NARDEYDEY | ANTONIO SANCHEZ | CHRISTIAN SCOTT ATUNDE ADJUAH FEAT. SAUL WILLIAMS | PETE BEARDSWORTH | JUDAH AND THE LION FEAT. KASEY MUSGRAVES
Hello again friends, freaks and fans of new alternative music of the kind that aaaaalways sounds better on headphones.
This week’s selection is something of the proverbial big-hitter I have to tell you. I mean, The Beatles are on there for one. Well, that’s sort of true with jazz drumming legend Antonio Sanchez’s cover of Sgt. Pepper. And if the idea of new renditions of Beatles tracks makes you want to vomit in your mouth, I recommend you swallow it and give this a listen. Trust me, I made that mistake, myself (ignoring the track, I mean… not swallowing my own sick) and I’ve lived six sad, lonely months without this track in my life.
We’ve also got more in the way of jazz royalty from Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, who’s teamed up with spoken-word royalty Saul Williams.
Oh, and we’ve only got the Grammy award-winner of the Best County Solo Performance (whatever that means!) in Kasey Musgraves.
However, fear not, fans of the obscure, I’ve also got music from new and emerging artists Nardeydey and Shottingham’s own Pete Beardsworth. Superbs.
Have a lovely time, now…
| THE CHARM OFFENSIVE |
London’s Nardeydey (known to her Mum as Shirley Tetteh) is a musical freak of nature. She plays jazz guitar, she composes, she collaborates with London modern-jazz darlings, saxophonist Nubya Garcia and drummer Moses Boyd. Oh, and she likes a bit of Slayer. Varied tastes indeed.
And it all comes to the fore on FreeFalling; an EDM base supplemented with guitar shredding on the outro, a Janelle Monae-style layered vocal breakdown… I mean, it even has church bells, for Christ’s sake!
But the best thing about this track – and the reason I cannot stop my shoulders from shimmying every time I listen to it – is the way the beat drops in on the off-beat. It’s the coolest, funkiest thing I’ve heard in ages.
FreeFalling is only the second track to reach public consciousness from Nardeydey. I’m sure there’s plenty more to come.
| THE MILITARY COUP |
ANTONIO SANCHEZ: SGT. PEPPER’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND
I must admit I missed the boat on this a little bit – the album A Day in the Life: Impressions of Pepper was released last year, featuring 13 cover versions of Lennon and McCartney’s most iconic album done by some of the most exciting new names in jazz.
I should say that I have, for some time, been aware of the mix but, probably because everything released under the Beatles’ name since 1970 has revealed itself to be second-rate and undercooked, I think I deliberately avoided it.
But I’ve been plugged back into it recently because I was played a few tracks off it by a mate of mine (sort of… his name’s Gilles Peterson – you might know him? – and we’ve never actually met but I feel like in another life we were twins or somethin’). And it turns out it’s actually reeeeeally good.
Modern-day Beatles allergies notwithstanding, it still feels sort of blasphemous to claim that a Beatles cover is both heavier and weirder than the original; after all them lads were the original revolutionaries. But I feel like that’s exactly what Sanchez has achieved on this.
All the original’s melodies are still in there (not necessarily the case with other tracks on the album) but what really makes this cover is Sanchez’s individual flourishes, which include the drummer’s insane intro (and playing of key melodic parts on his toms) and the new, edgier time signatures and harmonic transpositions.
Other tracks I highly recommend from the compilation include Makaya McCraven’s woozy take on Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds and Onyx Collective’s bewitching Within You, Without You.
| THE PEACEFUL PROTEST |
CHRISTIAN SCOTT ATUNDE ADJUAH FEAT. SAUL WILLIAMS: ANCESTRAL RECALL
Ready, Steady, Cook was a mad show, wasn’t it? Do you remember how, instead of arriving with normal ingredients – a bit of meat, some tomatoes, spices and that – contestants would always turn up with a mad combination that typically included some onions, a chocolate bar and an old boot and challenge Ainsley Harriot to ‘make something delicious out of that.’
