soul masters old studio 'Marvins Room' which is also the name of one of Drake's greatest tracks off his last legacy making album. The young/old, switched up, side profile, oil painting artwork of this album is even reminiscent of the Notorious B.I.G's 'Ready To Die', Nas' 'Illmatic' or his partner Wayne's 'Carter III' and 'IV'. It's clear Aubrey Graham is shooting for legendary status.

The promotional single 'Wu-Tang Forever' furthers this testament and tribute to the greatest rappers of all time. Singing "It's yours" in homage it's clear to hear the game belongs to him right now. Drake even has the alliance of current top tier rappers 2 Chainz and Big Sean on the latest single 'All Me'. It's the second single 'Hold On, We're Going Home' featuring Majid Jordan that is even better than the biggest 'Started From The Bottom' however with it's sing-along "I got my eyes on you, you're everything that I see/I want your hot love and emotion endlessly/I can't get over you, you left your mark on me" odes. The rhythmic, cool, almost 80's feeling cut that's a different but decadent rap record, crowd pleaser and your iPod's new favourite track on constant repeat is the tip of the top. The great Drake proves as well as having wonderful wordplay he also has that velvet voice. One so rhythmic it serves as an instrument behind his brooding beats like the likes of Mos Def and Kid Cudi. This results in sweet sounds beyond the raps that make even the off-key singing able to hit the right note. 'Own It' continues to kill the competition. While the kinetic, boom-boast of 'Worst Behaviour' displays this character at his charismatic best as the Canadian king border lines his life lyrics, rapping it up with the statement, "Yeah, back and forth across the border line/Hate to leave the city, but I've got to do the overtime".

There will be no O.T. in this game however as this Toronto rapper wins before the final buzzer with his clutch plays. The piano play of 'From Time' turns the hands towards a more beautiful giving rap track with the gifted guest spot of Jhené Aiko. Drake furthers his link with his numbers man producer 40 and their profound and punctuated production on 'Connect' before collaborating with his Cash Money head honcho Birdman on 'The Language' which will certainly translate into some wrote cheques for this Baby's boy. The finer points of the Detail assisted '305 To My City' is the perfect highway ride track for a drop top down road trip to the GTA. 'HoustonAtlantaVegas' never looked this good. Back on the map the formidable feature player gets 'Too Much' with Sampha before 'Pound Cake/Paris Morton Music' really tops the bill and is the post mortem icing for the competition. With the king of kings Jay-Z by his side rhyming and rapping this young prince can watch the throne that Jay and 'Ye balled so hard and collaborated in Paris for. More of a french kiss is given on the deluxe edition of this album that 'Comes Thru' with the direction of 'The Motion' which is a great way and move to close an album that will stand next to it's peers in both Drake's and his competitions catalogue proudly. You don't have to wait until 2016 to see an all-star baller shine in Toronto. Right now Drake is hosting and holding the game in his own arena. H.Y.F.R. nothing will be the same now Octobers own has come early this year. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Thursday, 22 August 2013



The Giant Three.

This year best rapper alive Jay-Z has suited up for a tour tie with R&B/pop star Justin Timberlake while it's been announced the greatest superheroes Superman and Batman will assemble for a mega D.C. movie in the coming 365's. Still the biggest, greatest collaboration this year belongs to the R&B Avengers. Three's haven't been this big since LeBron James aligned his talents with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh for South Beach's hot Miami Heat. The new music big three of TGT is the R&B Rat Pack, suited and booted like Sinatra, Dino Martin and Sammy Davis. If you haven't heard of this great three, where have you been? R&B mega stars Tyrese, Ginuwine and Tank have gone all LSG for a group that could rival 112, Jagged Edge, Blackstreet, Guy, En Vogue, SWV and Boyz II Men as one of the greatest R&B collectives of all time.

This is just the beginning too. Movie/music star Tyrese is coming hot off the heels of his best album 'Open Invitation', run of box-office blockbuster movies (the 'Fast & Furious' and 'Transformers' series'), and enough books to fill the shelves of Barnes & Noble. With a rap/R&B/ book triple 'Black Rose' closing out his career next (I think he deserves some chill time), he still has time to collaborate on his biggest project. As does R&B legend Ginuwine who has been in this game for decades of decadent albums and still holds the standard for the freshest sounding R&B/hip-hop crossover in his 'Pony' ride with elite production partner Timbaland. Tank as well keeps rolling out album after album and hot single after hit single, (if last year and this wasn't enough, 'Shots Fired' looks to be the perfect ammunition to load up his next set) manning the production boards on everything including this. This being 'Three Kings' the album everyone's been waiting for eagerly anticipated years for between label pains and leaked tracks and formidable features.

