“Broke Her” by Yuna

Nothing excites me more than learning that an artist I love enjoys some of the same music that I do. Props to Yuna for sampling a very memorable tune and making it something of her own.

“Broke Her” is yet another sample song using “Vibez”. The tune was made popular by Drake who used a loop of the first few seconds as the foundation for “0-100″. In a recent article, Yuna told The Fader, “The first time I heard Adam Feeney and Chester Stone Hansen’s ‘Vibez’ it was used in Drake’s ‘0-100′ as a sample…we found the original song and I immediately loved it, it was really beautiful and I was singing random words to it and thought I should record this. I finally wrote a full song to it and recorded the vocals in my bedroom by myself.”

Pretty cool huh?

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Mimskoh Reviews: Hold My Home by Cold War Kids

Long Beach natives, Cold War Kids, first stole my attention in 2009 with “Audience” from Behave Yourself. Now, half a decade later, I’m still a dedicated fan of this constantly evolving band. Much like their previous albums, Hold My Home delivers indie rock music framed by angsty vocals and idiosyncratic lyrics that’ll beg fro you to sing along.

The album starts off strong with the crowd favorite, “All This Could Be Yours” which was featured in Samsung’s Milk Music Campaign. Thoroughout the album, the Cold War Kids maintain an thriving energy with milder songs like “Harold Bloom” & “Nights & Weekends” strategically placed throughout. Other fan favorites, “First” and “Go Quietly”, are structured between hidden gems “Flower Drum Song” and  “Hot Coals”.  But the album ends on a softer, pleading note with “Hear My Baby Call”.

Much like their previous albums, the songs on this album carry a lively energy that can spur passionate sing-alongs. Yet, they maintain a gritty style that mends perfectly with the vocals. Overall, Hold My Home flows together so effortlessly it’s unforgettable. Give it a listen!

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Bobby Womack: Soul Survivor

This year the R&B world lost one its most iconic figures: Bobby Womack. Bobby had an outstanding career spanning 50 years. The extraordinary length of his career led him to brand himself as the ‘Soul Survivor': Bobby outlived many of his contemporaries such as Marvin Gaye and Otis Redding. However Bobby’s career was continuously punctuated by personal tragedy and a chaotic lifestyle. Speaking in an interview last year he considered his status as the last great soul man: “I ask the question, why am I still here? I’ve been as crazy as anybody could have been”.

Bobby Dwayne Womack was born on March 4th 1944. His musical talents were spotted early and aged 10 Bobby began touring the gospel circuit with his parents, Naomi and Friendly, and four brothers Harry, Friendly Jnr., Cecil and Curtis,  under the name The Womack Brothers.

In 1962, The Womack Brothers came to the attention of Sam Cooke. Cooke signed the group to his SAR Records, convincing them to make the same move from gospel to secular R&B that he himself had made earlier. Under Cooke, the group changed their name to The Valentinos and in 1963 released their first single Lookin’ for a Love which sold one million copies. In the same year the group wrote, recorded and released It’s All Over Now. Cooke gave the song to The Rolling Stones, whose cover topped the UK charts.

Bobby’s early success came to a sudden end after Cooke was shot and killed by a hotel manageress in 1964. Cooke’s death took a heavy toll on Bobby and in the months following the shooting he grew close to Cooke’s widow, Barbara. Just 3 months after Cooke’s funeral, Bobby and Barbara married. The marriage left Bobby ostracised by both his family and the wider musical community, who viewed him as betraying Cooke and taking advantage of Barbara.

After Cooke’s death, Bobby continued his career working mainly as a session musician and song writer. He toured with Ray Charles and played guitar on recordings with artists including Aretha Franklin, Elvis Presley, Wilson Pickett, Janis Joplin and Sly Stone. Bobby also wrote 17 songs for Pickett, recording none of them himself.

In 1970 Bobby’s marriage to Barbara broke down when she found him in bed with her 18 year old daughter, Linda. He had also developed a cocaine habit. However despite the deterioration of his personal life, the early ’70s were to prove some of the most successful years of Bobby’s solo career. He released two hit albums, Communication (1971) and Understanding (1972). In 1972 Bobby wrote and recorded the soundtrack to Barry Shear’s blaxploitation movie Across 110th Street. The title track to the film became one of Bobby’s most iconic songs and was later used in soundtracks by Quentin Tarantino (Jacky Brown) and Ridley Scott (American Gangster).

