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Consider this statement: “I prefer facebook because I personally believe that [T]witter is for total stalkers” compared to this one: “Twitter allows me to flick open my phone and spend a few seconds getting some advice/news from people I respect and admire.” These are quotes from people that clearly have conflicting views on two of the biggest social networking sites on Planet E right now. Since the dawn of man, there have been fierce rivalries that left humanity torn on which side to take; Red Sox or the Yankees, Pepsi or Coca-Cola, Tom Cruise or that couch. As the saying goes, ‘it always leads to the web’, and rivalries have done just that; Twitter has become the younger, less speaking, more secretive social networking cousin of Facebook*. Twitter or facebook you may ask? Which is better, which is easier to use, which is more profitable, which is cooler? Click to find out…

*- Facebook did not want this cousin

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Johnny Cash is ledge. Like a true, fantasic legend. I’d never heard of him until I watched Walk the Line. Firing on all cylinders as a storyteller-singer-songwriter. I was touched. Well atleast I thought I was until I heard his song “God’s gonna cut you down”. Oh my God. His lyrics about redemption, justice and ethical outcome hit me hard. “you go tell that long-tonged liar, you go tell that night rider, sooner or later God’s gonna cut ’em down, sooner or later He’s gonna cut ’em down…”. The music video is fantastic and features appearances by Kanye West, Jay-Z, Corinne-Bailey-Rae, Owen Wilson, Bono, Chris Martin, Michael McDonald and the Dixie CHicks among others. It’s fantastic and I really think when watching it you should listen to the message it provides. It’s so topical in this age of Bin Ladenism, Genocides, Guddhafis and Virginia Tech killings.

Hilarious trailer of Horrible Bosses starring Jason Bateman, Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston and Jamie Foxx. A potential challenger to this year’s Hangover Part 2.

The Hangover,released in 2009, broke records and became the highest grossing R-rated film of all time. I’ve included both trailers here so you can judge for yourself which you are more keen to see.  Booya

 

How often do people in their youth listen to Jazz? Let me be clear, I’m not talking Goldfish here, I’m talking Jazz. Let me be even clearer, I’m not talking DJ Jazzy Jeff. I’m talking about bass guitar, sliding trumpets, smooths saxophone, baritone voices, rat-a-tat-scatting, meaningful lyrics and instrumental solos that last five minutes, with every note there is a salute to Davis, Fitzgerald and Ernest ‘ska’ Ranglin. Esperanza Spalding. Now that’s what I’m talking about.

Yes, she’s beautiful too

Merely 26 years old, Esperanza Spalding’s musical taste is as diverse as her heritage; she has Welsh, Hispanic, Native American and African blood in her. Many people, including me, were not aware of this wonder until this year’s Grammy’s; Esperanza beat out Drake, Justin Bieber, Florence and The Machine and Mumford and Sons in one of the most competitive and diverse Best New Artist categories in  years. The underdog that nobody had heard of quickly became noticeable and I personally started listening. Oh and did I listen. Her album Esperanza which was her flagship album in allowing her to win the coveted Gramophone, is absolutely fantastic. Here’s overview of the best tracks on the album. 

Ponte De Areia. I have listened to this album opener north of twelve times and I still have no clue what language she is singing in. Laid back, relaxed, placid as Vincent Chase , this track comprises of soft drumming, purposely restrained vocals and a sway like rhythm that encourages a two-step of intoxicated proportions. What flair.
 
She Got to You. “Before she got to you, our love was something to behold but now it’s over, ALL over….. what we could’ve had would’ve been as scarce as four-leave clovers”. Meta-metaphoric is how to describe this song. Esperanza’s disappointment in man that got got right before she was going to make a move, she then reflects on what could’ve been. She reaches notes higher than the Kilimanjaro, and pulls those strings so accurately that we imagine we’re actually in New Orleans listening to her play along the greats.
 
I Know You Know. There’s a line in this flirtatious cat-and-mouse upbeat track where Esperanza says “I know you know that I know you…”. A bit of a tongue twister, but this unique part of this track is its ability to show that Esperanza’s more dirty, lust like side demonstrating the different layers to her music. Fun to listen, groovy, full of scatting in the right places, this feel go0d song raises the album to yet another level.
 
Fall In.   “Don’t worry if we fall…. in love we will never touch the ground, just fall into a dream”. The best ballad on the album by far. An ode to the risks of love and affection, this track is deeply drenched into emotion, and the piano being the sole instrument renders an even larger emotional response.   
 
 
I Adore You.
The best song on this album, another foreign language offering, that oddly enough is understandable. I have no idea what the language is, but when you listen to it, I mean really listen to it, you can feel through her harmonies, and scatting, range, how this is nothing else but an emotional love song. A message from one person to another, through bass guitar, through cello, through piano, through djembe drumming, a message of love. This album made me realise how many layers this artist has, and how she can evoke a response from me through a foreign language, that is just absolutely amazing.
 
Not convinced by my word, sure thing. See her doing her thing live in the video I’ve addeed. Good luck picking your jaw up.
 