Now by royal R&B appointment and number one in 7 countries decree the kings take their throne. They have spoken and sung and the sales have rung as the crown fits perfectly. The after hours jam 'Sex 'Aint Never Felt Better' single set it off. Until the second single 'I Need' really stepped it up. The classic Tank intro ("I hope you see my heart from here/And I hope that this will make us strong/I hope the truth is made you clear/And I hope that we can learn and move on/This time the stakes are way too high/I see what I’m about to lose/It’s time to let the old me die/Mistakes or love I gotta choose"), matched perfectly by his R&B brothers Ty and Gin shows you really do need this set. As does the classic R&B/hip-hop feeling intro (think Tank's 'Lonely') of 'Take It Wrong' that features Tyrese's successful rapping 'Alter-Ego' Black-Ty who revealed more of his magic on the 'Invisible Bully' lost tapes mix. After the album settles in, this is when the stereo evening perfect album falls into place as Tyrese and the G and T channel Snoop Dogg and his homies for 'No Fun' with Problem. The cohesively made collaboration keeps turning on the siren calling 'Next Time Around',(as Tyrese gets heartfelt and honest singing "Ooh, she's packing everything in her room/I'm going crazy like/I knew that this day will come soon but I'm feeling like/This can make a grow man cry"), because right now it sounds like the R&B players have been playing and singing together for decades.

On this truly collaborative collective, the duties and dues paid are shared equally and fairly. The fast-paced singing on 'Hurry' keeps it fun as the good times keep rolling 'till friday, where 'Weekend Love' is the perfect R&B break. Think of R. Kelly's club made 'Thank God It's Friday'. Still its the guitar chord breaks and velvet smooth verses of 'Lessons In Love' that really takes the game to school, as G harmonises "I'm what you missin in love/This treasure I got, trust me girl it's enough/Get up on me like you ain't been touched in a while". With this shot the winners are truly the giant three. Then what the kings serve up next is off their heads. 'Explode' truly knocks it out the park. These modern, fresh beats mixed with the hallmark, traditional urban soulful singing is truly a combustible mix for your tape decks. "C4 'aint got nothing"...'aint that right 'rese? Ther rhythmic reverberations continue on the initialled 'FYH' and 'OMG' for TGT's truly inspired set that is about to influence a watered down and diluted R&B industry in need of refreshment. 'Running Back' keeps it going, whilst taking it back to the good ole' days of 90's R&B, late Luther Vandross, R. Kelly or decades past purist movie/music star Jamie Foxx would be proud of his friends Tyrese, Ginuwine and Tanks's work.

This king big three, finish with a big three of their own to close out this 17 track set laced with interlude icing on the cake. The piano perfect 'Burn Out' keeps the fire blazing as Ginuwine and Tyrese go back and forth over Tank's ivory and chorus ad-libbed skill set. The soulful smooth 'Tearing It Down' is built to rip down the after hours of a club. It's the perfect midnight hour music that is deeper and better than those throwaway alcohol jams. It's the right partners only record from this triple threat of talent. 'Our House' is the perfect closer as Tyrese, Ginuwine and Tank build an R&B home as TGT. As a matter of fact these 'Three Kings' have built a castle forged with a foundation of formidable R&aB and soul music that in one album feels like a classic catalogue years in the making. Now, not only can't we wait for these rhythm and blues purists next solo sets. We hope these R&B Avengers reassemble for a sequel. It's time for Tyrese to put the retirement plans on hold because even if these huge three stars didn't have successful solo careers as a group they exist as a separate great entity in themselves. One that could have been going and should go on for years. There just has to be more coming soon from the dealt hands of these kings. Watch the throne. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013



John's Dearest.