Well, that feels a bit like what would have happened if I’d turned up at Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah and Saul Williams’ gaff and asked them to compose my perfect song out of everything I like, regardless of whether they all go together well on paper.
My ingredients would have included highlights of wild jazz sax, a sprinkling of spoken-word attitude and a saucy soup of electronic manipulation all served up on a bed of kick-ass jungle drums.
And, well, that’s just what Ancestral Recall is. And, you know what, it’s actually really blaahdy good. Better than any of that muck old Ainsley served up, no doubt.
| GUERILLA WARFARE |
PETE BEARDSWORTH: TO THE PLACE
Some places are just famous for music. I mentioned the Beatles earlier in the blog and, as a proud Scouser, I’ll happily parade Liverpool’s music credentials to the rafters even while, realistically, the second-best artist to come out of the city is, what, Cilla? Cast?
Nottingham, however, does not have a reputation for music and that will always be a course of sadness, if not necessarily mystery to me. As someone who pretty much decided to go to Uni there because Earthtone9 and the Rock City venue were based there, I became closely acquainted with the city’s music scene, oft rubbing shoulders with the likes of Liam Bailey (he who latterly became of Chase and Status’ Blind Faith fame).
But one person I never came across in my time there was Pete Beardsworth and, judging from To The Place, more’s the pity. Actually released last year, the track is a good six months old now but I had to include it after hearing it for the first time this week as it’s just bonkers.
A mix of brilliant brass, Japanese scales, funk drum beats, hand claps, casual electronics and even bicycle bell-chimes (did Justin Vernon produce this or what?) it’s nearly six minutes of the best party you’ve never been invited to.
And the best part is, because I’m so slow on the draw, a whole five-track EP is already out. Also called To The Place, it’s well worth an explore.
| THE QUIET RIOT |
JUDAH AND THE LION FEAT. KASEY MUSGRAVES: PICTURES
I’m a massive Kasey Musgraves fan. There, I’ve said it. I liked her waaay back in the day when she was the rising star of the country scene and then, when I caught wind of last year’s disco/country hit High Horse I was sooo close to featuring it on this blog before I lost my nerve on the basis of a.) fearing I’d lose street-cred – lolz!! – and b.) wildly predicting that it’s toe-tapping, Stetson-tipping, Kylie-Minogue-little-gold-hotpant-wearing catchiness was due to its novelty and that the track’s appeal would soon wear thin.
Then Musgraves won this year’s Best Album Grammy. So that shows what I know.
One musical thing that will always retain its appeal is a bloody good weepy (yep, ALL street-cred officially gone) and Pictures is absolutely that. A heady mix of mournful mandolin lines and he-said/she-said lyrics about the break-up of the family home, it’s fast becoming one of my two favourite joint-perspective songs ever written (the other being American Football’s Uncomfortably Numb – co-incidentally, also released this year).
As the band’s lead singer, Judah Akers explains, “I had a really deep moment with my Mum when she called me and broke down bawling about how hard it was to move from our family house. I wrote the song from her perspective and it came in a flood, in five minutes, right after the call. I needed to write it because I was heartsick.”
The song serves as a teaser for the Nashville band’s upcoming album ‘Pep Talks’ record, due for release on 3 May.
And so we reach a cease-fire for this week. You can find all of the tracks reviewed above in the 45 Revolutions per Minute playlist below or click to access the 45 RPM Playlist on Spotify itself.
If you like what you hear (or even if you don’t), please engage in dialogue with me @45rpm_Reviews on Twitter. And, if you’d like to receive updates weekly, please subscribe to the email list to get these recommendations sent to your inbox weekly.
The silence is broken again next week when I’ll return with five more selections for your consideration. Until then, thank you for reading and go in peace.
– SV –