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Author: Michael

Ickmusic Inbox: Intensive Care

Intensive Care

Montreal based quartet Intensive Care show a great deal of promise in their debut EP 2805. While the recording itself lacks a certain depth you can see past it for the clarity of the group’s vision in songwriting. Complex and moving, the band clearly knows its identity and has little difficulty sharing it. The multi-layered vocal crescendo of the epic 7 minute-plus “K” builds to quite the satisfying resolution with vocalist Philippe Manasseh pleading in earnest with an unseen spirit looking into his soul. There are missteps along the way, but this band appears to be at its best when they’re at their most epic and glorious. I’d recommend this to fans of Radiohead or Sigur Rós. I look forward to hearing more from this group.

Intensive CareBreak Me Up, Machine (MP3)

Purchase 2805: CD Baby |

Link: Official Site | MySpace

Alice Smith Re-Released!

Alice Smith

Epic Records has signed Ickmusic Favorite Alice Smith and will re-release her debut record “For Lovers, Dreamers & Me” on October 30th, 2007. I can’t say enough that this is essential listening for all fans of music. Once details are available you can be sure we’ll share them, in the meantime here’s a stream of “New Religion” for your listening pleasure…

Alice Smith – New Religion (Windows Media) (Quicktime)

Link: Official Site | MySpace

Magical Warm-Up

Rolling Stone is reporting that Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will play two benefit rehearsal shows at Asbury Park’s Convention Hall next Monday and Tuesday. Tickets for the event are $100, and will support an as-of-yet unannounced beneficiary. For those of you not familiar, the Convention Hall is across the street from the legendary Stone Pony (heads up for some amazing aftershows!)

The site is showing the shows as “Sold Out” but I’m sure that there will be some tickets out in the wild for astronomical prices. Good luck!

And a note from Pete: E Street Radio makes its return to Sirius Satellite on September 27th on Channel 10! Click the pic…

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“Obscurity Knocks” Files No. 101: Boogiemonsters

Authors Note: This is the kickoff of what I hope to be a bi-weekly feature. I have a few lined up but if you have any suggestions or recommendations leave a comment or drop a line to michael at ickmusic.com.
Obscurity Knocks Files

Album: Riders of the Storm: The Underwater Album
Genre: Psychedelic Hip-Hop
Status: Disbanded

1994 Stands as one of those monumental years in Hip-Hop. The Notorious B.I.G. unleashed Ready to Die on the world, Nas dropped his classic Illmatic and we were all learning just how deep The Wu Tang Clan rolled with solo efforts from Method Man and The GZA. This year also stands out for all the underground acts that were bubbling up to the surface on smaller imprint labels. Groups like Souls Of Mischief, Black Moon and the subject of this file, The Boogiemonsters, released much slept on classic records during this time.

The Boogiemonsters’ four MC’s formed in and around ’92 when Brooklyn natives Vex and Mondo met the Jamaican born brothers Yodared and Myntric at Virginia State University. They ascended through the underground and college scene and were picked up by Pendulum Records in 1993. On August 9th, 1994 they released their debut album Riders of the Storm: The Underwater Album.

I clearly remember the first time I listened to the record. Swishy, heavily effected beats with touches of soul layered over it drew me in and made me nod my head while the lyrics gave way to a higher level of conscious, much in the same vein of A Tribe Called Quest or De La Soul. There was a message and a feeling to this record that separated from the rest. A passion that was on the positive with a flow so sweet it dripped like honey. Each of the four MC’s complementing the preceding style perfectly without sounding like a clone.

The single “Recognized Thresholds of Negative Stress” is a pure mission statement put to rhythm and verse.

The cytoplasma, is gettin phatter as it grows
and expansions of the soul so throw the trash below dig within
Your mental will extend upon arrival of the truth the spiritual

My mind was blown. And it continued on throughout the rest of the record and to this day I can turn on this record and get lost in it. In writing this article I listened to it at least three times and found it just as fresh and new as it did in ’94.

According to sources on the interweb the group lost two members for “spiritual” reasons and their 1997 sophomore album God Sound cast them into hip-hop obscurity.

BoogiemonstersRecognized Thresholds Of Negative Stress (MP3)

BoogiemonstersMuzic Appreciation (Sweet Music) (MP3)

Bonus Video Files:

Boogiemonsters – Recognized Thresholds Of Negative Stress (Video)

Buy Riders of the Storm: The Underwater Album: Amazon*

Links: MySpace (Vex Davortex)

*(The record is out of print, but it appears that you can pick it up from Amazon used.)