It's just another day in paradise for John Mayer. One of the best American singer/songwriters of this generation has found himself again. He's found his voice (which he could have almost lost) and love of his life in the 'California Girl' and pop queen Katy Perry. Now after his own heartbreak warfare it's all fireworks for the singer who is now chasing the Springsteen, Dylan and Young valleys of classic catalogues. This is set with his second album that feels all Crosby, Stills and Nash as this young star takes it deeper to the roots of America and acoustic guitar music. After 'Room For Squares', 'Heavier Things', the 'Inside Wants Out' E.P. and many a great live album, the music by John Mayer was introduced to the world. It was the third part of his intoduction trilogy 'Continuum' that truly propelled him to the musical mainstream and that success continued on 'Battle Studies', but the album to follow THE classic of not only his career but the last decade was always going to endure some critical scars no matter how good it was. Hearing it from everyone from fans to the musical press and Taylor Swift this man left the tweeting for the birds and went back to the true essence of songwriting with his rebirth of the 'Born & Raised' collection. Now a year later, in the same vain John keeps it rock and rolling like classic American automobile journey music whilst searching for deeper meaning and the 'Joshua Tree' of albums.

You too can hear just how close he's coming with 'Paradise Valley'. A heaven sent collection that traverses all through the beauty of a guitars chords and America's back-roads and side-stories. The album was even named after a river valley in the Yellowstone River in tranquil Southernwestern Montana. It all begins with the hand clap, foot-stomping good time opening of the second single 'Wildfire', which sets and spreads the tone for this album like out of the refridgerator butter. As Mayer cools the critics and sings "Tonight the moon's so bright/You could drive with your headlights out/'Cause a little bit of summer's what the whole year's all about", that's what it's all about right there. Just like precious Summer moments to cherish, John gives us a sublime single in 'Paper Doll' before writing another dedication in 'Dear Marie' that ends with some beautiful harmony to sing along too with the top down, feet on the dash and your pant and shirt sleeves rolled up. With eyes closed behind some sepia aviators this is the type of relaxing set that you can fly away with, making the August to Autumn mood perfect. This could very well be the easy going soundtrack of the Summer that you've been yearning for.

'Waitin' On The Day' lulls you into the same perfect feeling. While 'Call Me The Breeze' echo's clouds of the blues, John has found that 'Whiskey, Whiskey, Whiskey' sound that we can all drink to. How about another? How about a collaboration with his leading lady? 'Half Of My Heart' may have been a hit but 'Who You Love' is all heart. The pop princess Perry shows maturity beyond a teenage dream as she proves she could be a strong country singer if she wanted. As the pair dedicate and devote and laugh and joke, they remind listeners just how happy and beautiful true love can be. This is as real as it gets as the pair harmonises. "My girl's ain't the one that I saw coming/And sometimes I don't know which way to go/And I tried to run before/But I'm not running anymore" sings Mayer in all heart bared honesty, while Perry shows the mutual, beutiful affection singing "My boy ain't the one that I saw coming/And some have said his heart's too hot to hold/And it takes a little time/But you should see him when he shines/You never want to let that feeling go". What looks on the back cover of this album as a strange (to those who don't read the press) or tacked on (to those cynics) collaboration proves to be one that has the makings of the next love duet album from this country. One of the albums strongest tracks could lead to so much more. This shouldn't be a surpise.

Sure the guest-spots on this album read like something you would never see on a Bob, Bruce or Neil record but this is how much music is changing today as the genre lines are blurred like a hash tagged Robin Thicke. We can thank Kanye and co's friend Mayer for changing the game though, no matter how deep he delves into the songbook of classic easy time, Clapton like rock. After Mayer's guitar break on 'Channel Orange's 'White', grammy and urban soul crowned king Frank Ocean returns the favour on a smoking hot, 'Wildfire' reprise. Hip-Hop heads will be itching to download this smouldering interlude, but guitar purists will be inspired by Frank's instrumental genre-pushing vocals. The man with Oceans of talent gets deep and brooding over a full and beautiful, minute and a half wonder. With lines like "Out on the beach in the darkness starting bonfire/So gorgeous, a man might cry/Burning trees in the basement start a cool fire/Feel my heartbeat racing, baby you’re on fire/So gorgeous, a man might cry" and "Back in Paris you told me you were suicidal/It’s not a vacation if I lose you to the Eiffel/You’re gorgeous but you can’t fly/A hidden admirer sent me roses white as fire/We took our handfuls it was war, flower fighter", this mans pen is poison to modern day rap lyrics about basic b.s of fast cars, money and girs. It doesn't get much more beautiful than the purity of Ocean's work.