 
 

If you want it, take it. If you feel so inclined, embrace the feeling. That’s the basic message of this rock heavy, electric-guitar driven piece of Kravitz musical memerobilia. Wanna listen? Above is a link to the youtube video.  Dig In.

 I’m about half way through the Black Keys’ album Brothers and I already feel that it is blog worthy. The album which won Grammys for Alternative Rock Album and Album Cover design (yes album cover design) is taking my playlist by storm. Different in every way from the aforeblogged about Foreign Exchange, Black Keys give a blues-like, bad boy sound brimmed with guitar riffs, solos and underground melodious tones. The mascot track Tighten Up proves this when half way through, it changes into another rhythm, dives into other themes and climbs up another octave. other standout tracks thus far include Next Girl, Everlasting Light and Unknown Brother. Amazing stuff. A fuller, more contemplative review of this offering shall be offered later on. for now enjoy the 2011 Grammy Award Winning Album Artwork from The Black Keys.

We-are-awesome is one of those websites that just revolutionizes the partying experience; if you have vomit on your t-shirt, they’ll have a picture of you. IF you have a doobie in your mouth they shall have a picture of you (no obligation to go to the police off course). This social networking site changes the way we socialize in the sense that they have professional photographers taking pictures and they make things look that much cooler.

Due to how immensely spectacular this site is I have decided to start a new section called “Pictures of The Week”, highlighting the best flickr’s of the week on this visionary site.

 

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The Foreign Exchange: Priceless

We’ve all had that moment where we hear a song and scream out “oh that’s my  song!”. From David Bowie’s ‘Let’s Dance’ to Usher’s ‘Burn’; it’s an unmatched feeling. Close those eyes. Now imagine an act that creates albums where you scream out in similar jubilation song after song after song. No, I’m not referencing Justin Timberlake’s avant-garde Futuresex/Lovesound (great album though hey). I’m talking about The Foreign Exchange, a duo consisting of Phonte Smith and”Dutch Master”  Nicolay. Who are these guys, you may wonder aloud? Just two people you‘ve never heard of.

The Foreign Exchange is a ‘nu-jazz’, trip hop, rhythm and blues and neo-soul group founded across two countries, namely the United States and the Netherlands. Phonte would send vocals from North Carolina to Nicolay in Holland, where Nicolay would add music and together they would produce a final cut. They did this so often that they had enough material to release a studio album which would be Connected. A finely tuned album with slick rapping and even slicker production was an intriguing start to this geographically anomalous act.

Where The Foreign Exchange came into their own, both musically and thematically, was in their sophomore offering, Leave It All Behind. Opening track Daykeeper, deals with themes of longing, emotional vulnerability and how relationships are not always parallel. The placid  House of Cards boasts soothing female vocals with quiet piano and drums so subtle that you won’t notice until the third or fourth listen. Other stand out tracks including All or Nothing/Coming Home, Valediction and I Wanna Know. What adds intrigue to this album is the contrasting themes of love; from female attachment to a boyfriend who just wants to know what his lady wants and is determined to give it to her. Leave It All Behind demonstrates how love can be tornado, needing to be cleaned up after the turmoil, but when perspective has been reached what a beautiful gift it can be. As Phonte sings “Always coming home to you”. Amazing.

  

  

  

  

 

 

 

“All this time I had it wrong, but now I truly see, the road you’re choosing. I see the writing’s on the wall Tells me I’m losing you and there’s nothing for me to do…. I finally got a clearer view”

                                          FIGHT FOR LOVE

 

 The above is taken from what I believe to be the best song from The Exchange’s third album, Authenticity. Synthesizer,  light electric guitar, barely audible jazz clapping backs this song about resignation, emotional resignation. The title Fight for Love is perfect because it epitomizes how the speaker feels; he is fed up of changing himself, tired of being in a war that “no one ever wins”. Anyone in a frustrating relationship can relate with this lose-lose melody filled elegy. Authenticity is authentic. Full stop. If you think that’s cliché and uncreative just listen to the album and try to give a more succinct adjective. All Roads about a man trying to catch up with his emotions on an intellectual level, a task he gives up on by the bridge of the song. Don’t Wait speaks to the hesitant romantic in all of us, afraid to invest because we believe playing the field will bring more benefits. Where Leave It All Behind is about taking all the risks involving matters of the heart, Authenticity looks at the results of taking those, how love may not be enough and how leaving it all behind in reality be harder than you think, it deals with the realness of love, the authenticity.        

Conclusion? Yes listen to your Joni Mitchell greatest hits. OK Computer? More like Hell yeah Computer. Marvin Gaye,God bless him. What I’m saying is when you’re in the mood to listen to a new generation that has been influenced by all of the above, and you’re in the mood for some 21st century lessons on love, then grab a passport and head over The Foreign Exchange (standard rates apply off course).

 To check out more of their music and learn more go to their website at ForeignExchange.com

Telling it as it is, and giving praise where praise is due