Digital Kicks 023

01. Fire (Original Mix) – Soul Khula ft Miss Identity
02. Anywhere You Are – Sunshine Jones
03. Cherry (Jay’s Nude Vocal Mix) – Lisa Shaw
04. Midnight Love – Tennishero
05. Superstar – Lupe Fiasco
06. Stop Complaining (Morcheeba & Capricorn II Remix) – Lyrics Born
07. Sex Education: Ghetto Style – Gil Scott-Heron
08. Pretty Girl With A Crooked Smile – DJ T-Rock & Squashy Nice
09. Morning Child – 4 Hero
10. Appetite – Chin Chin
11. Tomorrow Never Comes – Club 8
12 Barbara Ann – The Beach Boys
13. Vespa – Mike Sammes
14. Up On The Roof – Kenny Lynch
15. Kansas City – Wilbert Harrison
16. Old Man Atom – The Sons Of Pioneers
17. Touch And Go – The Cars
18. Tokyo Moon – Windmill
19. You’re All I Have – Snow Patrol
20. Scream Team – Deerhoof
21. You Got Yr Cherry Bomb – Spoon

Fire (Original Mix) – Soul Khula ft Miss Identity
Soul Khula are two studio-boffin-DJ types and a very talented singing sista, all from Johannesburg South Africa. I have a remix of this song on a Cafe del Mar compilation, which I didn’t even realise until I came across this version, the original, on eMusic.

Very good, very chilled and just a little bit deep.

Anywhere You Are – Sunshine Jones
Sunshine Jones was one half of Dubtribe Sound System (along with Moonbeam) in his previous life.

But first he was a punk rocker from the Bay Area in San Francisco. Then he was in to Hip Hop. Then he heard House music. Then he went to Ibiza. And then he formed Dubtribe Sound System, touring non-stop for several years and playing live in an effort to eschew the DJ-centric dance world.

Now he is making deep, melodic House music and still featuring on compilations all over the place, like this one.

Cherry (Jay’s Nude Vocal Mix) – Lisa Shaw
This is a Beatport download that I was delighted to find. I first heard this track two years ago on ‘Es Vive Ibiza 2006’ but it was a mixed effort by Mark Doyle and I couldn’t find the original song anywhere. Until Beatport.

Shaw moved to New York from Toronto in the mid 1990s and quickly found her way in the underground House scene. She guested and sang on tracks for several high profile producers / DJs and finally released her own album, also called ‘Cherry’, in 1995. This song as well as ‘Always’ and ‘Let It Ride’ have featured on dozens of compilations and have been championed by DJs all over the world.

Midnight Love – Tennishero
Tennishero hail from Stockholm and produce quality, chilled out music.

There are debates about whether their name is pronounced ‘Tennis-hero’ or ‘Tenni-shero’. But one thing is for certain – this song, lifted from Hed Kandi’s ‘Kandi Lounge’ compilation is a cracker.

Superstar – Lupe Fiasco
Lupe is a Muslim from Chicago. His birth name is Wasalu Muhammad Jaco and he is the fifth of nine brothers and sisters.

He has won four Grammys, been called a “breath of fresh air” by Jay-Z and hangs out with Jay, Kanye West, NERD and Pharrell.

This track is from his second album, ‘The Cool’, and features Folk singer-songwriter Matthew Santos.

Stop Complaining (Morcheeba & Capricorn II Remix) – Lyrics Born
Lyrics Born is called Tom Shimura by his parents, who are one part-Japanese American and one part-Italian American. Growing up, he lived in Tokyo, Salt Lake City, Berkley and Tampa.

His music encompasses everything, ranging from Hip Hop to Pop to Rock to Funk. His rhyming style is very complex, using techniques such as phonemes and internal rhymes.

He cites the Sugarhill Gang and Ice Cube as influences and has collaborated with artists such as, DJ Shadow, Blackalicious and Jurassic 5.

This song is a remix of the original live song that appears on his 2006 release ‘Overnite Encore: Lyrics Born Live’.

