Monday, March 4, 2013

Stark Reality: Acting, Thinking, Feeling (The Complete Works)

I don't know what to write about The Stark Reality.  You can probably google them and find tons of bloggers that have written wonderful superlatives about them, and describe the sound of the band better than I.  Let me just say that I was pumped to pick this up the other week.  Previously all I had of The Stark Reality was the compilation Now, which was nice but I really wanted to full deal.  The Stark Reality was a groove machine--a band that existed in the late 60's/early 70's, and were a combination of jazz, rare groove, and soul (with a little psych thrown in).  No one sounds like them.  And come on, an electric vibraphone, who can beat that!  Included in the Acting, Feeling, Feeling (The Complete Works) is the classic album in its entirety Hoagy Carmichael's Music Shop, a crazy album written for a public television show for kids which featured vibraphonist Monty Stark.  It's great music and well worth picking up!  The first clip I have posted is footage from the children's show (I wish I was one of those kids!), along with the music of Stark Reality performing live.  The three clips following are individual tracks from the album Hoagy Carmichael's Music Shop.


Friday, March 1, 2013

Throwback to the 90's: Hey Mr. DJ

I'm a sucker for solid 90's R&B.  While I enjoy the obvious favorites by Erykah Badu, and D'Angelo, a lot of R&B sounds a little dated and not quite as good as I once thought.  However, I would never put TLC CrazySexyCool (that album still sounds modern to this day--a classic) or Zhane Pronounced Jah-Nay albums in the "dated" category.  I've been pulling out Zhane's Pronounced Jah-Nay album a lot recently, and it holds up extremely well.  Their first, and best, of their two released albums, Zhane's debut contains their one obvious hit "Hey Mr. DJ" but there are so many other solid tracks to dig.  Case in point:  "This Song Is For You".  This track contains a solid beat, nice echoey guitars, floating keyboards, and the melting vocals from the lovely ladies.
 "Sending My Love" is another one of my favorite jams off of Zhane's classic.  The feeling is similar to "This Song Is For You".  A nice jam. 
And of course, concluding with their big hit, "Hey Mr. DJ".  Always a track to throw on while having a classic 90's R&B party.  (Follow it up with Mary J.'s "Real Love")