After the release of Across 110 Street Bobby’s  personal life was again struck by tragedy, and his career hit another low. In 1974 his younger brother Harry, the subject of his 1973 single Harry Hippie, was murdered by his girlfriend whilst staying at Bobby’s house. The girlfriend suspected Harry of being unfaithful after finding another woman’s clothes in his wardrobe. The clothes in fact belonged to a girlfriend of Bobby’s. In 1976 Bobby was dropped by his record label, United Artists. Two years later his 4-month old son, Truth Bobby, died. In an attempt to cope with his chaotic personal life, Bobby turned again to cocaine.

Commercial and critical success returned to Bobby with the release of The Poet in 1981 and The Poet II in 1984: the latter being named Album of the Year by NME. The albums included hits such as If You Think You’re Lonely Now, and Love Has Finally Come At Last (a duet recorded with Patti LaBelle). However, despite the commercial of the albums, Bobby saw little money from them.

Over the next 20 years Bobby continued to record and tour, but received little financial or commercial success. As he would later remark in an interview for The Telegraph “Nobody was knocking down doors to get to me. It was like they were walking over me. I just didn’t know how to get back, even if I wanted to.”

However in 2010 Bobby experienced an unexpected career revival when Damon Albarn invited him to guest on Gorillaz’s third album Plastic Beach, singing on and co-writing the single Stylo. Albarn later offered to co-produce Bobby’s 2012 album The Bravest Man in the Universe alongside president of XL Records Richard Russell. The album proved to be Bobby’s greatest US commercial success since the 1980s, and his most successful UK release ever. Speaking about the album he said “I was ostracised from the music community aged 21 when I married Sam Cooke’s widow. After 45 years, I feel like Damon has welcomed me back in.”

Bobby Womack died on June 27th 2014, aged 70. His 28th album The Best is Yet to Come is to be released posthumously.

Mimskoh Reviews: Hozier by Hozier

I’ve been very excited about this album since Hozier first released his first EP late last year. I knew i was interested from the first few bars of “Take Me to Church.”

Thankfully the self titled debut album doesn’t disappoint. Starting off strong with the two headline tracks from the EP (“Take Me to Church” and the feistier “Angel of Small Death and the Codiene scene”), the first new material we hear is “Jackie and Wilson.” A love song that pays homage to Jackie Wilson about growing old. With all of the blues guitar, backing choir, bittersweet lyrics and artistically imperfect production one could possibly hope for. The theme continues with “Someone New” and then takes a slightly darker turn with “To be Alone.” Here, despite this being a new full band version we haven’t heard before, Hozier brings in a more personal guitar solo and creates a more simplistic sound.

After, we are cheered up a little by the top solo from the second EP “From Eden.” Hozier then goes full folk on “In a Week” featuring Karen Cowley, with dark lyrics about love and murder sung in airy tones. The album moves on to “Sedated” and we’re back to the bluesey guitar and voice breaking with emotion.  Hozier then starts showing off his songwriting, bringing some very Gospel Themes into “Work Song” which works so well contrasted to the folksy “Like Real People Do.” “It Will Come Back” is rockier and more similar to Hozier’s earlier stuff, whereas “Foreigners God,” about not fitting into a culture is one of the more unusual tracks on the album. Here Hozier uses a tension building drum line and relies less on the Guitar, making it more similar to “Take Me To Church.” Finally the live version of “Cherry Wine” brings the whole album together with simple acoustic guitar and a quiet, tired voice.

This is a fantastic album. The listener can tell the entire thing is meticulously planned and produced. Though some have complained that the album is too long I would actually say the length works to make the album its own entity instead of maybe becoming the sum of two EPs. Hozier has played to his strengths, utilizing his emotion filled voice with poetic lyricism to bring in the audience.  From the initial chords of church organ blues on “Take me to Church” to the dawn chorus as the last notes of “Cherry Wine” fade away, Hozier makes it all seem so simple and so easy.

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Mimskoh Introduces: MOKSHA

Bath/Luxembourg based band MOKSHA released their self titled debut EP at a live show in Bath on Friday, October 18th.

Mixing influences such as Foals, Grizzly Bear and Tame Impala as well as The Doors and Arctic Monkeys, MOKSHA is a psychedelic-indie band that started in 2012. Their popularity in Luxembourg grew immensely after some early summer gigs. Now the band is now fresh from recording and has released their debut EP with Ghost City recordings. Check them out!

Ghostbusters’ 30th Anniversary Marshmellow-Scented Vinyl

This year, the Ghostbusters franchise will celebrate 30 years since their classic comedy first premiered in theaters. So far, the celebration has included a theatrical re-release of the film in late August. Plus, there are rumors of a possible re-boot featuring an all-female cast. On October 21st, the franchise will release the original Ghostbusters theme song on a white, 12” single, packaged in a jacket that will smell like marshmellows!

