Friday, September 30, 2011

JamandaHalf-One Mo Gin

Longtime readers will have noticed that the jams haven't been coming as often as they used to/should. A move to Madrid, the start of my Master's program, and a serious job hunt (and I must admit, a lack of enthusiasm for music lately) have caused the jam river to slow to a trickle. But our 2nd year Birthday is tomorrow (whoot!) and with that comes new opportunities.

It's hard to believe that I started this little blog two years ago in my dorm room in sunny Claremont, California. I'm a long way away from there now, but this blog is even more special to me now. But like anything, it's not worth anything if it's not getting better.

First off to start a new year I'm posting an interview with the man himself, Adam Bradley, tomorrow. Distinguished Professor, noted hip-hop head, and prolific writer, Professor Bradley made a serious mark on my college career and recently hit the New York Times Bestseller's List by being a coauthor on Common's brand new memoir. To go on from there, I have a few things that I'm going to do a little differently this year:

1. Recruit new voices:If you know anyone that wants to contribute to these pages, let me know. JamandaHalf was originally supposed to be a forum where people could talk about the music they love. For that, I want anyone and everyone who wants to talk about the music that is special to them get involved.
2. A new focus: Most "big" blogs today have largely the same music, differentiated only by slight changes in genres. This year I want to continue to develop relationships with artists like Anthem, Blisses B, and J.Nolan, with a renewed focus on up and coming artists. I am also going to highlight some of the best street musicians from around Madrid who keep the metros, sidewalks, and plazas jamming. I want to be a place that you feel you need to visit a few times every week, and a place where you know the jams will be fresh and different from your little brother's favorite blog.
3. A new look: I have a redesign in the works which will make it easier for people to share music and post whenever they get the feeling.

With Moodawg unfortunately not much of a part of this blog anymore, it's time to get new voices involved. So if you or anyone you know wants to talk about music that for some reason, you just know is a jamandahalf, let me know. And if not, hope you continue coming back for only the juiciest of jams. Thanks,


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Icona Pop-Manners (Captain Cuts Remix)

You know a remix is good when you hear the orginal and immediately think it's missing something. Captain Cut's remix of Icona Pop's "Manners" is an absolute banger of a remix. Completely blowing my "remix criteria" out of the water (1-the song has to be a complete remake of the original, and 2-the cover has to make you think at least for a half second that it's better than the original), the crew behind this jamandahalf (including my buddy Ryan McMahon) has made a song which eclipses the original in every way. A mix of hard-hitting house with a slight sprinkling of dubstep, the trio don't just give "Manners" a facelift, they pull the biggest facial switcharoo since this. Captain Cut's jams have been heating up the blogosphere for a few months now and you can find their tracks here. Enjoy this monster track and be on the lookout for their first mixtape coming out soon.

Click here to download

Icona Pop Manners (Captain Cuts Remix)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Paul Simon-The Sound of Silence

I, like most people lately, have taken some time to think about what happened a little over 10 years ago. I remember when I first heard the news. I was on the Embassy bus on the way home from school in Abidjan, Ivory Coast and an American guy who was a few years older than me had printed off a picture of the two towers in flames; I didn't believe it. I spent the next few hours using our painfully slow internet connection to search for news. What's hard for me to believe today is that I didn't see footage of the planes bowling into the towers until over a year later.

So much has been said about what the attacks represented, how we responded, where we are now...As with any tragedy, music has a healing power that cannot be underestimated. With most major moments of the past 50 years, music has both shaped our insights and guided our opinions, and although I can think of no song about 9/11, many songs can be associated with it. Although somewhat overdone, seeing U2 at the Super Bowl halftime show with the running list of names was undeniably powerful. At Sunday's memorial, Paul Simon sang his classic "The Sound of Silence," originally written after the assassination of JFK. The song was pitch perfect for the memorial, its emphasis on the absence of human communication resonating with a tragedy that happened, in some parts, because of a perverse desire to send a message. Sung by the timeless Simon, this jamandahalf reinvents itself again, as only the best ones do.

