When Bloc Party came out with their debut album Silent Alarm back in 2005, the band literally changed my life. Not only was the album absolutely incredible, but also it was the first time that I saw a black man (someone that looked like me) performing and creating memorable songs in the predominately white indie rock/post-punk sphere. Kele Okereke became a hero of mine and made it my job to always stay aware of whatever he and the band were doing ever since. He and several other musicians inspired me to create my own music and to never stick to one specific sound.
“Tulips” is one of my favorite tracks from Bloc Party. The remix version by Minotaur Shock is phenomenal with its downbeat and atmospheric sound. Kele’s voice comes off as almost haunting in its subdued delivery. Check it out.
The continuous gloomy and rainy weather has put me into a post-punk mood. I have been listening to Bloc Party and The Twilight Sad hour after hour. I finally got a chance to check out Italian post-punk band Soviet Soviet who have been in the news recently due to Trump’s travel ban. The band’s music is reminiscent of 80’s post-punk mixed with shoegaze.
“Further” is an aggressive and heavy song that instantly floors you with its driving sound. Check it out.
I have been working on a laid-back hip-hop playlist for some time now. I’ve been wanting to do this for years and finally have the time to do so. The Roots have proven to be the complete embodiment of chill hip hop with their mellow beats and easygoing sound. They do have songs where they completely go bonkers, but mostly their music is as cool as a summer breeze.
“Push Up Ya Lighter” is one of the best songs from The Roots’ “Illadelph Halflife” album. Black Though rides the beat with while delivering some of best lyrics. Check it out.
“Light We Made” was one of my favorite albums of 2016. Balance and Composure completely revamped their sound and went for a more melodic sound without any shouted vocals. The band did retain its melancholy leanings and delivered one of the best albums of their career.
“Spinning” is one of the best songs from the record with its catchy guitar riffs and chorus. Check it out.
For this Sunday Soul song, I bring you the incomparable Smokey Robinson and The Miracles. Smokey has become synonymous with the smooth Motown sound and churned out hit after hit during the 50s and 60s. One of his best songs is “I Like It Like That,” which has an upbeat and laidback sound and features Smokey’s mellow vocals. Check it out.
I have always thought Peter Tosh was on the same level as Bob Marley. His music was both political and innovative and helped to draw in fans to the reggae genre. Tosh has an insurmountable list of memorable songs including “Poor Man Feel It.” This track has Tosh singing about the hardships that poor people endure and how a change must come. A song reminiscent of our own turbulent times. Check it out.
“There’s a Riot Goin’ On” is the album I always return to whenever I want to listen to Sly and the Family Stone. The album’s dark and somber tone was written during a period when the country was at war with itself. The civil rights movement was coming to end and the people were trying to figure out just how the country was going to move forward. The group produced an album that captured the modern time.
One of the best songs from the album is “Just Like a Baby” which features a slow and steady beat that incorporates the band’s funk sound. Check it out.