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Year-End Mania is the Key’s survey of the things below the surface that made 2014 awesome. In this installment, XPN program director Bruce Warren shares his favorite albums of the year.
There’s always this internal debate I have with myself about year-end lists, and it’s always this battle between whether I should go with “best” or “favorite.” “Best” is usually saved for the “critics;” which is not to say I am one or not. I’ll leave it to the Pitchforks, the New York Times and the Robert Christgaus of the world to attach some higher level of artistic and cultural significance and importance to records.
But in so many ways, I am a critic. I just don’t use big words. Music is “best” when it has singular appeal to anyone who wants to say “this is the best album of the year,” or “this album is one of the top five albums of the year.” You see, everyone’s right and everyone’s wrong when it comes to what “the best” is. When it comes to my albums of the year, I typically list the records that are my favorite. Are they the best? Sure they are; to me anyway. And if for some reason some of my favorites hit the critics year end polls as “the best” (in a music critic kind of way) then I guess I get bonus points. So here they are: My favorite five albums that entered into my musical universe in 2014. Continue reading →
The show, a master class in sinewy, minimalist funk and soul, mixed D’Angelo originals like “Lady” with a stunning selection of cover songs by what Questlove called “the Yoda figures in the history of soul.” Included were Sly Stone’s “(You Caught Me) Smilin’,” the Ohio Players’ “Our Love Has Died,” and the S.O.S. Band’s “Tell Me If You Still Care.” D’Angelo sang in a limber, swoony falsetto that showed that his years in the wilderness have done nothing to diminish his pipes.
All photos by Eric Ashleigh Showtopgraphe.com
We’ve got a really great show for you tonight: Questlove, legendary drummer for The Roots and R&B singer D’Angelo have teamed up for some amazing jams over the past year, melding their musical skills into somewhat of a super-duo. This Wednesday, the two are playing in Questlove’s hometown at The TLA. If you wanna see an amazing pre-Parkway show, be sure to check them out. Click here for ticket information, and watch a video from their set at the Brooklyn Bowl below.
Here’s an awesome way to get the July 4th holiday underway: Questlove and D’Angelo are performing at the TLA on Wednesday, July 3rd. It’s been a year since the two musicians pulled off their 2012 Bonnaroo Superjam, and The Roots will be hosting and playing the 4th of July Jam. Tickets to the two man “Brothers In Arms” show at TLA go on sale this Friday, June 14.
From the beginning, Bonnaroo SuperJams have been synonymous with exciting, unexpected one-off collaborations of music’s top artists, with past festivals linking up the likes of Dr. John, Mike Gordon, Luther Dickinson and Stanton Moore (2003), and this year featuring Jim James, Zigaboo Modeliste, John Oates and Preservation Hall Jazz Band. In 2012, Questlove and The Roots took things one step further by facilitating the return of R&B artist / producer D’Angelo in one of his first stateside concerts in eleven years. In the third of four videos documenting the SuperJam, the collaborators perform Funkadelic tracks “Funky Dollar Bill” and “Hit it and Quit it.” Watch the clip below and check out the first two installments here and here. The Roots Picnic with Gary Clark Jr., Grimes, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and more comes to Festival Pier on June 1st. Tickets and information can be found here.
Another treat for funk / soul heads today comes courtesy of the folks at Okayplayer.com, who grabbed these videos of Roots drummer ?uestlove and aughties vocal legend D’Angelo playing Brooklyn Bowl last night for their much-anticipated “Brothers In Arms” show. Their set featured covers of Sly and the Family Stone, Bobby Womack, Funkadelic as well as more recent names. Below, watch videos of ?uest and D’Angelo playing The S.O.S. Band’s “Tell Me if You Still Care” and Prince & The Revolution’s “New Position.”