As Mayer gets back to work himself, he find his own Dean Martin jam in the easy listening 'You're No One 'Til Someone Lets You Down', before getting offical on the arresting 'Badge and Gun' that's really one to pull over for. The by the guitar chord book closer 'On My Way Home' comes back and ends the day perfectly but one of the best tracks on this album finds itself between Perry and Ocean. You can put 'I Will Be Found (Lost at Sea)' next to 'Victoria', 'Split Screen Sadness', 'Do You Know Me', 'Assassin', his 'I'm On Fire' boss cover, 'Waitin' On The World To Change' and every other track on the 'Continuum' album as one of his best and brightest. This song is the sound Mayer's second roll and road rock career is all about. With great lyrics across the board of this record like "Baby, I'm a runaway train/Baby, I'm a feather in a hurricane/Maybe it's a long grey game/But maybe that's a good thing", it's clear to hear the man that was once lost is now truly found. After staring down the valley of shadowy career suicide, this is now the recovered Mayer fans and critics always wanted to hear. It's all between him and the great Ben Harper now. The growth is complete and now all that's left is to write and hear better, deeper music that this shallow, diluted mainstream scene is sorely missing. Now doesn't that sound like paradise? TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Wednesday, 31 July 2013


The Kings Take Their Throne.


"(TGT is the) ultimate R&B fan experience. Me, Tank and Ginuwine been talking about this forever. The reason why this makes sense is that besides all of us being R&B singers, we're all good friends. Every time I see Tank, every time I see Ginuwine, we all had good energy regardless."-Tyrese.

It doesn't get much bigger than this. LeBron James and his Miami Heat basketball boys aren't the only big three taking their throne this Summer. With a holy trinity of combined singing, dancing and production talents, Tyrese, Ginuwine and Tank give us 'Three Kings' by royal R&B decree. Like LeBron, Kobe and Jordan on the latest cover of SLAM. It's time to watch the throne this August 20th because after hitting the road and touring everywhere in America, the legends of the Summer are about to suit and tie up like Jay-Z and Timberlake on the way to the release of their debut album. This trio of legends and their '3 Kings' album is set to smarten up a genre and remind real music fans of what they've been missing when it comes to real R&B.

The kings have spoken...or more like sung. The dream these three friends and their fans had back in 2007 has been made real. Genuine talent brought to the light by their record labels last year and more importantly by the hard work and perseverance from the three themselves. It has got them to this point this year, with a tour taking America by storm and now the eagerly anticipated, long awaited album release this August. Talk about hype and buzz. This is more than business, more than record sales. Forget a label redemption. This is an R&B revolution. With supergroups like LSG, Blackstreet, Guy or Boyz II Men now the sounds of your playlists past and groups like Jagged Edge and 112 on milk cartons the genre needs this. With R&B music reaching too much for the auto tune, dance hall or younger, throwaway themes, it's time this rhythm and blues music got back to the true essence of it's soul. Thanks to the mature, grown artists of Tyrese, Ginuwine and Tank assembling like the Avengers we now have exactly that to rejoice and marvel at..

Big things come in threes. Like 'Star Wars', 'Lord Of The Rings' and 'Batman' trilogies and now these soul superheroes and godfathers of R&B are here to save the day with some out of this world talent ready to be made champion. The R&B Rat Pack of Mr. Gibson, Elgin Lumpkin and Durrell Babbs are as real as it gets. After remixing Tank's hot, hit single 'Please Don't Go' (off the incredible, inspired 'Sex, Love & Pain' album), TGT offered up an array of songs, including 'One Night Stand' (where Ginuwine had a duet with his best man Tyrese), 'Lost In Our Love' (a Tank solo) 'Cant Blame You', 'Lay Down My Life' and a fantastic feature on Slim Thug's 'Let Me Grind'. Still it wasn't till the build up of the Atlantic Records release of '3 Kings' this year that we heard the real singles. Like 'Sex Never Felt Better' and it's for the fans stage setting video and the latest, greatest 'I Need'.

This truly is what the game needs like 'Lessons In Love', 'Tearing It Down' and 'Weekend Love'. These are just some of the names of tracks off the new album that will redefine an R&B genre which is saturating but not selling. It's about to be refreshed with three individual superstars and friends who share more than just charisma and sales. The chemistry between the three extends more then the fun you can see them having on Instagram behind the scenes. Picture this on your Twitter and Facebook feeds, you can see it on stage and are about to hear it in the studio. These three where meant to do this together. All their classic albums are about to cumulate into one great piece which will have a legendary legacy in this Urban Soul and Hip-Hop genre. There might even just be a feature from Tyrese's great mentor and friend R. Kelly. Now with the R in R&B's seal of approval what more do you need?

