By

Watch Naeemah Maddox perform “Apple” for Philly’s Random Tea Sessions

Naeemah Maddox | photo by Kev Steele | courtesy of the artist
Naeemah Maddox | photo by Kev Steele | courtesy of the artist

In July, prolific Brooklyn-via-Philly singer/composer/multi-instrumentalist Naeemah Maddox released her excellent second album, Vile Tyrant and the Middle Men. The nine-track LP, full of dense and quirky songs, is a self-described “statement analyzing the effect of mankind’s struggles on a macro (political) and micro (personal) level.” Recorded in her West Philly apartment over a five-year period, Maddox played most of the instruments on the record, including flute, violin, keyboard, and bass, not to mention her beautifully layered vocals. Continue reading →

By

Philly-born auteur Naeemah Maddox starts in her bedroom studio, ends with a prog rock epic for the ages

Naeemah Maddox | photo by Kev Steele | courtesy of the artist
Naeemah Maddox | photo by Kev Steele | courtesy of the artist

As early as 2007, singer / guitarist / composer Naeemah Maddox began working on a collection of straightforward but evocative songs designed to capture the spirit of the human condition. Working through a series of personal and professional struggles, the music grew slowly but surely. These simple tunes would serve as the backbone of her recently released full-length, Vile Tyrant And The Middle Men. Plugging away for nearly a decade, Maddox recorded demo versions of each song in her small home studio setup meticulously laying down vocals and guitar in the privacy of her West Philly apartment. As Maddox explains, the interplay of her voice with the guitar served as the launching point of the dizzingly complex songs.

“All of the songs have a simplistic foundation,” Maddox says. “Although it may be hard to discern. All of the basic structures of the songs, with the exception of ‘Fun with Fun,’ were started with just guitar and voice. Guitar is an important tool for my songwriting, basically because of all the harmonies you can use and discover. It’s easier for me to created from the bottom up…the bottom being the guitar harmony.”

As the years passed, Maddox — currently based in Brooklyn — continued to revisit these simple demos, pouring out ideas, reimagining harmonies and outfitting the songs with impressively complex arrangements. The end result is powerful collection of soulful and challenging rock music. Continue reading →