Somewhere in Baltimore, at the intersection of soul, funk, and pop, you’ll find a man fronting a 9-piece band. The band is called Bosley, and the man is Bosley Brown. Having just stumbled upon them, I only wish that I had discovered them sooner. It’s pretty much impossible to listen without some serious foot tapping, and hearing their music puts me in a good mood every time.
Bosley released their debut, Honey Pig, in 2011. But this was not Bosley as they are today. Bosley Brown wrote and recorded this album with some members of another Baltimore soul group, The Bellevederes. It wasn’t until after its release that he realized he needed his own band. He posted flyers around local college campuses, and the next thing he knew, he had pulled together a full-fledged group of talented young musicians to form Bosley.
Now with a few years together as a band, Bosley makes appearances in the Baltimore music scene with their fiery, high-energy shows. Below is a video of them performing “Sharpshooter” in 2014. The whole room is ready to dance, and the man himself, Bosley, radiates with infectious spirit.
That same year, Bosley released their second album, The Dirty Dogs Radio Show. This fantastic follow-up to Honey Pig is full of more music that you just can’t help but move to. It’s a great expansion on Bosley’s rock-soul sounds, which will soon include Jamaican and electronic influences, according to an interview last month. They are expecting a new release next year, and I will definitely be counting down until then. If you love new bands with old style, give this one a listen.
Calling all lovers of old-school funk and gritty neo-soul: pop-funk group Vulfpeck has released their newest album, The Beautiful Game. With members Jack Stratton, Theo Katzman, Woody Goss, and Joe Dart, this band grooves so hard it’s sickening.
If the name Vulfpeck rings a bell, here’s why: in 2014, they received international media attention when they released a silent album on Spotify called Sleepify. Users were asked to stream the album as they slept. Although Spotify caught on and took it down, Vulfpeck still managed to raise $20,000 for a free tour.
Fans love Vulfpeck for their raw, tight rhythm section, and TBG does not disappoint. As usual, the album features a handful of guests, including talented guitarists Cory Wong and Adam Levy. Each artist throws in a distinct flavor to the different tracks, so there’s plenty of variety between each fun piece.
TBG kicks off with a muted but nonetheless impressive clarinet solo in “The Sweet Science”. It caught me a little off guard, but surprises (the good kind) are to be expected from such a quirky group. The beat picks up in the next track, “Animal Spirits”, introducing pop vibes with a catchy, foot-tapping melody. Joe Dart’s infallible bass line in “Dean Town” is a real highlight, but it’s also an exhibit of the talent and chemistry of the whole group. Other notable tracks include “Conscious Club” (full version) and “Daddy, He Got a Tesla”, the latter of which seems to stand in contrast to the rest of the album. All the same, Vulfpeck welcomes the experiment and still gives an excellent performance.
TBG is a great addition to Vulfpeck’s lineup, and it certainly compliments its predecessor, Thrill of the Arts. If you haven’t already, definitely give a listen to this wonderfully weird, gifted band.
You can stream TBGhere, and below is the video for “Daddy, He Got a Tesla”.
Keep it fresh, keep it Vulf-y, and don’t get too funked up out there.
Annnddddddd we’re back. I’m sorry for such a long sabbatical but I was just researching music. And being lazy. So who wants to talk about French deep house?
Gonna be honest, I’m SO NOT an expert on house music, but because deep house has elements of soul and 1980s jazz-funk and this specific musician uses a lot of piano and saxophone, I’m going to say that I somewhat know what I’m talking about.
Should we meet Klingande?
A French duo composed of musicians Cédric Steinmyller and Edgar Catry, these guys don’t give the vibe of what you think of when you think of house music: electronic, boring, repetitive. They dig honest sound, and true jazz, funk, and soul. With three solid singles out, deubting in in 2013, these guys are beautiful in their sound.
There are house beats, but there are also funky basslines, eclectic vocal samples, excellent percussion and hypnotic, just straight-jamming grooves of saxophone solos that distinguish Klingande’s sound.
The two boys themselves label their music as “melodic sound,” and for sure they have this vibe of sunny beaches and the strange juxtaposition of classy, classy saxophone jazz and more modern dance pop.
I mean, take a listen to “Jubel.” You’ve got these straight up dope saxophone melodies (thank you fantastic Mr. Snake Davis) running throughout the entire track of lovely Lucie Decarne’s vocals. Reaching number one on the charts in Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and Switzerland, this track also hit #3 on the UK Singles chart.
We start out slow with bongo-drums and light layering of keys, yeah? Then a bassline melody, still good, right? Then a build up to the vocals, and you’re like, “Hmm, pretty good.” But then we hit the sax, and you’ve got to just stop and smile.
And then look at his first single ever released, “Punga.” The vocals are phenomenal combined with the saxophone layered on piano. And to be honest, the sax on this track is better than the sax on Jubel, but the standard of excellence here is just so high that either way, any of Klingande’s tracks are going to exceed any of our expectation for musical innovation.
If you like Avicii, if you like Bakermat, if you like saxophone, if you like grooves, please. Do yourself a favor. Check out his Soundcloud here, trust me, he’s worth your time.