Take three. Take Tyrese Gibson for example. The man who has been championing and tweeting about this big three project the most has a rule of three himself. He's not only a multi-platinum singer/songwriter but also a movie star who has acted in two major franchises and it's many sequels over the last few years and a critically acclaimed author who already has two New York Times bestsellers in his shelf loading library. Did we mention he raps too? His 'Alter-Ego' Black-Ty even has a feature on the opening track 'Take It Wrong' off his new album with Ginuwine and Tank. the 'Transformers' star has most recently been seen bringing action and laughs to the $741.1 million blockbuster success of 'Fast & Furious 6' and he is about to film the seventh instalment of the formidable franchise that wont run out of road with megastars Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, The Rock, Michelle Rodriguez, Ludacris, Jason Statham and more in Tokyo, the Middle-East and all over the world this September.

It just keeps getting better and better for this guy. The guy that started out singing about Coca Cola on buses so he'd never have to take a bus again and the guy that remodelled himself into a crossover talent with Tommy Hillfiger. You best believe they'll be calling again. The guy that rewrote his career with his inspirational 'How To Get Out Of Your Own Way' book and his magnificent 'Manology' collaboration with Run DMC legend Rev Run is about to put pen to paper once again. His next brilliant book 'Black Rose' will turn a page and be packaged with the double 'Black Rose' album-to go along with a 7 part documentary ('A Black Rose That Grew From Concrete')-which will also be his first double rap/R&B album since Black-Ty's debut on the amazing number 2 rap chart topping album 'Alter-Ego'. An album that is said to be his most personal album to date. The album will also be his last....wait...what?!

Yep that's right the hardest working man in entertainment who deserves a break has said his next album coming next year will be his final R&B bow. Although we all may cry 'say it aint so' and hope for a Jay-Z or Jordan like return we must respect this man's wishes and be thankful for the music he has released (like his 50 track free 'Invisible Bully' tape). From his self-titled platinum debut in 1998 and the gold high-charged '2000 Watts' which took this 'Baby Boy' to maturity. A maturity that saw the gold standard of 'I Wanna Go There' and it's huge 'How You Gonna Act Like That' and 'U Don't Give A Damn About Me' singles and the incredibly, inspired release of his latest and greatest 'Open Invitation' album on his Voltron Records influential imprint. An impression that left us with the big club-mover 'Too Easy' (with fellow '2 Fast, 2 Furious' marquee star and franchise petrol head Ludacris) and his new 'Sweet Lady' in the huge single 'Stay'. A 'Soul Train' song of the year award winning number that was number one for 11 weeks on the Billboard Urban charts and rebirthed his return to R&B, a return that fans will hope to see again and again soon.

"TGT is in the building....we're about to shut it down".-Ginuwine.

Tyrese's highest charted album sold 76,000 copies in it's first week and with fresh, great tracks like 'Nothing On You', 'Best Of Me', 'Angel', 'Takeover', 'I Miss That Girl' and more it has now moved 360,00 units and counting. The Grammy nominated star isn't the only big-seller in this group of big hitters. The G in TGT, has been going as way back as far as he and 'The Best Man I Can Be' co-star Tyrese have been friends. The man named after Lakers legend Elgin Baylor is a great in his own right with a talent level that is genuine. Ginuwine is the first-mega star of this trio to really break. From the Timbaland production, Aaliyah, Missy Elliott and Static Major, Superfriends days to the maturing in the game. This guy brought dancing to the urban soul game after Michael Jackson but before Usher, Ne-Yo, Chris Brown and them. One of the only guys to cover a Prince song ('When Doves Cry') and have The Artist's acclaim (according to G, Prince approached him in a club, complimented him and then disappeared in a veil of smoke as only the Purple King can), and someone late legend Luther Vandross called "one of the good ones", Ginuwine is the truth.

