Jean Beauvoir is a legend in the world of black rock and Afro-punk artists. Born in Chicago to Haitian-American parents, he started his musical career in a fairly typical manner, learning drums and bass as a kid, and honing his vocals singing doo-wop. But his career took a dramatic left turn when he moved to New York during the punk rock explosion and crossed paths with Rod Swenson and Wendy O. Williams.Continue reading →
“Fresh.” That’s the first word that comes to mind when describing The New Respects and their debut EP Here Comes Trouble. Their sound is crisp and clean, while simultaneously soulful and rock infused. The group is a family unit from Tennessee with twin sisters Zandy and Alexis Fitzgerald on guitar and bass respectively, brother Darius on drums and cousin Jasmine Mullen (daughter of gospel singer Nicole C. Mullen) on vocals. On their 5 song EP the band gives a glimpse at what they are all about with a strong showing on the musical front as well as the topics their songs cover.
The EP begins with the track “Money,” which serves as an excellent album opener and plays with the impact of wealth. The band sounds particularly tight here and Mullen’s vocals are quite impressive. On “Frightening Lightning” the rhythm section really shines, making the rocked out track still sound quite danceable. “Come As You Are” serves as the EP’s lone ballad and sounds vaguely reminiscent of something you might hear from the Alabama Shakes or The Black Keys. The theme for the track centers around inclusion in a way that makes a point without seeming overtly political. “Trouble” wraps up the EP with lyrics that question if the straight and narrow is the right path, “I’ve tried livin life right, don’t know if I wanna do it anymore / ‘cause I’ve lived a pretty good life / but trouble keeps on knocking at my door.” Mullen’s soulful voice authentically sells this as a thought she is actually pondering, so it is not just a song about youthful angst.
Here Comes Trouble is a fantastic debut from a band I am sure we will be hearing more from in the coming years, which is a very, very good thing.
Born in Barbados where he’s still known as Hal Linton, the producer, singer, and multi-instrumentalist relocated to the U.S. over ten years ago and rebranded himself as Bobby Saint. The young artist is finally starting to rise to the top. In addition to collabs with electronic duo Penthouse Penthouse on the hit song “69 Camaro,” he also scored with a guest appearance on the single “Black Bamboo” by With You and provided music for the Lego movie, among other productions.
Saint explains that his new solo release, Unholy, “is about freedom, growth, spirituality, views of self, city nights and love. It’s about keeping the fires lit, raising consciousness, while bowing down to the greats: Bob Marley, Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye. This is me going forward with only love and the funk in my heart.” The five track EP delivers a broad range of music. “Big Shoes” is a sexy, soulful ballad that showcases Saints powerful vocals and extensive range. The sultriness continues on “Sexy,” which is sure to be a summer of ’17 anthem, while the title track is a ‘60s throwback power guitar trio that will send chills down your spine.
With this short but extremely satisfying EP, Saint leaves us wanting more – much more.
New York Fascist Week is the much-anticipated sophomore record from Austin’s BLXPLTN (pronounced Blaxploitation). The band has not shied away from speaking loudly and supporting justice for the oppressed, and they continue to take on state violence in its various forms. “Blood on the Sand” and “Gun Range” take the murder of civilians by police head-on, the latter describing the feeling of living in a neighborhood targeted by policing as “living in a gun range.” “Auf Wiedersehen” could be seen as another commentary on our current police state, or as a warning of the continuing spread, acceptance, and consequences of ubiquitous surveillance and authoritarianism with the lyrics: “Where you going there, sonny? / Respect my authority / Funerals everywhere I go, Tell your children not to leave their homes.” Following is the newly released video for the opening track, “Blood on the Sand”:
Each song on New York Fascist Week offers powerful comments on events past, present, and future, with BLXPLTN’s electro-punk, industrial, and rock arrangements perfectly complementing their lyrics. The album is available with two different covers: the limited edition version with artwork by Hiram Melendez (shown above), or the Donald Trump cover with art by Pathetic Pixels (below):