Reunion Fever: Led Zeppelin

Mothership

You know, most folks are geeked out over the Van Halen reunion (and being a guitarist who grew up in the 80’s I should be one of them) but I’m more excited to hear what Led Zeppelin sounds like with 20 years between them. What will the set list look like? Will they stick to the versions we all know and love or will they favor some new arrangements? And most importantly, will they play “Stairway To Heaven”? All burning questions…

To coincide with the reunion, Rhino Records will be releasing a 2-disc ‘definitive’ collection with the tracks being personally selected by Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, and John Paul Jones.

Preorder Led Zeppelin “Mothership”: Amazon

Links: Official Site | Mothership Site

Sometimes It Snows In September

Fuzzy

Outside of the guitarist community there are probably not too many folks who know Israeli born guitarist Oz Noy. A long time fixture of the NYC music scene he seamlessly blends jazz, soul, funk with a dash of pop for good measure into his own very distinctive groove. His resume includes backing everyone from Harry Belafonte to Toni Braxton to Nile Rodgers but it’s his solo outings where he truly shines and his new release Fuzzy is no exception. And how pleasantly surprised was I to find a very familiar title in the track list. “Sometimes It Snows In April” is (for me) one of Prince’s masterpieces and I think that Oz pays beautiful homage.

Buy Fuzzy: Oz Noy - Fuzzy | Amazon

Link: Official Site | MySpace

Bringing Soul Back To Its Roots

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings

100 Days, 100 Nights by Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings could very well have been recorded and released in 1965. This record absolutely drips in the southern fried soul of the ‘good ol’ days’, though this record will undoubtedly (albeit criminally) be compared to more recent outings from Amy Winehouse. The fact that these ladies share a backing band is where that comparison should end. Where Amy is a profitable facsimile of soul, Sharon is soul, pure and simple. Hell, even their record label is kickin’ it old-school and releasing 7” singles and refers to their roster as a “stable”.

The lead off track “100 Days, 100 Nights” finds Sharon in full-on vamp mode bemoaning the whereabouts of her man. And when she slows it down to a bluesy half time bridge you feel it. Elsewhere on the record you can find Sharon echoing Aretha (“Nobody’s Baby”), Otis (“Humble Me”, “Tell Me”) and Carla Thomas (“When The Other Foot Drops, Uncle”). And it needs to be said that The Dap-Kings stand as a modern day equivalent to Booker T. & the M.G.’s or The JB’s. The full record does not drop until the end of the month, but here’s one to tide ya’ll over.

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings100 Days, 100 Nights (MP3)

Buy / Pre-Order: 100 Days, 100 Nights
Link: Official Site | MySpace

First Listen: Marcus Miller – Free

Marcus Miller

I’ll be honest here, I did not know much about Marcus Miller before I decided to write this piece. I only knew him as the bass player for Miles Davis. Let’s see what Wikipedia has to say:

… a jazz musician, composer and producer, perhaps best known as a bass guitarist with Miles Davis, Luther Vandross and David Sanborn. Miller is classically trained as a clarinetist, and also plays bass clarinet, keyboard, saxophone, and guitar, and is a capable singer.

Well hot damn! He’s won a Grammy for his solo efforts and has played with a veritable “who’s who” of Jazz and Blues musicians. I stumbled upon his latest release while browsing through my Miles Davis links. It immediately grabbed me with it’s raga-inspired lead off track “Blast” and held me down tight delivering funk, soul and some of the tightest bass licks I’ve heard. Here’s a sample of the soulful side of this record featuring the beautiful Corinne Bailey Rae covering the 1977 Deniece Williams track “Free”.

Marcus Miller (feat. Corinne Bailey Rae)Free (MP3)

Buy: Free (I highly suggest checking your local jazz/soul shop first!)
Link: Official Site | MySpace

Second Listen: Dreaming…

Alice Smith

There’s just something about Alice Smith. I’ll admit it, I dug this one out of the pile of CD’s marked “Must Listen To Again” and I’m kicking myself for having slept on it for so long. With comparisons ranging from Patty LaBelle to Fiona Apple to Billie Holiday the one common factor is the presence of soul. There is something so honest in her phrasing and delivery, no smoke, no mirrors. It’s almost as if you are sitting in the corner of the vocal booth, just soaking in every corner of her four-octave voice. I’ve packed this post with two of my favorite tracks. Here’s just a little lyrical taste of “Dream”…

When I wake up in the morning time
I like to see you sleeping by my side
I think about the nights we had before
Wanna give you this and more
Let you know I truly adore you

I’ll tell ya, she had me at “Let you know I truly adore you”. I’m a fan, give a listen and you will be too.

Alice SmithDream (MP3)

Alice SmithSecrets (MP3)

Buy: For Lovers, Dreamers & Me | Alice Smith - For Lovers, Dreamers & Me

Links: Official Site | MySpace