Lewis Taylor

Apologies in advance: Today’s post may be yesterday’s news and I may just be late to the Lewis Taylor party. Sorry, it’s just a bit of a shock to find something so great that I overlooked for so long. But enough about this blogger’s insecurities. Lewis Taylor is a British soul singer/multi-instrumentalist with a voice like warm butterscotch and an ear for music like no soul you’ve ever heard. Before you conjure images of Joss Stone or Jamiroquai, rest assured that Lewis Taylor is for real – he’s not simply playing his parents’ vinyl collection, he’s taking soul to places it hasn’t been before. But, it doesn’t hurt that he hits with velvet gloves like Marvin Gaye and arranges with the kaleidoscope mind of Prince. (He also goes his own way under the radar like the inimitable Joe Henry – not a soul man, but a darn fine musician you should seek out.) As you browse through these highlights, you’ll hear some guitar and crooning that could be Ben Harper on a rainy day, some space-jazz this side of Miles Davis fusion, and even a few moments that are more electronically out there (Radiohead’s name pops up often in other people’s Taylor descriptions, and Kruder + Dorfmeister offer a remix here). Or, you’ll hear all of the above in the same track. And, if you haven’t already fallen, you’ll love it all.

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Kid Koala

The first time I saw Kid Koala spin was at the Wetlands in NYC at a Ninja Tune night some years back. He plowed through a crate of novelty records and hip-hop classics with the glee (and haste) of a two year old, mouthing the words to every last cut and leaving a pile of used vinyl on the floor. The first time I saw Kid Koala perform was at the El Rey in Los Angeles a couple years later, when I saw him recreate his turntable masterpiece “Drunk Trumpet” on stage. He used the pitch control slider to extract different notes from a single horn part on a jazz record as our collective jaws hit the floor. “Skanky Panky” is a similar experience, in that it needs to be seen and heard. Fortunately for all who haven’t had the pleasure, you can do just that on his CD/DVD, Live at the Short Attention Span Theater.

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Antony and the Johnsons

One of the nice things about a new job (note to self: update bio page) is all the new music you get to hear through your new co-workers. This week, as part of New Music Tuesdays, Andrew brought in Antony and the Johnsons’ exquisite I Am a Bird Now. Antony has been tagged with the same “freak folk” moniker as his pal Devendra Banhart, though I’d call it the transexual blues and add that he sounds more like Nina Simone than Woody Guthrie.

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King Apparatus

It’s a perfect time to post the pleasant early-’90s ska-pop of Toronto’s King Apparatus. For the past few days, we’ve been lounging on the lovely shore of Lake Huron, pushing my daughter and her cousins around in the kayak and threatening to send them across the lake to Canada if they didn’t eat their hot dog buns. Assuming we ever did manage to send the kids that far in the boat, just like “Michael and Anne” we’d have to come up with a seriously good story for the cops.

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The Epoxies

Some of our more avid readers may have noticed we were late in posting our last several entries. We had been experiencing those fabled technical difficulties, but our pro MT man, SeÒor Blurb, set us straight. You can continue to expect quality, free, and legal music from us daily. While Jon was tinkering on 3hive’s back end last night, I was busy pogo-ing to the Epoxies. Now this is Neu-Wave: leave your cooler-than-thou posturing at home and bring on old fashioned, danceable fun.

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Split Lip Rayfield

Serge, 3hive’s official pro bono legal counsel, announced a few months ago that he’s getting married, and to celebrate this exciting news (and see if there was any validity in it — he sent the email on April 1st, one year exactly after he told everyone he was going to be on The Apprentice, and got us all excited until we looked again at the date) I’m posting bluegrass. Serge is from Kentucky, and he likes to represent so much that I think bluegrass is all he listens to. Anyway, my neighbor Chuck sent me some links to Split Lip Rayfield that sound like the real thing, bluegrass, heavily tattooed and drunk. So Serge, I hope you’re actually getting married; if not, I hope you at least enjoy Split Lip Rayfield’s guitar, banjo, mandolin, and bass made out of an old gas tank.

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David Last

Is there such a thing as dumbed-down IDM? Not inferior, but approaching it from a slightly different angle is David Last, less brainiac and more booty-shaker, moving away from digital detritus and towards more organic dancehall rhythms. Perfect for intimate gatherings. Served to chill. I’m jonesin’ summer BBQs. Can you tell?

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So nice to have Spoon back in the mix. Dig the thick groove and soulful vocals on “I Turn My Camera On,” a cross between Prince and Gang of Four. How can that be bad? Not much more booty-shaking on the album (with the exception of “Was It You?”), but lovely nonetheless.

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The Mighty Mighty Bosstones

Some kid was walking by singing “Knock on Wood” the other day, and it got me thinking about the Bosstones. In 1989, I played trombone in a ska band that opened for for them in Toronto. Nineteen eighty-nine! That kid probably wasn’t even born yet! And although the words “now defunct” are commonly associated with the band, I like to think they’re aging nicely, still dressed in plaid from head to toe.

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Below the Sea

If you’re looking for bright, pretty, upbeat ambient sounds, choose song #1, “Let It Happen.” If you’re looking for dark, pretty, slow ambient sounds, choose song #2, “Accord Final.” If you’re looking for more of the ambient sounds mentioned above, choose from the substantial discography of Quebec trio Below the Sea.

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