The double platinum 'The Bachelor' truly changed the game as Timbaland and G ushered in a new musical sound and style for the constantly envelope pushing genre of urban music with the mega hit of 'Pony' that's classic success has rode for decades now (it made an appearance in Channing Tatum's big movie 'Magic Mike', has been rocked out by Far and recently covered by Rihanna...does she know what the songs about?). The beautiful 'Tell Me Do U Wanna' and the following '100% Ginuwine' album kept things 100 and 2 million selling, before 'The Life' featured more mainstream success. Things got real mature and grown on 'The Senior' which really planted a seed on G's return in 2003. Just call it his 'Open Invitation' back in. In the linear thank you notes Ginuwine even told Tyrese that "the game owes" him...and now it's safe to say it has...and G too as they continue to further their success.

A success Ginuwine carried on and out in his decade of great maturity. With the bold 'Back II The Basics', the brilliant 'A Man's Thoughts' (where Ty was seen acting in G's 'Last Chance' video) and the beautifully timed valentines release of the signature 'Elgin' (TGT released their first, lead single this February 14th), R&B haven't sounded this great or mature thanks to the 'I Love You More' and 'I'm In Love' dedicated singer. That was until his fellow T's came back. One being the legend Tank and his artillery of mega hits. The man who has wrote and produced hits for the likes of Monica, Donell Jones and another actor/singer in megastar and Django himself Jamie Foxx, as well as his fellow group members (expect him to man the boards marvellously on this 'Kings' set). The man built like a machine and with an army of hits, made his debut in 2001 with his 'Force Of Nature' album and a fresh, soulful remix of Ja Rule's 'Race Against Time' for the rap stars 'Fast & Furious' movie soundtrack (Tank technically actually appeared in the Fast franchise before his TGT brother).

"TGT is a's about bringing that real thing back. You know real men, real singing, real love. Anything associated with The Temptations, The O'Jay's, Marvin Gaye, Teddy Pendergrass".-Tank.

The gold albums continued with 'One Man', but things became much bigger and better once Tank blasted his way onto the music radar joining the Grammy family. 'Sex, Love & Pain' truly was a classic and a game changer (we'd still love the sequel) with creative classics like 'Wedding Song' and the original 'I Love Them Girls'. The absolutely amazing 'Now Or Never' followed with collaborations with everyone from Drake to Chris Brown (the first of many). Before people had time to recover from the radio buzz of this fall album came another to begin the Summer of last year. 'This Is How I Feel' in this writers opinion many be the stars best. The chart-topping continued with an album that came fresh off the heels of not only another but the great 'Diary Of A Mad Man' mixtape which continues this songwriters entries of studio ready hits. The hard-working man stepped it up with Chris Brown on the incredible album opener 'Lonely' and gave us hit after hit, even paying 'Compliments' and a new, great artist on his label Kris Stephens mind (a great new artist for Tank, like Knight was for Ginuwine and Lyndriette is becoming for Tyrese). Even now with all these releases and a new TGT record coming Tank has given us his biggest and best, cult hit with 'Shots Fired' (again with Chris Brown). As we await yet another great album it looks like thanks to another shot, this Tank and his iron and steel-hard hits are bulletproof.

Still even with all he, G and Tyrese has coming in the music, movie and writing world the three are putting everything on hold as they give their all to this TGT project from the studio to the stage with no hiatus. You saw them on track at the Soul Train Awards with their classic cover of The Commodores 'Zoom' and now these guys are truly flying away. The billboards are about to be Tyrese's next box-office, Ginuwine is going to re-influence the game like he did in the 90's and Tank is going to cap off the greatest three years of his career with his biggest three yet. The royal appointment is set and heads will role. It's this three kings game of thrones now. This TGT is more than a big three...its 'the giant three'. The R&B Avengers of Iron Man, the Hawk and the Wolverine are about to swipe and shoot at the competition that needs to bolt up with their iron will. 17 tracks (or "missiles") are about to be launched. When it come to R&B this once, twice, three times a group are as real as it gets (for reference just check Tyrese's lament on his early struggles ('Taking Forever'), Ginuwine's deep, emotional dedication to his late parents ('Two Reasons I Cry') and Tank's honest and humble 'Better Than Me'). No further proof is needed the three crowns fit. We don't know quite yet just what the great legacy of TGT and their '3 Kings' album will be...but from what we've seen and heard, it looks to be legendary. Tyrese, Ginuwine and Tank...let's hear it for them. And the winners are....

"You know it's a passion project and I don't really know if anybody see's how big this will really can be the way I do. Ginuwine and Tank can see it but I don't even think they see what I see as far as how big this can go"-Tyrese.