Click here to download an acoustic version of "The Sound of Silence"

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Beirut-A Candle's Fire

Excuse the lack of posts lately. A combination of the internet cutting in Ghana, Vodafone's terrible customer service (I ended up driving the technician to my family's house and back) and a move to Madrid caused the jams to take a back burner. Well like always, it's back to the jams.

Beirut's newest album has been the official album of the move in, and what an album it is. A great combination of experimenting with expansive sounds while still sounding deeply personal, The Rip Tide has quickly shot up my list of best albums (so far) of 2011. "A Candle's Fire" is the perfect intro song. Sonically it's gorgeous, a delicate intertwining of horns, organs, and a tuba along with the strong yet bravado free voice of Zach Condon. This jamandahalf seems to be about love overcoming self doubt, about a man who has always lived within boundaries stepping out of them with the help of someone. Enjoy the jam and thanks for coming back.

Click here to download


Monday, September 5, 2011

Tanya Stephens-It's A Pity

"It's A Pity" exudes longing like few others. On top of a grooving reggae beat mixed with some sounds that dubstep has gratuitously borrowed from, Tanya imagines a life with a man who already has a wife. "It's A Pity" sounds kinda like the Jamaican precursor to Adele's hit "Someone Like You," with Tanya Stephens smart lyrics baring her soul to this mystery man. You can picture her writing a long letter to her John Doe, with each verse varying from outright desperation to even diplomacy (Tanya admits that if she can't have him, she could share). The intensity with which Tanya delivers her lines borders on rapping and she conquers the beat like few rappers can, making it the perfect postman to deliver her letter of longing.

Click here to download

Tanya Stephens It's A Pity

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Justice-Audio, Video, Disco (Now with .mp3)

The new single for Justice's new album just leaked. Still don't know quite what to think. I think Justice will get a lot of new fans with this new sound, and it's not like the biggest names in electro haven't completely switched their sound up from time to time (see: Daft Punk). Not as rambunctious as Cross, but maybe that's not a bad thing. Anyway, listen and let me know what you think.

Click here to download

Justice Audio, Video, Disco

Friday, September 2, 2011

Royksopp-Shores of Easy

Been a while since Royksopp dropped some new tunes. But even in a rapidly evolving electronic music scene you can always seem to count on the continued consistency of the elusive duo. Hints are sprouting up across the web that a new album may be on the way, and I found this odyssey of a track today on NPR. Almost 14 minutes long, this one is definitely not for the clubs, but it is a great track to vibe too. Hope it holds us over until new tunes from the Norweigans intrigue our ears.

Click here to download

Röyksopp Shores Of Easy

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Red Hot Chili Peppers-Brendan's Death Song

Growing up mainly in North Florida (with jaunts abroad), the Red Hot Chili Peppers were always something that was quasi-exotic. Familiar enough because, well, they sang in English and their style was immediately identifiable, but exotic at the same because that's what they listened to in "California," the idea of it more than the place. Years later I sang Chili Pepper songs as I washed dishes at Cold Stone, only weeks before I flew out to LA to start college.

The Chili Peppers have a new album out and while it doesn't compare to the gigantic Stadium Arcadium, it does have some very strong highlights. Among them is this jamandahalf. Dedicated to Brendan Mullen, the guy who gave the Chili Peppers their first break by booking them to open at the club where he worked at, this song is about death and passing. However, it never allows death to get in the way of showing the spirit of the band and Brendan. Apparently Brendan died in 2009 on the very same day that the Chili Peppers starting rehearsing songs for this new album, their first as their current configuration. After giving them their break, he became a close friend to the group and was writing a biography about them at the time of his passing. However sad his passing was, I can think of no better tribute to the man than this instantly timeless Chili track. Enjoy. 

Red Hot Chili Peppers Brendan's Death Song