Sex Education: Ghetto Style – Gil Scott-Heron
Poet, musician, spoken word performer and, in some circles, the godfather of rap. These are some of the descriptions placed on Gil Scott-Heron.

He hails from Chicago and was writing, singing, talking about controversial topics long before anyone else was or thought it was cool to do so.

His first album, ‘Small Talk At 125th And Lenox’, was mostly spoken word pieces. And very volatile ones at that. His second album, ‘Pieces Of A Man’, kept the proto-rap approach but combined it with more instrumentation and formal song structures. His third album, ‘Free Will’, was a combination of both. The first side was a musical experience, while the second side was, more or less, a rap session accompanied by a flute and some percussion.

This scathing attack comes from that second side and epitomizes his no-holds-barred, no-topic-is-taboo approach to making music and political statements about society.

Pretty Girl With A Crooked Smile – DJ T-Rock & Squashy Nice
DJ T-Rock was voted “Best God Damn DJ of 2003” by the legendary independent label Hip Hop Slam in San Francisco.

He was also called “The Best DJ You’ve Never Heard” by Bomb Hip Hop, who have introduced most of today’s popular scratch musicians to the mainstream.

Since then he has created a bit of buzz with his recordings and extensive touring schedules though out America and Europe.

In the last decade he has worked with, Afrika Bambaataa, Mix Master Mike (Beastie Boys), Z-Trip (Linkin Park) and Cut Chemist.

He is known for his eclectic blend of music and extreme turntable trickery. When asked how he does it, he replied, “It’s simple. There’s no trick. It’s just a simple trick”.

Morning Child – 4 Hero
4 Hero are 4 lads from North London. They formed and began recording in 1990. Since then, they have covered a lot of ground. Their music began as Breakbeat House and Techno, progressed to Jungle and Drum ‘n’ Bass, and has now settled on Broken Beat and Nu Jazz.

This track is from their most recent long player, ‘Play With The Changes’.

Appetite – Chin Chin
Chin Chin are the non-Hip Hop group who record on the Hip Hop label Def Jux.

This tune is from their self-titled release and features their “tighter than your boss with a raise” playing style.

Tomorrow Never Comes – Club 8
Club 8 are a Swedish group, who carefully tread between and experiment with different sounds. They have been known to play Dub, Indie, Trip Hop, Chill Out, 80s Alternative and Bossa Nova.

But instead of sounding like a car crash they manage to hold it all together and produce beautiful, slightly melancholic Anorak Pop.

This track would fit perfectly on any C-86 compilation.

Barbara Ann – The Beach Boys
‘Barbara Ann’ is a cover version of the Regents 1961 hit. The Beach Boys released it in 1965 with Brian Wilson and Dean Torrence (who was one half of Jan & Dean) on lead vocals.

The song appeared on the album ‘Beach Boys Party!’, which was their third LP released in 1965. It came out during the Christmas period and consisted entirely of cover versions.

Vespa – Mike Sammes
Mike Sammes was a musician and vocal session arranger. In 1955 he brought together a core group of singers called, (funnily enough), ‘The Mike Sammes Singers’.

They began working four sessions a day, six days a week and for nearly 15 years provided almost every single note of backing vocals on pop music recorded in Britain. They worked with dozens of singers, including the Beatles on ‘I Am The Walrus’ and ‘Good Night’. They recorded soundtracks, did radio work and sang thousands of radio jingles.

A lot of their jingles, like ‘Vespa’ can be heard on the collection entitled ‘Music For Biscuits’.

Up On The Roof – Kenny Lynch
“When this old world starts getting me down,
And people are just too much for me to face –
I climb way up to the top of the stairs
And all my cares just drift right into space…”

This is my favorite song in this mix. It really gets me every single time that I hear it.

‘Up On The Roof’ was written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King and recorded by The Drifters in 1962. Although they didn’t have much success with it, Lynch’s version, released around the same time, was a Top 10 hit in the UK.