Thursday, 11 July 2013



Independence Jay.

"You’d take the clothes off my back/And I’d let you/You’d steal the food right out my mouth/And I’d watch you eat it/I still don’t know why, why I love you so much, ohh/You curse my name, in spite to put me to shame/Have my laundry in the streets, dirty or clean/Give it up for fame/But I still don't know why, why I love it so much/And baby, it's amazing I'm in this maze with you/I just can't crack your code/One day you screaming you love me loud/The next day you're so cold/One day you here, one day you there, one day you care/You're so unfair sipping from your cup/Till it runneth over, Holy Grail". And so begins the incredible, inspired, Justin Timberlake rewind worthy, highlight reel intro to the new 4th July, already a million plus change sold, Jay-Z, 'Magna Carta Holy Grail' album. It also marks the R&B and rap pack leading men's second and third collaboration of the year as the pair are about to 'Suit & Tie' up and introduce themselves to London, England this weekend like perfect gentleman for the 'Legends Of The Summer' wireless festival in Olympic Park. Joined by legends like Nas, A Tribe Called Quest, and current superstars like Frank Ocean, Kendrick Lamar, Big Sean and more it's set to be one hell of a heaven sent weekend for fans to end quite a week for the king of New York and the worlds finest in hip-hop who is showing his vision is 20/20 like J.T. too.

Jay-Z really has delivered on his big NBA Finals halftime superbowl like album announcement and really has shown everyone-including his co-throne holder, rap brother and friendly rival Kanye West and his stripped down, out of nowhere market of his latest great 'Yeezus'-how to do this son. For the first time since his 'Watch The Throne' duet album with West (we can't wait for the sequel) and the conclusion of his brilliant 'Blueprint' trilogy an amazing four years ago,'Brooklyn's Finest' is back rhyming with B.I.G., channelling European art and fashion and quoting everyone from Nirvana to R.E.M., but all in the name of positivity and prosperity. The boy is back with one of his more different but decedant albums yet. Bold and brilliant the 'Holy Grail' begins with the new urban soul one, two punch giving the fans what they want.

After that the rap star who fashioned the soundtrack for Baz Lurhman and Leo DiCaprio's new style of 'The Great Gatsby' shows he's worth more than a '100$ Bill'. 'A Billi' like his Lil' Wayne remix is a better way of describing how far ahead of the game and 'Tha Carter', Sean Carter really is, as raps Michael Jordan doesn't look to be retiring again anytime soon. Just check the final verse of 'Picasso Baby' as our star takes a different stroke like Gary Coleman to end the beat changing, Hov Ad-lib'd track. "They try to slander your man/On CNN and Fox/My Mirandas don't stand a chance, with cops/Even my old fans like old man just stop/I could if I would but I can't/I'm hot, and you blow/I'm still the man to watch, Hublot/On my left hand or not" the exitement hyped by the Samsung, Timbaland, Rick Rubin commercial is truly felt as Jay-Z's ever growing style doesn't sell out with this mainstream smash.

Over tight Timbaland production there's more lyrics for hip-hop heads to decode for years like his brilliant rap-Dylan esque book of rhymes. 'Tom Ford' adds to the suited and booted prestige and style and 'FuckWithMeYouKnowIGotIt' with the bragging Rick Ross adds to the brilliant boasts. Still, it's Frank Ocean's laid down chorus on his track 'Oceans' that has the wave changing makings of a pure classic. The man who blessed the beginning and end of 'Watch The Throne' (from the classics 'No Church In The Wild' to 'Made It In America') bookmarks another gift to Jay-Z's competition cursing collection. 'F.U.T.W' is another B.I.G. track for 'M.C.H.G', but Jay-Z's new fan-favorite classic may just be found 'Somewhere In America'. Over horns and Dre like piano, the man who already puts his art above Twitter and the internet pokes fun at everything from Instagram to Miley Cyrus, it's all in good fun however. Picture this, a modern day rapper going against all the modern day trends and still increasing his following. His former 'Best Of Both Worlds' partner R. Kelly may be the Pied Piper, but raps king of Rome has everyone's ears. The rap universe is his. Are you not entertained?