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According to their website, the record will also feature Run DMC’s “Ghostbusters” rap from Ghostbusters 2. The collectible has already been back-ordered but those lucky fans also will get ‘Stay Puft’ themed images from the film, collages and a figurine. Since only 3000 copies of this limited edition record will be released, each copy will have a numbered certificate of authenticity making it an interesting addition to any collection.

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Mimskoh Review | Syro by Aphex Twin

There’s no doubt that electronic dance music is a staple in current popular culture. EDM festivals are bigger than ever and lately, EDM and Pop music seem to suggest that anything electronic must be made for the dance floor by molding songs around bass-drops. Some say that this is the best time for electronic music. While others argue that EDM is too easy to make and that can be done by anyone with a computer (or smartphone in some cases). However, Aphex Twin returns after 13 years to silence both sides of the debate with Syro, an electronic album composed of unique instruments and rhythms that question what you thought you knew about great electronic music.

Now 43 years old, Aphex Twin’s music has inspired artists from Radiohead to Kanye West to Skrillex. Syro reminds us of his influence by keeping it simple. Instead of trying to create a style that spurs trends, he silences everyone with 90’s influenced rhythms and sounds that can’t be found on the most current of sound boards.


“Aphex Twin’s Syro gives current EDM lovers an opportunity hear something new from the musician who may have started it all.”


Syro is made up of 12 tracks between 3 and 10 minutes long. Each title is completely unique. Some describe the instruments used on the album while others are simply made up words. The album starts off smooth with “minipops 67[120.2][sourcefield mix]” and filters into the complicated but enjoyable “XMAS_EVET10 [120][thanton3 min]”. Later, “CIRCLONT6A [141.98][syrobonkus mix]” mixes mutilated vocals with compelling sounds. The album finishes on a slightly calmer not with “aisatsana [102]” a relaxing song simply featuring piano chords and whimsical nature sounds.

On this album, Aphex Twin is making no attempt to force relevancy. There are few traces of current trends in his music. He seems to be making no attempt at forcing your attention through popular means. So, instead of screaming “I’m Back!”, Syro whispers “Remember this?”. As intelligent and fun as it comes, Aphex Twin’s Syro gives current EDM lovers an opportunity hear something new from the musician who may have started it all.

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Mimskoh Reviews: Gist Is by Adult Jazz

Adult-Jazz-Gist-Is

Following on from my Alt-J album review yesterday, I wanted to share an album from a brand new band of a similar ilk. Adult Jazz, like Alt-J, formed in Leeds and have forged a very similarly interesting sound. Recorded and produced by themselves in a self built studio over a four year period, and released on their own label, Spare Thought, they are an indie band in every sense of the word, which makes the quality of this debut album, Gist Is, even more impressive.

Like Alt-J, they have a wonderful mix of styles, layered together to create something weird and unique. They flirt with folk, jazz, soul and pop, mixed with another fantastic vocal and some brilliantly odd and sometimes nonsensically strange lyrics. Another interesting dynamic to the band is the length of their tracks, equally comfortable creating songs of an average 3 – 4 minute length as well as long 8 minute plus tracks as well as the shortest track on the album ‘Be A Girl’ being only 2 minutes 30, this up and down pace keeps you listening in fear of missing something.

Read more at AJSFAD.

Mercury Prize Nominations 2014

Mercury-Prize

It’s that time of year again, or at least it was a couple of weeks ago, when the nominees for the Mercury Music Prize 2014 were announced. The prize nominates the best British albums of the year and awards the winner £20,000. It has become a very important date on the UK music scene calendar and has helped propel some smaller acts to a bigger status as people go out of their way to listen to the nominees, giving the artists a major sales boost. The winner last year, James Blake’s Overgrown, saw a 2500% sales increase off the back of lifting the award.

It has it’s flaws however, and one huge flaw in particular, you have to pay to be considered. Yes it’s a minimal fee, it’s around £200, and given the publicity you receive in return it is well worth it, however if you are a small band then £200 still needs to be found and if after that you aren’t nominated it is good money straight down the drain. It also takes away some of the prize’s credibility, it shouldn’t be about money or the publicity campaign, it should be about picking the actual best album of the year and if that band or artist doesn’t stump up the money then, no matter how good their album may be, they can’t be taken in to consideration. This is something that the Mercury Prize needs to address in my opinion.

Read more at AJSFAD.