And sweet deal because if you fall in love enough, go and check out his show at The Crocodile on May 20th. You can bet I’m gonna be there.
So these guys are not what I usually cover, lots like Doja Cat. They’re
funky and psychedelic and have this element of retro, disco dance pop, but they’ve
got soul. This isn’t all natural acoustic, it’s very artificial, but they’ve
got these reminiscent elements of other funky co cats like Electric Light Orchesta,
MGMT, the Bee Gees, and maybe even Prince.
It’s hard to categorize. They are hard to put into a box. What do I want to say? Indie electro R&B? Modern
soul? I don’t you know, you decide for yourself.
“Time,” a track that I particularly like on
their 12-track debut album, Jungle
(which released just this past July), is on the lighter dance pop side of their
album. I think their best part is their
chorus of “Say it again/Just hold on tight/Don’t let in,
yeah/I’ll run alright/Don’t let me/Oh just let it out,” but not for their
lyrical creativity. This song, like every other song on the radio is computer
generated, filled to the brim with pinched falsettos, slap bass, and crazy
instrumentals. It’s euphoric and filled with funk.
These guys also just make great music videos!
And for the most part, that’s how a lot of this album works. I’m not
getting the sense that these guys really dig their fake horns and electric
funk. They like getting people to want to get up and groove. And I dig that. What they do lack, however, is a
sense of creativity. Lyrically, it’s very repetitive, and even composition
wise, “Busy Earning” is so similar to “Time,” as is “The Heat” and “Platoon.”
It gets to all be the same.
Is this bad? Yes and no. Jungle is new duo, made up of childhood friends, Tom
McFarland and Josh Lloyd-Watson. They’ve been kicking it since they were nine
years old. I can sense the chemistry, and I’m glad the two are working
together, I like their vibe. Creatively, they have a long way to go, but they’re old enough producers to realize
that the debut album that they do have is solid and work their way up
We do get a little something different when we hit tracks like “Drops” and “Julia.”
There’s some more bass in there, and instead of just dance funk, it’s gets a
little soulful and mournful. I love when “Drops” hits, “I’ve been loving you
too long.” I’m getting some tastes of Paolo
Nutini-esque blues in there, and I like the turn from dance pop to some
“Julia,” is the best track on their debut in my opinion and I think a track
they put some serious effort it. I love the overlaying, faded vocals, that
goddamn organ playing in the background, and the rhythm they’ve got going. It’s
a little darker, it isn’t really a song to groove to, but it’s a lovesick,
lovelorn track where I can fully see where these guys are going. They’ve can do
And their video, choreographically is amazing. These guys like modern
dance. Check it.
They’re disco, and they’re not really disco. They’re funk and soul and
electric. They’re party music at times, and then at other times, they’re jams
you have existential conversations to. They start their South American tour soon and I’m bitter I won’t be in Santiago, Chile jamming out, but I hope when they release some new grooves, I’ll be with them live.
Check out their album on Spotify. It’s a solid debut, they’re solid
Londoners. And they make solid music videos, which is what’s important, right?
Lo-fi pop doesn’t tend to be too rhythmic. The bedroom musicians who produce it tend to focus more on things like melody or atmosphere, since rhythm is probably harder to create with the limited production capabilities of a bedroom or whatever. If there’s anyone out there who’s starved for rhythm (also known as “groove” or “funk”) in the lo-fi world, don’t despair—Gem Jones can fulfill your need. The Iowa City producer’s latest release, Admiral Frenchkiss, grooves hard while still retaining a ragtag lo-fi charm.
Admiral Frenchkiss opens with “Black Lantern,” which combines jazzy brass with off-kilter synth effects. The combination sounds a little strange at first, but the track is nonetheless infectious with its energy. The same can be said for “Rock N Roll Dementia” and its soulful melodies. In both songs, the real star is the rhythm section: the drums and bass keep the melodies grooving along steadily. Things slow down a bit for the keyboard-driven “Shallow Rivers” (which, strangely enough, reminds me a bit of the “Waves” record from Nintendogs) and the laid-back “God in U.” Weirdness still creeps into these tracks, though—the meandering electronic sounds at the end of “God in U,” for example, elevates it from a straight reggae tribute to something more interesting. “Grimeshock” kicks things back into high gear with drums, bass, and synths once again powering away with a fierce rhythm. And finally, there’s “Ectomorphic Love,” a spacey ballad that sounds kind of like a love song from an alien. In fact, the whole album kind of sounds like it could’ve come from an alien, since I have no idea what Jones is singing the entire time. His voice ranges from falsettos recalling the days of classic soul to manic shouts reminiscent of Damo Suzuki. Rather than detracting from it, these vocals help to increase the weird appeal of the music.
With all the wild sounds present on Admiral Frenchkiss, it can be surprising to learn that Jones played all the instruments himself. It’s impressive that he managed to coordinate such controlled musical chaos on his own, and it’s an achievement worthy of commendation. So, you can reward Jones’ effort by buying Admiral Frenchkiss at his Bandcamp or getting it on cassette from Goaty Tapes. This is the kind of music that sounds good even when blasted out of a cheap old cassette deck—it might even sound better that way, actually.