From playing Sinatra, to paying homage to Martin Luther and "feeling like" Ali this man is king. Keeping his throne watched and guarded like his basketball star signee LeBron James with the fitted 'Crown'. Hotter than Miami, with South Beach talents, Jay-Z is raps champion. The belt belongs to him. 'Heaven' is his new religion and he shows he can go toe-to-toe with anyone on his verse on 'Versus', just like his short but sweet, 'Beach Is Better', sand in the eye cut. Things get single-worthy and even better on the 'Bonnie & Clyde' sequel with his B, Beyonce. Mr. and Mrs. Carter strike gold with 'Part II (On The Run)' the chemsitry between man and wife is still set on their creative collaborations. They've never sounded better together on record. No wonder the queen of R&B is posting baby pictures of Blue Ivy's father on twitter to celebrate the million mark. The platinum good times are rolling for this couple. "My past aint pretty/my lady is" raps Jay as B sings "Who wants that perfect love story anyway, anyway?/Cliché, cliché, cliché, cliché/Who wants that hero love that saves the day, anyway?/Cliché, cliché, cliché, cliché/What about the bad guy goes good, yeah". It's all so good now.

The party continues on the strange but sweet 'BBC', as the 'Billionaire Boys Club' of Nas, Justin Timberlake and of course hook and production man of the moment (once again like 2001) Pharrell get down on a track that will go down a legendary treat this weekend in England's capital in the feel-good Summer weather, with this scorching hot, positive soundscape. This 'aint the British Broadcasting Corperation it's Roc Nation in full effect on the airwaves. 'Jay-Z Blue' colours more classics (it's Jay-Z's favorite remember) as Sean Carter and the Notorious B.I.G., Christopher Wallace rap together beyond the grave for an inspired, alive track from Jay-Z's rap mentor and his continuing tributes to the man that will always be the bowler hat wearing King Of N.Y. Mixing classic, Notorious lyrics and tributing his fallen friend and the birth of his daughter it's all love and heart for this albums deepest dedication.

The 'La Familia' closing connection and spare change of 'Nickels & Dimes' raps it all up perfectly as Jay-Z makes some 'new rules' whilst sampling festival co-headliner Q-Tip's ATCQ and releasing a viynl edition of these classic new tracks on his new rock best friend Jack White's (who contributed the brilliant and best 'Love Is Blindess' to Gatsby) Third Man imprint. This is the new takeover as it's clear to hear that Jay-Z is owning everything. He's told you before he's a business man, and now with great company in common he's making it all about the sense not the dollar. As he closes on 'Nickels and Dimes', "You die rich or you die disgraced, so just let me grow/Watch me cook, throw no looks/Like Magic in his prime when Kareem sky hooked, yeah/Y'all not worthy, sometimes I feel like/Y'all don't deserve me, my flow unearthly/The greatest form of giving is anonymous to anonymous/So here y'all go, I promise this". Say no more, London and the world are calling. It's going to be one hell of a weekend. The independence day beginning week of Jay-Z has been a seven days like no other. This is his time. He is the one. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Saturday, 29 June 2013


The Thicke Of It.

#thicke #blurredlines #1. It's no secret, this is the song of the moment. 'The Evolution Of Robin Thicke' is complete. The man who has been a star in America for many years and great albums (see 'The Evolution', 'Something Else', 'Sex Therapy' and 'Love After War') has truly hit home and the hash-tag trending feeds (it's subliminally, shamelessly but stylishly there in the video) with his 'Blurred Lines'. No need to read between the lines, this is the guilty pleasure of the year. The uncut video has been gaining as many requests as complaints, proving that controversy as well as sex sells. Still beyond the sexy and hilarious video (approved by Thicke's actress wife Paula Patton) there is a song that could still capture the charts with all it's catchiness without a visual. Producer Pharrell (who has been giving everything from Daft Punk to 'Despicable Me' again hits) is back like it was 2001 with his awesome ad-libs on every other song on the radio. While T.I. looks to take his throne as the 'King Of The South' once again with this feature and his latest run of hits (check back in the future for a hit with the one and only P!nk). Still amongst all the cool suits, dancing and ladies this is Thicke's moment. The man who once was wrongly denied a 'Vibe' cover because was white (yeah...really), proves he's right there with Timberlake and everyone else in R&B. His voice and style is just that smoother and better. He's one of the reigning soul men and best of modern mainstream times. If you didn't see it from his previous classics, you'll see it now without the blur. Hear this Vibe...he's here to stay, covered like a Rolling Stone. This may be a guilty pleasure but you know you like it. Let the fun times roll. TIM DAVID HARVEY.