Kenny Lynch is a singer, songwriter, entertainer and actor from London. He is best known for numerous appearances on variety shows in the 1960s and his never-ending charity work.

Kansas City – Wilbert Harrison
Wilbert Harrison performed and recorded music for years with quite sporadic success. However, in 1959 he hit the big time with ‘Kansas City’.

The song was written in 1951 and became a Billboard Number 1 record for Harrison. It won a Grammy ‘Hall of Fame Award’ and has been named as one of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s ‘500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll’.

Old Man Atom – The Sons Of The Pioneers
The Sons of Pioneers were an American cowboy singing group founded in 1933 by Leonard Slye, who later took the screen name Roy Rogers.

Their smooth, harmonic western style music was influential and used in several films in the 1950s. Eventually, in 1980, the group were elected in to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

This song is a cover version of the Sam Hinton original and was released by RCA Victor in 1950.

Touch And Go – The Cars
The Cars formed in Boston in 1976. Following the release of their debut album, ‘The Cars’, in 1978, their follow-up, ‘Candy-O’, in 1979 and huge amounts of critical acclaim and success, the band were faced with the ‘difficult’ third album.

In typical fashion, they decided to change direction and go with a more experimental recording, ‘Panorama’, in 1980. It didn’t really work. Fans were disappointed. Critics didn’t like it. In fact, Rolling Stone described the album as, “an out-and-out drag”. But it did contain this little gem of a tune.

It didn’t matter though because bigger success would follow with ‘Shake It Up’ in 1981 and, after a short break, with ‘Heartbeat City’ in 1984, which produced five Top 40 singles and sold four million copies.

Tokyo Moon – Windmill
Windmill is Matthew Thomas Dillon. Although he is largely unknown, when he released ‘Puddle City Racing Lights’, the comparisons to Arcade Fire, Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev were immediately made. And it’s easy to see why.

The song begins with a simple piano riff, then strange, somewhat heartbreaking vocals come in, followed by huge drums and an orchestra arrangement that would give any of the bands listed above a run for their money.

‘Tokyo Moon’ is melancholia at it’s very finest.

You’re All I Have – Snow Patrol
Released in 2006 ‘You’re All I Have’ is the first track and single from ‘Eyes Open’; the fourth album by Snow Patrol.

The band formed in 1994 and have gradually shifted (or slid) from Indie Rock to Alternative Rock, as heard on ‘Final Straw’ and this song, before plummeting into Power Pop territory with the likes of ‘Chasing Cars’.

Perhaps their last great tune, ‘You’re All I Have’ signalled the end of their rocking with the cool kids and the beginning of their rocking with the dads.

Scream Team – Deerhoof
Deerhoof are from San Francisco. They are often introduced as Satomi Matsuzaki (who usually sings and plays bass), John Dieterich (who usually plays guitar), Ed Rodriguez (who usually plays guitar as well) and Greg Saunier (who usually plays drums).

I’m not really sure what that means other than they must be able to switch instruments and places between recordings, between gigs or even between songs.

But never mind that. The more confusing thing is trying to explain their sound. I have seen them classified as Indie Rock or Noise Rock. I have seen their music described as distinctive, unassuming, hyper-expressive, elastic, odd, harmonic, sophisticated, disjointed, condensed, asymmetrical, unconventional, raw and improvised. And that was just one review.

‘Scream Team’ is the ninth track on their seventh album and sums up everything great about the band in a very concise 160 seconds.

You Got Yr Cherry Bomb – Spoon
Since 1994 Spoon have released six studio albums, five EPs and 18 singles. They have been dropped by labels, fought, lost members, gained members, disappeared and reappeared.

This song is from the album, ‘Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga’, which has received a lot of good press and placed them ever-so-slightly on the radar.

But even recording the album was hard. ‘You Got Yr Cherry Bomb’ is a song that the band really struggled with. In the end three versions were recorded and this is the one that appears on the album. It was all probably worth it though because Rolling Stone named proclaimed it Number 16 in the 100 Best Songs of 2007.

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